Books, Videos, and MoviesReviews

5 Canoe and Kayak Books to Read in 2012

kayaking in the pool

It’s winter in the northern hemisphere and for those of us in the frozen tundras, that means that we have a few choices on what to do this time of year. To get a paddling fix, we can either winter kayak, head to the pool like in the above image or read a book. Included here are five books released in 2011 that deserve your attention.

A Book For the Canoe and Kayak Builders

Fuselage Frame Boats: A guide to building skin kayaks and canoes by Jeff Horton was the only book that I caught during 2011 for canoe and kayak builders. It’s somewhat flawed (see my review), but offers enough information to get the job done. If you follow the directions, you’ll end up with a Yost-style skin-on-frame kayak or canoe that costs about $300. That’s pretty cheap compared to plywood or cedar-strip kayaks.

For Learning Paddling Techniques

Canoe Camping: An Essential Guide by Mark Scriver was reissued in a new edition. While not a new book, it’s definitely worth reading and checking out, especially if you are just getting into canoe camping. He covers planning, packing, gear choices and more.

Adventure Books

Around Madagascar on my Kayak tells the story of a solo kayaking expedition around Madagascar. Talk about hardcore! His 3,100-mile adventure took 11 months to complete. He landed in heavy surf, traversed shoreline that isn’t hospitable to humans and had a hell of an adventure. Technically this was released in 2010, but the re-release was in 2011, so I’m including it. This one is on my reading list as I haven’t read it yet. The paperback is expensive unless you find it used, but the Kindle edition is reasonable.

Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent tells the story of Freya Hoffmeister’s paddle around Australia. The 9,420-mile trip took a year, and on the trip Freya paddled through alligator-infested waters, made 300-mile crossings and generally experience everything bad-ass that can happen on a kayaking trip. I followed Freya’s journey on her blog and in Sea Kayaker Magazine. Now I’m looking forward to reading more about it when this book is released in late January 2012. In 2011, Freya started her next trip: a circumnavigation of South America.

For the Instructor

101 Games and Activities for Canoes and Kayaks provides 101 games that instructors can use to challenge students. They’re a way to have fun while learning on the water, taking the pressure off of learning and can make a boring class into something exciting that students will remember. In my experience, both kids and adults seem to get into games, and this book has 101 of them.

Receive PaddlingLight updates straight to your inbox every time I publish a new article. Your email address will never be shared

Do you have any books or suggestions to add to a winter reading list?


  • Better hop to it and read that Freya Hoffmeister one, she encountered alligators when circumnavigating Austria? :P

    Cheers for the suggestions, checking out Mansers one now

  • Fearless sounds like a really good read. There aren’t that many women paddlers and seems like Freya Hoffmeister has taken the kayaking experience to a whole new level! Now, how about some recommendations of books to read while kayaking?

    • Men definitely outnumber women in kayaking, but it’s a 56% to 44% ratio, so there’s still lots of women paddling, and there are lots of women taking big adventures (for example, I have a woman friend that is kayaking, canoeing and dog sledding across North America over three years), but not that many books. Although, I’m sure I could dig up more. What’s interesting in the U.S. participation statistics, women in the the 18 to 24 age bracket women outnumber men by 57% to 43% for kayak participation.

      My recommendation for books to read while on a kayaking trip is read something that’s not about paddling. I usually try to read Hemingway or some type of fiction. It gets my mind away from the trip for a few minutes every night before I fall asleep. How about your’s?

      • Regarding the women/men ratio, I have probably a 60/40 ratio taking classes, and a third of those men are there because their spouse encouraged them to come along. I think this reflects that women are more safety-conscious whereas some men are inclined to try things for themselves first and often pursue lessons after getting a bit older (wiser) and maybe having a couple of scares in the meantime. But really that all has nothing to do with reading books…

  • […] A little ago back Bryan at PaddlingLight recommended 5 Canoe and Kayak Books to Read in 2012 […]

Comments are closed.