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What's Good Touring Distance Per Day?

Post By:chime on 9/9/2007 12:40pmicon
Replies:5, Views: 18971

Background: I went to Suwannee River at Manatee Springs yesterday. Had a great time too, : pics here . I put in at the Manatee Springs State Park at 9.30am and got out at 6.00pm with half-an-hour for lunch/breaks in between. It was a gorgeous day and I had plenty of sunscreen, water, food, and shade (namely my hat and goggles) so I felt brave enough to go the distance.

I went 13 miles up-river past the old metal bridge at Old Town in 4.5 hours and took another 3.5 to get back. I'm happy as hell to do an unplanned marathon on the water but having read about the hundreds of miles people do within days, I am not sure if my distance/speed is considerable. I have an Ocean XT Scrambler and I got it last year when I could barely paddle, so I was looking more for stability than speed. I'm not trying to compete but I do want to keep a good pace and practice enough to tag along with others on long distance tours in the future.

1. So what's a good distance to kayak within 8 hours? Do pros go more than 8 hours on these multi-day trips?

2. I'm guessing I'll be upgrading my gear soon as I feel more comfortable trying something longer with a narrower beam. I have a tiny car and low budget. Any tips/leads on good sit-on-tops that I can use on rivers around here too?

3. Looking at the big header pic on this forum, are sit-inside sea kayaks any good? I went whitewater kayaking in a tiny sit-inside and it was fun but I don't know if I can deal with 8 hours of sun with my legs strapped in. I was constantly splashing water all over my body the whole day.

Thanks for your replies :)

- Chirag

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 Reply #1   
RE: What's Good Touring Distance Per Day?icon
Post By: ptpdls on 9/10/2007 2:12pm

I'm not an expert, nor am I a pro, but I do know people that paddle all sorts of craft and all sorts of distance, and all sorts of water.

Paddling 26 miles in a day seems like a long distance to me. So the fact that it took most of the day light hours and not more was pretty good. However paddling in the open water and by yourself makes it a lot quicker than paddling a river that is windy and with other people.

Then there is the factor that you were paddling a sit on top, that distance seems long to me for a craft of that type.

On a 8 hour trip with up to 4-8 people with experince on a narrow river with lots of portages, 11-15 miles is the average, (that would be a busy trip) for trips that I have been on.
On a multi-day trip, the average distance for experinced paddlers could be between 8-15 miles and that is assuming that there are few portages. Those are the trips that I am familar with and been on.

I don't want to offend anyone with this one (I've owned sit on tops before and they can be fun) When paddling a sit on top, I believe you are compromising on performance unless you just want it for plan ole recreational lolly-gagging fun. Exception to that might be a good surf kayak.

Back to your concern - the distance/speed was considerable which would only increase with an upgraded kayak.

Once you learn how to roll your sit in kayak, it can be lots fun and then you don't have to splash yourself all the time. Most paddlers need to get out and stretch periodocally to keep from their legs cramping.

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 Reply #2   
RE: What's Good Touring Distance Per Day?
Post By: Unknown on 9/10/2007 3:03pm

You also have to consider that you were going upriver, against the current, for a good bit of the trip, and that you were in a sit-on-top and not a sea kayak or even a fast rec boat, so, yeah, that sounds like pretty good time. Open waters you'd probably want a sea kayak which is made to be fast. Congrats!

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 Reply #3   
RE: What's Good Touring Distance Per Day?
Post By: moonlightdesigns on 9/11/2007 7:28pm

Wow! 26 miles in 8 hours is a good bit of paddling. I don't know many people who could keep up with that.

One of the challenges I find is not overdoing it with my friends. I have turned off a few friends to paddling by taking them beyond their capabilities. I bet you could find some hard-core paddle buddies here on Green Wave. My idea of a good paddle is the Weeki Wachee from Rogers Park to the spring and back. I think that's 14 miles round trip. I'm not sure how long it takes because I always stop to swim, jump off the rope swing, snorkel and have lunch.

I agree with ptpdls that you would be faster in a longer, more streamlined boat.

Thanks for posting the photos. I really enjoy seeing shots of people's trips.

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 Reply #4   
RE: What's Good Touring Distance Per Day?icon
Post By: chime on 9/11/2007 8:10pm

Thanks all for replying. I can't wait to upgrade my gear. The sea kayaks sound quite enticing now.

I have a lot more pics of my different trips here. I usually take pics wherever I go esp. since my digi-cam is old/cheap and I'm not afraid to get it wet.

I'm in St Pete so if anyone's up for a good paddle in a pretty place, drop me a line. Thanks again

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 Reply #5   
RE: What's Good Touring Distance Per Day?icon
Post By: nate on 9/12/2007 8:50am

26mi is a good distance any day. If you would like to test yourself there is a 26mi marathon the 13th of October in the Suwanee River. There's also the Suwanee Challenge, (52mi) the same day. The Challenge is from Fargo GA. to White Springs FL. The Marathon is from GA. ST. RD. 6 to White Springs. Lot's of fun and comaraderie. If you are interested go to or do a search on American Canoe Adventures and you'll get there.

I like to do 20 to 30 mile day training trips. Like to average 4 to 6 mph depending on current. Always looking for paddle pard for shuttle and company down the river. Sounds like you're located in Suwanee r. Gulf Coast area. If you're interested in this type of paddling let me know.


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