Stephan Kesting

Square Sail for Canoe Catamaran

The Evolution of the Canoe Sail

The first sail I ever built was an army jacket held up by two paddles and a stick. The two paddles were jammed in place between the bags and the bow seat, then held in place by a rope that looped from the center thwart to the top corner of the sail and then down […]

Thrill of the Paddle, Paul Mason

Canoeing Lessons Every Paddler Should Know, with Paul Mason

I was honored to speak to Paul Mason, son of the legendary Bill Mason and an icon of canoeing in his own right, on my podcast. Some of the topics we discussed included… Hazards for Paddlers, including foot entrapments, strainers, high water conditions, cold water conditions, and the two times in a paddler’s career when […]

Efficient Paddle Stroke for Canoe Tripping

How to Find Your Most Powerful & Efficient Stroke for Canoe Tripping

In my paddling career I’ve spent a ton of time paddling into headwinds and crossing gigantic lakes, stroke after endless stroke. And that’s given me a ton of time to think about and experiment with different paddle strokes, trying to find the one that maximised power and minimised fatigue. This video summarises my findings about […]

An Interview with Cliff Jacobson

Cliff Jacobson Interview

I’ve learned an absolute TON about canoeing from Cliff Jacobson over the years and was thrilled to have him on my podcast. You can listen our conversation here or check out the highlights.

Bear boards and unwelcome mats

Bear Boards and Other Precautions

Bears are curious, persistent, and tremendously strong creatures. Given enough time they can break into just about any structure to ransack it in their quest for food. And if you travel enough in bear country you’ll inevitably come across some pretty elaborate fortifications that people have built to protect their cabins. One of the lowest […]

How to Get Started with Canoeing with Mikaela Ferguson from Voyageur Tripper

How to Get Started in Canoeing, Featuring Mikaela Ferguson

Getting started in something new is always daunting, and this especially true if you’re talking about canoeing, paddling, and other watersports. There is steep learning curve and potentially quite an investment in gear, so you want the process to be as painless as possible. I was thrilled to have canoe guide Mikaela Ferguson on my […]

Top four wilderness canoeing books

My Top Four Wilderness Canoeing Books

I’ve learned a TON about traveling in the wilderness from books. Here are my top four wilderness canoeing books… The Path of the Paddle, by Bill Mason Bill Mason is a Canadian patron saint of canoeing, and this is the book that taught multiple generations of paddlers how to canoe. I took a copy of […]

PakAlarm for Bear Safety

My Favorite Bear Alarm

The PakAlarm is an affordable and reliable way to bear proof your camp. Basically it allows you to run a tough monofilament line around your tent which, if tripped, sets off a very loud siren. I’ve used it on two arctic and subarctic trips so far and wouldn’t go north without it again. Here it […]

Bailing out on trips

Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run…

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Stephan Kesting (@essentialwilderness) It’s just not worth getting hurt when you’re just training. I bailed off this trail because it was cold, it was raining, and I was underdressed. Treevalanches were coming down all around me, and getting hit in the head with a big icy […]

Poling, A Forgotten Method to Travel Upriver

If I just had a dollar for every time I’ve been told, “Never stand up in a canoe”. Everybody knows that, right? Well, everybody is wrong. If you stand in a canoe you should do so carefully, but I do it all the time. I stand up to get a better view of rapids downstream, […]