I know this topic has been beat to death for decades. But I would like opinions from those who own or have experience with one or more of the following canoes. I’ve rented for more than 40 years, and have more experience with the typical Mad River and Old Town Royalex livery stock than I care to remember. I’m now preparing to make my first and maybe only canoe purchase, and would like some advice from those in the know.
My desires are for a light, composite material canoe capable of relatively easy portaging; in a length of 15’ to 16’8"; and capable of ticking off all the boxes - kind of a jack of all trades, master of none, as it were. Specifically a canoe that can be used for tandem use the majority of the time, but also capable of solo use on occasion; whitewater capable in up to Class III water; good carving and handling; down river runner; relatively fast on flat water; able to handle trips of up to 3 or 4 days; and of course for fishing and all around recreational use.
Most of my experiences have been on wild and scenic meandering rivers in the Midwest, and Southeast; mostly Class I water, the occasional Class II water, and some flat water canoeing. I’m preparing to move to Colorado in the near future to retire, and will be recreational canoeing, tripping and fishing more, and with more varied conditions - probably with more rocky conditions than I’ve experienced in the past.
I’ve narrowed my search to several brands and models, but would entertain others if the specs made sense. Here are my considerations so far, based on published hull designs, rocker, widths, lengths, weights, hull materials, reviews, etc. Most look to be a variant of the perennial “Prospector” design. Some are heavier than others, or more specialized in one area than another. But it’s a starting point for now:
- Millbrook A.C./D.C. 16’2"
- Esquif Canyon 16’2"
- Esquif Mistral 16’2"
- Swift Prospector 16’ versus Keewaydin 16’
- Nova Craft Moisie 16’6" versus Prospector 16’
- Souris River Skeena 16’8"
Since this may be my one and only purchase, I’m not that concerned about price, but more on overall performance for all my uses.
I welcome any and all input