Canoe suggestions

Discussion in 'Paddling' started by gila_dog, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    I am thinking of buying a canoe. It needs to be able to carry two people (1 big, 1 small) and a small dog. It would be used for fishing and paddling around on small lakes and on small parts of big lakes. I will be hauling it on top of my 8 ft aluminum camper shell. I have a so-called boat rack on the camper shell. Looks pretty sturdy. Sometimes I will be pulling a camp trailer behind. I would like to be able to paddle solo at times, too. What's the shortest canoe that would be safe and comfortable? What's the longest canoe that would be easy to carry on the camper shell? It needs to be pretty rugged. I would like to buy it used off Craigslist if possible.

    What about paddles, seats, etc?
     
  2. redoleary

    redoleary Scout

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    I'd say about 16' is as short as you'd want to go for a tandem, and still be easily soloed. I'm wanting to get a prospector for a similar trip profile to that which you mention.
     
  3. madmax

    madmax Bushmaster

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    I agree that 16' is as short as you want, ideally. It's much easier (and safer!) to paddle a larger canoe solo than a too small canoe overloaded. Be very wary of the manufacturer's load capacity. They are VERY generous in how much they think their product will safely carry. 17 ft would be great and don't worry about the ability to carry a large boat on a small vehicle. It's amazing what you can safely load and carry! You'll have to paddle your boat awhile before you know what height and makeup your seat will fit the boat's seat. LOL. I like webbed seats in my cruisers, but I use a Crazy Creek chair all the time and have 3/4 marine ply for seats in my everyday boat. Use whatever Coastguard approved pfd's you have if you don't wear them. Get good ones if you do. I won't go into that debate. The paddles will make a huge difference if you're paddling for any length of time. That would be my first upgrade. Wood is good. It just feels right in hand.
     
  4. Mykos

    Mykos Scout

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    I'd look at a 16' Prospector design. It's a very old design that's been copied by just about every canoe manufacturer (and for good reason). It's a joy to solo and still a great freighter. If durability is a concern, look at aluminum or royalex boats.

    Seats, paddles and other boat outfitting is all up to personal preference and is easy to switch up later. If there's a local canoe & kayak club I'd see if you could drop by there and check out their boats and talk to people there. Most canoeists will readily let you try out their gear if you ask. It's a good way to find out what you like before you invest in your own.
     
  5. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    Good advise, I can only suggest mateials type either aluminum or roylex for durability.
     
  6. solocanoe

    solocanoe Bushmaster

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    you've got great advice here already - if you find an old Gruman...you'll find a light, strong, durable, easy to care for canoe that works for everything you mentioned, and you'll probably find them cheaper than the others.

    If you find your way looking at plastics....the OT guide is kinda hard to beat for value.

    no worries though...unless you get a skinny bottom boat with a lot of tippy in it...you'll love the experience...you'll find paddling a wonderful treat...and you'll probably be hooked!

    enjoy your paddling future! :D
     
  7. 1SG RET

    1SG RET Tracker

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    I use a 15 foot Old Town Camper......will do Everything you asked above......with ease, but i haul a larger GSD too.
     
  8. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    Amen to a used aluminum Grumman, best bang for the buck in a used canoe, and they are almost indestructible. ;)
     
  9. VaughnT

    VaughnT Banned Member Banned

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    No shorter than 15'6", and be sure there's plenty of room in the bow for a guy's comfort when in that seat. A lot of designs will have a very sharp point to the bow that can cramp a fella after a few minutes.

    Second, a lot depends on who you are. Seriously. With a good size and long arms, you can comfortably solo a wider canoe from the center position. Short arms make you have to reach over the gunnels to reach the water, and that makes for a tippy ride.

    Some canoe designs cannot be paddled solo from the bow seat because they are asymmetrical in their hull design. My Bell is like that. Great canoe, but the front has to stay the front, and that means I have to paddle it solo from the center. No problem because I have the reach.

    Royalex is the standard for general purpose canoes. It's a good mix of lightness and durability and price.

    If you watch craigslist, and are patient, you can get some great deals on name-brand, top shelf canoes. You just have to be dedicated to the hunt!

    I was set on the Bell Morningstar as my first canoe (we have very similar parameters) and just waited. Sure enough, after a few months, one came up for sale a state away and the guy agreed to meet me halfway. A few years old, sure, but in good condition and a third the price of new. Can't beat that!
     
  10. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks for the education! More knowledge please! What are the pros and cons of aluminum vs royalex? Keel vs no keel? Wind is certainly a factor on the lakes I go to. If you get blown to the wrong side of the lake you may have to stay there a while. Anybody have any experience with Wenona canoes?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  11. jeclif

    jeclif Tinder Gatherer

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    I have been using an L 13 mitch craft for 20 + years
    it has been abused in every way you could think of and it's welded some ribs replaced and just beat up-- I love it and hope it's still around in 20 more years
    It's 12 and 1/2 feet long 42 inches wide 13 inches deep and the best part it weights 55lbs.
    a few years ago I needed some ribs and the company was still running then and the ribs cost $26 shipped to me .
    hope they last forever
     
  12. madmax

    madmax Bushmaster

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    Al. boats really last and are loud. Royalex is tough. Glass is fast and light. Kevlar is fast, light, and tough (for a glass boat). Not a big fan of keels, but alot of al. boats have them (I have one that's almost 40 years old and still paddles fine). Keels will help "track" (go in a straight line) but with advanced paddle technique they're more of a hinderence. Not a deal breaker if you paddle flat water only. With wind a concern, you want a lower profile hull. The old style upturned bow and stern will catch wind like a sail. You want the gunwales to have a "flatter" profile. No upturned ends.
    And... everything is a compromise. What you take away to help in one design spec to help, hurts in another. Have fun and be safe.
    Wenonah boats are very good, by and large.
     
  13. Mykos

    Mykos Scout

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    Aluminum is pretty much a zero maintenance material as far as canoes go. Lots of folks up north will leave an aluminum canoe out all winter by their cabin and not give it a second thought. Don't have to worry about UV damage, or rot, cracking due to freezing.

    Aluminum canoe's can be repaired with rivets and sheet aluminum patches if they tear or are punctured. But that takes a good hit. One downside to aluminum is that it sticks fast to rocks. If you're doing any river travel with it, you won't be able to slide through the shallow bony sections.

    Royalex is really durable as far as plastics go. I'm not sure if there's a good way to repair it if it is punctured though. Usually if you hit something the plastic will just bend and can be popped back into shape. It's super slippery and will slide easily on rocks. It should be stored under cover though as sunlight will damage the plastic over time making it more brittle.

    The weight of each is tricky to compare since it depends on the thickness of each and the design of the canoe. Not to mention the other hardware it's fitted with.

    Keels do help you hold a straight course on a windy lake. If you're doing 90% or more lake travel I guess you might want one. I personally don't like keels on my canoes at all. It makes it considerably less maneuverable.

    I guess when I was a kid and pretty inexperienced I didn't mind having the keel for tracking. Then as I became more proficient in my teens I found I was always fighting the keel when side slipping or pivoting. I'd find myself heeling the canoe way over to get the keel out of the water. I could hold my course straight with my paddle strokes so the keel was just in the way more than anything.

    So maybe try a boat with a keel. If you like it, great ! Just be forewarned that you may outgrow it as you learn to compensate for the wind with your paddling.

    I hope that helps.
     
  14. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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  15. wolfy

    wolfy Guest

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    I haven't been keeping up on prices of used canoes, but Sawyers are great well-designed canoes. I also agree with the rest of the guys that keels are the devil's own invention. They catch on rocks and will swing you completely around in shallow fast moving water. They also help very little if at all for tracking in my humble opinion. Learn to tack with the winds and currents and you can easily stay headed in the right direction.

    Somebody will jump in and call the price for you, but it really doesn't sound that bad to me with the price of things these days.
     
  16. VaughnT

    VaughnT Banned Member Banned

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    Gila, that's a pretty fair canoe. If I remember right, it's a Dave Yost design, and Dave knows his canoes!

    Whatever you do, however, don't let add-ons affect your decision. Paddles and vests are very personal things and what fits one person won't necessarily fit the next. The seat cushions can be bought all day long for $10 per, and the foam cartop pads come in a kit for about $20 (I used pipe insulation for the longest time!). The paddles might be too short for you, or too long, and there's no telling about the vests. If nothing else, they might just be too ugly for your liking.

    At four bills, though, I wouldn't feel bad about buying that Oscada for my first canoe. Sawyer has a good reputation, and fiberglass won't be too heavy. And you can always sell off the vests and paddles to finance better ones for yourself.
     
  17. Slickheadhunter

    Slickheadhunter Scout

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    I bought a 17ft old town penobscot in royalex and love it!
     
  18. Woods Creeper

    Woods Creeper Guest

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    I use a lil 12 foot Old Town for my trapping n such ...
    go with an Old Town in the 15' plus range for two people and gear.
    Play around with seat position especially when going solo.
    Where you pack your gear has alot to do with handling.
    Old Town canoes are hard to find used ... people hang onto them.
     

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