Frequently Asked Questions

Q - I've heard the Haystackers are really "heavy duty" paddlers. Will I feel stupid or be out of place paddling with you if I am relatively new to the sport?
A - That's so funny. You've obviously never come on a trip with us, if you did you'd see that isn't the case at all!! Of couse, there are some trips that wouldn't be suitable for you - specially if the trip leader is Mike Murphy ;-) or if the trip is labeled "intermediate" or "strenuous" but many trips are very easy. Look for trips labeled "easy" and talk to the trip leader about it. Many of our trips are very leisurely - specially those led by Gary Smith or Leonard Naquin.

Q - Do I have to know what I'm doing to come?
A - Yes and no.  Like everything, paddling includes some risks.  You must sign a waiver to attend a BHPC trip; and, trip leaders will evaluate you for unusual medical conditions or other increased risks.  But, almost all first-timers do fine when they follow the guidance of the more experienced paddlers.  In fact, paddling with the Club is a perfect way to acquire the skills that make the sport so much fun.

Q - Do I need my own boat to come with you guys?
A - Almost all Haystackers have their own equipment. Fairly soon, you're going to need your own, too.  Many of the trips are on a venues with outfitters and you can rent a boat from them. Also Compass Rose and HJ Smiths in Covington, and the LSU Recreation Dept. in Baton Rouge rent boats. Paddling with the Club gives you a great opportunity to try various boats before you actually lay out your hard-earned since most of us have several boats and we don't mind sharing. Note: Guests are charged $10.00 to come on a trip, as per ACA regulations.

Q - Where can I go paddling in the New Orleans area?
A - Go back to Haystackers' Trips and view the various trip pages individually.  These are some of the various places one can paddle. Also, under almost every trip description, there is additional information or a link to additional information regarding how to get to the put-in and where to rent canoes (if available).  There are no canoe rentals available at some of the places we paddle. Oh yeah, see the next question/answer also. (Answer submitted by Tom Dumas)

Q - Can you give me a list of outfitters in the area?
A - Go to the Outfitter's List.

Q - What would be a good choice of canoe (tandem or solo) for most Haystacker area paddling or LA/MS in general?
A - Long slim solo tandem or solo canoes are ideal for most Louisiana waters but shorter, wider tandems & solos are easier to turn and more stable feeling to many paddlers. We do not need much hull rocker on most of our club's trips. Some examples follow:

    Long slim solo: Wenonah Advantage, Sawyer Summersong, Bell Magic,
    Madriver Independence. All are at least 15 1/2 ft long.
     Other solos: Mohawk Solo 13 & 14, MR Slipper, Wenonah Solitude, Mohawk 14
     ft Jensen. All are 15 1/2 ft or shorter.

     LS Tandems: Wenonah Sundowner series, Most of Sawyer Canoes tandem
     models(if you can find one anymore), Madriver & Oldtown also make tourers
     in the 16 to 18 ft long & 33" to 35" wide range as well.

     Other Tandems(15 to 17 ft) Mohawk Blazer series, Old Town Discovery series,
     MR Explorer series, Mohawk Nova 16. Many,many others new & used available
     in this category(also called casual recreation). The best deals are here as

(Above submitted by Harry Todd)

The list above was submitted a while back. Although the informaiton is still valid, some of those boats may not be currently available and there are some new boats that are also suitable. A few that come to mind are the Wenonah Sandpiper (13.5 ft.) and Vagabond (14.5) and the Bell Wildfire, but there are more. Visit the manufacturer's websites for more information:

Wenonah -

Bell Canoes -

Mad River Canoes -

Mohawk Canoes -

Old Town Canoes -

And you'll find reviews and information at - check their Buyer's Guide section and the Product Reviews section.