Tag Archives: Kayak

Three kayaks of Duluth Pack experts head for the sea caves

The Duluth Pack experts head out on Lake Superior

Duluth Pack experts head out on the water

It is hard work being an expert in the Duluth Pack store. Between the canoe packs, the paddles, and all the camping gear there is a lot to know to provide customers with the best outfitting service in Duluth, Minnesota. No store or staff knows their stuff like the pros at Duluth Pack. From the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to the Superior Hiking trail, to any adventure you can dream they will give great advice.

Naturally then, with so much wonderful gear at their disposal the Duluth Pack staffers want to take it out and play.

Last week ten of those store experts headed out to the Mawikwe Bay Sea Caves (formerly the Squaw Bay Sea Caves) for some kayaking and canoeing on Lake Superior. About four miles to the northeast of Cornucopia, Wisconsin are sandstone cliffs which have been eaten away by thousands of years of wind and water. Today you can explore by boat the caves and arches carved out of the amazing red rock.

Please check out the photo gallery contained below, it is a sunset not to be missed. And, be sure to stop by the store at 365 Canal Park Drive, the experts on the water are also the experts on the trails.

Take me back to DuluthPack.com

hybrid

Canoe or Kayak? Both! The Canak by Wenonah

The popularity of the kayak is growing by leaps and bounds. The canoe is the preferred method of travel in the Boundary Waters and the Quetico. There must be a hybrid that tours like a kayak and hauls gear like a canoe. I promised you a curveball and here it is: the Canak by Wenonah.

The following is a review I wrote last August just after paddling the Canak prototype for the first time.

The first thing I noticed about the Wenonah prototype kayak/canoe blend was the stability. I climbed into the cockpit from a dock and the boat hardly waivered. Being built on the Prism this should have been no surprise. As I paddled out with a kayak paddle the boat gained speed easily, with no loss of stability.

At one point I did attempt to roll the boat up onto the shoulders, and while stability felt good, it is really a maneuver to be done while kneeling. And this is not a kneeling cockpit because it is made up of a tractor seat and rail.

The wind was blowing stiff the day I tested the boat, therefore I headed out into the whitecaps to check performance. The boat tracked well on flat water and did very well in the waves. Going straight upwind, quartering upwind, and even letting the waves take the boat broadside didn’t affect the ability to hold the line or the stability.

Some water did come over the bow and I made the mistake of taking the cockpit covers off before venturing out. Should have left that cover on to protect from splash. On trail in such a case the covers should be left on both the bow and the stern.

Additionally, I paddled with both the kayak paddle and the canoe paddle, but I have to prefer the kayak paddle. Using a Bending Branches adjustable I stretched it out to the maximum and was able to reach out for a nice stroke. The decks on this boat created a situation where I felt I was reaching out too much with the canoe paddle.

The seat felt tall, I would like to paddle another prototype in which the seat might be lowered to the hull, but still keeping the sliding rail and seat. I moved the seat on the rail and could feel the boat change favorably with the weight adjustment. After having spoke with the designer I now know keeping the seat high was a purposeful design trait.

Additions to the cockpit might include a foot bar or foot pegs to brace against. I was pulling hard upwind and would have liked to have an anchor for my feet.

There’s the Canak, a great blend, and the best of both paddling worlds.

By: Brad Putney. “Captain” Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru after spending 40 years on the lakes of Minnesota. The Captain likes to say he has been at the helm of everything from a ten-foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. Mr. Putney can be found at the Duluth Pack Store, helpfully dispensing free advice. He has degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. Please contact at: truenorth@tds.net.
joannakayak on on the St. Louis River, MN

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Canoe vs. Kayak

Kayaking is hot. From fishing kayaks to sea kayaks to the short, white water kayaks you see folks taking over waterfalls. These little boats are easy to paddle and a fun way to spend some time on the water.

But this is canoe country. Will the kayak replace the canoe on of our lakes and rivers, which we like to think of as their domain? Let’s compare and contrast, and you can tell me what you think.

Kayaks are easy to learn, easy to paddle, and fun to use. Kids take to them quickly as do adults who don’t have a lot of experience on the water. With their low center of gravity they are pretty stable once you get down into the seat.

But, how about packing and portaging a kayak? First, packing a kayak is like putting together a floating puzzle. You must pack into small dry bags and then stuff them into the limited areas under the deck of the boat. And when it comes to carrying all that gear you are going to need a lot of hands for those multiple bags.

Second, portaging a kayak may not be the easiest. The best way to carry the boat is “two-man,” which means one person grabs the bows of both boats and the other grabs the sterns. Good for short distances, tough for narrow 200-rod portages. I realize there are portage yokes made for kayaks. But, when I turn that boat upside down, and put my head inside the cockpit I can’t see a thing.

What are kayaks built for? They are great for big, open water with very few portages. If you are going to do a five-day exploratory of the Apostle Islands sea kayaks are perfect for your trip. It is ideal to pack small dry bags into the hatches and handle them once in the morning and once in the evening. Pull the boats up on the beach at night, no portaging needed.

Canoes will always be the gear haulers and the preferred boats in the Boundary Waters. Big, old Duluth Packs jammed between the gunwhales, and a portage yoke on the middle thwart will be the scene for many years. Canoes are easier to pack, easier to portage, and while the j-stroke takes some time to learn, it is worth knowing how to make a boat track straight.

As an outfitter I have sent groups out with kayaks. And they really enjoyed their trips, portages and all. But for what it is worth I am going to fit the boat to the occasion. Kayak for the big water, and canoe for the Boundary Waters.

 

Photo and Article by: Brad Putney. “Captain” Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru after spending 40 years on the lakes of Minnesota. The Captain likes to say he has been at the helm of everything from a ten-foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. Mr. Putney works at the Duluth Pack Store. He has degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. Please contact at: truenorth@tds.net.