Jonathan and Kirti Walpole's 950 km canoe journey across Northwest Territories and Nunavut in July and August of 2014

Test Paddle

We took the PakCanoe out on the Clackamas river for a quick test paddle. Conclusion: it paddles pretty much like a general purpose Royalex canoe. You can feel that it is a bit slower than a hard shell canoe, and you have to approach shallows more cautiously because it doesn't slide over rocks like a Royalex canoe. You can also feel some torsional flex in the hull, which means that it doesn't carve into and out of eddies quite as cleanly as a hard shell. However, there wasn't nearly as much flex as we expected. Overall, it responds to all the standard strokes and maneuvers the way you would expect of a hardshell general purpose canoe. This is comforting to know, because it means that we can paddle it pretty much the same way we would paddle the Royalex Esquif Canyon canoe we are used to. The PakCanoe feels very stable and friendly on the water, which is reassuring, and a good characteristic for an expedition boat.
The foam floors we made worked really well. It feels great with them (and pretty much unusable without them), so the effort was definitely worthwhile. We were even able to pole and snub the canoe up and down a few swift sections. Standing on the foam floors was more stable than standing directly on the skin of the hull or the frame components, but somewhat to our surprise, poling was possible either way. The stability is a nice bonus for poling.
At the end of our test run we even got to see how it faired in some interesting weather conditions. I think its going to work well for our trip.
Thanks to Jenny Johnson for taking the pictures! She is off on an adventure of her own, also in a PakCanoe. She left today for a 5-week Crossing of Ungava.