Canoe for 4 people suggestions?

Guys and Gals need a little advice, I live right by a big lake but don’t want a boat. I have a wife and two 7 year old boys, so there are 4 of us. Anyone have any suggestions on a canoe that can support 4 people on a lake weight ( 200lbs, 140lbs, 50lbs, 50lbs) current weights of all of us. Also want to have a 3-4 hp engine on the back. Let me know what you think works best. Thanks, Mike

Perfect Family Paddling Vehicle

– Last Updated: Jul-04-15 3:21 AM EST –

And surfing too. But, please no motors, for it defeats the purpose of paddling. The smile on the girl's face says it all: pure simple family fun.


Watch it full screen 1080p HD

ps: the guy talking (Todd Bradley) is the man who started up the whole SUP sport.

Wenonah "Minn 4"
Made for four people, but forget the motor

Jack L

Get a 16’ canoe
for you and your wife, and two kayaks for the boys. Everyone will be happier.

The C4 canoe has become ridiculously common in the Adirondack region. There were 49 C4 entries in the 90-mile canoe race in 2014, an explosion of them from zero just a few short years ago. The kevlar Minnesota IV is the one most seen, but there are other manufacturers as well, including carbon fiber and wood-strip models.

I can’t imagine wanting to put a motor on a canoe, unless you are running a heavy square stern freighter style canoe in Alaska. A canoe is for enjoyment of paddling and quiet transportation. A motor is for an aluminum fishing boat.

cheap choice

– Last Updated: Jul-04-15 12:34 PM EST –

I used to have a Mad River Adventure 16, a molded poly canoe with a snubbed stern designed to support a small trolling motor.

The model has a small third seat in the center that would probably fit two 7 year olds, straddling it back to back or sitting side by side or you could add something to it to make it wider. At a cargo rating of 950 lbs you are well under capacity. These are pretty common on the used market -- we got ours with a Min-Kota 30 lb motor thrown into the deal for $400.

It would probably serve you for a couple of years at which point the kids would likely want to have their own boat or boats and then it would serve as a perfectly good tandem for you and the wife and the kids could have their own canoe or a couple of kayaks. Even new the boat is only around $700. You could get it and a couple of Perception Prodigy XS kid's kayaks for under $1200, half the price of a Minn II.

Obviously if you intended to camp and haul a bunch of gear, you would need a longer canoe for the whole family, but for day trips on the lake I think this would suffice.

Some reviewers have complained that the Adventure is "tippy" but I suspect these were overweight paddlers or inexperienced canoeists. My ex and I were around the same weight as the two of you and we really enjoyed the boat, taking it into the Everglades, paddling in coastal Florida and many lakes and rivers in Pennsylvania, including some mild class 1 and 2 streams. It's a bit heavy but quite comfortable and tracks well. The low sides and rolled gunwale (kind of looks like a kayak cockpit coaming) makes it easy for kids to grip and even to climb back into the boat if they jump out to swim.

Not as nice as a We-no-nah would be, but an economical and low maintenance investment and one that would be easy enough to sell if you decided to move up to something else.

Agree with eckilson…
If money is a concern; buy used.

7 year olds will probably be a lot happier with a paddle in their hands than sitting in canoe like knots on a log. At least the 7 year old I’ve known would be happier…

Motor: I’d suggest you forget about it; unless you have some sort of disability.



– Last Updated: Jul-04-15 9:17 PM EST –

Some good choices:

Mad River Explorer 16. A load monster that does nothing particularly well but does everything. Camping, light whitewater, fishing, solo paddling, you name it, the Explorer can handle most things.

Wenonah Spirit II. Similar to the MR Explorer, it's a do all canoe and will handle your family and pretty much anything ask it to do. Not everything well, but it's stable and versatile.

Any manufacturer's version of the Prospector. Another very versatile canoe. Look for at least a 16', but 17' would be better for the family.

Old Town Tripper. It's the Chevy Suburban of canoes. Load it up, kids, cooler and go. Like the MR Explorer, its a true load monster. I find it to be like paddling a bus, but as a vehicle for getting the whole family on the water it's ideal.

Wenonah Champlain. A larger and versatile canoe. It's basically a longer version of the Spirit II.

That's for paddling. If you want a to put a motor on the back, I really can't address that because I have little experience. I've paddled square sterns and they don't paddle particularly well. Perhaps you can find a used square stern Grumman. Old Town makes a few square sterns too. Look for something at least 16 ft. but 17' or longer is better.

Many choices
Wenonah Southfork , Aurora, Spirit II, etc

motorable C-4
As one with several thousand miles on a Wenonah Minnesota IV and knowing its capabilities on some big Adirondack Lakes in some serious waves and wind, I would hardily suggest it except your boys are small and you want to mount a 3-4hp outboard. Since you live by the lake and lifting it was not a restriction I have to go another route with your suggested canoe. On the heavy end, but with high capacity and motor rating(5hp) is the Old Town Discovery Sport 15. Square sterned freighter of a canoe also marketed as the Predator SS150 with different trim and under some other names for specific retailers. Another choice would be a square stern Grumman. Made in several lengths and sometimes called the sportboat. Actually lighter than the 3layer poly Discovery. Don’t know current availability of either, not following on square sterns very closely these days. The lightest of the square stern breed is the Sportspal. This is the most stable and comfortable, but is a tad shallower overall compared to the Discovery and Grumman which is why I rate it last due to your big lake parameter.You certainly don’t need the 23’lenght of the Minnesota IV to take your wife and two sons out on the lake. Yes they will grow up, but as mentioned above they will want to be on their on when they are teenagers and big enough to finally help paddle a true C-4. Until then they will be too small to paddle from the wide center seats, and too small to paddle the ends and handle the steering duties that come with the end positions in a C-4. Lots of Canadian couples do family trips in 16’ canoes on some big lakes and rivers. A 20’ is not a necessity for your usage.