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Wilderness Expedition Curriculum

The NH AMC Paddlers offer a number of courses useful for wilderness paddling expeditions.  In addition to teaching paddling skills, these courses and schools will give the paddler the basics to safely plan, equip, provision, and participate in a wilderness paddling expedition in canoes.  These courses will also provide the student an introduction and instruction in many of the basic skills necessary and used on canoe expeditions.  A number of short wilderness trips will be offered to the students to practice skills they have learned.

The curriculum is targeted at those canoe paddlers interested extended expeditions in Canada, the west, and elsewhere, far from civilization where resupply is unlikely and the paddling group must be completely self reliant.

These courses are taught by our experienced paddlers and should be considered only an introduction to many of the these skills.  The NH AMC Paddlers have been teaching many of these courses over many years.

The curriculum is focused on canoe paddling.  In the future we may offer an additional sea kayaking expedition curriculum.

The courses in the NH AMC Paddlers Expedition curriculum are:
- Wilderness Paddling: Expedition Planning, Equipping, & Provisioning
- Touring
- Introduction to Whitewater Paddling (in Canoe)
- Poling
- Basic Whitewater Rescue
- Canoe Sailing
- Attaining: The art of going upstream
- Wilderness First Aid & CPR

Some of short expeditions offered to practice the skills will be on rivers such as the Bonaventure, Cascapedia, Allagash, St. Johns, and similar rivers.

Brief Course Descriptions

(Including links to detailed course descriptions)

Wilderness Paddling:
Expedition Planning, Equipping, & Provisioning

This day-long course is designed to help the student plan and prepare for an extended wilderness canoe trip.  It will include sources of information, logistics, and scheduling a trip.  There will be discussions and demonstrations of equipment, packing, food preparation, and provisioning for such a canoe trip.  A more complete description of the course is here.


This course has been offered for years by the NH AMC Paddlers touring group.  It should be the first paddling skills course in the series for a student if the student needs to learn basic paddling skills on moving water. More here.

Introduction to Whitewater Paddling (in Canoe)

This is our standard Spring Class II Whitewater School which teaches class II whitewater paddling.  To be applicable for wilderness expedition canoeing, this course should be taken in the tandem or solo canoe sections.


Poling is an ancient technique of moving a boat on a body of water.  Poling is considered by many as an essential skill for wilderness expedition canoe trips.  Here is the poling course description.

Basic Whitewater Rescue

This course focuses on self rescue and basic rescue techniques that should be known by all whitewater paddlers.  More here.

Canoe Sailing

This course will focus on the use of sails for a canoe trip or expedition.  An overview of sailing theory will be covered.  Various sailing rigs will be discussed.  We will try sailing on a small lake.  Here is a more detailed course description.


The art of going upstream is essential in long distance expeditions.  This course will show you how to do it efficiently.  The course is described here.

Wilderness First Aid & CPR

Self reliance is essential on a wilderness trip.  Wilderness First Aid and CPR are essential knowledge for a trip.  Although these courses are taught by professional organizations, the NH AMC Paddlers arranges to schedule and offer them.

General Schedule for the Wilderness Expedition Curriculum Courses
Wilderness Expedition Planning Winter
Touring Late Spring
Class II Whitewater School Spring
Poling Late Spring or Fall
Basic Whitewater Rescue June
Canoe Sailing Summer or Fall
Attaining Late Spring or Fall
Wilderness First Aid & CPR Fall to Early Spring

The NH AMC Paddlers offer additional courses that provide advanced skills for the expedition paddler.  These courses include Class II+ Whitewater Skills, Class III Whitewater, Advanced Rescue, and Leadership Training.

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