-- Last Updated: Nov-15-12 6:32 AM EST --
We all paddle lengthy trips and day trips in tripping canoes in all sorts of conditions up to an occasional four (by eastern standards) and none of us uses any flotation and we tie our gear in only if we are going to be running threes and fours and even then we just tie into the thwarts and seats and slotted inwales. This includes trips in northern canada above the arctic circle. I guess its just a different tripping style.
Edit - thinking about this a little more, I do see and agree that when learning to paddle in mild white water the use of floatation has a place and so for the OP I agree that it is perfectly reasonable to feel the need for flotation.