buying a canoe

Hello all,

looking for some advice on a new canoe purchase. I am just getting into the sport and i am loving it!!! I purchased a used discovery 158 a couple of seasons ago and took it to MO to explore the current and jacks fork rivers awesome time!!. And now to my dilemna, I realy enjoy overnight trips and my 158 discovery was carrying me+girlfriend+100lb.malamute+50lb.labrador+overnight gear and oh yeah fishing gear. I take some solo trips with the malamute and was told to paddle the canoe backwards, which sucked with those plastic seats. So I guess i’m looking for the best of both worlds. Is there a canoe that can handle heavy loads for with girlfriend trips, and also accomadate solo+dog trips on moving water? oh yeah of course I’m a underpaid snowcat operator so i can’t afford anything to crazy. any advice would be appreciated thanx for your time!!

Lots of boats out thaar
But one dat comes ta mind be a 16’ Old Town Penobscot? Good solo an’ tandem. Rip out dem plastic seats an’ put in some wood seats so yer kin paddle from de front seat facin’ back or larn Canadian style.

I’m with F.E.

– Last Updated: Mar-04-08 11:51 AM EST –

My Penobscot 17 has been like the Grand Caravan of canoes. Carries a ton with confidence. Too much to solo, though. Oh yeah, moderate price makes it even more attractive.

A larger Disco, or an OT Tripper could
do what you want. You have to realize that a 17’ Tripper is a lot of boat to manage solo. Problems with headwind and sidewind occur. But I recall some very good, small whitewater paddlers in the SE who used Trippers all the time, and on water up to the Nolichucky level.

The Penobscots are faster, but the Tripper has a better center pivot area. I used to own one and paddled it solo until its 80+ pound weight became an impediment to my surviving into retirement.

I’m with Elmo
Replace the plastic seats with wood frame cane or web seats.

Solo tripper & wood seats
I own a 169 and have borrowed a 158 with a webb seat for paddling solo and like them both as long as I don’t have to portage too far.

I don’t own a Tripper bt I’ve paddled it often in Class II-III solo. The owner of the tripper solo’s his more than tandem.

Like the other’s said get a nice wood set for solo use and have fun


– Last Updated: Mar-04-08 2:53 PM EST –

How bout a mad river explorer? There are a number of material and price options.

…the magical boat = the magical ski
If you overload a canoe it’ll become your own Titanic, but a few of the most efficient tandems could handle you “three”…anything but cheap$$$

You want something inexpensive that’ll paddle rather easily as a solo, yet hold the three of you so that you can navigate moving water…and possibly have some fun while trying to handle the Titanic in smaller streams…y/n…? Much better to look for used (but in good shape = 95% of used!) solo or tandem & an Oldtown Tripper sort of boat. Take your time to hunt & you can find!..

start with the boat you have
rip out the front seat and put in a good webbed one from:

Mad River
Mad River Explorer 16 is a pretty versatile boat. It carries enough for overnight trips, stable enough so that your dog won’t send you over when it moves and you can turn it around and paddle solo.

Not the greatest solo boat, but it’s not impossible to paddle solo, in fact I use mine solo about 1/3 of the time.

Another choice would be a Prospector 16 model. Nearly every canoe manufacturer has a Prospector in their line (oddly enough all seem to claim that THEIRS is the closest the the original Prospector).

A Nova Craft PAL might also be worth looking into.

buying …
I can’t begin to imagine how much money I would have saved over the course of my life if I had bitten the bullet and bought the best first (I’m talking about everything not just canoes) instead of never being quite satisfied and trading. The biggest problem with that, is knowing what your idea of best really is. Nothing beats experience. If I may suggest, spend a lot of time “test driving” the models you are considering. There are dealers who do “try outs” with customers. There are clubs, which will have members that will let you try their canoe. We have a dealer here in Southern Indiana that regularly has people sign up then take the boats listed to a local lake for try-outs.

There are a LOT of good used canoes out there for sale. (check the adds on this forum) A lot of outfitters like Piragis replace their fleet every year. You may be able to afford a lot more expensive canoe than you think if you get a good one second hand.

As to length, if you have your canine companions with you, to trim down your bow, and assuming they will stay up front where you put them, I think you will find that the 17’ trippers will solo just fine, also assuming that we are talking flatwater. If you are going to do classified rivers, 17’ is probably to long to solo, al least for most of us. I’m a flatwater tripper, and hated the only short canoe I ever had. Longer is faster, more stable, and tracks better for tripping. It also gives more room between casters when fishing, of particular value with the fly rod.

I really agree with the suggestions of replacing the seats on your 158 with web or cane if you aren’t going to replace the 158 soon, or, if you kneel a lot forgoing the seats & setting on a duffle when not kneeling. Just make sure the significant other is comfortable with that before doing it up front. (actually should be fairly easy to rig with wing nuts so you can switch back & forth)

Having said all of the above, and as much as I love my Northwind, If I were going to buy a new canoe right now it would be a Bell Saliga Tripper(17’), even if I had to save for a very long time.

Happy hunting,


you already own it …
There are boats that are better than the 158, but since you already own one, I’d second the recommendation that you swap out the tractor seats.

If you have basic woodworking seats, you could even make your own for next to nothing.

Sure, you could spend more money and get a faster, sleeker, or lighter boat, but if a new boat isn’t in your budget and you can handle the weight and it’s “relatively” lower performance, why bother?