Some of the wildest Canadian rivers are accessible only by float plane. But flights are costly. For example, a DeHaviland Beaver rents for $7.50 Canadian dollars per mile (2012 rates). There's a canoe tie-on and/or air drag charge plus a minimum charter fee. Prices are computed from the air base and return. A Beaver can carry two paddlers, moderate gear, and one canoe on the floats. A 400 mile round trip flight will cost over three grand--enough to buy two new canoes!
What if you could charter into your river and end your trip at a community that had an air-strip and regular commercial flights? That would cut your charter costs in half and save big bucks. The bugger is the canoe: you can't bring it home on a commercial airplane. What to do? Either buy a folding canoe or rent a canoe from a Canadian outfitter .
A decade ago it was all but impossible to rent a "good" canoe in remote parts of Canada. That's changing fast. Outfitters will jump-start your trip by flying rental canoes into remote communities--or, they'll provide a package deal if you rent canoes and charter your float plane through them. The cost varies: About $300 (U.S.) a week on average.
Renting canoes can save you a bundle, but it can be a nightmare. Don't leave home without definitive answers to these questions:
Our covers were durable and reliable, but we grew to hate them because they were so much trouble. One crew refused to use them at all, even when life-threatening situations loomed ahead. We yearned for the easy accessibility of the three piece expandable covers I designed. Fortunately, we knew what to expect, so we packed everything in packs and wanigans that would fit beneath the tightly tailored covers.
And how will your outfitter react to all this cutting, drilling and gluing on his canoe? Most outfitters don't have the time, energy or knowledge to properly rig a canoe for wilderness travel. Your outfitter will be thrilled at your initiative. Really!
Cliff Jacobson is one of North America’s most respected outdoors writers and wilderness paddlers. He is a retired environmental science teacher, an outdoors skills instructor, a canoeing and camping consultant, and the author of more than a dozen top-selling books and a popular video on canoeing and camping. His flagship book, "Canoeing Wild Rivers", 5th Edition is the premier text for canoeing wilderness rivers. Cliff is a distinguished Eagle Scout, a recipient of the American Canoe Association’s prestigious Legends of Paddling Award and a member of the ACA Hall of Fame. www.cliffcanoe.com
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