My wife and I are thinking of getting into canoeing, we think it will be a good way to get some exercise and to explore all the outdoor beauty that our area has to offer. We live in the interior of British Columbia, Canada and there are literally thousands of lakes both large and small to explore. I have been doing some research, but I was wondering if anybody could give me some advice on what canoes are the best for beginners? We are not looking to spend a whole lot on this so something preferably under $1000 would be nice. We are looking forward to getting into this and hopefully learning more from the experience of the people who truly enjoy this activity.

I would look at Western/Clipper and
Hellman, as they are in your area and have your needs in mind.

$1000 is a bit low to get a canoe you can live with and enjoy for a long time. Set another 5 or 6 hundred aside and be patient. You might go somewhere goofy like Lake Louise, and rent a canoe to see how you like it. But remember, your own canoe can be much better outfitted and adjusted to give you good experiences.

Things not to worry about in a first canoe purchase: stability and speed.

Things that might matter in the long run. Weight, and efficiency.

Ill take a whack

– Last Updated: May-21-13 6:10 PM EST –

Something like the Wenonah Champlain would probably suit you well. Its stable, but long enough that it would have Ok efficiency.

You should look for something 33-36" wide, with shallow arch bottom from 16-18 feet long in my opinion.

With your budget you will get more bang for your buck if you go with a used boat. is your friend for that. Get nice paddles too. They are often underestimated in importance.

If your lakes are below 65 degrees there is a real risk of hypothermia (and death), so just make sure you get some lessons or paddle with experienced people for a while. As part of that, get appropriate cold water gear (just search 'cold water' on here, there are tons of threads that will give you an idea of what you should have to be safe) Staying in 'safe waters' is also helpful; meaning, stay close to shore and choose smaller lakes at first.

You live in a beautiful area and will love exploring the waters around you!

Others will chime in with some more options too, im just blanking on the Clipper model that would fit your bill.

My wife and I have a boat barn full…
of canoes and kayaks, and we love to explore the various lakes, rivers and swamps all over the country.

Our canoe of choice and favorite is our Wenonah 17 foot Jensen. New they are above your cost, but you could look around for a used one.

It is a delight to paddle, is light weight and easily car topped

Jack L

The equipment itself does not matter as

– Last Updated: May-21-13 7:53 PM EST –

much for day tripping, as you will probably start out doing. When you get into portaging, your priorities will change.

Frankly I can suggest a Grumman 17 and lessons. The money you will pay for lessons is an investment and a way to quick start your skill building. Quickly gone will be the priorities of tracking and initial stability in a boat. With a couple of lessons you will be able to handle more situations in a safe way and will be able to handle a wider variety of boats.

You ought to be able to get a used Grumman in decent shape for three hundred dollars. No performance canoe but it will get the job done at the start. (yes its cold and can be hot!)

Have to agree

– Last Updated: May-21-13 9:42 PM EST –

The Jensen 17 is an awesome all around boat. Jack and I love our Jensens. I highly recommend it.

I’d definitely look for a used canoe.

keep in mind that if you buy something, you don’t have to keep it for the next 100 years - i.e. you can resell it and buy a differetn boat without a whole lot of trouble assuming it is in good condition. You can always buy a “better” canoe at a later date if you find the need

can’t really go wrong with a Grumman - particularly if you will be storing the canoe outdoors. If you buy a royalex canoe, I’d avoid wooden gunnels because of the potential for “Cold Cracking” which occurs due to the different rates of expansion of wood and vinyl - it is a “potential” problem, and not a deal killer as loosenting some screws is supposed to prevent the problem - just be aware of it.

reason I put “catalogs” in the header is that you can find out quite a lot of information from looking at the online catalogs, especially for manufacturers that are in your area - you’ll likely come across those same “local” canoes in the used market

based on your location, a likely boat to watch for would be used clipper prospector models - anything 15’ or longer should be fine.

I’d also suggest a trip to your library and see what books they may have in teh “how to canoe” genre - and do some looking around on you tube for vids that might help demonstrate basic techniques

and if there is a “local” canoe club, you may want to join, if only for a season or two. its a good way to learn a lot of stuff from other people, just by looking at what and how they are doing things - that can spped up your learning curve

Good advice so far

– Last Updated: May-22-13 12:33 PM EST –

Most general-purpose tandem canoes are fine for beginners, though I'd suggest that most Prospector models might track a little "loose" for a couple of paddlers who's skills are at the very low end of the learning curve. Far more important than the boat itself is taking time to learn at least a little bit of proper technique. Learning some proper technique will also do a lot to eliminate the "blame game" that many inexperienced tandem paddlers play when their maneuvering goes awry, which can be more important than anything (people don't fight about who's at fault when they have some awareness of basic skills).

If you are already sure that you will enjoy it and stick with it, look for something with a shallow-arch bottom, as already suggested, since decent paddlers over the long term will be happier with something that's not flat-bottomed. If you are not sure you will stick with it, get whatever good deal you can, and then refine your choice later if you find out that you will indeed be paddling forever. In that case, just avoid really heavy boats if your storage is awkward, and certainly avoid the junk-plastic brands.

Oh, I'll add one comment on length. One person said anything over 15 feet will be fine, but when I was a rank beginner paddling with a college canoeing club, we had 15-foot and 17-foot aluminum canoes, which except for the difference in length were the same brand and design. The 15-footers were slugs. A pair of small paddlers in a well-designed 15-footer might do fine, but with a marginal design or when the paddlers are bigger, a boat of that length will feel like it's bogged down too much.