$1500cdn canoe for a family of 4

-- Last Updated: Nov-28-10 8:37 PM EST --

need help picking a canoe for my family. 2 adults, 2 kids and a dog.

we looked at the Old Town Osprey 14, lightweight, royalex and 3 seats, great reviews.

now we're looking at the Old Town Camper or the Osagian Classic 17

any advise or opinions.

i would live everyone to have a seat (minus the dog), is this possible with a canoe in this price range.

we want it lightweight and durable. the Osprey weighs in at under 60lbs and is royalex, the Osagian 80lbs and aluminum, both around the $1500cdn mark (new).

I would rethink your choices
A 14’ canoe is certainly going to be too small for your purposes. I am also doubtful that the 16’ Old Town Camper would have sufficient volume.

The 17’ 2" Old Town Tripper 172 would be closer to the mark and comes in at 1499 USD and 80 lbs.

But if you were going to buy a canoe that was heavier than 70 lbs I wouldn’t get either the Royalex Tripper 172 or the aluminum Osagian. I would take a look at the Clipper 17’ 2" Prospector: http://www.clippercanoes.com/boat_specs.php?model_id=109

It comes in at 74 lbs in fiberglass and 1695 CDN but will be a much better value and paddle much better than either a Royalex or aluminum boat.

I would probably use small, folding canoe chairs, or sling seats that clip over the gunwales for the extra passengers, but if you really wanted four seats, I’m sure Marlin Bayes would be happy to install another 2 sets of aluminum seat hangers and a couple more wood-framed web seats for you.

4 plus 1

– Last Updated: Nov-28-10 8:26 PM EST –

Two adults, two kids and one dog needs a BIG boat. At your price range, used will get you a much better deal than anything new. Bell has a 20+ footer, Clipper makes several, Wenonah has a couple as mentioned above. Start looking on E-bay, Craig's List and P Net!

Another option is two smaller boats; adult in back, kid up front, picnic gear amidships in one, the dog ~ amidships in the other. That's the only way a 14 -16 footer will work - if you'll get two of them. Again, used will probably meet your price point.

more thoughts
wow, that was fast.

a couple other things i should mention, we had a square back fiberglass last year (just sold it) and we don’t want another fiberglass, we found it too easy to damage, it had some minor from previous owner (soft sports, spidering etc).

also, we are in canada, so craiglist is out of the question (not as popular up here) and ebay would be a fortune to have shipped to us.

we have a few retailers, but mainly MEC and then a few other independent shops.

again, the budge is $1500cdn (wife doesn’t want to spend more) and we will most likely not be all in the boat together very often. sometimes the dog will stay in our camper, sometimes only 1 kid will come out and sometimes i’ll head out myself when they are sleeping or i’m up early.

so i kind of need something multi-purpose. the odd time we have to cram everyone in, we’re ok with it, we did it in our 15’ square back and no-one had any complaints. we’re not talking 6-8hr canoe rides. 30min here, 45min here, and stuff like that. mostly open water on small lakes and ponds.

2 canoes is out of the question, no place to travel with them. we put one on the van and then the trailer gets towed behind the van.

Sorry but you still need a bigger boat
than fourteen feet if you ever take all your family and dog out.

Fiberglass is not fragile. Its easily fixable but there are badly made fiberglass boats and well made ones. I suspect your experience was with the latter.

Your other option is to limit the number of people in the boat to two at any one time.

If you overload a small canoe bad things can happen if a squall pops up. That can happen faster than you can blink.

If you try to solo a really big canoe you will find that you are coping with a sailboat. That is unless you are experienced at Canadian Style solo and can alter trim in a boat really fast. I am pretty good at CSS but a Souris River 18 footer was hard to handle solo in Wabakimi this summer…unloaded.

Canoes for sale do pop up in Canada at kiji. See www.myccr.com

A fifteen foot long square stern is like a seventeen foot long canoe with 2 feet cut off one of the pointy ends. A fifteen foot long conventional canoe will feel much smaller and have less load capacity.

Seventeen feet is absolutely as short as I would go if you want to be able to get everyone inside. That will still be short enough to function as a very nice tandem once the kids are too big to come along. It could even be used for one adult plus canine or child without suffering too badly.

Good fiberglass canoes are not easily damaged at all. You must have had the other type. For use primarily on flat water, composite canoes (like fiberglass) are vastly superior to Royalex, in my opinion. They are stiffer, and lighter for equivalent size. They also don’t get hot to touch in summer and cold to touch in winter like aluminum does. They can be molded to much finer shapes at cutwater than can Royalex and aluminum, so they paddle much more efficiently.

You are asking for large carrying capacity capability, relatively light weight, and moderate price. The only way you can achieve this is to buy used. A canoe like the Clipper Prospector I suggested is about as close as I think you will get to achieving a reasonable compromise of your target goals in a new boat.

It is a little more expensive than your target, maybe a little smaller than ideal for your initially-stated intended use, and perhaps slightly heavier than you would like, but it comes close on all three counts and is a fine all-around tandem canoe.

Ditto that.
…And I can tell you from experience that neither the Osprey nor the Camper will do for what you (the OP) have in mind. Oh, you could make it work with a balancing act - but you wouldn’t enjoy it.

My solution.
My solution for my family of four (and a dog) was a 16 ft canoe and 2 Old Town Otters. Both my boys were in their own boats at age seven and never looked back. The Mrs. found that paddling her own boat made us both happy and independent. So now it’s 3 kayaks and the dog and myself in the canoe. Life is GREAT!

Similar results here.
Spent some years towing a tired kid in a kayak, though. Mine tended toward spurts of energy, not to mention insubordination bordering on outright mutiny. It is great to have the option of switching up crew and craft on an outing. It’s much simpler than rigging for a keel-hauling, and there’s less screaming, too.

Canoe for family
I have an alluminum Grumman 17’ in great condition.

$400.(to a good home) phone 586-306-5748

re: family and aluminum

– Last Updated: Dec-03-10 11:27 PM EST –

i'd love to buy a used one, but they don't come up much around here and they cost a fortune to bring in to canada used.

not sure i can get away with 2 boats, no way to transport them and the kids are only 3 and 5 right now.

i was offered a new 2010 alumacraft 17' canoe, i'm guessing the QT10 for $1049+tax canadian, locally from a retail boat store that is no longer carrying canoes.


good deal? bad deal? keep looking?

i'm going to go at least have a look at it and see what it looks like and get a feel for how it would suit us.

wowsers! i just told about bell canoes and saw a nice 4 seater, $3500us, but man is it ever nice.


i was also given the heads up on a used 16 or 17' nova craft prospector for a local canoe guru who runs programs up here. looks like they'll be around the $600-700 mark for used.

The NovaCraft Prospector…
…is one heck of a canoe. A friend had one we paddled and paddled with before he moved off the island - his was Kevlar - and it was one of the best boats I’ve ever been in. He’s taken that thing everywhere, did everything in it, including a solo down the Churchill River in Labrador. Like all Prospectors, it’s a big boat, and can carry a load. Be well worth the money if it’s in reasonable shape…

Alumacraft canoes
Alumacraft canoes are, or at least were, very well-made in my experience. I thought they were the equals of Grummans.

I think aluminum boats have a wonderfully utilitarian appeal, but that is about as deep as their appeal goes for me these days, and I couldn’t bring myself to pay over $1000 for one considering the other options.

But the market might be much more limited where you are located. Where do you live brucered?

re: Nova Craft & Alumacraft

– Last Updated: Dec-04-10 12:07 PM EST –

i like the maintenance free aspect of the alumacraft or osagian, but i like the versatility and duralex construction of the nova craft.

the nova craft prospector in 16' would probably be large enough to suit our needs as well as give me the ability to paddle it solo with the kids. they have their own paddles, but they are more for them then actual paddling.

i am really leaning towards the used Nova Craft Prospector 16 right now. seems like a well respect, versatile canoe for the price ($600-700cdn). there is also a used Nova Craft Outfitter SP3 available locally, i'm working out a price right now.

you guys have to remember, most of you are in a different paddling class then me. i've been doing it for 1/2 a summer, have a wife and 2 kids, so my time paddling is more with them, just getting out together and having some fun. when i have some down time, and am able to get out paddling, it'll be on open waters, and sometimes throwing out a line fishing or slapping on a little electric motor and tooling around.

anyway, i am still open to all your knowledege and opinions.

thanks everyone. if i hadn't joined, i would have probably went ahead and purchased the new royalex osprey 14', which would have been way too small for us in the end.

re: Nova Craft

– Last Updated: Dec-20-10 10:53 PM EST –

i contacted the guy selling his fleet canoes in the spring and it turns out they are NOT PROSPECTORS, but he sp3 versions, so i can buy a new one for abound $900 or a used for $6-700, i'd stick with new on that choice.

so i'm back to looking for a used one (still checking used sites daily) or buying another square stern to get the kids into it for a few years and then buying a canoe and kayak combination or whatever they are into at the time.

osagian makes a 16' square stern (1' longer then out previous one, but still only 80lbs) and comes with 2 seats and then they sell $50 sling seats. would i be able to put in 2 sling seats for the kids? then i could still use our little motor and battery. i asked our 5y old if he wanted to keep the motor, and i got a big YES. so i won't be selling it yet.

perhaps another square stern is the way to go for now. i know it's not up on anyones "canoes to buy" around here, but it gets us out on the water and fits us all in fairly nicely. too many choices, flip flopping back and forth. glad i have a few months to make a decision

kids and seats
We take our (5 and 4 yr) old kids in our rec boats and have them sit on a floatation cushion at the front of the cockpit. They are up off the bottom of the boat, comfortable enough and we don’t hear a complaint out of them for the 2+ hours we are on the water. (maybe that’s because we let them take their supersoaker water bazookas and watch out whoever is boating with us…pond scum is coming your way!) Swimming lessons are well underway and the now 6 yr old has one swim team season under her belt…can’t wait to boot her out into her own kayak! :slight_smile:

Minnesota II
Where in CA are you?

The Temagami by Swift Canoe might be a fit for your family: www.http://swiftoutdoorcentres.com/canoes/swiftmodern.php

The Swift Canoe Muskoka Outdoor Center is in Gravenhurst, ON about 2 hours north of Toronto.

I would also consider Wenonah’s Champlain, Minnesota II $ III. The Minn III has 3 seats plus an optional removable 4th seat.


Mountainman Outdoor Supply in Old Forge, NY has a Minn. II for $1600. It’s less than 4 hours from Ottawa or Montreal.

re: where are you
i’m in Manitoba.

as much as i like the look and function of the Minnesota 3 and some of the others you linked, they are getting up there in price. my budget is around $1500 and the Minnesota 3 has an MSRP of $3K US. over double what we want to spend. if it was a couple hundred over, i’m sure we could swing it, but i don’t think my wife is interested in a $4000 cdn canoe, when she wants new kitchen cupboard!

thanks for the links though, i have been eyeing some of the wenonah’s.

re: lessons
yeah, both our kids have been thru swimming lessons and we are always at the pool in the winter with them.

they like canoeing (the 5y old does at least), the 3y old is a little bit more weiry of it, not a fan yet.

so i don’t want to spend a fortune on a big 4person canoe, if he’s never going to be interested in it, who knows, he may love it or hate it in the future.

i’m still looking used, but again going back to getting a square stern for versatility to get us thru the next few years. he doesn’t seem to mind when we strap the motor on and tool around.

Minnesota III
is a big boat, which might be what you want, but it is a lot for day trips for 2 people.

The Clipper Jensen WW II is very similar, it not equivalent, to the Wenonah Minnesota II. It is 72 lbs in fiberglass/foam core and retails for 1895 CDN.