Buying first canoe

We’re looking to buy our first canoe. Most of the time it will be for two adults and maybe a dog (corgi), sometimes our son may come along. I’m 5’7", my husband is 6’ and our son is nearly my husband’s size (non of us are heavy). We’ll mainly be on calm lakes and slow rivers, probably not carrying camping gear (if we had a bunch of gear we’d need another canoe/kayak). Our #1 requirement is that the canoe be light enough that it doesn’t kill our backs at the end of the day and isn’t a hassle to use. #2 would be afforability - maybe around $1000? So far we’ve been considering the Old Town Camper 16 and Penobscot 16RX. We’ll be carrying it on top of a Honda Pilot. Any recommendations?

Go up another foot. Wenonah Spirit II
can be had in nice light layups, will be a tad more firm or stable than the boats you are looking at, and is a wonderful, versatile hull.

if your near enough to …

– Last Updated: May-12-08 1:00 PM EST –

....... (opps, sp. if you're) Auburn Hills , Detroit , you might find it worth your while to check the prices at Bass Pro Shop (Outdoor World), for the Old Town line of canoes they should have in stock or for order ......... the O.T. Expedition is 16'-9" at around $600.-$650. , it weighs 85 lb. I think ...... thats not heavy for two people to pick up and move at all ...... as for loading on top of a vehical or truck , I used to think it was a bit heavy at the end of the day , but now I can load with almost no effort at all because I bought and installed a "REESE Easy Canoe Loader" from Bass Pro !!!! ..... two people simply set the nose up onto the pivoting T carrier (other end stays on ground) , then you can actually pick the length of the canoe up with one hand and walk it around to the front resting point (rack , bar , etc.) ....... the add shows a girl modle doing it and it's true , easiest , lightest and simplest loading I've ever done !!! ....... this Reese canoe carrier goes into a standard 2" x 2" tow hitch , stands up vertical with the pivoting T at top ..

objective reality here

– Last Updated: May-12-08 1:32 PM EST –

An 85 pound canoe is damned heavy canoe.

Out of the water…
Is a 17’ still easy enough to handle?

85 lbs would be too heavy. I know we wouldn’t have a problem lifting it in general, but would we WANT to lift it? Probably not. But thanks for the info on the car thing, anyway. We may end up with something like that, too.

My first canoe was a Spirit II. As g2d says, it’s a wonderfully versatile hull. After several years, I sold it to buy a 16 foot Prospector that was a better boat for class II+ whitewater than the Spirit II. Loading, unloading, and handling the 16 footer on land seems no different to me than the 17 foot Spirit II. As long as you have room to store the 17 footer, that’s all that matters. For non whitewater tandem work, I prefer 17 feet to 16. One reason is it provides a little more separation between two people fishing. Of course, it also swallows gear more easily too.

It really isn’t …

– Last Updated: May-12-08 7:47 PM EST –

........ no big deal to lift it at all ........ my lady has never even complained once about picking up the other 1/2 of that 85 lbs. , the first time she picked it up she said she thought it was going to be heavy but was pleasantly surprised ......... it is a lot of boat though , has a very comfortable amount of space inside and paddles easily ........ there are lighter boats to be found for sure , the Camper is 59 lbs. I think and many get a lot lighter than that , but there must be a trade off somewhere ?? ........ anyway , I mentioned it to give you a price comparison to consider and Bass pro might be able to give you another real good price on Old Town other modles as well , might be worth asking ........ the reason I thought it was a bit heavy sometimes at the end of the day before , was because I was hauling it on top a full size P.U. truck with a raised cap and all which was a bit too high for my better 1/2 ....... I'm no hee man and not young , but the thought of something heavy never enters mind when I'm loading or moving it about , actually just the opposite , it seems like a light weight thing to me and mine , but feather light seems to be the rage now a days and it seems the price goes up proportionally as the weight goes down ..

More “objective reality”

– Last Updated: May-12-08 10:38 PM EST –

Hey, that boat is heavier than either an Old Town Discovery 169 or a 17-foot Grumman heavy-duty model, and those are among the heaviest boats commonly in use today. Lifting it may be no big deal to you, but there's just no denying it is one of the heaviest canoes you can buy. When comparing it to lighter boats and wondering about the trade-off, the trade-off is that you can paddle farther and faster with the lighter boat.

While I do agree that …
… at 85 lb. my canoe is one of the heavier modles , I strongly would disagree the extra 25-35 lbs. over lighter types makes much if any difference when paddling … consider that the canoe itself is about the lightest part of the equation … I weigh twice what the canoe weighs , my better 1/2 is somewhat more than I , if you pack gear for camp trips it easily can double the canoes weight , if a third person is aboard (well you get the idea) … so really , how much effeciency loss could actually be contributed to 20-40 lbs. of the loaded gross weight ?? … I don’t know if I am a true believer of the Old Town capacity rating of 1360 lbs. max. safe load for this canoe , but I’ve used them on downhill river trips also and I’m guessing the nephew at 300 lbs. , me at 175 lbs. , 400 lb. of gear was well under safe limits , because it handled high and strong under all conditions encountered never seeming anything close to it’s max. ability weight wise … so let’s say 900 lb. is a real safe gross load , so really , what difference is 40 lb. this way or that ?? … maybe a longer glide if you give each an equal shove from shore totally empty , but that would probably be more due to a narrower haul design than anything else , but in the real world of canoing and paddling , 20-40 lbs. just won’t be a noticable factor , I think … but then if I could afford it and be responsible enough to not bust it up , I would take a nice old 18’-20’ wood and canvas canoe hands down any day … ps., I would like to play around in a Weno. Spirit for a week or so , bet I’d enjoy it also …

35 pounds is not a huge difference…
…when paddling a tandem canoe, but you will notice it, and if you can actually notice it, you can bet it makes a difference in how far you go and how you feel after a few hours on the water. That amount of weight difference is much more noticeable when paddling solo. A good comparison is to paddle with a load of camping gear while some others accompanying you are only doing a day trip. Another good comparison is to paddle upstream with a light or empty boat and also with a heavy or loaded boat, since going upstream magnifies the importance of very small differences in speed. There’s plenty of fun to be had in heavy boats, but light boats are made for a reason. Of course extremely heavy boats are made for a reason too - they cost less - and there’s something to be said for that.

No doubt about …
… upstream , against the current paddling , got to maintain a minimum speed for reasonable control , and I’m only assuming mind ya , extra wieght makes that aspect a little tougher which seems to be a huge amount of my time on the water in a canoe , with that said , it’s probably why I appreciate downwind and downhill so much … I wonder if types like Lewis and Clark or the Northern Trading Co. would appreciate the 20 - 40 lbs. weight saving as much as a lot of people seem to today ??

I have a Penobscot 16, and although
I would highly recommend it for two people, I strongly suggest that you change your mind and look at 17 foot boats.

For the three of you a Penobscot 17 would be much better.