Aluminum Canoes

No offense taken
I don’t easily take offense when I perceive that the person giving the advice is knowledgeable. And I know you are.

I wouldn’t have asked my questions if I was 100% sure of my decision. I think my “mistake” was not buying the Bell Rockstar when I had the money, four years ago. Water under that bridge.

I spent four hours today scouring craigslist from Roanoke, VA, SW WVA, to Nashville, TN, down to Mobile, AL, up to Columbus, GA, over to Augusta, GA and up to Columbia, SC, to no avail. NOTHING light enough and long enough that I could afford.

The dogs will add 100 pounds to the canoe. The 40 pounder likes to jump into the water to swim, the 60 pounder will over-react to course corrections.

I have realized that I don’t HAVE to portage the canoe at Voyageur [Gold Portage, Kettle Falls], as I can just park and paddle. That doesn’t mean all that much except that I don’t HAVE to lift the canoe other than to get it on the car and off again.

I don’t have a rack, I use the poor man’s rack, a “noodle” tube with a rope through the hole. I have a 1995 Ford Escort [314,000 miles] and ten pounds of dog-hair and dander between vacuuming.

I do have a wheeled carrier I think will work with a canoe. This expands my options by a little.

BTW, I had planned to use a short stool in front of the thwart in the aluminum canoe as my paddle seat.

Back to the search.

Thanks for all the advice. As long as I perceive you know what you talk about, I won’t get offended.


My 2 cents is
1 cent - instead of rhino-coat, use the 2’ x 2’ foam pads that are made for garage or basement flooring pads. Put 3 or 4 of them together lengthwise for padded insulation.

1 cent - the “short stool” or a milk crate made into a seat will work, although I would put it just behind the center thwart and have the dogs just in front of it.

Good luck!

you’re going to MN anyhow, perhaps it wouldn’t be unwise to check in with some of the dealers up there about what’s available in glass or Royalex as factory seconds or demos. End of the season (their season) is a good time. Often there are “blems” that go for considerably less than new and one often needs to look pretty closely to even find the blem. You’d be going near the Bell and Wenonah factories on the way up, I believe. The Souris River factory in also fairly near in Ont, and they sell a lot in the area. Perhaps there are Souris blems to be had there as well. No shortage of Nova Crafts and even Swifts, come to that. This is what computer searches were made for.

And if you can get used to the idea of a used canoe, there are liveries galore around Voyageur’s and the BWCA that sell off a portion of their rental fleet each year. Bet there’s something under $1,000 to be had.

Something more suitable to big waters like Kabetogama and Rainy Lakes than a 15’ flat bottom might be worth considering if two weeks supplies and two dogs are part of the picture.

I still have a Grumman aluminum canoe (among others), love it, and will never part with it, though it has its place. Its place is far from rocks, swift current, and long portage trails.

BTW, I’m completely unconvinced that any electrical charge that can jump hundreds or thousands of feet through open air will be greatly affected by the insulating power of even a full 1/4 in of wet plastic. If you’re the local high point in a close lightning storm, I believe you’re at some risk no matter what you’re paddling. Aluminum, carbon fiber (also conductive), kevlar, royalex, whatever… Usually the big waves that accompany such storms on large lakes are more likely to get you though.

Buying a Canoe in BWCA
Now you’ve ruined me for sure.

The prices of blems from the manufacturers are still too expensive.

BUT many of the Outfitters sell their older canoes for anywhere from a few hundred dollars off to many hundred dollars off.

I’m “ruint” as we say in the South.

The more I read, the more “ruint” I am.

I’ve learned a LOT from ALL y’alls information. Skid plates aren’t really necessary so that saves money. And if I can purchase a canoe at one of the Outfitters who will hold it until I can pick it up . . . and at a GREAT reduction . . . I just may be able to afford a LIGHTER weight Kevlar canoe.

And here I had my heart set on Aluminum.

In the meantime, I’ll be saving my money and I’ll continue to check craigslist . . . I’d LOVE to be on the water right now . . . .

LOL. Thanks, it’s been educational.

"The risk of drowning without a PFD is probably higher than of being struck by lightning. If you can show differently, produce the data."

When did I say anything bordering on that?

I’d love to know why you insist on arguing, I thought the idea here was to help people?

Bill H.

Btw, if you want to paddle when there’s lightning in the area, go right ahead, can’t stop you. Giving that advice though is downright dangerous.

Bill H.

Why not just rent a canoe when you’re up north? You’ll have lots of different boats to pick from at the outfitters and they’ll be able to tell you what would work best in the Boundary Waters for you and your dogs.

Depending on how long you’d be up there you could probably try out a few different boats. Getting some real seat time in will help you figure out what you do and don’t want in a boat. You’ll be a much more educated shopper then and spend money more wisely.


If you’re never on the water when there
are sounds of thunder, and flashes of lightning around, then you are a very sheltered paddler. It would be nice if one could be inside in the house whenever lightning is near, but life is not like that.

I’m simply telling people to behave realistically. Incidentally, in my 35+ years of paddling in the thunderstorm-peppered Southeast, I have seen only one (1) report of a kayaker zapped while paddling on a river. But I know of more cases of people zapped after they had gotten out of their boats to squat on rocks away from riverside trees. It makes you think. Or perhaps it should.

A few links
Did some quick Craigslist looking in your area. Some to consider:

What kind of paddling, if any, do you do while you’re home? These would all be well suited to the Boundary waters and larger (slower) rivers, less so to small rocky streams.


I Paddled A Grumman For Many Years
I paddled a Grumman for many years when I livedin Georgia/Florida.

My major complaint was that they are LOUD.

But I was using for hunting and fishing

RENT? For 3-4 months?
I think it would be cheaper to purchase a canoe than rent one for three or four months.

Here’s what I located posted in the Classifieds here on Paddling dot net today:


(MI) Wenonah solo plus kevlar, 16.5’ 53 lbs, white w/ black alum trim, wood & mesh seats (3). Excellent cond. min hours, stored inside. ($2,400 new) yours for $1000 – Submitted by: coach

RATS, I don’t have the money to buy and I don’t have any way or time to get to Michigan from Georgia, even if I did have the money.

WHERE are there similar classifieds within 200 miles of North Georgia [Blairsville}? I never see any.

It’s always MN, MI, NJ, NY, CA . . . never nearby.

I’m frustrated.

Something will turn up, I just may have to buy on my way to Voyageur National Park next May.

Thanks for your input.

for your input on the Grumman. And being loud.

Everyone here has been very helpful.


Except for the first two
I did look at those links, other than the first two, while I was researching Outfitters in Northern Minnesota.

Problem is, I’m in Blairsville, GA, Driving 5 or more hours one way to look at a canoe that I may not purchase [with money I do not currently have] for whatever reason, is not in the budget right now . . . I won’t be able to buy until next Spring . . . and that’s AFTER I find out how much more taxes I’ll owe because my Retirement Health Care will show up as Income on my W-2, and I have no idea how much that will add to my taxable income.

This all may be a pipe dream [and I don’t smoke]. I may end up having to pay Uncle Sam and Georgia all the money I can save up between now and April, with a “light” Christmas for six grandchildren.

So, before I go cry myself to sleep over this . . . thanks for everyone’s input.


My sad PS:

“ObamaCare” On page 25 of 29: TITLE IX REVENUE PROVISIONS- SUBTITLE A: REVENUE OFFSET PROVISIONS-(sec. 9001, as modified by sec. 10901) Sec.9002 “requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employees gross income.” If you’re retired, your gross will go up by the amount of insurance you get.

Didn’t realise…
you were going to be out that long.

Some things I haven’t seen mentioned/considered yet:

How much of this 3-4 months is going to be spent canoeing? If you plan on doing one week or longer trips you’re going to need a fairly big boat if you plan on carrying your gear and 2 dogs that total 100 pounds. Either way it looks like you’re going to need at least a 16 foot tandem canoe to accommodate the dogs.

Finding a 16 or 17 foot boat that can haul some gear and isn’t going to break your back is going to be a little tough to find for under $1000. Not impossible by any means, but a little tougher.

Also, if you’re only used to flat bottomed aluminum canoes most of the canoes that will best suit your needs might feel a bit tippy, especially if you get two big dogs moving around in them. You’ll get used to it in time though.

I’ve been using this site to search Craigslist by state:

Saves a lot of time. Sometimes I have problems if I click the box for “has image”, so I always leave it unchecked.

BTW, did you see the Craigslist links I posted in an above response?

Happy hunting,

Fantastic link, THANKS.

Yes, I looked at the others.

Maybe when I go see my parents in November, in Maryland, I can find something I can afford.

Have you noticed that most Southerners over-price their canoes and kayaks?

This is a great link and I’ll be checking them out every few days.

Thank you.

Is there one for the entire USofA? I’d like to put “royalex canoe” in to see what I can find.

Thanks again.


Do a google search for “craigslist”. The top site will of course be Craigslist and it should have a box right there to search all of Craigslist. Or you can go into advanced search function of Google and specify it to search only Craigslist.

You might want to be more specific than just searching for “Royalex.” I’ve seen very few people selling a royalex boat actually call it royalex in the ad.


aluminum canoe
I used to own a 15’ Grumman (aluminum) - I traded it for a 17’ Old Town synthetic. Here are the pluses for each one:

Grumman: indestructible (at least on lakes), better initial stability

Old Town: quieter, warmer (when cold), cooler (when hot), faster (by a lot)

They both weigh about 65 pounds. I have no regrets about making the change. Tip: check out Spring Creek Outfitters in Mountain Iron, MN when you shop for a canoe. They have good prices on all types of canoes and kayaks and they’re fairly close to Voyageur’s Park. I have no connection to Spring Creek other than that I’ve bought a few items from them. Good luck!

I’ve got two big doggies (malamute and akita) that I love. I would no sooner take them into the BW or Quetico than I would allow them to play in traffic. Wilderness areas are remote. Dogs that see deer or something interesting are apt to get excited and capsize your boat, or otherwise get into mischief that will put you or your trip at risk. I had a dog back in 1974 (border collie) that would sit still in a canoe and wait for my permission to do anything, but she was unique. I could probably train the akita to stay still in a boat because he’s very sedate - except when he sees rabbits or deer. But training him or any big dog would be a bathing suit and beach proposition, not a wilderness tripping exercise.

I love aluminum!
Having said that, though, I would never buy one new. They are just not as good as the other options in almost every way.

The only real advantage of aluminum over other materials is the ability to not degrade in UV light. In all other ways, I would prefer something else (except Colemans).

For $500 or so, a 17’ Grumman is still a fine value, but to buy one new when one could buy a much better canoe is a poor choice, in my opinion.

Aluminum Canoes
Here is another great resource on for Aluminum Canoes