17 foot Aluminum tandem canoes - choices


After 4 years of kayaking on Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers, we visited the BWCA this fall. Now I want to add a canoe to the fleet.

A 17 foot aluminum tandem seems to the the place to start. The local Trading Post newspaper always has ads for used canoes.

Are there any significant differences between the three well known brands: Grumman, Alumacraft, and Lowe?

Looking for a boat to learn with, so that our next BWCA trip can include a rented kevlar canoe.

I’m going with Aluminum because it can be stored outdoors. The kayaks have their rack indoors, but it will be a year until I can build a larger boathouse.

Thanks for your help.


2 out 3 aint bad
The Lowe is not well known here in the east so someone else will have to vouch for their construction.

the Grumman is the toughest of all the aluminum canoes. Scout Camps across the country are still using 50 year old Grummans. Their riveting techniques were developed to hold together WWII fighter planes and dive bombers landing on aircraft carriers. No pop rivets in these canoes.

the Alumacraft is slightly lighter, narrower, and favored by racers in the aluminum canoe classes. Given good care in landing and loading it should last a lifetime of private use.

The Grummans are still available in different hull thickness and construction, from lightweight 0.40" to livery grade 0.60" with extra ribs and heavy duty keel.

If you find a Grumman Eagle for sale, it was their attempt at a kit boat. Modern hull form, lots of flare, very dry and seaworthy boat, and easy paddling.


That is the nickname I gave to my 18’ Grumman. Bought it used 3 years ago, believe it to be about 18 years old. Tough, tough, tough, low maintenance, I store it outside on my 2 place Magneta canoe trailer. The purists might tell you that aluminum is too heavy, too noisy, too not Kevlar. But I got a great deal and wanted a boat that would stand up to the many inexperienced family members that I take out. I might add another canoe down the road, but the Grumman will always have a place on the trailer.

Another one to look at
Osage canoes out of Missouri could be anoter contender. We use them in the rental fleet and they do hold up very well. They welded rather than riveted. good luck in your search…kim

Grumman makes the lightest and as
mentioned, the construction is superior. We were given a Grumman Eagle as our first canoe and have passed it on to a young couple as a wedding gift. It went a few miles with us before we switched to Royalex.

Another brand in your area is a Smokercraft. They are near indestructable. We paddled one down a bad section of the lower Kickapoo and it was a solid citizen.

Aluminum canoes are perfect for your situation. Paint the inside of the hull with non-reflective gray paint and slip pool noodles or pipe insulation on the gunwales when you paddle.

Have fun and paddle safe!

so little differences
when you are looking at aluminum canoes you are thinking about duability. then thinking about camp, your friends, an old canoe livery…ahh Grumman.

Burt Renalds had one in Deliverance and so did Camp Tippecanoe (a Y camp close to me and my heart)

I dream of a used Grumman in the yard. Stories being made with a boat that has made stories for 50 years, stories I don’t even know about.

I know I didn’t really help out too much. Just when I see an Alumicraft I think “Wow Neat-o an aluminum boat lets go have fun!” and when I see a Grumman, I think “there is a Canoe, let’s go canoeing”


is aluminum as well I believe?..

Sounds like a good plan
I’d opt for the Grumman or Alumacraft, but any aluminum in good shape will serve your needs. Don’t get a patched or welded one. Some dents are ok but avoid creases. Watch for and avoid loose rivets and leaks.

good solid canoes
made many models for the rental trade, sponson type sides, very smooth rolled seat edges, extra wide thwarts, truss headed rivets. The rivets give great strength, but the drag from several hundred of them along the bottom hurts the glide. Very strong deck plates and stem castings, handy for preventing wear when sliding in and out of pickup trucks and storing upside down on pavement. Definitely not light, heavy gauge hulls and heavy trim, but tanks.