Buying used canoe stored like this?

Hi All,

I’m new to the forum. I have been reading/researching the site (and canoes) for a while, but this is my first post. I’m a beginner to canoes and paddling, but not to fishing. I’m looking to purchase a used canoe for fishing and have been very diligent in doing my “homework” so I make a smart purchase.

My question is not on the specific canoe per se, but how the one I’m thinking of buying appears to have been stored. It is a 14’ Royalex material canoe with plastic gunwales. It has been stored from the rafters in a garage, upside down, on cargo straps. The two straps appear to be around the canoe at either end, about a foot or so from the ends (like 6 or 8 inches from the plastic “deck” end part). It doesn’t appear to be supported in the middle of the canoe at all. There is no board or support between the straps and canoe, as the canoe is just hanging, resting on the straps.

So my question: if a canoe is stored this way continually (possibly years) would this cause the canoe to bow in the middle or warp in any way? Or could any other “damage” have occured? Also, when I see the canoe in person how can I tell if it’s warped or not the right shape?

I ask this because all the info I’ve read on proper storage of a canoe is to store it upside down on saw horses or such. Also, I think I’ve seen canoes hanging from rafters, but aren’t they usually hanging right side up when done so?

Anyway, any helpful answers are much appreciated, (and the sooner the better as these answers will help in regards to whether I buy it or not!). Thanks!!


Cheap plastic vs, quality royalex
Dear Suzanne,

If the canoe in question was a quality canoe to begin with there is little likelyhood of the boat becoming “hogbacked” due to the the way it is being stored. When you think about it, how is the way it is currently being stored different than storing it upside down on sawhorses? It isn’t.

If you want to check the boat there are several ways to do it. The easiest way would be to set the boat right side up on a flat level surface and pour a glass of water into the center of the boat. If the water stays were you put it it’s ok, if it runs to the ends wipe the water out and go look for another boat.

You could do the same thing by using a yardstick or any 3 foot or longer straight piece of wood or tubing or a string line etc. if you don’t want to dump water in someone’s boat.

Lay the straight edge along the centerline of the upside down boat and check for air space between the straight edge and the boat’s bottom.

If you check it this way a slight gap, 1/2 inch or less will not likely be an issue because once the boat is loaded it will more than likely force the bottom deeper in the water.

If you have a couple of people with you, or a roll of tape, you can use a stringline to check the boat to see if it is hogbacked, and to check the alignment of the boat. Place the stringline on the upside down boat at either stem, the end of the boat where the bottom curves up, and draw it taught by hand or by taping it.

Again check for a gap between the stringline and the bottom. You can also sight along the stringline from end to end to see if the bottom of the boat is misaligned relative to the ends. This can be an indication that the boat was wrapped around a mid stream obstruction and bent by the force of the current.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your search!


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

I’d buy a canoe stored like that.

The biggest threat to plastic canoes in storage is sunlight. The second biggest threat is having pressure up from the bottom in the middle causing it to oil can. Now, oil canning isn’t even a problem except an aesthetic one, but it’s still a threat. Storing it upside down in a barn ought to prevent both oil canning and UV deterioration. I’d say it’s about perfect.

As far as becoming hogbacked, it’s highly unlikely that the weight of the canoe itself will cause the canoe to become mis-shapen from storing it upside down by straps - especially not with Royalex. I’ve seen Royalex canoes tacoed on rocks when pinned in current only to return to a proper shape upon recovery. That’s thousands of pounds of pressure from current. It’s own weight isn’t going to make a lick of difference.

  • Big D

stored that way seems good …

– Last Updated: Oct-24-12 6:49 PM EST –

........ one , because it's Royalex (are you certain it's Roylex ?) , and two because it's a not a long canoe , 14' isn't too long to support closer to the deck plates as you decribed ... with a 16' - 18' I'd rather see it's supports about 4' in from each end .

Another thing is that Roylex gets stiffer with age (a good thing) , which makes it less flexy and less likely to end up bending out of shape from even improper storage .

As already mentioned , it's not been baking in the Sun , so UV over exposure is not likely .

Just be certain it is Roylex (you said you were new to canoe's) ... I've seen too many sellers say they are seliing a Roylex canoe , and guess what ... they were incorrect , it wasn't Roylex .

What brand and modle canoe is it ... what is the Hull ID # ... what year was it made ... these things are easy to kinow and can be checked out to confirm if Roylex or not .

i too am new to the canoe world and recently bought a new pelican 15.5. my first thought on storing it was to suspend from the ceiling in the garage and using a couple of ratchet straps would be very easy. i saw at pelican’s site though to never store it suspended or on saw horses. the right way was on a flat surface. as for warping, mine is ramx fabric, a polyethylene and says a day or two in normal sunshine restores the boat’s shape as it has a memory. i’d lay it on a flat surface and look under and see if light is coming through or stand in the center and see if it goes down any.

so much for the replies and info. I definitely feel more equipped now to buy a used canoe, so your answers are much appreciated! The canoe in question was an Old Town Osprey and seemed to be a great bargain, but I decided against it. I think it was going to be “too much” canoe for me and what I want to use it for (great for fishing, roomy, rowable, etc. But too heavy for loading by myself on the car top, portaging, using mostly solo fishing, etc).

I’d love to get some advice on which canoe to get now. I’d like a canoe for fishing on smallish lakes. I also would like to paddle and float biggish, lazy rivers. But I’m also interested in whitewater canoeing. I don’t really see myself doing anything more than class 2 rapids though. I know there is not one ideal canoe that can do it all, but is there one out there that is serviceable enough to do the things I’ve mentioned?

I’m thinking a lightweight solo 12’ to 14’ canoe. I was looking at the Old Town Pack or Nova Craft Trapper (great for fishing, maybe not great for whitewater) or one of the Mad River or Mohawk type solo boats or something like that? Are they stable and comfortable enough to anchor and fish from?

I’m afraid here’s probably where I hear I need two different boats, but maybe not :stuck_out_tongue:


Old Town Pack or Guide
A lot of people recommend Wenonah Fisherman. Wenonah makes great canoes, but I’ve never paddled a Fisherman, so I can’t make a personal recommendation. I can say that it is in the category I call “pedigreed for the task.”

  • Big D

Have you considered an inflatable?
Dear Suzanne,

Now that I have more information I can hopefully make a good suggestion.

For a solo fisher an Old Town Pack or the Nova Craft Trapper would probably work well for the lakes and relatively calm rivers. Both boats are from well respected manufacturers so quality wise you should be happy with either one. The Old Town is about 10 pounds lighter than the Nova Craft so that might be something you want and need to consider?

If storage, weight, and portability are all equally important to you may want to consider an inflatable boat? You’ll spend a little time setting one up and taking it down but the idea of putting it in bag in your trunk rather than the roof of your car might appeal to you?

If you stay away from “pool toy” type boats there are a number of inflatable boat makers to consider. Just a few worth considering based on reviews I have read are in no particular order, Aire, Innova, SOAR, Saturn, Adavnce Elements, and the better grade Sea Eagle’s. I’m sure I’ve missed as many as I’ve mentioned but looking at those brands on line will give you an idea of what is out there.

One advantage to the inflatables when you move away from the pool toy type is that they are all easily capable of handling class II or greater whitewater, and they are far more forgiving of poor technique than any hard sided canoe.

They have disadvantages too, not the least of which is that they generally don’t paddle as well as a hard boat.

You are right when you say that no one boat will do all that you want it to do perfectly. You’ll have to decide which features and capabilities are the most important to you and go from there.

You are probably much more likely to find a used hard side canoe than you are to find a used inflatable. Your location will have a lot to do with that though.

If you go for a new boat then either an inflatable or a hard sided boat will cost close to same amount of money. For arguments sake I’ll say $ 650 to $ 850 will get you something new in the size you find most appropriate for your use. Exotic or lightweight materials will increase the cost of either style.

I hope this helped.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

Wenonah Fisherman
I had one. It would be suitable for your needs, but not much different from the OT 14’ Osprey - unless you find one in one of the lighter composite lay-ups. I see kevlar versions on the used market occasionally, and would consider it a very good option.

The biggest drawback to the fisherman is that it’s width makes it a little difficult to pick up and shoulder for carrying, for it’s weight. Wenonah’s Heron is a foot longer and a few inches narrower. It will be just as easy to paddle, faster on the water, and because it weighs the same as the Fisherman in the same lay-ups, just a little easier to lift onto shoulders. It won’t turn as easy and is a little shallower, so river work will require a little more skill - but it should work better on lakes. At any rate, either will work on easier class 2 with appropriate skill.

The Fisherman does seem to be a lot more common on the used market though.

Another top contender, IMO, would be the Clipper 14’ Prospector. you might also consider the Mad River Freedom solo - but it might take some getting used to if you aren’t already comfortable in a “lively” solo hull.

Used Canoe For Fishing
I have a river ridge custom canoe that is designed for the type of fishing you describe. I’ve had two, and love mine.

Fine for me
That’s how I store my canoe, though I have a piece of PVC pipe on the bottom of each strap to give it a flat surface to lay on. No problems encountered in the years I’ve done that