View Full Version : Lightweight River Tripping

2007-02-25, 22:24
Didn't want to take away from other discussions..
After reading about 900lb loads, aluminum canoes and other
various "heavyweight" standards of river tripping, I thought I
would open up this discussion.

Anyone else doing any lightweight or ultralight river tripping?
Has anyone else carried over the philosophy of backpackers
and applied it to river travel?

Well I bought another kayak... I know I know. 2 in 2 months and
the year is still young. Wife is gonna kill me. But here is a
first glance at what I feel is a spectacular little do-all river boat.

The Wilderness Systems Ripper:

- chances are you wont hear much about this boat, nor find any inspiring reviews. This one flies way low under the radar, like the OC frenzy, but far more deserving of your attention! This boat is everything the Ocean Kayak Frenzy should have been! and a whole lot more it never could be.

Key features (with explanation for our hiking only friends)

-Pronounced upswept bow with decent bow rocker. - This allows you
to get on top and stay on top of waves instead of punching through.
Also a big plus for mid class white water running, getting over pillows and through holes.

- Multi-chine planning hull. This gives you surf ability and super quick maneuvering response. But at a cost to speed and flat water efficiency.

- Just enough skeg to give it enough tracking to out paddle standard whitewater designs in flatwater, but without overdoing it and making it into some kind of stabilizer system like Ocean Kayak.

- Perfect dimensions/weight/durability. For a heavy abuse, all water condition watercraft. At only 8ft long and 30" width FINALLY! a hybrid SOT that has all the WW features with just a few crucial flat water gems and no extra frills! Its a beautiful combination.

- Conservative storage space. But more than ample for multi-week expeditions with multiple loading options for anyone even starting into the lightweight gear scene.

I'm literally dancing around waiting for the ice to clear to get this baby in the water. Threw on a few small storage features that make life on the water civillized.


2007-02-25, 23:41
Turk, looks pretty awesome. I love the size, that would fit just perfect inside my minivan!

Haven't done any canoe/kayak camping yet, but when I do it will be with lightweight camping principles in mind, and for the same reason I'm trying to lightweight backpack - it's just more relaxing and enjoyable when you're not carrying a bunch of crap everywhere.

Hard to tell in the picture... Would there be enough room for a labrador retriever up in the bow? And how stable do you think it would be if said retriever decided to stand up in the bow?

That's my only concern about the sit-on-tops. Mind you, I've only tried one and it was one of those one man styles that you could rent at the local campground, but as soon as we loaded the pup it got pretty unstable. About 30' from shore she decides to stand up and sends both of us into the drink. Onlookers got a good laugh out of it. Funny at the time when we're just having fun in the water but not something we'd like to have happen on a several day kayak trip. Maybe this kayak performs different? Let me know what you think...

2007-02-26, 02:42
Hey Turk, nice looking little boat but how stable is it? The only river tripping I have done is when my son was in the Boy Scouts. Took a ten day trip in Manitoba with the heavy aluminum canoes. We had 3 person teams. One carried the canoe, one the gear pack, and one the food pack. Hopped around from rivers to lakes and the furthest portage was about a 3/4 mile stretch but quite a few shorter ones.
How much does your boat weigh?

2007-02-26, 07:41
Load? Did I say load? Sorry, I meant capacity. My personal load not counting cooler is about 20#.

Frolicking Dino
2007-02-26, 08:40
Turk, I have an inflatable 4-man raft (actually good for 2+ gear) with a small trolling motor and a 12-volt battery to power that and an inflator - I have been known to use that to cross lakes and rivers and then to proceed to do some lightweight backpacking - it let me get way back in the woods in a limited amount of time before retirement.

I would deflate the raft and put the battery, a 12-volt inflator, trolling motor, and raft (and emergency oars) into two trash bags and hide them in the woods. When I returned from backpacking, I would re-inflate the raft and return to where I was parked.

2007-02-26, 09:50

I love taking my kayak down the river for a weekend or so. And yes, I try to be lightweight - I use my backpacking gear when I go. I enjoy having all I need to be comfortable and safe, without "needing" all my car camping luxuries.

Going lightweight in my kayak helps the boat ride higher and maneuver better, travel faster when needed.

Nothing like hanging my hammock and looking out over my kayak to the water when the sun's going down!!

2007-02-26, 18:12
T Would there be enough room for a labrador retriever up in the bow? And how stable do you think it would be if said retriever decided to stand up in the bow?

In this particular model, definately not enough room for the dog. This
particular boat is just big enough for 1 person, and lightweight gear.

As for stability, this boat has a heck of alot less initial stability than say comparing with the OK Frenzy. This was one of the big reasons I bought it. Some SOT's are rock solid. Designed as diving platforms. If that is what you are after. HIGHLY recommend Ocean Kayak. They have this crazy proprietary ballast/skeg design that is incorporated into every model (I didnt know this at the time of purchase). Extremely hard to flip them, even the sport and surf models. They are slow to paddle, but track well. Personally I am interested mostly in whitewater potential, and multiday river/creeking. Because the WS Ripper has alot of surf kayak features, the boat gains stability in tubulent waters, at the sacrafice of some stability in flatwater. I cannot comment more on this until I really get it on the river in the spring. Have only paddled this boat on flat calm water prior to purchase, and on the advice of a paddling friend who raves about his for the same reasons.

How much does your boat weigh?
41lbs 9oz with the new duralite super poly hull. And after adding thigh braces and my cargo mods. its about 43 lbs +/-
With whitewater I can't make too many compromises to outfitting. Not comfortable with less than solid mountings.
I have tried my hand at some sewing and have hacked together old pieces of backpacks and duffle bags to create my own web system and cargo lashes. trying to complete a little homemade UL thighbrace project right now to shave another pound off the boat. You could also ditch the stock backrest and use your gear as a lumbar support and trim another 1-2 lbs off.

Going lightweight in my kayak helps the boat ride higher and maneuver better, travel faster when needed.

Nothing like hanging my hammock and looking out over my kayak to the water when the sun's going down!!

Oh ya man. Im there. Couldn't have said it better.

2007-03-05, 14:36
one nice rigg,i like the rise in the bow.

Woods Walker
2007-03-08, 22:36
Here is my little Kayak.



I can just put enough gear in the back for an UL weekend trip. I have done this. Here is a short little trip I did last year.


Paddled into the park. Got a camp site. Set up the Hammock and went fishing then took a nice swim. A great time. The river has a kayak trail that goes for some 30 miles. A bit too long for such a small boat. Done 12 miles in the thing and had to work at it. Want a 14 footer for next season but will use the small boat for short trips and fishing as it can be turned on a time and portage is so easy on a 38 lb boat.

2007-04-03, 20:26
Spotted your post on kayaks, so thought some of you might be interested in these pics - most of my outdoor stuff is on land, but I do use water (sea kayak) to access some remote spots when that is the only feasible way. I've got a 'Sea Bear' which can handle some fairly rough weather plus it has a good carry capacity. Two weeks and I'll be off to this spot again. It's at the southern tip of Stewart Island, which is off the southern end of New Zealand's South Island. I get off-loaded from a boat and paddle in to the areas below. Picked up 11 days later. The area is pretty remote and uninhabited so the neighbours will be seals, penguins, kiwis and deer for a while! The place is magic when the weather behaves.

I usually haul dehyd food, so the"Sea Bear" carries tent, bag, supplies, etc., for a couple of weeks no problem

Heading in, the Fraser Peaks that I'm aiming for in the background

Closer shot

Looking back from the top of one of the Fraser peaks. (Magog) The creek that tracks inland in the foreground is about 3 miles long and can be paddled to its end at high water which saves a bit of footwork!

Rock formation next to Magog

Looking down on the rock formation during ascent of Magog

Hope that's of interest - combining boat and foot makes it interesting for me!

2007-04-03, 23:05
Geo you are one lucky dude, that would be the trip of a lifetime for most of us. That looks a lot like Alaska...with a much better climate.

2007-04-04, 21:57
Awesome pics. Thanks so much for sharing.
Have to agree completely with the water/foot travel. I wish more people were into it. Personally its the pinnacle outdoor experience. To combine a major water and land traverse into a single trip is a wholly unique experience.
It has its own unique challenges and rewards.
I wish more people were into it, so that I might get better tips and advice on some of the more difficult aspects.

I don't know... there is just a very different feel to a trip when you are both paddling and hiking for a significant distance. Nothing is boring. There are always multiple ways to confront an obstacle because you are both land and water capable.

Anyways. Enjoyed the pics. Eagerly counting the days until my first big water/trek trip of this year. just wrapping up the last details. A rudimentary map plan for anybody particularly bored:
p.s. Ever try and organize a trip between people living very far apart? Its a big pain. Luckily there is the internet and simple but awesome programs like paint :P Really helps collaboration efforts.

2007-04-04, 23:00
Great pics geo. I like the kayak also. Mine is similar with same hard chine, but the hard chine is deeper and my bottom is flatter, I think. Also I don't have a rudder, and the hatches suck, so I don't get out on the Bay of Fundy much, but it is very fast and easy to paddle on the St. John River. Needs work.

Canuk. Nice looking route planning.

Did you ever read "Paddle-To-The-Sea" when you were a kid, or watch the National Film Board film? I did back about 1970 or so, when I was in Ontario for a few years in grade school. Your posts always make me think of the first part of the story, which starts up near Lake Nipigon.

"For all children and those adults for whom the romance of journeying is still strong. This great NFB children's classic is adapted from a story by Holling C. Holling. During the long winter night, an Indian boy sets out to carve a man and a canoe. He calls the man "Paddle to the Sea." The boy sets the carving down on a frozen stream to await the coming of spring. The film charts the adventures that befall the canoe on its long odyssey from Lake Superior to the sea. This delightful story is photographed with great patience and an eye for the beauty of living things, offering vivid impressions of Canada's varied landscape and waterways."

Woods Walker
2007-04-07, 20:55
I just got a new Kayak. A Carolina 14.5. It was on sale at Dick for 699. Now I just need warm water and sun.

2007-04-09, 09:38
I can't swim :(

2007-04-09, 10:23
You can't swim!!!:laugh: :laugh: :aetsch:

You can always learn.:biggrin: