Open Canoe, Sea & River Kayak Hire Packages

Information & Guidance

What is included in the hire package?

Depending on your booking with Snowgoose Mountain Centre for single, double sea or river Kayaks, open (Canadian) canoes or double kayak tourers – as per your booking form as part of the overall package you should expect to be issued with:

  • mandatory buoyancy aids / life jackets which must be worn at all times, paddles, spray decks for kayaks (if needed as appropriate), safety gear, air bags where appropriate, spare / split paddle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There is no extra charge for paddles, buoyancy aids which are always fitted individually at our stores at Snowgoose Mountain Centre at Corpach.
  • All other items are charged for- including all shuttle costs (drop off / pick up of equipment & gear (more than 5 miles from our base at Corpach).

We also provide:

  • 1 free barrel & BDH bottle (to keep cameras / mobile phones dry and safe) per open canoe;
  • we are no  longer able to offer  free set of trolley wheels per group hire – these are available for hire;
  • 1 baler  & sponge  per canoe for kayak.
  • for sea kayaks we provide 1 free BDH bottle; one free set of split paddles;


  • Equipment & gear is always fully checked before clients go out on hire and on return.
  • We do not just drop boats and gear off for you to pick up “off-site” – it is really important that gear is properly fitted – including kayaks – for the correct size & weight. Logically we cannot cover all eventualities “off-site” from the back of our minibus.
  • All hires of this nature are entirely at our discretion – we reserve the right to cancel a booking if we feel that clients are not fully aware or prepared; not able to competently look after themselves & the rest of the group; or are overloaded with gear.

Additional Items:

  • We also have for hire canoe cags, wet suits, suitable safety gear, flares, first aid kits, throw bags, rafting poles, canoe sailing gear, plus full camping / expedition gear.


Most of our boats you will be using have inherent built in buoyancy. Those that do not have lower specific gravity will be fitted with extra buoyancy. (We have found that some folks will take out and let down fitted air bags in open canoes to make extra room for gear). Barrels & camp gear will also give additional buoyancy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Increased Safety: | The lower specific gravity (SG) of the triple layer material increases its inherent buoyancy and makes the canoe float much higher when full of water, assisting with self-rescue techniques.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Increased Durability : | Even if the outer shell is damaged, the core will not absorb any water, leak or suffer any lasting damage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Greater Rigidity : | Improving efficiency through the water and greatly reducing flex in rougher conditions making it a suitable material for canoes which will venture out on to rivers and in rougher conditions.


Loading Boats – How much gear can we take with us?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   We are frequently asked how much gear folks can carry in kayaks & open canoes. Purely as a guideline: –

  • 3 man 17’ open canoes (Colemans) have a maximum load capacity of 660 lbs. If there are 3 paddlers of approx. 12 stone each they will weigh approx. 504 lbs. This will leave a gear carrying capacity of 156 lbs between the 3 paddlers.
  • In a 2 man 15’ canoe if there are 2 paddlers of approx. the same weight this will leave approx. 322 lbs gear carrying capacity between 2 paddlers.
  • In our 2 man 15’ Symphony the load carrying capacity is 880 lbs – with 2 folks of approx. 12 stone this will leave a gear capacity of 544 lbs
  • Our 2 man 16’ Rangers / Symphony have a load carrying capacity of 990 lbs. This will leave a gear capacity of 654 lbs.
  • Sea Kayaks – Ysaks – the maximum loading capacity is 265 lbs / 120 kg including body weight per kayak.


Collecting your equipment & gear

If at all possible you should be with us by 09.00am on the morning of departure – pretty much ready to go except for packing barrels, etc. You will be fitted up with buoyancy aids at this point. Allow for at least a 30-45 mins briefing session to cover camp sites, safety, & shuttle pick up points.

If you are doing the Great Glen Canoe Trail, there is a free drop off to the top of Neptune’s Staircase at Banavie at the start of the Caledonian if it is your plan to do this.


Planning Advice

  • Camp sites : | If you are paddling the Great Glen Canoe Trail it is far better to plan to camp on the south / right hand shore pf Loch Ness away from the busy A82 on the north / left hand shore which is also more difficult for access / egress with a steep shore line. It is also more difficult for us to park & turn with a canoe trailer along the busy A82.
  • It is far safer & more convenient to wild camp along the Great Glen because: |

Accommodation is frequently located well away from the Canoe Trail – what are you going to do with our boats overnight? : |

If the weather turns and you simply cannot carry on with your paddle for that day & have to stay put – and have made a reservation for accommodation for that night – you will a) have no means of shelter for the night b) there will be an urge to carry on – no matter what the weather is – this can lead to poor decision making.

  • Food & Water : | You do not need to carry food or water for the whole trip. Water points : | There are water points along the canal – fill up at these. Plus there is drinkable fresh water from lochs & burns along the way provided that you are sensible. Not advised on Loch Lochy due to occasional blue algal blooms in summer.

Food supplies : |  There is a really good local co-op shop within a 2 mins walk from us here in Corpach open from 07.30am – 23.00pm ; there is a bigger Morrison’s supermarket in Fort William.

The first real shop from Corpach will be at Loch Oich at the Well of the Seven Heads; then Fort Augustus; then on the S shore of Loch Ness @  Foyers; then Dores.  On the N shore of Loch Ness first is Invergarry; then Invermorrison – specifically  not advised

We have literally just started a buy in food service for really good freeze food packs – which can be ready for you here on arrival. Happy to send the menu and order.

  • Pubs & Grub : | There are some good & very good eating places along the Great Glen Canoe Trail. The floating Eagle Barge at Laggan Locks; Fort Augustus – several good eating places close to the canal itself; Dores – excellent pub & restaurant – plus good place to camp; Dochgarroch (often a finishing point) a café but not always open; Tomnahurich Bridge – a Premier Inn close by.