About as newbie as you can be..

Hey all. I haven’t even been out on the canoe yet but my Father in law has given me an old Coleman 17 foot canoe. It has bolted in metal seats and looks like a metal pipe that runs the keel of the boat. I’d be using it in slow moving rivers like the Shenandoah and small lakes for paddling and fishing.

That said, any tips on replacement seats for more comfort? Words of advice for newbies like me? Should I get a full roof rack setup for my Jetta or would the blocks be fine? Or are using the blocks to secure it to the roof a terrible idea?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

slow to start
yes it is fun to go out and buy a ton of stuff, but simple and functional to start is good.

Blocks work fine and are cheap. If you continue on, then get a rack.

why not try out the seats for season. Maybe they aren’t as bad as you think. Maybe they are, but you will know why you want different ones.

Just enjoy the boat. worry about better stuff later. get out fishing. wear a life jacket. have a bunch of fun. take your friends out and go down the river. watch Deliverance and go camping. drive around with the canoe on top of your car for 4 or 5 days. Just enjoy. Next year you will get the goodies, and in three years you will be saving two grand for boats and gear. It will come.


I couldn’t agree more
with the advise from Liveoutside. Just get out and safely enjoy your new possession. Once you see how much you enjoy the sport and how often you use the boat, then you can decide how much you want to improve upon it or if you want to purchase a different canoe. Just have fun and welcome to the best, most relaxing “life style” there is.

One more vote to just have fun
The only thing I’d spend much money on at this point is a decent PFD.

And I’d recommend being sure to wear it.

You might want to message Big D
and Shenandoah River Rat. Big D owns a Coleman (think its a Scanoe) and both he and River Rat practically live on the Shenandoah.

…for the replies. The only reason I considered other seats is the brief look I’ve had at the boat showed one of the seats slighly cracked. Perhaps i’ll just get a pad to put over it for now.

I’ll take everyone’s advise and just get out and enjoy. Any beginner paddling tips for handling a 17 footer solo? Different strokes etc? Or just get out there and wing it. :wink:

Solo-ing a tandem canoe
When paddling a boat that size by yourself, it’s best to sit closer to the center. Often, sitting in the bow seat and facing backwards, so the front of the boat is now the back, works okay. That’s because the bow seat is closer to the center of the boat than the stern seat. If you paddle the boat forward and sit in the stern seat, most of the canoe will be up in the air, and you’ll be balanced on the pointy end of the boat, and that’s not too stable.

Learing to paddle solo takes quite a bit of practice, and unless you are really gifted, it is guaranteed to be frustrating at first. You could get a double-bladed paddle to make your initial solo endeavors easier, or use the double as a fall-back method when you get tired of trying to make the single blade work well.

As to different strokes, right now, getting on the water and maybe getting a basic canoe paddling book would be a good start. Trying to explain some basic strokes before you’ve even put paddle blade to water is probably not the easiest thing right now, for you or us. Once you have some specific questions, bunches of us will have more advice!

Well I got the canoe out of the barn. Its a Coleman 15 foot. The plastic skin looks relatively thin. The gunwale is aluminum, as is the the twart. There is an aluminum tube that runs the length of the keel which I think gives the craft any of its structural integrity.

Glad its a 15 footer! Should be easier to paddle solo. Its missing one seat, has just the aluminum crossbars the seat used to be attached to. The other seat is cracked. Going to buy some fitover seats for now, paddles, PFD’s, and blocks to stick it on the car. Then its time to play!

See if yer kin git yer’self…

– Last Updated: Mar-29-07 7:17 PM EST –

de late Bill Mason's 'Path Of The Paddle' videos and/or book or his daughter Becky Mason's "Classic Solo Canoeing" DVD. In me opinion, this be de best thing yer kin do besides actually goin' out an' takin' lessons. Larn de basics correctly from de beginning an' yer won't have ta re-larn bad habits later (like ah' had ta do an' still do after 44 years of canooin'). But then agin' ah' had alot a' fun larnin' canooin' on "the streets". Have fun - dat wats counts.

Fat Elmo

Quick question…
Any seats that you all would recommend based on the information I gave? Something that would fit over the existing seat crossbars would be good.


Possible thought - -
First off - - I’m a cheap scape - -

If it’s your first time out, I’d probably find a piece of scrap plywood, attach it to the aluminium bars with something like a conduit clamp bracket, and put something over the plywood just to keep the slivers from getting to your behind.

My goal would be to - - Git-R-on-the-water-


– Last Updated: Mar-30-07 9:34 AM EST –

PLEASE contact Big_D and ShenandoahRiverRat! We would LOVE to help introduce you to paddling on our lovely river. Actually, more of my time is on the Potomac, but the "daughter of the stars" has a special place in my heart.

One of my jobs in days gone by was to instruct intro canoeing for a summer camp. I've helped introduce any number of folks to the sport and none of them have drowned by following my advice. I'd be happy to take you out and help get you off to a good start. More, I'd consider it a privilege.

There's any number of products to use on your canoe seat. If you want to go cheap, for under $30 you can usually get some sort of a seat back that straps on right over your existing seat. Check Gander Mountain in Winchester if you're convenient to there. Otherwise, Dick's or other big box stores with a paddle department can set you up.

Here's what I would do though. You could also strap some million mile per hour tape over the crack on each side to keep it from pinching your bottom and get on the river. If you don't have million mile per hour tape, some good duct tape will do. Clean the plastic first with some denatured alcohol to get good adhesion.

Eager to meet you on the river.

- Big D

edit to add: Blocks will get you off to a start. In time, you may want to move up to a rack system. Be sure to open your doors and run a strap securely through the car and over the canoe in the middle. Then strap the front to EACH side of your front and rear bumpers, so that you will have four anchor points and a center safety strap. Secure, not insanely taught. If you've got it so that when you grab the canoe you can move the car by shoving side to side on the canoe you've got it tight enough. You don't need the straps guitar string tight and will overstress your canoe if you do get them that tight. You just need to keep the canoe on the car.

Your skills will change quickly
Your Colman is about as entry level as it gets. In no time at all you will outgrow that boat and have a better idea of what you want next. You’ll be kneeling and leaning and all kinds of other moves that will make your Colman feel like a barge. Point is: don’t get too much into your Colman, it’s just a stepping stone for what comes next.