Beginner Canoe - Quest Canoes?

I saw a canoe in the Dicks Sporting Goods ad this morning for a Quest canoe for $300. Does anyone know anything about this brand? It wasn’t in the review section unless I missed it and google turns up nothing.

Its just called the Quest Sporter Canoe. My dad and my younger brother and sister want to buy a cheap beginner canoe so they can paddle with me. Dicks also sells the Pelican Colorado for $280 this week. I heard it was very unstable which might not be a good thing for them.

If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. They would be interested in a used canoe if we could find one. They live in the Charlotte, NC area(Fort Mill, SC). Thanks.


Recommend they pass up such boats.
It is better to look for a decent $500 used canoe, or save up for a good new boat. Dicks is only concerned with their sales income when they offer such cheap products.

Pelican canoes
I have one of these and they are very stable. People on the paddling site will rip anything made by pelican though. I would buy another one in a heartbeat. I have had mine all over and in various conditions without any problems ever. Its a great starter canoe. I have been paddling for close to 20 years and i wouldnt paddle any other canoe.

I am not far from you
If they are basically going flat water paddling that canoe would ot be a waste. However keep your eyes on the message boards and you can come up with a much better used canoe. The Grumpypaddler picked up a great Mohawk for under $250 in the Wachovia parking lot. If you want them to try a real canoe contact me and i can bring my Jensen down to Mountain isalnd lake, or lake wylie after work during the week.

Quest Sporter
is made for Dick’s by Johnson Outdoor Industries and is bsaically an extremely heavy sporting platform, which is okay for fishing or duck hunting. The weight of the boat is about 89 lbs. which is a whole lot for a rather short boat. I believe the beam width is 38" (might even be 40"), so it is not going to paddle with any degree of efficiency. The molded seats also would make it difficult, if not impossible, to kneel. Primary stability is great; the hull material is durable.

The Pelican Colorado also is a haevy boat-78 lbs for a 15’-6" long boat. The material on the Pelican will not hold up to as much abuse as the Sporter. It does have a little narrower beam, and the primary stability is substantially less than the Sporter. Also has molded plastic seats and a pipe reinforced keel. Without the pipe,the boat can deflect and bow as much as 10".

The key here is the intended use. I would say that neither of these boats are “destination” boats. They would be sufficient to go out and float around on some non-threateing water where you did not have to transport them very far or very often.

I do believe that the money would be better spent on a better and more efficient used boat. If purchasing one of these two boats is the only way to get on the water, then go for it.

assuming you are normal …
… you’re going to buy one of these because the price is so good, it’s late May, and you’re eager to get out on the water.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, because when you compare the Dick’s price to even a pedestrian Old Town 158 you’ll discover the price of stepping up is like 3-times what the Dick’s boat will cost.

Truth be told, you’ll probably have just as much fun with the cheapo boat for the first year or so, and it may even meet all your needs for 20+ years (I don’t think there is a paddler amongst us who doesn’t know a good paddler who swears by their Pelican, Colemans, or whatevers).

So long as you limit yourself to casual paddling and don’t attempt to travel great distances or paddle with a group, you’ll be fine.

Construction and weight issues aside, the real disadvantage to these cheap boats is they don’t have something called “glide”.

On a boat without glide when you stop paddling the boat quickly slows down to a stop on account of the Titantic-sized bow wave your high-capacity, low-efficiency hull is pushing up.

If you paddle with a group you’ll also discover that your Titantic-sized bow wave also causes you to paddle twice as hard just to keep up.

And, if you do decide to upgrade you still have a perfect “beginner” or “beater” boat for the kids, or whomever.

See ya on the pond!

And, if you paddle solo, they’re a real

Johnson Outdoors
is the same company that owns Old Town, Carlisle Paddles, Ocean Kayak, Pacific Kayak, Canoe Sports, Necky, Escape, Extrasport, Lendal Paddle, and Dimension. The Quest line represents the bottom of the Johnson Outdoor food chain and you definitely get what you pay for.

The Quest boats are inexpensive and built to be that way although they do seem to be a step above Pelican in construction. I would still not waste my money on them if you plan on using the canoe for more than occasional lake paddling.

Dick’s and Academy both have better quality OT offerings for about $200 more. I would definitely consider looking at those models first or even checking with a local canoe dealer to see what is available used.

reality check
Call this the myth of the solo paddler.

If one were to use this site as the bellweather from which one judged paddling, one would conclude that 95% of canoers paddle solo.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would guess – based upon my personal observations ON THE WATER – that less than 5% of canoes are paddled solo.

I paddle a 16’ solo everytime i go out. I paddle on a weekly basis from ice out till ice in.

So i guess i am part of the %5

Whenever i see other canoes out they are probably 99% solo paddlers. Even when i head up north…solo paddlers. I think in the 25 years of paddling i have only ever seen MAYBE 2 outings when it wasnt done solo

I got a good canoe at Dick’s
Not 2 weeks back I picked up a white gold Bell Morningstar for 900 smackers. The location had previously been a Galyan’s and had 2 Bells left from the switchover/buyout. The Morningstar I bought they had listed at 1200 (talked em down to 900), the other was a kevlight Northwind listed for like 1400. They’d probably go down to at least 1200 on that one.

I beg to dissagree
Yes, there was a time that less than 5% of canoes were paddled solo, but that has certainly changed. From what I see on the water these days, its probably more like 40%. People seem to really identify with the interest in solo paddling that has sparked the upswing in kayak sales over the last 10 years and it has bled over. A lot of that transition is coming from people who start out in a kayak, then will add a solo canoe as well. The majority of people that I see paddling tandem are renters, boy scouts or families.

On any given trip that our group takes less than half will paddle canoes and of that only a very few are tandem. Thats also very true of what we see inour annual canoe /kayak race where tandem canoe used to be so large that we had it broken into three or more groups. Now we are lucky if we get 10 entried in tandem, while solo has almost quadrupled just in the last 4 years.

Spec clarification
Colorado: 37" beam; 76 lbs

Quest Sporter: 42" beam; 89 lbs.

myth of the solo padder, continued …
A few of you have posted that your experience shows that my observations differ.

I stand by my numbers, perhaps it’s a regional thing, I don’t know.

Perhaps it is due to my location, but the only solo canoe I’ve ever seen is the one hanging in my garage and even tandems being soloed are quite rare, aside from the occasional fisherman.

Admittedly, I don’t live in a paddling mecca (unless one is a whitewater fanatic) but I stand by my numbers.

Just look at the product lines of the major manufacters:

Mad River does not even offer a solo;

Old Town only has 1 solo, their packboat; and,

even Bell offers only 4 solo canoes vs. 10 tandems.

One can go even further and look at any store’s on-line inventory and you’ll find a 10+:1 ratio in the inventory betweent tandems and solos.

So where do all these solo boats that rule the waters observations come from if they’re only being made in small, insignificant numbers?

I think I read two hints on the above postings: paddling in groups with kayaks and racing, both of which are in no way “normal” canoe activities as most people don’t race and few canoers paddle with kayakers because they’re always in such a damned hurry.

Interesting question. You may be right
and it does suggest we have a “rarified” point of view about solo paddling.

We were out for one of our rare tandem lake outings last weekend, and while the canoe felt like a truck, it sure did march into the wind impressively.

When we were in or around Killarney,

– Last Updated: May-23-07 12:47 PM EST –

and then various places east along Lake Huron, I was surprised to see almost nothing but tandem canoes, with keels.

Mad River does still offer 3 solos, the Freedom 14 (Guide), the Outrage, and the Outrage X.

My family got impatient and bought the Pelican Colorado for $280 at Dicks.

The first time they got in it they all capsized because one of them was leaning over the edge. That was with 3 people over 150lbs. They had to quickly learn to keep their weight centered.

I paddled it solo, with 2, and with 3 people. It paddles great with 2… 3 is a little scary. I think with practice they will have no problem paddling with 3 people, but it sits so low, I wouldn’t take it on anything but calm waters.

They don’t have any previous canoe experience, so they have no way of judging hull speed, tracking, or glide. I think they will have a good time with it. Based on their budget, it was either the Pelican or nothing.

I really hope they get some mileage our of it. Our first outing has left plenty of scuff marks and scratches.

My youngest brother already decided hes done with canoes and wants a kayak like mine.


I live in vacation country and on any given day I see more canoes atop vehicles than on the water and we rarely, rarely see any solos on our local highways either.

I dunno where this solo mindset is coming from.

As to Mad River, my above count didn’t include whitewater boats.

here’s where solo mindset comes from:
Tandem canoe paddlers who make the mistake of trying a true solo canoe.

you said it best …
“I think they will have a good time with it.”

And isn’t that really what it is all about?

I think those of us on the extremes that enjoy paddling a good-looking boat, a fast boat, or just a solo paddle, the bottom line is having “a good time with it.”

Congrats on you and your family’s new beginning into one of life’s greatest pleasures: messing about in boats.