Back River Trip

By Paul VanPeenen

Our re-enactment of George Back’s 1834 Arctic Land Expedition was a success and the two 17 foot Clipper Prospectors we used played a vital role in that success. As far as I’m concerned, that canoe is a superb piece of equipment. Tough, versatile and maneuverable even with a 1,000 pound load.

Its versatility proved itself when John Dunn and I dragged our canoe for 20 days and more than 200 km. over the Lockhart River’s frozen lakes in order to get to the headwaters of the Back River. The canoe proved itself to be an excellent sled able to withstand dragging over rough ice.

Once on the Back River, Dave Read and Ian King joined us with an identical canoe and the four of us set out down Canada’s longest Barrenland River. During the next 48 days, we traveled through the heart of the Barrens on a magnificent river. We experienced the Tundra as it should be experienced: in a canoe, following an ancient waterway.

On the way, we paddled long stretches of flat water broken up by more than 80 sets of rapids and falls. We ran many of the rapids on the upper river including some impressive classIII rapids. Stability and maneuverability of a canoe in those kinds of situations is paramount and our Clipper Prospectors handled very well. They are responsive and extremely stable.

When you depend on your canoe as your sole means of transportation, it had better be up to the task. During our 1,400 km. journey, our Prospectors proved themselves repeatedly. I highly recommend this craft to anybody who is seriously considering a canoe that can withstand the demands of an expedition, be it in the remote sub-arctic or on rivers closer to home.

Many thanks to you and your staff for your help in making our 1999 Arctic Land Expedition a great success.

(Note: Paul’s canoe was a Duraflex Prospector 17).

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