Big Solo Trippers

-- Last Updated: May-15-08 5:15 PM EST --

I'm planning an extended trip on the Mississippi this summer and would appreciate canoe suggestions.
So far, the Wenonah Encounter has my attention. What other models would be comparable to this canoe?
I weigh about 200 lbs and expect to haul an additional 120-140 lbs of junk along with me.

Have you considered
a tandem? Lot of space and stability.

A small tandem would
work well, I also have a Swift Shearwater solo. It holds a ton and is very stable, great for boat wakes and swells. Good stability to fish out of. I am 6’4" @225 and with 60 pounds of gear it isn’t even close to capacity. the boat is very very manoverable, but not as fast as the Wenonah.


Swift Shearwater
This canoe is 16’ cruises well especially with a load and continues to turn/eddy well. Upper optimum load is 360#. I’ve had mine on 3 dat river trips with myself at 220# plus 100# of gear. I paddled the Encounter briefly and liked it for its volume. Very straight tracking and can easily haul the load, however is bear to turn and susceptible to crosswind.

Thanks for all the good posts,really.

My thinking is that wind is going to mess with any large solo, and shifting the load might be needed.

Encounter or a Voyager

– Last Updated: May-16-08 2:06 PM EST –

I regularly paddle my voyager with that amount of weight in it and have no real issues. When it's empty it can be a handfull in the wind without a spray cover, but it handles wind much better when loaded.

Your also going to spend less time on the water for the same distance covered than trying to solo a tandem or paddling most any other solo with a load in it giving you more time in camp or longer break stops to stretch out.
The Wenonah tractor seat is about as confortable a platform to spend a long day paddling from as any other set up as well.

Your situation is what this canoe was speciffically designed for !

I am not sure of the load capacity
but i had my dagger sojourn loaded pretty good two weeks ago on a 4 day trip on the oconee river.

I am at 240

my dog at 65

camping gear/cloths maybe at 25

cooler - who knows but probally at 50 to start the trip but maybe more. i had a 5 day cooler loaded down.

So a rough estimate i was at 390 pounds. the intial stability could get a novice in trouble but it handles great. i almost dumped it once on day two when a horse fly was harrasing my dog, but we managed, the sojourn has great secondary stability so it was almost on the rails with my dog trying eat a horse fly. it was easier to paddle with my dog laying down instead of sitting up but i had no problems keeping up with tandem canoes. so you may be able to push the load capacities on some of the smaller solos. but i like the idea of a bigger solo or smaller tandem, one day when i can afford a boat in a kevlar set up i am strongly going to consider a bigger solo. but i got that sojourn for $300 and i really like it. Rick

Hemlock SRT
What you are describing as the boat you want/need, is basically what the SRT was made for…solo river tripping.

You have my word that it will haul a 200 pound paddler, and a “whole lot of gear”. Just did my “test paddle” trip in mine the first part of this month. Did 75 miles in part of 4 days.

Great secondary stability, decent tracker, light weight, and capable of handling anything up to, and including class 3. I purchased mine second hand, and am glad I did; qualilty boat.


I can’t say which canoe …
… would be the best for your expected river trip , so with that said … which way are you going on the Mississsippi up stream or down , or both ?? … she’s a long river , what section do you intend to cover ?? … when I think about the Miss. it brings pictures of the discriptions given by Mark Twain (Samual Clemens) , old paddle wheel river boats and some extreme current swings and huge boils … anyway , just curious and a bit facinated at the thought of you doing the Miss. … also a quick V sail comes to mind …

My hopes are…
…to string together about 80 days and do the whole thing - Itasca to Head of Passes - in one trip. But time is fragile and I may need more than one trip to complete it.

The first three weeks will either get me in shape or break me…:slight_smile:

big solos
I think just about any boat you’d want has been mentioned. If it were me, I’d go Wenonah, either voyager or encounter.

I’m amazed that no one’s brought up a Kruger Sea Wind.

I too am planning that trip
I will have a 40lb dog along so I will likely look for a tandem canoe just for the wiggle room. Probably something cheap that I can leave down there. Already have three solo canoes and my Merlin would be perfect for the trip, but I gotta take my dog! I read a report some guy from alaska wrote about his trip in 01. He used an aluminum canoe. Looked lightly loaded. Next summer for me. Too much happening this year.

one cannot mention expedition canoe trips without mentioning the solo expedition canoes built by verlen kruger


Wet Recovery
What plans and methods do you guys use for recovering one of these big Hosses in open water?

Bell Magic
I paddled around 560 miles of the Mississippi River and would have loved to have my Bell Magic instead of the boat I did it in. I’m 190 and carry less weight than you do, but still, it’s a boat to look at.

I’ve been taking a look at that canoe.

Everybody seems to really like them.

Not Encounter
I wouldn’t use the Encounter. It does hold a lot of volume and is fast. It is also susceptible to wind. You’re paddling down stream so you don’t need fast, you need a maneuverable canoe. I owned an Encounter and I have paddled the Upper Mississippi River. That is deceptively powerful water with a deceptively fast current. You need a canoe that will react quickly, not a straight tracker.

The Dagger Sojourn may be good. If you wanted to stick with Wenonah, I’d choose the Rendezvous. I might even choose an Old Town Penobscot 16 outfitted as a solo.

Prevention. It’s like driving a loaded
semi. You make darn sure you don’t swamp or flip. It is also a good idea not to be way out where you have no hope of getting to the bank when conditions are bad.

It is possible to reboard a swamped, loaded boat and bail it out, if the boat is large enough that it has a little bit of freeboard after boarding. Another solution is to get a battery powered pump. I imagine they might be solar chargeable on a long trip. A battery pump can clear a swamping boat in a hurry.

Big Solo
Wenonah Prism?

Give some thought to the …
… Old Town Appalachian , really !!