16 Canoeing Terms You May Not Know The Meaning Of

When we first got into camping and canoeing we came across many terms that we didn’t know about, as you would with any subject you are not familiar with.  We decided to help out those who are unfamiliar with some of the more refined camping terms. You may know these words, but do you really know what they mean? Have you experienced them? If you haven’t, you don’t REALLY know what they mean. Check out these ManCamping definitions. 

  1. Water Level –

    The amount of water in a lake or river. The resource that you didn’t check before you launched and the reason why your are currently walking your canoe up the river bed.

  2. Topographic Map –

    The map the squiggly lines all over it that tells you the height of the terrain in an area. The one that you suck at reading, bought because it looked cool, and the reason why the 100m portage with a slight incline just turned into a hike up Mt Everest.

  3. Lift Over –

    An area marked on your map that you must hoist your barge over because some damn rodent decided to build a home in the middle of the river!

  4. Portage –

    An inaccessible, hidden trail that is the only way to get to the next lake. It will inevitably be five times longer than you thought and somehow, uphill both ways.  If you find it at all.

  5. River Left/Right –

    That which is on the left hand of a person whose face is turned downstream. The term your paddle partner will never remember, until you are both going over the falls, or swimming down the rapids.

  6. Trip Notes –

    A printed map with information and key calls outs along your route that are completely incorrect, make no sense, and have been written by a previous travel to the area with their head firmly placed in their ass. Useful as fire starter.

  7. Wind Bound –

    When the wind turns your boat into a treadmill. As you paddle your hardest, the wind pushes you back, making forward travel impossible.

  8. Navigator – [ pronounced: ‘bliˈnd – Eh – hôlə- ]

    The useless mass sitting in the front of the canoe who has never read a map before, and who is unable to spot any upcoming Rockapotomous’.

  9. Rockapotomous – (Thank you Paddling.net for this one

    A huge, sleepy rock over which water flows in a gentle pillow so unobtrusively that no one recognizes it until the canoe slides to a stop atop it.

  10. Sweeper – A tree that has fallen and is “sweeping” the  flow of water with its branches. The only place you will find these are directly in your path. Trees are telepathic, they will find your path and block it.
  11. WSN Syndrome –

    Wife Said No Syndrome – Affects 10 out of 10 men. Something we should do some more promotion on.

  12. Lilly Dipper – [ pronounced: ˈGee, ‘Urk- ]

    The same useless mass we described as a Navigator, only now they are putting their paddle into the water and letting it flow backwards in the water without putting any force into it. No help to you whatsoever…. aim them towards the sweepers.

  13. Swift –

    An area of faster moving water, not labeled as rapids, but you will inevitably turn sides ways, acting as a water plow. Pray you don’t hit a rock.

  14. Wet Exit/Entry – [ pronounced: ˈO – Shhhˈite ]

    The entry/exit point of the day where there is no dry way of launching or exiting your boat. You will have to get wet. Usually the point where someone loses their balance and falls in completely.

  15. PFD – (Personal Floatation Device) –

    That jacket you should be wearing to save your life when you get into trouble. Which will inevitably happen no matter what you do. Going for a swim or “Capsizing” is going to happen. It also serves as a chair, recliner, sleeping pad and sun tanning bed for my wife.

  16. FRUS – Freakin’ Random Useless Stuff Theuseless junk scattered in the bottom of the canoe, found when you need to portage. Absolutely none of it has a home in any of the packs. (Thanks @KirkwoodCanoe for this one)


Have a better definition? Have any of your own you want to add? let us know.

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