As fuel prices soar, kayaking and canoeing become more popular.
After the initial purchase of a boat and required equipment, a person can enjoy a day on the water for very little cost.
“People can buy all kinds of different varieties of canoes and kayaks for many different purposes and spend as much or as little as they want,” Layne Logue of Quapaw Canoe Vicksburg said. “People can buy a used kayak for $100 to $300. A new canoe or kayak with paddles and other necessary equipment would probably cost $800 to $1,500 depending upon what someone wants.”
Besides the boat, paddles and floatation devices, paddlers should also buy a floating dry box or bag where they can keep wallets, cameras, cell phones, car keys, and other valuables they want to stay dry. People might also buy a small first aid or emergency kit.
“A kayak is low and fast, but it doesn’t hold much gear,” Logue explained. “A canoe can hold a lot of stuff, but it sits higher in the water, making it more affected by wind. A lighter boat is faster and takes less energy to paddle. After people get more experienced, they might want to upgrade to a Kevlar or carbon fiber boat.”
Before buying any canoe or kayak, prospective paddlers should rent different types to see what best fits their needs and bank account. Some outfitters offer “drift trips.” They drop paddlers off upriver on a stream. The paddlers float down the river to a designated takeout spot.
“With a canoe or kayak, paddlers can get into many different places for very little cost,” said Chris Alexander with South Mississippi Kayak Rentals in D’Iberville. “The Tchoutacabouffa Paddling Trail on the Tchoutacabouffa River is a great place to paddle. Anybody can paddle it and stop at numerous sandbars to eat lunch, swim, fish, or just relax.”
Not confined to boat ramps, paddlers can launch small craft practically anywhere. Paddlers can explore tiny places where large boats cannot go. Kayak anglers often find hidden backwaters that few people ever fish. Many nature preserves, national forests, wildlife management areas, and national wildlife refuges offer excellent paddling opportunities.
“Around Jackson, many people paddle along the shorelines of Ross Barnett Reservoir,” Logue said. “Pelahatchie Creek is another good place. Many people paddle the Bogue Chitto River or Okatoma Creek in Seminary. The Strong River is another good paddling stream as is the Chickasawhay River in southeastern Mississippi. In my opinion, the top paddling stream in Mississippi is Black Creek.”
A kayak is low and fast, but it doesn’t hold much gear. A canoe can hold a lot of stuff, but it sits higher in the water, making it more affected by wind. A lighter boat is faster and less energy to paddle.
The only designated National Wild and Scenic River in Mississippi, Black Creek, runs through the 5,052-acre Black Creek Wilderness in the 518,587-acre De Soto National Forest near Hattiesburg. The nearby Leaf River, another good paddling stream, runs through the 994-acre Leaf River Wilderness.
Inexperienced paddlers might consider joining a local kayaking club in which members periodically take group excursions. Logue suggests looking up The Mississippi Paddling Mafia on Facebook. Paddlers might also read “Canoeing Mississippi,” a book by Ernest Herndon.
Photos by Quapaw Canoe Vicksburg, LLC.
For more information:
South Mississippi Kayak Rentals | 228-297-9241