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Solo Canoe

I am 6 foot 4 and weigh in at 215lbs. I am in search of a solo canoe that would work for lake to lake trips (Algonquin style) as well as some smaller white water conditions. An all around strong boat for 1 person. What are your recommendations and material suggestions?



  • Where are you?
    If you are in Canada or the Northeast check out the Shearwater or Keewaydin 15 by Swift. Mad River Freedom solo is another contender as well as the Bell Rockstar ( if you can find one). Merrimack Baboosuc

    Because of your height you will need more boat under you though some paddlers with long seat time in solos are comfortable with much narrower craft.

    Alot also depemds on whether you will kneel, sit or sit on the bottom.

  • Comparisons
    -- Last Updated: Mar-06-14 11:41 AM EST --

    Kim is right on. A little extra, if you sit low, as in pack canoe you'll want a double blade paddle. If you sit high, like in most Wenonah's you'll optimize travel with a bent paddle, and if you kneel, optimizing control, you'll want a straight blade stick. These paddle configurations optimize the interaction of blade physics with biop-mechanics in given stances.

    E mail me at charliewilson77@gmail.com for a comprehensive list of available solo canoes.

    Since Kim mentioned two Swift units, I'll comment on another. Osprey, a John Winters design, is the same length as Swift's Keewaydin 15 but is an inch wider at waterline, hence more stable, especially for the taller amongst us, which will never be me.

  • solo canoe
    Maybe an Old Town Pack?
  • Probably a little small
    I think at 6ft 4in and 215lbs,..the Pack is a little small. I would also consider a Wenonah Rendezvous or Mohawk Odyssey 15. I had a Composite Rendezvous and it was a great big-water solo that paddled better with a little load. I can't remember if the Odyssey 15 is a solo or tandem. My Odyssey 14 is my favorite solo but I am 6ft 190.
  • Not too small.
    The president of our local ski club is at least that tall and heavy and used a Pack with a kayak paddle for years on the local streams.

    He never paddled lakes, though - they bore him.
  • If the OP is paddling Manitou
    Smoke, Cedar Opeongo or other big Algonquin lakes in a Pack he will quickly learn a practical application of Archimedes principle

    Especially with several days of supplies and big waves, a twelve foot canoe no matter whose it is, is inadequate.
  • I would get bored with lakes...
    ... paddling an Old Town Pack too, and I wouldn't overload it the way he does. Small wonder someone who's pushing the boat's "practical" load limit would feel the same. Of course, some people just don't like lakes, but you've gotta wonder in this case.
  • He's also got rec kayaks.
    He likes the challenge of negotiating fast moving twisty streams and mild whitewater. He does swim now and then.

    For me, the Pack is an overly wide pig.
  • well there you go
    I also owned an OT Pack and know its capabilities. There are MANY solo canoes better suited for the big guy.
  • Never denied ther weren't better options
    Just that it was good enough for that tall guy who wasn't very discriminating about boats.
  • Who said he wasn't discriminating?
    He is looking for a lake cruiser!! And something portage friendly.

    You guys ever been to Algonquin??
  • You must specify kneeling or sitting
    These are the two basic paddling postures for single blade canoeing. Virtually all hulls are designed with one or the other posture in mind.

    Assuming you are a kneeler, the the answer to your question is a Swift Osprey in one of their lighter Kevlar or carbon layups. You can go with the very lightest layup if you are only doing lakes, carefully.

    Bring a fat wallet or search the used ads.
  • I'm saying the guy I'm referring to
    isn't very discriminating about boats.

    All of my comments are referring to the guy I personally know who's used his Pack numerous times on streams & rivers without a load and never on lakes that I'm aware of.

    I never implied the suitability of the Pack for a big guy with a tripping load on open lakes.
  • I know that but the
    advice sought by the OP is not relevant to your friends experience. I know several people who camp with the Pack for small overnights on twisty streams and are quite happy with the boats nimbleness there.

    But its about the OP.
  • I don't know what "Agonquin style"
    means and I wasn't responding to the OP, but another response and my response to that response was appropriate.
  • I thought the purpose of posting
    was to address the original question.

    That said I am occasionally corrected by the guy below me re thread drift.

    You're not going to Canoecopia??
  • No Canoecopia for me, this year.
    Car has coolant leak that the mechanic says is likely a cracked head, since coolant came out of one of the spark plug holes during a pressure check.

    Also, Saturday is the 5 year birthday party for one of my great nieces and my niece is not pleased when I skip her parties for Canoecopia. She'll just have to deal with it next year.
  • A small tandem
    would not be a bad choice for a guy who is 6'4". He can probably reach across a wider bost when needed and at 215 with a bit of gear added will appreciate the added bouyancy.

    The DY Starfire would be a good choice at the pricey end of the range. If money is limited, A Millbrook Souhegan or any one of the smaller Prospectors out there might work for him.

    Full diclosure here: I'm one of a few solo canoests who are not comfortable in narrow, twitchy boats.

  • Solo
    I'm not as tall as you, but I am heavier. I will vouch for both the Swift Osprey in Kevlar and Bell Rockstar in carbon. I have used both exclusively as my solo trippers. In Algonquin I have used both to travel the length of the Nippissing River and some of the larger lakes, too on week long excursions.

    The Rockstar rides drier, but takes more care on windy lakes as it rides a little higher.

    I like the Osprey for its nimbleness. I find it easier to heel, too. I would ditch the sliding seat, though, as the contraption adds unnecessary weight.
  • Yanoer, my old MR Compatriot was
    almost as impractical for class 1-2 streams in the southern mountains as his OT Pack. I did quite well for years until I got too heavy for the boat.

    What I wonder is, how did he manage small streams with a double blade? I kayak, and I also have an 8' double blade for my small canoes. But down here, small streams mean overhanging rhodedendrons, sometimes arching over the best channel. I found a long double blade very unsuitable for such environments.

    The guy sounds like a paddler who would run anything solo in his tandem Folboat, even Bull Sluice. He got away with it for quite a while, but one day on the lower Conasauga, a midstream rock ate his Folboat, and he had to walk out.
  • Options
    I am thinking about going with a Prospector 16 from Swift or Nova Craft. What do you all think of that? Again, for a 6 foot 4, 215lb guy. The boat would obviously be used backwards. Let me know your thoughts.
  • Ever paddled one?
    Its a bit of a reach for cross strokes and paddling it backwards is not the best for control.

    You can get a kneeling thwart that puts you right in back of the center yoke for best control yet leaves you room to escape in case of capsize.

    In headwinds the last thing you want is to be paddling the Prospector stern first as the new bow will be relatively unladen and catch the wind.. You need to be able to pitch the bow down in those cases.

    Thats why a large solo like a Shearwater or Rockstar or Keewaydin 15 shines, especially with a solo sliding seat. You are centered and the ends are free to ride over waves.

    People will say they paddle Prospectors backwards from the bow seat all the time. But doing that is very much a poor compromise.
  • Osprey max capacity?
    A couple of people mentioned the Osprey, but when I was looking for a solo last year I concluded that the published maximal capacity of 260 pounds may be pushing it for me with a similar weight as the OP. Maybe the stated capacity is quite conservative?

    Not that I have ever seen one for sale within 500 miles.
  • Options
    try a number of boats
    In your first post you ask, about a solo. There are a number of good options mentioned.

    The next is about a tandem, that can solo'd.

    It helps if we know if and what you paddled before , what your plans are. For few hours on a pond, you need something differend, then if you want to travel a month on th yukon.

    All can be done. have fun paddling
  • Ballast
    -- Last Updated: Mar-09-14 9:59 AM EST --

    is the solution to proper trim when soloing a Prospector. If You're already carrying a load, just rearrange it. If not, then a couple of gallon jugs of water in one end or the other will do it.

    I have, over time, mostly learned to keep my own preference for larger boats to myself around this forum. I spoke up this time because this tall OP is a good candidate for a big boat.


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