-- Last Updated: Mar-22-13 10:02 PM EST --
... not all of which will "make sense" to every person. I'm not all that spiritual of a person but I do understand the oft-quoted statement, "canoes have soul." At any distance, kayaks tend to look like windup toys to me, but when traditional canoes are paddled by traditional method (no sit-and-switch), a lot of time nothing about even a single canoe stroke is predictable, let alone a sequence of strokes. It's at the far opposite extreme from repetitive-stroke, muscle-memory kayak paddling. If Harley riders stuck with their brand all through the 70s when their longevity and reliability was at rock bottom, it can't be too hard to understand why someone would take their canoe out on waters that might be more efficiently traveled by kayak.
I understand the desire to have a sleeker, more effortless craft for bigger lakes and such, especially when it's windy. No doubt that's one big reason so many people paddle both kinds of boats. My first choice for bigger water and windy conditions is a double-ended rowboat, and maybe I'd be more interested in sometimes using a kayak if I didn't already like rowing so darn much.
Your comment about kayaks having the "advantage" of keeping gear dry is one I've seen several times in the last few months. Normally it's newbie kayakers who say it, so I might point out that all I've ever used are open boats (canoes and rowboats) and I've never had any of my gear get wet. Even with a big load of gear, if it's organized into four or five big stuff sacks, dropping it all into a canoe pack and sealing the liner takes about a minute, and getting it out is that easy too. The time it takes to put the pack in the boat is so quick it doesn't even count. Ease of gear-handling and dry storage aren't mutually exclusive things. Besides, those expensive, lightweight and slick-surface (nylon?) dry bags are especially popular with kayakers because they don't stick to everything they come into tight contact with while being crammed into hatches or yanked out. If serious kayakers are putting all their stuff in dry bags before stuffing it into the boat, what are they doing that's different from open boaters (besides using a greater number of expensive dry bags instead of two or three vinyl ones or even just a plastic liner in a canoe pack)?
Recreational Kayak Paddle
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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