Travel Times

So on one hand distances matter, but on the other they’re only one piece of the puzzle. In the past it’s been up to you to reconcile a route’s distance with everything that impacts it’s difficulty, but the thing is, it’s really time consuming to take all the possible variables into account while you’re trying to skim the map to plan out your route.

Canoe Route Estimated Travel Times

That’s why I’ve estimated travel times for each route on the map. In addition to distance I've considered things like the amount of elevation you'll be gaining & losing, the time it'll take for you to unload & load your boat at each portage, typical wind conditions, and the delays that'll likely be caused by twisting & turning creeks, beaver dams, marshes, and liftovers.

Now that you can skim the map and instantly compare routes more accurately and meaningfully than you ever could by just comparing the difference in distance, you’ll find yourself asking ‘what if I went this way…’ more than ever before. Plus, with a few basic instructions even someone who’s never gone camping can easily play a role in planning their first trip.

But hold on… if different people with different skill levels will take different amounts of time to paddle a given lake or hike a trail/portage, how can I justify adding travel times to the map?

Well, I think that in general if someone paddles/portages/hikes at half the speed of someone else, it’ll likely take them twice as long not just to paddle/portage/hike, but to load and unload their canoe at portages, to climb a steep stretch of trail, etc. So that means that even if someone takes twice as long as the times printed on the map assume they will, they can just double the printed times and still get all the benefits I described.

Okay, so how should you tweak the travel time estimates for your group?

Well, firstly you’ll need to think about how many times you’re going to walk each portage. Once is certainly optimal and that’s what I assume by default, but if you’re going to do any additional carries you’ll have to look at the number in brackets:

The Estimated Time It'll Take To Do A Second Carry For Each Portage On A Route

and add that to the printed time for each extra load of gear you’re planning on lugging across each portage. So in that example if you did a single carry across each portage that route would take about 1h10m, two carries would take an estimated 2h30m, while three carries would take about 3h50m (remember that the number in brackets is for one extra complete carry).

Wait, but why does it take 1h10m for one carry and more than twice as long (2h30m) for two carries??

Take a look at this diagram:

Why Two Carries On a Portage Takes Triple the Time of One Carry

Every extra carry requires you to walk the portage twice; once to get back to the beginning of the portage and once to carry the extra load, so two carries across a portage actually requires three times as much walking.

Now it’s time to adjust the printed times (or the times you calculated in the previous step if you’re doing multiple carries across each portage) so that they reflect your group’s speed. If you already know how quickly your group travel, then just look for the character below with roughly the same speed. If not try to figure out which of the characters represents the slowest member of your group.

How to Tweak the Travel Time Estimates For First Timers & Amateurs

If you’re the one planning the trip you’re probably not a First Timer. Either that or you’re pretty adventurous! You’ll probably average:

2km/h
paddling
in good weather

2km/h
portaging
on flat terrain

You should double the printed times (or double the times you calculated in the previous step if you’re doing more than one carry on portages) and then add in a bit of extra time for breaks/in case of bad weather.

Example:

You’ve gone canoeing a few times before. Maybe this is the first time you’re planning a trip, but you know what you’re doing.

3km/h
paddling
in good weather

3km/h
portaging
on flat terrain

You should add 33% to the printed times (or add 33% to the times you calculated in the previous step if you’re doing more than one carry on portages) and then add in a bit of extra time for breaks/in case of bad weather.

Example:

How to Tweak the Travel Time Estimates For Veterans & Record Breakers

You’re known as ‘the camping guy’. When you’re staring at the map you probably start thinking ‘last time I was there…’

4km/h
paddling
in good weather

4km/h
portaging
on flat terrain

You should use the printed times (or use the times you calculated in the previous step if you’re doing more than one carry on portages) – though adding in a bit of extra time for breaks/in case of bad weather wouldn't be a bad idea.

Example:

Your friends think you’re a little bit crazy. You have one goal: see as much as you can in the shortest amount of time.

6km/h
paddling
in good weather

5km/h
portaging
on flat terrain

You should subtract 33% from the printed times (or subtract 33% from the times you calculated in the previous step if you’re doing more than one carry) and then add in a bit of extra time for breaks/in case of bad weather.

Example:


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