Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Perfect Addition to Our U-haul Camper

Old Town Saranac 146
Santa brought me the perfect addition to our U-haul Camper for Christmas, a canoe! I'm super excited to dive into a new frontier of outdoor adventures. I like to fish and I've done a little from boats but most of my fishing has been from the bank of a lake/river.

A few years back before we had kids, I got the opportunity to get my hands on a small boat. It was a old 1970s Sears Craftsman 12ft fiberglass boat. It was nice because it wasn't heavy. I actually only put a trolling motor on it and it would take me upstream on the Oconee fairly easily. After we had kids, I didn't have as much time to take it out. I was trying to get our family outdoors and camping at the time. That's when we bought the U-haul CT-13. The camper was going to replace the tent for us.

That decision pretty much put the nail in the coffin of the boat. I couldn't tow the camper and the boat when we went somewhere. And I refuse to be one of those people who take multiple vehicles so they can haul every single toy they own camping. I enjoy having my family with me outdoors, and I enjoy sharing experiences with them. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy solo trips too to decompress. (It's easier to find time to read a book when you're not entertaining 5 and 7 year olds.) But getting my family outdoors and experiencing their excitement and wonder is something I genuinely enjoy. So I sold the boat.

The obvious option, if I wanted a boat I could take with the camper, was a canoe or kayak. Something I could strap to the roof of the SUV that wouldn't impact towing the camper. So the search was on to find one. I've been saving a little money and keeping the idea in the back of my mind for a couple years. I read reviews and listed out my requirements/wants. I weighed my list and prioritized features. In the end, I opted for a canoe for now. With the kids being young, I need something I can take them out in together. You just can't find a 3 person kayak.

I settled on the Old Town Saranac. It's 14.5 ft long and while it weighs 70-something pounds, it does have good reviews. It's not too expensive at ~$499 most places online. It will seat 3 people and handle over 700 pounds. I've had it strapped on the roof and it doesn't overhang too much. For now, I think this is the best option to get my kids on the water. When they get older, we may trade-up for some kayaks. Hopefully by that time, they'll have a desire within to explore on their own.

The sad thing about getting a canoe for Christmas is that it's too cold to really enjoy it right now. Can't wait for spring to break it out. Expect to see a few more posts, photos, and videos after we've broken it in and learn more about exploring on the water as a family.