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Rainy Summer Canoe Trip

Posted by Sven, Helsinki, Finnland

The weather forecast for the week was hot and sunny with frequent showers. Helmar and I decided to go canoe camping in the lakes and wetlands, with lots of swimming and wildlife watching.

A big waterproof container with our camping kit fitted in the centre of our canoe. Other waterproof bags with food and spare dry clothing fitted into the stern and bow. Anything that could get wet was kept handy in nets on the side of the boat. Everything had to be properly tied to the boat for whenever we capsize.

For the trip we packed quick drying sportswear and rain clothing because we would go into the water often. After each swim we changed into dry clothes, ready for another later dip while the wet clothes dried on the line. Our sleepwear stayed dry, but only until the last day when we wore it for our morning swim.

Preparations

We had prepared well for this trip with help of friends and their canoes. This involved planning and packing everything, deciding what clothes must stay dry in waterproof containers and what can get wet, like the clothes we would wear when paddling and swimming.

Swimming in Clothes

Preparations involved a lot of swimming in clothes to be ready for our adventure. We went to a lake and practised launching or carrying the canoe over rocky shores, paddling, and capsizing. Another skill was wading and swimming while towing the canoe. Going in and out of the water fully clothed in our paddling kit was great fun.

We tried different outfits to see what works best, starting with simple swimwear like tee-shirt and shorts. Then we swam in cargo pants, hoodies, anoraks, long cagoules, and ponchos. We always started in dry clothes, went on a fast paddle and then hopped into the water. This was a lot of fun, and simulated a canoeing trip.

The water was still a bit cold, so we decided to wear more clothes for most of the time. One should always dress for immersion, not the air temperature.

Off into the Unknown

It was hot and sunny as we carried the canoe over the rocky shore into knee deep water. Helmar wore cargo pants, fleece top, knee long cagoule, and trekking sandals. I wore tee and hoodie with cargo pants and sandals.

There were several big rocks close the surface. It was my turn to go into the water and guide the canoe out. Helmar climbed into the canoe and I pulled it past the rocks until it was in deep water. This was my first swim of the trip, quite refreshing in the heat. My clothes felt good in the water, easy to swim in, and refreshingly wet while in the canoe.

We paddled about 5km to the a small island, a rocky outcrop with trees and bushes. Helmar was looking hot and in need of refreshment, so it was his turn to jump into deep water and swim to shore, guiding me in.

Helmar kept his canoeing clothes on and looked so happy once he was in the water. He said, that he really enjoys swimming in his long cagoule. It doesn't soak up as much water as his hoodie.

He swam past a few big rocks, carefully pulling the canoe to shore. When we reached shallow water I jumped in and we carried it out.

After a small snack we went back into the water for a swim. My hoodie and pants had dried off somewhat and I was getting hot. Swimming in my clothes was refreshing fun. We splashed around for quite a while.

After changing into dry sportswear we setup our tent and made dinner. We talked a lot about canoeing, swimming in clothes for fitness, capsizing the canoe and more. Then we snuggled up in our tent for the night. After a bit of fun we fell asleep.

Capsize in the Morning

Sun came up, warming the island and our tent. We were only dressed in soft nylon pants, tees and our long cagoules. After a healthy breakfast we relaxed in the tent for a while.

We soon got too hot in the tent and decided to paddle around the small island, without the heavy cargo, just the empty canoe. This was really fast and after 15 minutes we were back at our campsite.

All that action got us very hot and sweaty in our paddling clothes so we decided to get them wet. Just jumping in was too lame. Capsizing was more fun.

We both stood up and slowly stepped to one side for the canoe. It became quite tipsy and soon we lost our balance and fell into the water. We emptied the canoe, climbed in and did it a few more times.

Downpour

By the time we were done capsizing, big rain clouds appeared. We changed into warm fleece clothes and ponchos. Sitting in front of our tent, we were ready for the rain. Ponchos feel very cosy in wet weather.

Soon it started pouring down big time. The noise on my poncho hood was loud. It was fun to watch the water droplets run down our ponchos.

After a while we realised that our poncho fabric wasn't very waterproof. It probably had worn off over time due to many swims we had enjoyed in these ponchos. We soon were soaked to the skin, the wet fleece clothes still keeping us warm.

Helmar asked if I would like to go for a swim in the rain. Of course, rain swimming is a wonderful experience. Since all our clothes were already wet, we kept them on as we went into the water.

Return Journey

We woke up to a wonderful sunny morning on our last day. Our sleepwear didn't smell so fresh and needed a wash. Before breakfast we went for a pyjama swim, like they do at our university pool. It was very easy to swim in our lightweight sleepwear, very pleasant. While we had breakfast we kept the wet pyjamas on to dry in the warm morning sun for a couple of hours. Then we changed into our canoeing clothes.

After packing everything into the canoe, we carried it into the lake and headed off. It was Helmar's turn to go into the water and guide the canoe into open water. He first waded in chest deep to work out a route, then came back and pulled the canoe with me into open water.

After paddling a while I got quite hot in my dry canoeing clothes and decided to jump into the lake to get them wet. Helmar also took another dip and we had great fun. We did that every kilometre until we got back to the car park.

After everything was stowed in the car we went for a final swim in the lake. This was an amazing wet fun trip. We did more trips like this every week throughout the summer. Swimming in canoeing kit or rain clothes is harmless feelgood fun. You can jump in spontaneously and they dry quickly.