Saturday, February 9, 2013

Canoe Camp Shelters

Back in the summer after my poling excursion on the Big East River, I made a quick canoe camp shelter for some relief against the heat and sun...


 
Canoe shelter with tarp, paddles, & pole

It was fun to rig up and got me curious to search out images of other temporary shelters rigged up in a similar manner.  One of my favourites is this photo dated to the 1860's of a Maliseet canoe camp. The bark canoe is propped onto its side with a tarp supported by their poles & fishing spears...

Campsite at Blue Mountain on a bend of the Tobique River c. 1862.
(Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, P5-253)



Canoeing, sailing and motor boating by Warren H. Miller (1919) has an image (p.145) featuring a comfortable canoe camp, where the hull of the canoe serves as a headboard of sorts and shelving for various supplies. The tarp is being lifted with a canoe pole...you can just see a metal shoe at the base. While this looks too permanent with the cots and bedding, the setup looks tempting to me next time I'm poling...



Here's one I came across in Boy's Life, March 1944 showing how the canoe can be supported with paddles lashed to the gunnels while a small rain poncho is tied off . Not much headroom here but interesting...
Boy's Life, March 1944


An image from Hesketh Prichard's enthralling read, Through Trackless Labrador (1911). Here a complete absence of trees meant improvising a shelter to escape the wind.
Through Trackless Labrador (p. 70) 



Edward Breck's 1908 publication, The Way of the Woods, has a basic setup of a propped up canoe on pg. 75

Sketched image from The Way of the Woods (1908)


I found the source of this artistic image when perusing through the 1910 online version of In the Maine Woods (p.40) on Archive.org.





Boy's Life, April 1957 has a brief writeup on Lean-To Shelters including a sketch of a canoe shelter with a rigged tarp and forked sticks holding up the overturned canoe. It looks comfy only because the paddlers are tiny kids - no way I'd fit under an overturned canoe like this...

Boy's Life, April 1957



This one from Popular Science, May 1962 seems a little too involved, but at least the canoe is ready to portage after breaking camp...
Popular Science, May 1962




For a modern day look, check out some of the great photos over at Path of the Paddle Canoeing & Bushcraft of their various tarp shelter setups





6 comments:

Dick Persson said...

Great collection of canoe shelter photos. Thanks for sharing.

Canoe Sailor said...

In any of these I think the bugs would eat you alive. I've never understood how campers could get a decent sleep at night without protecting them selves from the constant attack of mosquitoes. I'd give up the tarp for a mosquito bar at night but I only see them pictured in old Florida books, never in canoe camping texts.

Murat said...

Yes, bugs might be an issue, but where I paddle, the blackfies are the only real menace in the spring. Other than that, I've never been heavily bothered by mosquitoes. Growing up in Northern Ontario and being bitten as a youngster has built up some sort of immunity I guess - I rarely itch or get swellings from mosquito bites now.

Nige said...

Over here in the UK bugs aren't really a problem apart from Scotland and certain times of the year. I've used the tarp and canoe shelter method a couple of times wild canoe camping as means to a lightweight solution and love it! The best way to canoe camp...Well as long as the weather is reasonable! ;) Great article Murat which will be referring back for reference in the future.

Cheers
Nige.

Anonymous said...

Canoe Sailor, If you paddle where the insects are fierce (and, being from Northern Michigan, I'm with Murat on this issue; it's the blackflies that'll really drive you mad, the mosquitoes are merely a mild annoyance) you might wish to consider making or buying what Cliff Jacobson calls the "Susie bug net", in essense, an unframed mosquito net sewn such that a person can clamber all the way inside, close it up, and keep the nasties away. If you google that phrase, you'll get text and images describing and selling such a net. Personally, I've found that a cheap cigar and a horsetail fly whisk suffice.

John Foster said...

I remember some of those shelters from my scout days

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