Adirondack or Spirit ll ?

-- Last Updated: Jun-26-10 1:35 PM EST --

I have been looking for a good used canoe and found both a Wenonah Adirondack in Royalex and a Spirit II in tuf weave. Both are about the same price. The Adironack can be purchased at regular intervals from a local canoe outfitter. We are new to paddling. My wife and I and our two boys age 5 and 7 have kayaks since last summer and I want to also introduce them to canoeing. We will be primarily on the Tiger Cat Flowage in Hayward Wisconsin which has numerous lakes and over 1000 acres of water to explore. I probably can't go wrong with either boat. Is this a coin flip or does one canoe offer more than the other for our anticipated usage?

I just noticed that a used Penobscot 16 is also available locally. Maybe that would be a good choice too?

Spirit II
If your immediate goal is to put the 4 of you in one canoe, my vote would be for the Spirit II. It has more hauling capacity and the higher center height. And with that load, I’m sure you would find a composite Spirit 2 to be a little faster than a royalex Adironack. But keep in mind it won’t be too far down the road and you will be looking for a second canoe.

Adirondack or Spirit II

– Last Updated: Jun-26-10 12:12 PM EST –

I'm quite sure that Mom won't be spending much and or any time in the canoe. My immediate goal would be to get the boys introduced to canoeing and find a good all around canoe that we can use at the cabin for many years to come. If they enjoy the sport enough then maybe some day some overnight camping trips might be in our future. Other than the space issue (with 4 people) which won't be the case for us, why do you say that if we buy a Spirit II that we would be looking for another canoe soon?

Penobscot is OK for you and wife, but
too small for more. I would take the Tuffweave Spirit II, but then I don’t favor Royalex for lake tandems.

“Looking for another canoe soon”

– Last Updated: Jun-26-10 7:54 PM EST –

He was talking about what will be needed to get everyone on the water as your kids get bigger, and nothing else. That's a common reason for one-canoe families to become two-canoe families. If there's never a need to put too many people in one boat, you'll do just fine.

Have Had 2 Adirondacks
But prefer the tuffweave layup. Have also paddled the Spirit II quite a bit. I used my Adirondacks primarily on rivers, and in that venue I prefer the Adirondack. But mixed paddling in WI (I lived there a couple years and have paddled there quite a bit) I think the edge would go to the Spirit II. The tuffweave adds the clincher for the Spirit if it was me. WW

All three you mention are good boats.
But given the choice for what you describe (and a bit more) I’d go with the Spirit II in tuff-weave.

3 seats ?
With two very active boys that I’m sure will both want to paddle I wonder if maybe a Solo Plus or Escapade might be more suited to our needs or can the Spirit II be outfitted with a 3rd seat?

Three Seats

– Last Updated: Jun-26-10 10:03 PM EST –

The Solo Plus has three seats to make it easier to switch between two-person and one-person paddling. It is NOT more capable of handling three people than the Spirit II (I think the same may be true of the Escapade, but to a lesser degree). Yes, you can put an extra seat in just about any canoe. In some cases it won't be practical to mount it in exactly the same way as the factory seats (for example, where the seat is hung on sheet metal that is riveted inside an aluminum or vinyl gunwale), but it should be possible to find a satisfactory method. Others here will know of more ways to do this than I.

Oh, and I'll mention that at the present time, the Solo Plus would work just fine for you and the two kids, but as your kids grow, it'll become too small a lot sooner than if you got the Spirit II instead.

3rd seat

– Last Updated: Jun-26-10 11:32 PM EST –

The seller pointed out that Wenonah sells a drop in seat on their website that will probably work for us. They also mentioned another place that has one that is very similiar and maybe even made for Wenonah by them (at a lesser price.)

Am I going to have to be concerned about the kids being hard on the Tuf-weave® Flex-core or is it durable like the royalex ?

third seat
With the boys being so young, you need to get them seated as near the ends of the canoe as possible for an easier reach to the water. A 5 yr old + 7 yr old will probably not equal your weight, so putting them both in the bow will still need some ballast for level trim in the canoe.

Putting a third seat behind the bow seat will make the paddling station wide for the second paddler. In several years it will work fine. Right now you might be better off to add the third seat in the center and you paddle there. The boys can be at the ends and you keep control from the center. It is a wide station at the center, but you are neither racing or doing whitewater, so speed and pinpoint control are not big factors. But letting them both paddle is priceless and being at the ends where the hull is narrow will allow them to keep their paddles close and the stroke will be very vertical and much less tiring on the small bodies. Get them good light paddles with grips sized for their small hands.

My four kids started out with me in a Spirit, and all learned to paddle in it. The sliding front seat was a blessing along with a scaled down Gillespie Paddle. Both the canoe and paddle are still in the family.

Don’t worry about the Tuff-Weave hull. At their size, they could walk on it upside down on the shore and not hurt it.


Accomodating Youngsters…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-10 5:44 AM EST –

I'm yet to find a great way of accomodating youngsters in our tandem, but the best to date has been with me in the centre paddling canadian style... and the youngster(s) doing the same (with everyone positioned near the centre of the canoe). That means we're all on the same side... but gets the gunwales out of the way, and means a short and light paddle becomes an option.

I've found perching a 5 year old right ON the stern also works: the greater sheer means a long (and therefore heavy) paddle is needed... but my daughter certainly enjoys being able to trail the paddle and skid the stern - which she can do effectively enough.

With all that said, if kayaks are available to take additional paddlers when 3-4 of you want to be afloat at once... I'd recommend trying a solo canoe (which they can realistically grow into in a short time) with youngsters. We've had three up in our Flashfire... and I've paddled in a fair bit with junior tandem partners (plus pup): all combinations have worked well for us, not least because the 13' length and 29" beam is far more child friendly.

For three up in a Flashfire see the top photo in this thread:

For a 5 year old soloing the Flashfire (paddling from the front thwart with the canoe reversed as dog and I were passengers in the mid-section) see

Unfortunately, in all the photos of dearest daughter in the tandem, she's downed tools and is just larking around - typical, and probably a reflection of the fact that the craft is just too damn big for her paddling to have an easily discernable impact :)

ps. My tandem of choice for tripping with one adult and one youngster, or for two youngsters on their own, would be a Rapidfire: the paddling station is narrow and close to the water no matter where you perch, and the glide is sensational - I struggled to get a chance to paddle Jorg's demo craft as my daughter liked it so much she was reluctant to share!

Royalex for kids
A royalex boat will be easier on your mind if your boys are at all rambunctious. ToughWeave is a solid layup but royalex will bounce where fiberglass and gelcoat can crack.

Other than that I think for lake paddling I’d prefer the Spirit II. The Adirondack is a nice river canoe.

The Penobscot might be a good compromise. Better on lakes (IMO) than the Adirondack, but harder to beat up than a ToughWeave boat.

I’ve Broached Tuffweave…
…for a minute or two on an old wood bridge piling, a log, and a rock with nary a crack. Abraded the gelcoat on Ozark streams a bit. Having owned several royalex boats and two Tuffweaves, IMHO, the Tuffweave is more durable than the royalex and paddles more efficiently. A “Win,” “Win” situation. WW

Don’t know if I’d call Tuffweave more
durable, but it is very durable and easy to repair. For people who plan hard abuse or who plan to sell a boat within a few years, Royalex is ok. For those who treat a canoe with normal care and who might keep it for 30 or 40 years, Tuffweave can be better than Royalex, or “Kevlar.”

You’re Right
Had I not got it off those obstructions and "Wrapped’ those times, the royalex would pop back into place better. BUT, as you said, with a minimum of care it is the better choice and easy to repair if you do end up with an insult to the boat. And I think it will stand up to the kids just fine. WW

Bought the boat
Thanks to everyone for their responses. We picked up the boat on Sunday and I very much look forward to getting it in the water this weekend.