16' WW Canoe Recomendations

I got into canoeing last year testing the waters, pun intended, by purchasing a MR 14TT formerly the St. Croix. I’ve been very pleased with the boat for the purpose of soloing and taking one youger child with me. I really do enjoy rapids. Occasionally I want to take another guy with me and the 14 just won’t keep enough water out to get us through a larger class II or III. Before the rants begin I understand that’s not what that boat is built for and it really is a great deal for a brand new boat for $549. By next season I want to sell it and replace it with a 16’ Royalex boat. I’ll post a list of considerations and feel free to comment.

Esquif Canyon

OT Appalachian

MR Freedom 16

Wenonah Rogue

Wenonah Prospector 16

Swift Dumoine

Novacraft Prospector 16

Evergreen Prospector 16

Evergreen Starburst

I live in San Antonio and so the upper and lower Guad. is where I’ll use this boat most. I plan on outfitting it with air bags, a pedestal, and knee and ankle padding. The real question is do you go with a boat like the Canyon or do you tone it down a little and go with a Prospector. I want a boat I can trip with, do class II - III without swamping, and take another 200 lb. guy to paddle the bow once in a while.

I am a stickler for fit and finish and I’d like to do wood gunwales on this boatand I like the look of the swept bow and stern.

One other concern - boats like the Rogue that are made to run big water and keep you dry- are they much fun to play in or are they just good for running down river. I don’t do much flatwater so I’m not overly concerned about tracking, wind, or primary stability.

I’m also not dilluded with the idea that I’ll be running III & IV water often. It will be class II most of the time. I’m not sure boats like the Canyon, Rogue, and Dumoine should be considrations?

Thanks for your help. Dwayne

P.S. I’m 6’ 200 and paddle a single blade but would consider a double for going solo in bigger water.

go ww
It sounds to me like you want a boat with whitewater emphasis. Get the Canyon or Starburst. It will handle the loads your talking about and it’s fine for tripping.

One notch down you could consider the Appalachain or Freedom, but why?. And the others (Dumoine, Prospectors) are not great boats for your emphasis.


Just a bump
I’m just trying to keep this on the board. I know there are some knowledgeable folks that haven’t gotten to this yet. Thanks!

NovaCraft Prospector 16
Test paddle this boat. It solos well, heeled over and handles class II with a load. Class III calls for bags and less gear. Seems like a good company as well.

Wenonah Prospector 16
I’m leaning towards this boat. I’d outfit it with bags, a pedestal and pads, wood gunwales, the optional center seat (for the kids or when I solo), and skid plates.

There’s no feedback on this boat on Product Reviews. Anyone have any experience they’d be willing to share?

All-purpose WW tandem canoes

Most of the boats mentioned would be fine choices. I would add the Buffalo 16’ (actually 15’ 8") to the mix. The Buffalo and OT Appalachian are both better values for the money, and either will handle the waters you are referencing. I have paddled a Buffalo literally thousands of miles on the Upper and Lower Guad as a solo boat by turning it backward and paddling from the “front” seat, which places me closer amidship for better ballasting. I also carry gear in the bow to help hold it down.

From my experience the OT boats do ship more water than other brands because they lack the well-rounded bow that is generally found on WW boats. My Cascade dives like a submarine at Hueco, and has been completely submerged on every drop into the hole. That’s why I have airbags installed! The Buffalo has a wider bow and does not dive as deeply in those drops. It also stays much drier.

Both the Buffalo and OT Appalachian have a freeboard of about 700 pounds, so you can carry a lot of weight. The Buffalo is a little wider, thus more stable, and Buffalo uses extra layup of Royalex in the center, bow and sterm where the greatest wear (bow and stern) and most flexibility (center) occur. This makes the Buffalo a little heavier, but it also does not wear out as fast as the other boats listed. THe extra inch or so wide also makes the Buffalo easier to load for carrying gear on overnight trips, especially larger ice chests.

Wendall Lyons (Bigfoot Canoes on the Upper Guad) uses Buffalos exclusively, and can attest to their value as an outfitter rental boat because of their quality and value. Duane TeGrutenhuis (TG Canoe Livery in Martindale) is a Buffalo reseller and also rents them in his fleet on the San Marcos River.

As to the wood gunnels, they look pretty, but if you wrap that boat, then they are going to snap and possibly cause injury. I have been a reverse wrap (bottom of the boat to the inside of the arc) on several canoes with vinyl gunnels that stretched, but did not break, and even if they do break you do not have pointed spikes waiting to impale you - something to consider when running Class II-III water on rocky rivers like the Upper and Lower Guad.

Most of those boats are good choices, and everything else being equal, I would consider the cost versus the aesthetics when making my purchase.

Thanks for the advice
Since we travel on the same rivers I thought you might be able to lend your experience to the decision. I’ve got the list down to the following boats along with the Buffalo:

Wenonah Prospector 16

Bell Yellowstone 16

What’s your opinion of getting all out an buying a boat like the Rogue or Canyon. I’m definitely not wanting to spend a bunch of money but, I am planning on keeping this boat for at least 10 years. I like the idea of a Royalex boat that is in the 60-65 lb range as I load it by myself most of the time.

I’d also like to get together with you sometime. Put me on your email list.

Thanks, Dwayne

T.G. Livery
T.G. Livery would sure be worth a call, Dwayne. as Canoeman says Dwayne has Buffalo and last time I was there he had the Yellowstone and Wennonah Prospector too. I’d call ahead and see if you can schedule a test paddle. They are right on the San Marcos. Test paddling is the way to go. And you also get to have Dwayne’s advice and suggestions on boats. He might have ideas you haven’t gotten elsewhere. They also often rund end of season sales, but I’m not sure the exact timing on that.

Good luck!

never even heard of Buffalo canoes
but that’s because i live in Canada. they look decent on the website, a lot like the prospectors you’ve mentioned but they don’t mention the extent to which they are rockered.

i have 2 Evergreen canoes and QC is fair at best, though i really like my boats for design (and my prodeal price).

the Nova Craft is a good boat for what you want but is a less asthetic prospector (bulbous) and i tend to be very fussy about the prospector appelation. the Wenonah prospector is (very surprisingly) excellent and has great lines and dimensions; ie. they haven’t hogged it out meaning it will paddle nicely on the flats as well, which you will be doing much of the time unless your rivers are all continuous gradient. it also has lots of rocker and is a light boat for Royalex. a friend just got one and he says it is like my Evergreen but more turny yet due to rocker and a better arch in hull bottom. demands some paddling skill to control as it is a bit tender.

the Bell would be nice but a wetter ride (shallower) and as it is asymmetric you would need to paddle it from a kneeling thwart which is a real drag in my traditional world.

for my money a 16’ trad design with ample rocker (eg. Wenonah- great wood trim available and great QC) will ROCK for solo and ROCK for tandem. i know it’s not nice to boast but if you could see me paddle my 16’ tandem prospector solo you would know how good it can be in a boat this size. i solo’d the Bloodvien river (ran class 2-4) in mine this spring for 10 days and it was awesome. don’t expect to stay too dry in any canoe in a class 3 rapid unless you are decked or a very precise paddler choosing dry lines with excellent bracing and backpaddling skills.

so much fun… cheers! jbv