Buying a canoe for 2 adults+ 2 kids?

I would like to buy a canoe (second hand possibly) to paddle on a rather quiet lake in Mexico called lake Patzcuaro (Michoacan, West Mexico.)

We are beginners and want to paddle with our 2 young children 6 years old and 3 years old.

The weather is nice their , but summer afternoons always have a couple hours of strong rain + storm (so perhaps aluminium would be out of the question)

Anyone can give me tips on what I could purchase and look for?

Need a keel
The only suggestion I might make is that you want to be certain that you have a keel on a canoe that is being used on a lake. Tracking becomes very important. I have an Old Town Tripper that is perfect for your weight and great on stability, but it has no keel. Wind can take in circles no matter how good you are at paddling.

Take a look…

– Last Updated: Sep-02-05 12:06 PM EST –

On Old Towns site and at Wenonas Site, and look at the various ones.
If I personnaly were getting one for what you are going to use it for I would be looking at a eighteen footer, and my pick would be the Old Town Penobscot 18 which is made out of Royalex.
It is light enough to handle easily, yet is very durable so you can drag it up onto beaches without hurting it.
Four a family of four I wouldn't get anything under 17 feet, and I would keep away from the ultralight ones because of that afternoon wind.


Aluminu is irrelevant. If you attract a
lightning strike, the hull composition will make no difference whatsoever. It doesn’t matter if you have aluminum shaft paddles, either.

18’ ?
We manage to fit two adults, two children (6 and 3), and a cooler, comfortably in a Mad River Explorer 16.

No keel
I disagree. Any canoe that needs a keel to track properly is poorly designed. Yes you are right that wind will be a factor but you learn to deal with it.

Good for you!

– Last Updated: Sep-03-05 7:59 AM EST –

"manage to fit"

I could manage to fit more than that even!


recommended size
We paddle with two of our kids and have found that a 17’ boat works pretty well. 16’ is okay, but 17’ gives the kids a bit more room.

We just bought…
a used Wenonah Spirit II, 17’, 68#'s?. Just got it today but haven’t had it on the water. It was recommended by several people. Also the Old Town Penobscot was on our list. I do know that I read a lot of older posts here and looked up a lot of canoe manufacturers web sites…Good luck.

He’s right about aluminum
also you can store it forever in the Mexican sun and not worry about it degrading. Big old grummans are readily available used and work great for family lake paddling.

Because thay are metal they are less likely ti build up a charge that is different from the rest of the lake so the boat won’t be why you get struck by lightning.

The only drawback of these boats for family lake paddling is that they are either quite hot or quite cold depending on the sun and the water temperature.