Clearwater Canoeing



Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need prior paddling experience?

Our goal as a company, is to introduce people to paddling. We want people that wouldn't normally do this type of activity to feel confident and comfortable. We have set up three packaged trips, which are like stepping-stones. If you have no previous canoe tripping experience this is perfect for you. Our introductory trip is a straightforward beginner trip, used to introduce you to canoe tripping. As you get more confident and comfortable in you paddling skills you can move up to the next trip and hone your skills. If you are unsure of your skill, we can set up a day of paddling on a lake to make you more comfortable before leaving on your trip.

How good of shape do I have to be in?

That is the bonus of this great Canadian past-time; you do not need to be in the best shape of your life. You will spend the majority of the trip just paddling your canoe. In reference to portages, the number and length will depend on the trip you are booking. You do not need to be an active outdoor adventurer. We just want you to get off the couch and experience what is out there.

What if I am a single Parent with two kids?

We do offer family rates (based on two adults and two children), single parent rates (based on one adult and two children), and grandparent rates (based on two adults and two grandchildren). Our goal is to be affordable to all people. We feel that it is important for families to experience the outdoors together and we try to make it as cost effective as possible.

How old do my children have to be?

Our trips vary from beginner paddling adventures to more experienced moving water trips. Our "History and Hero's" trip is perfect for the beginner paddler and those wanting to experience a canoe trip with children. The "Upper Clearwater Adventure" is geared towards older guests and is not suitable for children. We consider a child to be between the ages of 5 and 15.

Can I go alone or do I have to have a group of friends?

It is not necessary for you to try and round up enough people to book a trip. We will try and fit you in with a pre-existing trip. For our scheduled trips, registration is available to anyone and the groups may consist of many different types of people. Our customized trips however are available only to the party making the booking.

Can I bring my dog?

Tough question. We believe in being a "dog friendly" business, but you as the guest must ask yourself some questions first. How old is your dog and have they ever been in a canoe or on a boat before? How did they act? How do they interact with other people and animals? Attempting to introduce your dog to canoeing at an older age is probably NOT a good idea. If they are uncomfortable in the canoe (it does feel tippy sometimes), they may spend the whole day moving around or whining. Thus making for a less enjoyable trip for all involved. Also, we have seen people actually tie their dogs into the canoe hoping that they will calm down, we do not promote this in anyway. It is not only dangerous to the animal if the boat tips, but also to everyone involved. You have to consider that there may other people on your trip, and if your dog is not good around other people or animals it is not a good idea to bring it.

What do I need to bring?

There is a personal gear list located on the website so that you have an idea of what to bring to make your trip enjoyable. If you want to bring anything that is not on the list, please contact us prior to meeting.

Can I bring my cell phone or Ipod?

We do not recommend any electronics. Canoe Tripping is about getting back to the basics and enjoying the nature around you. We are in a water environment and cannot guarantee that your electronics will stay dry. Also, it may be hard to get cell phone coverage out there. So please leave the electronics somewhere safe and dry. But if you do want to stay in touch please make sure you have a waterproof case that has been tested. Keep track of where you stash your electronics so they do not end up in the water. Some of our routes have some cell phone coverage and 3G so just be aware of battery life if you are using this as a communication device or camera. We carry a SPOT and a Satellite phone on our trips if you need to keep in touch. We can also sign your family members or special someone up with the SPOT track and they can follow you on the river. If you have any other concerns just let us know. But if you are brave..take a break and unplug from technology and reset yourself.

How do I pack my own gear?

We offer dry bags for your sleeping bags. Sleeping bags being one of the most important things to keep dry. For your personal clothing we suggest putting them into two garbage bags and twisting them closed separately. We can go over packing quickly before embarking on the journey. A duffel bag or a backpack will work just fine for carrying your gear.

What is the food like?

Imagine mouth watering Chicken Linguine Alfredo served with hot garlic bread cooked over an open fire after a day of paddling. Or if it is burgers and nachos you want, hey we will do our best to accommodate you. We cook all of our meals over an open flame or a backcountry stove (depending on weather). Upon booking your trip, we will send you a sample menu to look over. If there is something you or your children just won't eat, we will try and accommodate those preferences.

What if I am allergic to peanuts or have other food allergies?

We try to accommodate food allergies although we cannot guarantee that the food has not been contaminated. With sever food allergies, such as peanuts, we will have to work it out upon booking the trip.

Where are the toilets?

You just go down the trail and off to the left. Seriously. We know, our parents used to tell us not to go outside either, but I don't think you can hold it for the entire length of the trip. The toilet area will be designated at every campsite we use and we will go over the Leave No Trace practices used to keep an area as clean as possible upon meeting for a trip.

However, some of our trips like the ones in Meadow Lake Provincial Park will have backcountry bathroom sites which are always a big hit. A lot of our trips in the park are along the boreal trail and there are special campsites with bathroom, firepit, and bear locker and are designed to work with the Leave No Trace ethics.

Where do we sleep?

In the great outdoors! You will be responsible for supplying your own tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag. Although, we do have extra equipment you can rent or borrow if you need too. We, along with Mother Nature, will supply a great campsite for you to lay your head. Hey, the only motel around is Momma Natures Inn.

Some of our packages like the Forest House Eco Lodge in the North are glamping packages where we paddle all day and then stay in a beautiful off grid eco lodge nestled in the boreal forest. Or when you sign up for our overnight Fort Carlton Experience we will be staying in Teepees along the river for an authentic fur trade experience.

Are there showers?

No, no showers. But hey, there is a great big bathtub available, in the form of a lake (or river). Make sure you bring biodegradable soap and shampoo. The shower will have to wait until AFTER the trip is over.

Can I fish and can I eat it once I catch it?

Yes and yes. All we ask is that you have the proper fishing license and be responsible doing it. Also, check with your guide before you fillet your fish. Make sure you are in a good area, not near camp, before filleting, as this attracts animals. And hey, everyone loves a fish fry for supper.

Can I swim?

Yes at the discretion of your guide. Meaning if they say no swimming in that area, hey no swimming. If they say wear your PFD, you wear your PFD. Also, children are not allowed into the water unless there is a parent or guardian supervising them.

Is our trip cancelled due to rain?

No way! Your gear list says rain jacket…this is why. It is almost as calming paddling in the rain as it is the sunshine. And hey, no bugs! If the weather takes a turn for the worse (lightening and hail), we will pull off the water and set up a tarp to wait it out.

What do we do if we encounter wild animals?

We will change campsites if that is feasible. The animals that we encounter will not as domesticated as the ones in places like Banff and Jasper. They will be just as scared of us as we are of them.

What happens with our garbage?

We believe in the "leave no trace" ethic. We will pack our garbage out and leave it just as beautiful as when we found it.

What if I have medication?

We ask that you bring extra medication packaged separately to give to your guide. This way, if your gets lost, hey, we have backup. Bring ALL the medications you need for the duration of you trip. There is no drug store out there to run and get refills from.

Can I bring alcohol?

We do allow alcohol if you are being responsible. There is to be no drinking prior to starting a day of paddling. Also, be considerate to your guides and the other people on the trip. Remember, it makes for a really long day being hung over paddling your canoe in the hot sun.