by Jane Marshall

Time to get on the water!

It’s morning. The lake is still. You bring your boat to the water’s edge and push the nose in. Soon you’re gliding across the mirror-like water. Paddling gets you right into nature and is a lovely low impact sport. Whether you’re on a lake, canoeing down the North Saskatchewan or kayak touring along an ocean inlet, we’ll help you prepare.

Campers Village carries recreational canoes and kayaks — meaning well crafted, safe watercraft meant for fun. Here’s what you need to know when buying a boat and diving into the world of water sports (like the pun?).


Canoes are made from wood, aluminum, or plastic. Campers Village offers Mad River Canoes made of Triple Tough® 3-layer polyethylene. Durable and strong. Start by practicing on flat water, always wear an appropriate flotation device, and feel the dip and swing of your paddle.

Check out this video by CanoeingTV on how to buy a canoe.

The canoeing position is to sit with legs tucked under, bottom resting on the seat, for maximum paddling efficiency:

Canoeing position
Photo courtesy of Alberta Parks

But feel free to sit with legs in front if it’s more comfy. A soft pad under the knees helps.


Inflatable Kayaks

Live in an apartment or smaller home? Need every ounce of space possible? Maybe you’re a minimalist? Not only do inflatable canoes store small, they’re also easy to transport, negating the need for a roof rack. Once deflated, they fit in a bag and into a trunk. They’re lightweight, and if you’re a solo kayaker, you’ll find them easy to lift up on your own. Inflatable kayaks are made with durable, puncture resistant materials. They have comfy seats and foot braces and float nicely in the water. Check out a video here:

AirKayaks: Inflatable Kayaks

Hard Shell Kayaks

The kayaks Campers Village carries are made from roto-molded plastic, scientifically aligned for water movement and storage efficiency. This category includes causal sit on top kayaks, and sit inside kayaks.

Sit inside kayaks have a cockpit you climb inside. This allows for a possible skirt which is great to keep out cold water. Worried about flipping? Most recreational kayaks are built for stability — especially longer ones designed for touring and taking big camping loads (touring kayaks are more for speed, and are actually less stable that the broad, short ones you’d paddle around a lake in for fun). Choose your kayak based on if you want it wide for stability (maybe fishing, or comfort), or narrow and long to cover longer distances.

Sit on top kayaks are the most user-friendly style — super stable and easy to enter and exit. They are best for warm weather since you’re going to get wet from passing waves.

To get more info on which is best for you, check out this video on PaddleTV.

Hard Shell Kayaks


Check out the Garmin InReach units for river trips where you need to plot your course. Also great communication tools for emergencies.

Staff Tips

Hard Goods Manager Sean Brown says, “Get a paddle leash — it’ll float away faster than you will if you drop it in moving water!”

  • Practice rescues on a warm day
  • Bring a Buff  or similar to prevent sunburn
  • Neoprene booties are a godsend. The sun and air may be hot, but your bare feet on the bottom of a kayak won’t be for long.

Paddling Safety

Sean also reminds us that you’re required to have certain pieces of equipment even in a non-motorized watercraft. RCMP and ranger boats make patrols, so avoid fines and stay safe. You need:

  • PFD (personal flotation device)
  • Waterproof flashlight
  • Pea-less whistle, as a regular whistle may not function when wet
  • Floating rescue line
  • Bailing device (even something as simple as a pop bottle cut in half)
  • Be aware that if you start out with a performance boat, there’s going to be a learning curve
  • Spend a little extra on a paddle with a fibreglass shaft. They’re much more comfortable to hold onto, especially if you typically have chilly hands or are going out in inclement weather. Lower end paddles with plastic blades are typically available with both aluminum and fibreglass shafts.

Stand Up Paddle Boards

Campers Village is happy to special order boards for you so you can work on your core, practice yoga, and glide through the water with style.

Performance Craft

Looking for something more aggressive? We can special order Confluence Outdoor items to your liking.

Get on the Water

Try a trip from Drayton Valley to Edmonton. Take a couple days and bring your camping gear. Have a driftwood fire on a rocky beach somewhere along the way.

“You’re going to get wet sooner or later, so embrace it!” — Sean Brown, Hard Goods Manager