Kayaking and Camping With Friends — It doesn’t get any better than this

Benny Briggs’ boating adventures began with a commercial rafting trip in the Grand Canyon and have turned into annual kayaking expeditions.

Benny, from Lubbock, Texas, hadn’t boated before but in 2001 he and his sons took “the boating trip everybody should do sometime,” a commercial raft trip down the mighty Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

They didn’t have to ask him twice

On that trip, Benny got to know a group of guys from Arizona who go on private group kayaking trips in their own kayaks. They invited him to come along and they didn’t have to ask him twice.

“Every year, we go on a kayaking trip somewhere,” says Benny. “We’ve kayaked down the Rio Grande, the Green River in Utah, the Gunnison, and more.” Next up for Benny and friends — a trip kayaking trip down the Colorado near Moab, Utah.

Camping under the stars

Benny and friends aren’t high-adrenaline kayakers. They’re out to have a good time with friends in America’s beautiful outdoors. “In 2008, we went down 105 miles of the Rio Grande in about a week,” says Benny. “We’d put in and kayaked for four or five hours and then make camp for the night.”

Camp means camaraderie with tenting, bonfires, cooking, and story telling under the stars. “I like to get with my friends,” says Benny. “We sit and talk, tell jokes, and have a great time.”

Benny worked for Exxon Mobil but is retired now. “Kayak trips are a lot of fun,” he says. “They’re manageable for people of all ages including retired folks like me.”






Benny kayaks through Tight Squeeze, a narrow opening between boulders in Mariscal Canyon, Rio Grande River, Big Bend National Park




Rising river and a quick exit

Of course, no kayak adventure comes without the unexpected. Benny and friends were camped in a side canyon alongside the San Juan River on one of their trips. On the last day, the river began to rise. “We packed up fast and got in our kayaks,” says Benny. “The current was running so fast we made it to the takeout point in about two hours — a trip that normally takes all day.”

How does a first-time kayaker get himself into a Sea Eagle Explorer Kayak? “I saw it on the internet,” says Benny. “I bought it for my first trip and I wasn’t sure I’d like kayaking so I didn’t want to spend $2,000 like my friends did.”

Try it – you’ll like it

So if you’re out on a river somewhere in the Southwest and see a group of five or six kayaks slide by, it just might be Benny and friends. His advice? “Go kayaking. You’ll enjoy it!”

15 thoughts on “Kayaking and Camping With Friends — It doesn’t get any better than this

      • Benny

        When I retired 6 yrs ago I worked out of the Sweetwater Snyder area with the pipeline department.
        I haven’t made as many trips with my kayak as you have but we did do a short part of the San Juan a couple of yrs ago. Was alot of fun.

  1. I just retired 6 months ago and I too saw the sea eagle kayaks online. I researched them and thought the 380x would be good for my dog, (17 lb. spaniel) and I and an occasional ‘friend’. It works great. Always looking for places to go in it. Edges of lakes are good. Animals and fish think you are a log I guess because everything just goes about its business with me right there unless of course’ Gordon” sees something he cant resist which is everything! I love the inflatable part about it. Thats what really sold me!

  2. Just watch out for falling rocks..

    I purchased 370 this past summer to take to the Florida coast for fishing. After making a few minor adjustments,for storage and anchoring it is a darn good investment.

    Paddling out in the Atlantic about 3/4 of mile and drifting a live bait in hopes of a smoker king was my plan,unfortunatly the kings did’nt co-operate.BUT..in the intercostal the 370 was everything and more..I was able to fish in so many little feeder creeks and oyster bars,and thing were biting,,,,reds,flounder,trout and mangrove snapper.

    The best thing about it was..NO TRAILER It took me all of 15-20 minutes to unload,inflate,cast for some bait and then paddle in search of dinner!!
    Fresh stuffed flounder anyone!!

    • Hey Jimboleous! (Here’s hoping you see this post.) I am really interested in hearing how the SeaEagle inflatables held up to those razor sharp oyster bars. If they are strong and durable enough to survive that – then they are the kayak for me! I want to paddle the intercoastal areas South of Tampa on the Gulf.

      • Aloha Jerry, this is Sea Eagle’s Hawaiian Dan. I spent many years in Florida and outside of being great to eat and wonderful environment for fishing and fantastic for cleaning up the water those oysters can be very dangerous. We don’t recommend any inflatables around razor sharp oysters. I personally don’t recommend anything around them. They have damaged my aluminum hulls and fiberglass ones as well. I’ve even had them slice through my shoes and boots when fishing, crabbing and clamming. The best bet is to avoid them if possible. Please remember that they carry a lot of bacteria so a cut from them could prove to be very nasty. There are some salt and brackish water places in Florida that are oyster free. When kiteboarding I would often head north to Huguenot Park in Jacksonville or south of the port of Cape Canaveral to the Banana and Indian River, both are nearly oyster free.

  3. Hi All Sea Eagle Owner’s
    Happy to read you guy’s having fun with your kayaks’ I to
    own a sea eagle kayak for five years and kayak down the Colorado river .It;s a great river for kayaking and camping
    Black Canyan,Needles,ca to Moabi park,Moabi down thru
    Castle rock canyon ,walter camp down to Fisherman Landing, and than to sqauw lake lower Colorado River for
    take out .Good camping all the way down I have camp & kayak on the sea eagle and sea kayak
    Good Kayaking

  4. As a retired active couple, living in the mountains of Northern California, my husband and I have long enjoyed our hard touring kayaks locally and on R.V. trips.

    Three years ago we purchased a 330 Sea Eagle double kayak that we can blow up lickety split and bring lunch and our two 24 pound dogs – its a bit tight but doable.

    We love our Sea Eagle. It packs easily in our R.V., is comfy, more sturdy than it looks, and tracks well too.

    Also on our day excursions I can swim alongside my kayaking husband, or I can just sit up front, lean back, put my feet up, close my eyes and let my husband do the paddling(yes, I do have kind of a princess thing going).

    We like to visit islands and rocks in lakes, hug the shoreline, and birdwatch too.

  5. Hi Benny
    all of our trips are three to five day trips. Black Canyon we camp at Lake Mead above Hover Dam to meet on friday and
    drive to the put in 16 miles south from Hover Dam and paddle 8 up to Black Canyon where we camp. Make camp and hike or
    walk up the canyon to the hot springs to relax before dinner and camp fire time. In April we had 29 kayakers. day 2 we paddle to the dam go in the sauna caves and enjoy view around you. relax at camp ,dinner .Monday we paddle out
    and drive home to calif.

    In Nov. we will be moabi regrional park for three days to paddle to castile rock canyon. so far we have 39 paddlers
    for three days.

    my email seaukayaking@yahoo.com for more info.

  6. Thanks for the info. You have to paddle up stream for 8 miles. How hard is the paddling? The river’s I’ve been on you don’t go very far paddling up stream.

    • Hi Benny: On the Black Canyon trip, if they are letting out water, the paddle can be more difficult but your Sea Eagle shouldn’t have any problems. You might luck out as I did, on one trip, for the paddle up and back was as flat as can be.

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