One doesn't have to spend a fortune to get into canoe tripping
What advice would you give to someone just starting out on the tripper road about acquiring kit?
Advice that comes to mind:
Buy a used canoe. A used general purpose canoe, not an expedition hauler or a solo speedster or a boat capable (in the right hands) of running Class III’s loaded. You’ll buy another boat or two along the way, first figure out what you enjoy doing most and then look for a canoe that fills that 90 percentile of your actual use.
Buy decent paddles. Not $300 carbon fiber blades, but not big box cheapies either. Buy them from a reputable paddlesport shop that can steer you in the right direction.
While at that paddlesport shop try on PFD’s until you find the one that fits most comfortably. Buy it. Wear it.
If you are fortunate enough to have a good and knowledgeable paddlesport shop available develop a rapport with them. Don’t be a dick and shop brick and mortar for try-on & feel and then buy it cheaper on-line. If a shop takes the time to provide sound advice you are paying them for more than just material.
Go on some group trips with folks who have been there and done that, and keep an eye on what they bring and how they use it. You can learn from their corrections of prior mistakes and maybe not have to make them yourself.
I’m not sure what comes next in a top ten. Buy a couple of good dry bags, ‘cause wet clothes and sleeping bags suck? Decently weatherproof/waterproof tent (see wet = sucks)? Good raingear? (I see a trend)