Northern Manitoba Adventure, Alan Kesselheim

Just back from a fantastic month in northern Manitoba. Our family completed another in what is becoming a long string of Pakboat wilderness expeditions in the Far North. This one featured the South Seal River and Hudson Bay, paddling 400 miles of terrific northern wilderness full of rapids, wildlife, and fantastic campsites. This trip put the boats to the test in new and impressive ways. On the way to the South Seal, we ascended Little Sand River (we came up with a few more colorful names). It was low water, very winding, and choked with deadfall. For a long, marathon day we dragged up shallow rapids, pulled over/under/around dozens of tree jams, and portaged a few we couldn’t pull over. For some we had to saw branches to create an opening, and even at that, had to haul the boats through tangled, sharp, difficult obstacles. That the canoes look unscathed after that day is the ultimate testament to durability and toughness. At the end of the expedition we paddled 40 miles of Hudson Bay to reach the town of Churchill. We tried to maximize high tides, which meant paddling through one entire night. For hours we bumped through boulder fields, scraping rocks and literally feeling our way forward through shallows. Again, the hulls took the beating and look little the worse for it.

Beyond that, we got the performance and trouble-free maintenance we’ve come to expect. We put the boats together on the shores of Southern Indian Lake, and took them apart on the beach in Churchill 25 days later. In between, there was never a need to repair or tweak anything. Also, in between, there was a full component of rapids to run, portages to make, ocean swells to survive, and the usual wilderness travel wear and tear. This sounds like overstatement, but it’s absolutely true.

Also, we’re much happier with the webbing seats, and the blow up padding to add comfort. I hope you’ll post this on your website. It’ll help allay the concerns of folks thinking about getting a Pakboat, but worried about performance and durability.

Our thanks for another terrific Pakboat-supported expedition. We look forward to more of the same and are happy to pass the word on about your great products. Hope you’ve had a chance or two to get out this paddling season.

Alan Kesselheim

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