Beginner canoe questions

I’ve spent the last couple days reading through a lot of posts and searching on specific issues but still have a few questions / concerns that maybe you can help me with.

What I’m looking to buy is an OT Camper but am not sure if it’s the right choice. It’s primary initial use will be for solo fishing on a local lake and an occasional 1-4 hour trip on same said lake with the wife. Probably an 80/20 split. Eventually I want to move up to multi day trips on the Colorado. If you can advise on any other models to consider that would be great, however I would like to keep the boat around the 1K mark.

My major concern is that I’m a BIG dude – 6’3” @ 320 lbs. (Stop giggling thinking about that movie with the canoe cruising at a 45.) I realize the carrying cap is tremendous but I worry about strain on a Royalex hull while standing and the stress on the seat mounts. Any comments will be appreciated, just be gentle.

Another concern is storage. It is going to have to be outside and from what I gather laying it upside down on sawhorses is the preferred method. I’ve already formulated a design in my mind where it will have a tarp tent over it to keep the sun off with plenty of room for air circulation. The problem is that where I live in the SW desert it gets real hot for a few months. Will Royalex warp or otherwise get damaged by sustained heat in the 100 – 110 range for a few months?

Finally, and this is just a general question, but when I develop some skill and head out onto the river (it’s not very fast down here but there is a lot of motor traffic in some areas) what is the best angle of attack to deal with wakes?

Thank you in advance for any replies.


big guys & canoes
I am 6’1. about 345. so I defnately did not giggle. I solo in an OT guide 149. It is a nice boat with good secondary stability, but initial stability is suspect (to say the least. here is what I have learned over the years about Big Buy canoeing.

  1. find a nice flat bottom canoe. Secondary stability doesnt mean squat if you cant comfortably get in and out of the canoe.

  2. lower seats several inches. you ill be amazed how much difference in stability that makes. lower them as far as you can and still comfortably paddle.

  3. find a seat back. us big guys tend to put a lot of extra strain on our backs even when sitting… a seat with a back is a huge help.

    As for your other questions.

    Standing on Royalex, or Ram-X, or Polylink 3 should not be a problem. I stand in my polylink boat all the time (but only when the situation absolutely requires it, dont like standing in canoe).

    Actually, a 15 or 17 ft Coleman might be the ideal boat for the type of canoeing you are interested in. They have great initial stability. They are damn near indestructable. Once had a friend wrap his around a bridge piling in spring high water. took us about an hour to extract it from bridge. took us about twenty minutes to bend it back into shape. he paddled it the rest of the way. when he got home her replaced the gunnels. that was thirty years ago, and the canoe is still in use.

    The disadvaantage to them is that they are never gonna win any races, and the bottom tends to oil can some. But for a fishing, day trip canoe, they are hard to beat.

    If possible, find a dealer on the water and test paddle a few boats. Or find someone who has the model you are intersted in and see if you like it…Mark

always quarter the waves, that is paddle into them at an angle.

big guy canoes
good tips from mspurrie. i’m 6’1, 260. lowering the seat and seat backs are two ideas i strongly agree with. i’d take a good look at the new wenonah kingfisher if i were you. wide, big guy boat that should feel stable. also, the metal seat hangers in wenonah boats is strong. you may have to balance the canoe with a bit of extra weight in the front unless your wife is close to your weight. the extra weight will also add stability. as for storage, keep it out of the sun, and the heat shouldn’t be a problem. ww

heres a link

There are a number of canoes that can be paddled solo as well as tandem. WENONAH is my brand and they make a Solo Plus. It is designed primarily as a solo but as bow and stern seats to paddle tandem. The Jensen can be purchased with a solo seat as well. I believe they are a bit over a grand but are worth a look. My uncle leaves his RX canoe in his driveway leaning next to a basketball pole all year and it has not warped from a foot of snow to mid 90’s.

Quartering shots…
…are also preferred in my other passion - traditional bowhunting. I kinda figured that was going to be the answer but I didn’t want to assume. Been down that road too many times.

A Coleman would probably work fine because for the most part I’m not in much of a hurry to get where I’m going, but I’m afraid that I would outgrow it in relatively short order.

I see two mentions of Wenonah’s. Is there an upgrade in quality to be had over an Old Town?

I’ll have to figure out what to do as far as weight distribution. Maybe I can have her bring along a friend.


Just kidding of course!

Gotta figure out the forum.
My response ended up in the middle of the thread.

canoe preferences
the nice thing about a coleman is at around $300, if you out grow it, it wasnt a huge investment, and they have a pretty good resale value. And you can always keep it around as the “company canoe”.

As far as one brand over the other…it is all personal preference. I love my OT Guide (initial stability not withstanding). But recently paddled Mad River Explorer 15 with the seating package that lets you move seats to a variety of different positions to adjust trim for tandem or solo paddling. It was terrific as a solo canoe. So much so that my guide may soon become the “company” canoe!

mad river adventure
As another big guy and a beginner I’m just getting into my new mad river adventure 16. It’s at the “entry level” stage and price range but it’s been good so far.

I also (and primarily) fish out of a sit-on-top kayak.


IQ Gunwale system
Very intriguing…