A few small upgrades can make a big difference once you get under way. These items will have you paddling like a pro, in comfort and style.
Purists may scoff, but seat backs take the pain out of an all-day trip. Crazy Creek canoe chairs, with closed-cell foam, come in short or tall sizes. There’s also a version for boats with molded seats. A bonus: They can double as camp chairs.
The Nova Craft Deep Dish ash yoke is the most comfortable one out there. It’s lightweight, and contoured to distribute the load evenly across your shoulders. Made in Canada, it’s available from Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Astral Buoyancy’s V-Eight life jacket is designed for paddling in hot or humid weather, with cool mesh in the back area and a textured foam surface that reduces skin contact by almost 70 percent.
Watershed’s Largo Tote is a 1,500-cubic-inch waterproof beach and boat bag built to Black Ops specs. Stuff it with plastic lure boxes, food and beverages, electronics (it even has a laptop liner), and dry clothes. Stows flat in tight places.
A crooked canoe paddle puts the power beside your seat, and doesn’t push water up at the end of the stroke. Try Cabela’s Premium Resin Tip Bent Shaft Paddles. They’re 54 inches long, with 21 x 8-inch blades.