Bell Drifter

I’m hoping someone can give me a little info on Bell’s Drifter model. I’ve found a good deal on one but am having a hard time finding info about it. It sounds like it is a fine flat water canoe but any idea how well it handles light rapids, up to class 2 or so? I don’t play in the whitewater, I just want to get through it in one piece. You know, is it one of those all around kinda tubs.

It has a bit of rocker. 2.5" in the bow, 1.5" in the stern. 15’6" long and 36" wide. Most of my paddling is done solo with 65 lbs of long eared, drooling ballast in the front plus whatever else I need to trim it out. The engine is middle aged, 6’4" 190lbs firing on almost all cylinders I have no problem altering it a bit if I need to to make it work for me, if it will work for me.


– Last Updated: Mar-18-06 4:30 PM EST –

By the numbers and photos, it looks a lot like a Royalex MorningStar, one of which hangs in my garage when not in use as a dog transport. I usually paddle from a kneeling thwart(replaced the aft thwart) with the 75-pound dog riding between the center and forward thwarts. I've been thinking about making the front seat field-removeable to make a better dog space for forward trim, or for when I want to paddle from the stern seat.

I haven't tried it in whitewater yet, but have had it on the lake in pretty good waves. Great secondary, very maneuverable, very responsive to trim changes. It's not a straight-line rocket. I think it'd do fine shooting class II.

If the Drifter is basically the same hull with different trim, it might work well for you. I think at one point Bell was making lower-priced versions of the RX MorningStar and NorthWind without the shouldered tumblehome for Galyans to sell under a different label. The Drifter might be that boat reborn.

I think you might be right, the numbers match up except a few pounds on the weight. It just might fit my needs for an all around barge. Thanks for the info.

I bought it.
Yes indeed, it is a “made for” type Bell with a softer tumblehome, an extra thwart and a shallow V hull. I don’t think it’s quite a MorningStar (actually it looks more like a Mad River design) but I think it will suit my purposes just fine, I just want something to beat up. It’s a discontinued model and they want them out the door so I got a hell of a deal on a Royalex hull. Thanks again for your input.

To whom it may concern
Upon further research it looks to me to be the bastard son of the new Bell Vermont. Just in case anyone is interested.