Canoeing & Kayaking Books

If you want to improve your paddling skills, learn how to read the water, or just want to learn how to load a canoe for a multi-night expedition, almost certainly a book is available about the topic.

While nothing beats practice when it comes to improving paddling skills, many books provide superb advice which assist with the “learning curve.”

Let me illustrate how helpful a book can be and how knowledge gained from the book helps keep you safe and dry. Back in the 1990's, while canoeing the St. John's River in Maine, my paddling companion (who insisted on driving the boat), took us through a Class III whitewater. Since he was clueless on what he was doing, we would have capsized (in 33 degree water) but for one thing I learned from a book (The Complete Wilderness Paddler) I read a few days before the trip. As the canoe was about to capsize to the left, I reached as far as possible to the right, dropped the paddle in the water and pulled it toward me—righting the boat. Capsize was averted, despite the canoe filling with water like a bathtub.

So, why do I bring this up? When it comes to books about paddling (and many other topics), here's one perspective to consider if you're hesitant about parting with your money.

If you come away with a few skills you didn't have before, you remember them, and you use them then the book was worth the price.


Canoeing & Kayaking Books

Click any of the links or images for more information about each book. All books available through Amazon.


Boundary Waters Canoe Camping : Boundary Waters Canoe Camping is aimed at paddlers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota and covers places to go, planning a canoe trip, navigating, selecting a canoe and rigging it out, selecting equipment, camping and cookery, traveling with children, and dealing with hazards.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Building Strip-Planked Boats : Strip-planking is a popular method of amateur boat construction, but until now there has never been a book that showed how to use it for more than one type of boat. Author Nick Schade presents complete plans for three boats of different types (canoe, kayak, and a dinghy) and shows you step-by-step how to build them. Written for all amateur builders, the book covers materials, tools, and safety issues.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Canoeing & Camping Beyond the Basics, 3rd: 30th Anniversary Edition : A thoroughly modern, ultra complete book for those who love canoes and the magic of wild places. Begins with the basics and progresses through expedition techniques that only experts know-and which you won't find in other books.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer : In Canoeing the Great Plains, Dobson recounts his journey on the Missouri, the country's longest river. Dobson, a novice canoeist when he begins his trip, faces the Missouri at a time of dangerous flooding and must learn to trust himself to the powerful flows of the river and its stark and serenely beautiful countryside.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Canoeing Wild Rivers: The 30th Anniversary Guide to Expedition Canoeing in North America : Expedition Canoeing has long been considered the premier guide to canoeing and exploring North America's waterways. This thirtieth-anniversary edition expertly details everything you need to know about paddling the continent's wild rivers. Outdoors writer and wilderness canoe guide Cliff Jacobson draws on his thirty-plus years of river running to give you sound advice, fresh new ideas, and advanced techniques for canoeing in the wilderness.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Kayaking Made Easy, 4th: A Manual for Beginners with Tips for the Experienced : A generously photographed and illustrated handbook for beginners and seasoned paddlers, Kayaking Made Easy is brimming with advice, humor, and personal anecdotes about every aspect of flatwater and sea kayaking. Dennis Stuhaug, an encouraging and enthusiastic instructor, takes a step-by-step approach to introducing kayaking gear, strokes, maneuvers, and the complexities of long-distance navigation.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Paddle Your Own Canoe : The most comprehensive canoeing techniques book ever is now available for the first time in paperback. Illustrated with 600 full-color photographs, this wide-ranging book is designed with both beginner and seasoned canoeists in mind. Gary & Joanie McGuffin, North America's most celebrated canoeing couple, discuss issues rarely covered in other how-to guides, such as developing fitness and balance. The book offers first-hand, experience-based instruction on outfitting, reading the river, paddling strokes for all flatwater and whitewater conditions, advanced turns and maneuvers, portaging, safety and rescue techniques - even how to tie a canoe on your vehicle.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Paddling Montana: A Guide to the State's Best Rivers : Montana's rivers hold a wealth of riches, and Paddling Montana, fully updated and revised, features over thirty river trips for avid paddlers, floaters, and anglers. History buffs can follow the routes of Lewis and Clark along the Missouri, the Jefferson, the Beaverhead, and the Bitterroot. Whitewater enthusiasts can head for the Gallatin or the Madisons Beartrap Canyon.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Quiet Water Kayaking: A Beginner's Guide to Kayaking : Learn paddler lingo and river etiquette, what to do when you capsize, what to buy and money saving tips on what not to buy, how to transport a kayak and how to lead a paddle like a pro. Written by an American Canoe Association Kayak Instructor, over one hundred pages of the basics to help get you started.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Sea Kayaking: The Classic Manual for Touring, from Day Trips to Major Expeditions : Still regarded as "the bible" for both new and experienced kayakers after more than thirty years in print, Sea Kayaking covers the basics of equipment and technique, including types of paddles and strokes, as well as such essential skills as how to read the weather and the water, how to navigate with and without GPS and how to travel with a group.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com

Yellowstone Drift: Floating the Past in Real Time : High above sea level in the mountains of the Yellowstone National Park plateau, the river tumbles and rushes down to the Paradise Valley just north of Livingston, Montana, before meandering through the northern high plains for well over five hundred serpentine miles to its confluence with the Missouri River in North Dakota. Each chapter of Yellowstone Drift chronicles a leg of John Holt's journey down the river, promising that the reader doesn't miss a single mile of natural beauty.    
•  Buy at Amazon.Com


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