Canoe Advice Needed

I’m looking at getting a solo canoe and have the opportunity to get either an OT Pack, Wenonah Fusion or Mohawk Solo 14 all in royalex.

I’ll primarily use them on ozark streams (class 1 & 2 water) sometimes in a calm lake. My goal is to have a solo boat for fishing and simple recreation.

I’m pretty sure I’d be happy with any of these three choices, but thought I’d see if anybody has thoughts on why one might be better than the others.


you want to sit on the bottom
or have a more versatile upright seat?

My vote is for the Mohawk Solo 14. Its lighter and a very well designed but ugly boat.

Have no experience with the other two though I have paddled quite a few pack canoes and find not much redeeming about the Next other than price and it doesnt seem like a bad boat…

My Solo 13 ( I found the 14 too big for me) did fine in the Ozarks. Nice dry ride on the Buffalo.

Solo 14
I vote with Kayamedic on this one. The OT Pack is too low for any whitewater, though it is great for fishing. I can’t speak about the Fusion in whitewater, it is low sided like all pack canoes. The Mohawk Solo 14 is well proven and capable. Better a bit on the big side than on the small side if you are fishing or in waves.


Pack in Class 2
When I read through the reviews of the OT Pack here people seem to not have issue with class 2 rapids. Is it purely the depth of the canoe that’s an issue?

In your opinion, would the Solo 14 be worth the $200 more it costs than the Pack or Fusion?

That’s the wrong question to be asking

– Last Updated: Jun-28-15 9:50 PM EST –

$200 dollars is nothing in comparison to having the wrong tool for the job, and there's more than enough difference between those three boats for that to be your main concern.

As has been pointed out, you need to decide whether sitting on the floor is preferable to sitting on a normal canoe seat, or kneeling (you can kneel or sit high in the Solo 14 and Pack, but in the Fusion you must sit on the floor). Personally, I don't think there's any comparison between kneeling and sitting on the floor when it comes to fishing, and kneeling will be far superior in every way from the fishing perspective. If not kneeling, sitting high is better (I can give you a few reasons if you can't immediately see why).

Also, you need to decide whether you want a boat that works extremely well with a single-blade (Solo 14, though it works with a double too), reasonably well with a single (Pack, which also works well with a double), or only with a double (Fusion). You need to decide whether you want a little better top speed and gear-carrying capacity due to a little extra length (Solo 14) or if it's okay for speed to be more limited and onboard space to be more cramped.

You mentioned rapids, and the Pack has a pronounced keel which I'd expect to get snagged on rocks, and the Fusion, being a Wenonah, will probably have a tendency to spear waves rather than ride over them, and being low, that will only make it worse. The Solo 14 isn't too bad at all in mild rapids.

Forget the $200. Figure out which boat suits your needs best and then buy it.

Better Question
The $200 isn’t a significant factor, but it is a factor in the decision. All three of the canoes are used and I’m working within a total cost to outfit a boat (boat, paddles, etc). All told the Pack will outfit for about $350 less than the Solo 14.

I’m wanting to be able to use a double-bladed paddle, a single would be good, but not required. Mainly I’ll be fly fishing which has never been a problem seated high in a tandem canoe. I’ll most likely kneel through rough water, but stay seated high most of the time.

From what people have said I think I’m ruling out the fusion as an option and have it narrowed down to the pack or the solo 14.

Maybe this would be a better question: For use on ozark rivers (North Fork, Eleven Point, Niangua, Current, Buffalo) and occasional lakes, what would be the deciding factors for you between these two boats?

That is better
I’ve paddled the Current a number of times, the Buffalo once, and two similar rivers totaling several times. For traveling on those rivers, I’d choose the Solo 14. I’d want the extra length for making good time when necessary through the long pools of still water. I’d prefer the lack of a keel for gravel riffles and barely submerged rocks. I’d want a little extra space for storing my gear. For one thing, it will be a lot easier to tuck fishing rods below the rails if need be. Also, if carrying packs (even for day trips), sitting in a 12-foot boat with legs outstretched (best position for double-blade paddle use when sitting instead of kneeling) leaves very little usable space in front of your feet. Having just a little more space up front will make it easier to put a light pack up there in the proper place to balance out the heavier pack that’s right behind your seat.

That’s my take on such a choice. Someone else might have different priorities and prefer the Pack.

One off-topic point: As one who started out solo canoeing in the seated position (though I don’t sit anymore, except for very brief rests for my knees), I highly recommend installing a footbrace in whichever boat you end up getting. The improvement in boat control, and also in your ability to put some real “oomph” into your stroke once in a while when needed will be tremendous.

Solo 14
The solo 14 will do pretty good for your wants.stable durable and at should be easy to load\unload.

Would suggest adding a rear thwart to stiffin the hull.

Not a fan of the aluminum hangers for the seat.changing to wooden seat hangers set to a preferred a nice Chang but not necessary.

if you kneel during rougher\higher does help the handling.the seat on my solo 14 is pretty high.kneeling it goes through some pretty active wave trains feeling nice and stable.

The previous people have it mostly

– Last Updated: Jun-30-15 10:11 AM EST –

covered. You can always tweak the thwarts/seats...and make/have-made a ww pedestal, of comfortable height/shape. Made large enough and with appropriate height, and add a layer of softer foam on top...and they're really comfy..and glued on top of a base of HD foam...and you can paddle from anywhere...

I agree with KM
Unless you are unusually large of have very long arms the MoSo 14 is too wide. In rapids you will want to use Cross-Bow maneuvers and the 14 usually does not allow for that. another thing to consider, at least all the MoSo canoes that I have seen are not Royalex, but rather are Royalite. If you weigh over 210 lbs. or so and the hull gets a lot of rough use, as in Class II rapids, eventually it will hog-up. If a paddler weighs 180 or less that probably won’t happen.

HTH, Pag

Just want to add…
my two cents worth, since I paddle and fish Ozark streams all the time, and have owned a Pack and paddled a Mohawk. Mohawk is definitely the better choice. It’s faster when you want to paddle through a long, dead pool. It ferries better, keeping the ferry angle, and ferrying is the most useful bit of canoe handling you can do on Ozark streams. Rods are easier to stow in the longer canoe.

The Pack would serve the purpose. But the Mohawk is superior. Only you can decide whether you want to spend the extra dough.

One caveat, and it’s already been mentioned…make sure the Mohawk is Royalex, not Royalite. Yes, they made both. Royalite was cheaper, lighter, and less durable. Unless there is a huge difference in the condition, a Royalite Mohawk should not cost more that a Pack. But a Royalex Mohawk is worth spending the money for.

Solo 14

– Last Updated: Jun-30-15 12:17 AM EST –

Had one for a few years. It can handle some decent waves, but Class II on the upper Buffalo can get dicey with the low stems. But definitely a better choice than the other two. Fishing is ok from it once you get used to fishing from a solo boat. Nice boat for Ozark streams.

Royalex v Royalite
How would I make that determination looking at a used canoe?

One way: Weight it
Mohawk’s website says that the solo 14 in Royalex weighs 44 pounds, but only 39 pounds in Royalite. Bring your own bathroom scale if you have to.

I believe I’ve heard others mention something about the nature of the inner surface of the hull being different too, perhaps just the color.

My experience
I have a royalite Mohawk solo 13 and have paddled a royalite solo 14. The 14 was noticeably less stiff. I rough water/heavey loads I agree the 14 would be better in Royalex.


The immediate question is…can you still

– Last Updated: Jun-30-15 10:33 AM EST –

get one? I think you should give them a call first....and asap to order/reserve if you're going that way... Fwiw..their Odyssey14 = a little a more versatile canoe = both flatwater and streams...14'2"(I think)= go thicker RX if oilcanning. Realize that to be enjoyable in streams you NEED some rocker, yet on lakes you want a little but less is better...without the WW edges...nice to paddle.

All are used
and were roughly the same price. I picked up the Solo 14 this afternoon. I’m pretty sure it’s Royalex, not R84. The skin is glossy and to the best of a bathroom scale ability it weighs in at 42.5lbs.

Kind of stinks to pick up a canoe and not be able to use it right away, but I’ll have to wait until next week before I get a chance to get it in the water.

You can’t beat a Mohawk

I would go with the Mohawk
But I see that the Solo 14’s are gone as are the Odyssey 14’s if you were planning to get a brand new one. If the 13 is too small for you, I picked up a Wenonah Wilderness in RX last fall and I have run it on a couple of the Missouri rivers and had no issues. I did lower the seat about two inches and moved it back about 6 inches though as I am a big boy (250 lbs) and it now handles as advertised.

Good = RX…heavier than RLite but less
prone to oilcan. A little stiffer…