3 person tripping canoe

I’m looking for the smallest canoe I can put 2 adults and one teen with gear for a 3 night canoe trip in.

Can I get away with a 16’ canoe? I still want to be able to solo the canoe and portage it.

Need more info for good answers
What are the heights and weights of the adults and also the teen ?

What type water- rivers? class I or lakes ? large open water or all of the above?

You want to portage- What is the maximum weight you would like?

I think a 16 foot for what you describe is on the small size

I think a Wenonah Jensen 17 would be ideal if the three of you are not heavy weights.

We have two of them and when I bought my first one, Wenonah advertised it as the only 17 foot canoe that was designed to be paddled solo or tandem.

It comes with a center seat and one at each end.

The only thing is it costs big bucks!

Jack L

More info
Two adults between 5’8" and 5’11" about 180lbs a piece. Teen is about 85lbs 5’4" and growing.

Mainly small lakes, maybe up to a class 2 rapid but unlikely.

I’ve been hauling around a 45 year old 14’ fibreglass canoe for the past 20 years. Not sure how much it weighed but I’ve carried many longer canoes that were much lighter. Size and budget are more important than weight unless I win the lottery sometime soon.

Thanks for the info.

I think a 16 foot is going to be …
too small

Jack L

You’ll find something 17’[+] much more
stable, efficient and enjoyable.


I am with bigspencer - better too much room and capacity in a canoe, than not enough. Three people plus gear deserves a 17 foot range boat.

Location and Pnet classifeds
There are some great tripping tandems on the Pnet classifieds right now. They are scattered around the country. From a Wenonah Minnesota II in Colorado to a Mad River TW Special in PA, and an 18’ Wenonah Sundowner in IN. These are not $300 canoes and they all paddle like the $2500 to $3000 that they cost new. $1000 for a used Kevlar canoe in good shape is a no lose investment. After using the canoe for years you will be able to get most if not all your investment back. Going up from a $500 cheapie at a big box sporting goods store seems like a big jump, but the extra $500 is only about 6 meals for the 3 of you in a restaurant. And only 5 trips to the chiropractor. The ease of paddling of any of those I mentioned over your old 14’ glass canoe will put a smile on your face that is priceless.


Example of what you are up against.

– Last Updated: Jun-16-15 11:46 AM EST –

We have a 50 pound tandem, designed as a load carrier, and rated by the maker as having a useful capacity of about 580 pounds. Useful means the boat will still handle properly at that load, but that with more load it may be balky and at more risk of taking water from waves. Figure about 8" freeboard at that load. The boat is just under 17 feet long.

The boat is 16 inches deep at the center, unusually deep.

Figure you have 600 pounds capacity to work with, with such a boat. Add up the weight of your two adults and your teen, plus all the camping gear you can carry to make up 600 pounds. You can see that your camping gear would have to be planned carefully.

Such a boat, a Bluewater Chippewa, might just barely do what you want. But it is not made anymore, so you will have to look elsewhere. Consider the Wenonah Champlain in a light layup.

No boat that carries the three of you plus 3 nights of gear is going to be solo friendly.