Canoes and Canoeing

If you are to own a canoe select it carefully; consult catalogues of

reliable dealers, and, if possible, have an experienced and good

canoeist help you choose it. The pretty canoe made of wood will answer

in calm waters and wear well with careful usage, but sportsmen prefer

the canvas-covered canoe, declaring it the best boat for cruising, as it

is light, easy to manage, will stand rough usage, and will also carry

er loads. The best make has a frame of hardwood with cedar ribs and

planking; spruce gunwales and brass bang-plates to protect the ends.

This canoe is covered with strong canvas, treated with some kind of

filler, and then painted and varnished. There are usually two cane

seats, one at the stern, the other near the bow. These are built in.

Canoes vary in the shape of the bow, some being higher than others. The

high bow prevents the shipping of too much water, but will also offer

resistance to the wind and so impede the progress of the boat. A medium

high bow is the best.

One firm of camp-outfitters advertises a canoe called the Sponson, the

name being taken from the air-chambers built along the outside rail,

which are called sponsons. It is claimed that these air-chambers make it

next to impossible to upset the canoe, and that even when filled with

water it will support a heavy weight. Sponsons can also be purchased

separately and can be adjusted to any sized canoe.

For a novice the sponsons would seem a good thing, as they not only

insure safety but, in doing away with the fear of an upset, make

learning to paddle easier. Then there are the guide canoes made

especially for hunting and fishing. They are strong, flat-bottomed, will

carry a heavy load, are easy to paddle or pole, and will stand rough

water. These canoes are good for general use on the trail.

The prices of a _good_ canoe range from twenty-eight dollars to forty

dollars. One may go higher, of course, but the essentials of the canoe

will be no better. A lower price means, as a rule, not so good a boat.