I was wondering what the general opinion on Buffalo canoes is. I’m looking into buying a 16-17’ canoe and am considering a Buffalo. I could get one for about 300-500 bucks (Royalex) cheaper, than say, a Mohawk, Wenonah, Mad River, etc…of similar specs/size. I was just wondering, since I can’t find many reviews, how you felt Buffalo canoes stand up to other name brands as far as maneuverability, speed, and stability. I live in the MO Ozarks and float mostly class I-II rivers. I do some flatwater paddling and like to take the family and camp on the river, so the ability to take gear is important. Are Buffalo canoes “too whitewater” for what I’m looking for? Thanks for any info you can provide.
Similar in design to Blue Hole OCA.
No longer anything special as a WW hull, and slow as a flatwater hull. Also may be small for “family” camping unless you are really disciplined as far as what you take along.
Still, as a cheap canoe, much better than a Coleman.
Not a Bad Boat For Here
It’s a decent do-anything hull that works well here on Ozark rivers. A good idea would be to rent one at Akers, on the Current. They’ve been using them for a couple years. I’ve looked at them and they seem well built. WW
I had a buffalo canoe pinched at a tree overnight. The water was flowing at 600+ cfs. An old town canoe would have wrapped already, speaking from personal experince But the buffalo survived.
Not bad, heavy
My bud and his wife and child rented one and I paddled it a bit while they paddled my MR. We were on the Kings River and rented the Buffalo from the good folks at ‘Kings River Retreat’ if you’re close to Eureka Springs and want to try one out. It was a bit slow but that shouldn’t be an issue for a family outting, handling wasn’t quick by a stretch but all in all I thought it was a pretty good boat for the bucks and your intended purpose. Compromises are made to save a few bucks, but the quality of the boat seemed fine and another poster indicates they’re really solid. Paddle one, lots of the AR outfitters rent them. I think you’ll find it worth the money.
Check it out …
Check out the Arkansas Canoe Club website.
A used Buffalo canoe is listed for sale there.
Don’t have any idea about it’s condtion, but you might be able to get some photos of it emailed to you.
Quite a few canoe liveries in the Ozarks are starting to replace some of their used up rental canoes with Buffalo canoes instead of Old Towns. The ones I’ve seen generally appear to be well made, and I’ve heard they will take a lot of abuse. They remind me of old Bluehole canoes, and I’m not so sure they aren’t copies of same.
I’d define them as utilitarian canoes, which is not meant as a putdown.
Similarities between Blue Hole and …
… Buffalo Canoes are not accidental. The Gordons purchased the molds from Blue Hole several years ago, and the 15’ 10" Buffalo is the same boat, but built from a different Royalex layup.
Buffalo adds additional Royalex at the ends and in the middle where boats generally get the most wear. It increases weight by a few pounds, but also makes a stronger boat that is more abrasion-resistent and able to withstand abuse.
I paddled a Buffalo for about 12-13 years and loved it. I am thinking of buying another one for wilderness tripping. It is a stable platform with a freeboard of about 700 pounds.
It would be difficult to get a better boat for the money. I love my Old Town Cascade and H2Pro whitewater boats, but neither can hold a torch to the Buffalo when it comes to tripping. If you are in the market for ten boats, then you can buy directly from Buffalo in Jasper, Arkansas for a really great price. Otherwise, expect to pay about $750 or so for a new 15’ 10" model.
The Gordon’s got a chance to get the Warsaw rocket to mold hulls from the uniroyal company it was mothballed in a West Tennessee and the Gordon’s has bought hulls out of it in the past to add there own local made aluminum gunwales to for their own rental on the upper buffalo river I’m a close neighbor to the family and live between the canoe factory and the motel in jasper and I have a old Royalex boat and a new t formex canoe I’ve solo paddled this on eastern white water when I was much younger and tandem paddled this design on the buffalo river doing rescue and equipment recovery for local rentals I’m comfortable with the boat and design and even have a 17 foot version of the buffalo canoe it is not really the 17a it’s more of a crossover mad river Mohawk looking boat but big dry and stable for a taxi service for overnight campers that have lost their rental or day floaters who have a boat pinned I’m personally a old blue hole guy and I have 17a bought from Houston canoe rental and I cherish it dearly and they have put a lot of rental experience in the Buffalo canoe seats and trim the boats do better than anything in a rental environment that will bust wimpier seats and hardware and 3/16 bolts
one sentence and a reply to a question from 14 years ago
“buffalo canoe”…spiced, mild, nuclear, fried , baked, coated, naked, with blue cheese and celery? B)
I had a Blue Hole Prowler years ago which I regretted selling. Then I learned that the Prowler and the OCA were one and the same and further that the Buffalo 16 was also the same boat. One came up for sale nearby about 5 years ago and have owned it ever since. I have a fleet of fancier canoes none of which see enough use. But the Buffalo is stored at the edge of the small pond that I live on and gets a run every morning. It is a Chevrolet of a canoe; not exciting but predictable and well-behaved. I put a kneeling thwart in it and solo it most of the time. The boat will handle class II water without complaint, It is tough, heavy (about 77 lbs), but easy to maintain with no wood or varnish anywhere. You can lend it to your non-canoeing friends and they will probably not get wet. I got mine for 300 bucks and I’m gonna keep it.