With so many rivers, inlets, lakes and of course our amazing British coastline kayaking and canoeing has to be the most perfect activity to combine with owning/renting a motorhome or campervan. Here we provide a few ideas on where to go and what to think about when planning your journey. Canoeing and kayaking are two great ways to get on the water and feel nature all around you.
But of the two, canoe vs kayak, which one is best for you?
In short, canoeing involves sitting or kneeling in an open boat using a paddle with just one blade and you can move around a bit more whilst paddling. Whereas in a kayak, you sit down with your legs in front of you, while propelling forward with a double bladed paddle, as most people imagine….left, right, left, right.
Pro’s – kayak
- Many different sizes and easier to transport
- Can be used in different waters
- Inflatable options
- Easy/more natural for beginners
- Ideal for individuals or group paddles
Pro’s – canoe
- Comfortable seated position for longer journeys
- Good option for older paddlers or those with mobility or back issues
- Perfect for families as tend to be larger options with storage
- White water and flat water options
Do you enjoy leisurely paddles or do you prefer the white water?
Generally, if you’re wanting to travel or tour, a canoe might be a better option due to the position you sit, storage space, getting more people on board and the way you glide through the water. Canoe trips might be better for a small family and the storage options especially with children as you can get up to 4 people in the larger canoes
Is the water moving, tidal or faster flowing? If yes, you’re probably best with a kayak, but white water open canoes are an option. Is the water slow flowing or flat? Then you might suit a canoe or touring kayak which cuts the water nicely, making it a gentler paddle but we would generally recommend a kayak for versatile usage, and the open ones have some storage space for essentials but make sure you waterproof all possessions.
If you don’t paddle often and struggle for space, you also might not want a long 14 to 18 foot canoe in the garage or on the roof. Here, smaller kayaks or even inflatable kayaks might be a much better solution and they tend to be easier to get in and out of the water if you are on your own or with one other.
Where to learn?
Why not try before you buy? Remember whenever getting in the water ALWAYS wear a life jacket. You should be comfortable in open water and all courses will teach you what to do if you capsize in a controlled environment
We found a really great selection of videos on the basics of Kayaking, canoeing and lessons here at PADDLE TV
We found this excellent website which lists many KAYAKING COURSES IN THE UK and if you fancy some white water near London Lee Valley just off the M25 in Essex would be a great place for Londoners to give kayaking or rafting it a go LEE VALLEY WHITE WATER
Places to go
We have included links to the following pages that offer a whole selection of locations inland and on the coast to plan your trip. Enjoy!!!!
- The see the National Trust’s locations NATIONAL TRUST PLACES TO GO
- Read this excellent Blog on locations to Kayak and Canoe from ACTIVITYFAN.COM
- If you are looking for Canoe Clubs and places to Canoe then head to BRITISH CANOEING
- The Company that manage the UK’s Rivers, Canals and Waterways CANALRIVERTRUST
- For all things Paddling we really like GO PADDLING including locations and courses
- If you want a more detailed place for information on river and water location difficulty, chat forums and places to learn we like this site UK RIVERS GUIDEBOOK