Bell Morningstar vs Yellowstone (tandem)

-- Last Updated: Apr-09-08 9:55 PM EST --

I am looking to buy a rather versatile canoe. The primary use will day-long or overnight trips down smaller Minnesota rivers and streams. I want it to be able to handle some whitewater (C1-C2, maybe C3), but no need to handle any big whitewater (i.e. I don't want a whitewater specific boat). I would also be using it about once a year for a BWCA trip for 4-5 days. This would be a tandem boat only.

Can someone explain the performance differences between the Bell Morningstar and Bell Yellowstone (tandem)? By reading the specs, these appear very similar, with the Yellowstone being slightly narrower, a bit heavier, and with slightly more rocker. Would these boats be too small for 2 guys (400 lbs total) and 5 days of gear (we pack pretty light)?

Also, I am not terrible familair with some of the other brands (Wenonah, MR, etc.) - what would be the closest equivelant in the other major brands?


You want the Yellowstone for your usage. It’s a nimble and fun boat.

Dont Forget
To check out the Northwind it is quite versatile and handles a good amount of weight.

Thanks. I have thought about the Northwind too. Is that canoe nimble enough for some of the smaller rivers that I would want to take it down? I love the specs on that boat, but was scared off because Bell advertises it as their most popular tandem for FLATWATER tripping.

I have taken mine down a few mild rivers, and it handles quite well… I’m sure it could handle up to a class II at least, possibly III if you really knew what you were doing. It seems to turn quite well. Best bet is to try each of them and see how you like… I originally was looking at a Morningstar, and ended up getting a Northwind.

Thanks for the recommendation.

So you guys total 400 pounds and
you want to be able to carry up to 5 days of gear, while maybe facing class 2 waves or heavy lake chop? Are you sure you’re buying enough boat? Our 17’, 16" deep Bluewater Chippewa is rated by the maker for 580 pounds of people and gear. Above that and it handles piggy, and takes water.

You haven’t been reading and believing those 6" freeboard capacity ratings, have you?

Maybe you should look at the Bell Alaskan, if you don’t mind portaging that much Royalex. I think the tandem Yellowstone might be marginal for your intended use, and I’m sure the Morningstar is too small.

Bell Northstar
The Bell Northstar sits in between the Morningstar and Northwind. It’s a much higher-performing design than the Morningstar. And it should be a much better fit for your described usage than the Northwind. I own a Northstar (Black Gold) and it is very versatile and very efficient/fast on flat water, plus reasonably nimble at 16.5’ and with rocker. It will handle better than the Northwind. I think it’s Bell’s best tandem overall (but your mileage may vary depending on style). I have not paddled it on fast water. For whitewater, the Yellowstone in royalex is probably your best option from Bell.

Consider the Adirondack, Aurora, or Spirit II from Wenonah.

The Northwind Royalex (16’6) is nearly identical to the Northstar, its just a hair wider - a half inch I believe.