Canoe for beginner...

I have been looking through the archives for several weeks and still have some confusion regarding canoes.

I want a boat that I can paddle solo most of the time (let’s say a 170 pound person with a 75 pound dog) and tandem on rare occasion. It will be used in flat water and slow moving rivers for fishing, bird watching, goofing around looking at stuff, and things that generally don’t involve touring or any whitewater.

I was hoping to find a boat in the $700 range to suit my needs, but I keep coming back to the Wenonah Solo Plus. Reviews are very favorable for it.

I’m in Ohio…which, for used canoes isn’t a “hot spot” (at least that I have found) and outfitters are few and far between for Wenonah.

Does anyone have suggestions on another brand of boat that I could look at that may be more accessible locally? There is a demo day/PaddleFest in a few weeks in Cincinnati, but I don’t believe I’ll be able to make it down…have to work to buy the boat. :wink:


Solo Plus on pnet classifieds yesterday
It’s in NJ. I have one and really like it. I got it for my young kids 8 and 10.

I’ve paddled it a few times on flatwater solo. It is extremely stable, has decent speed and can be turned readily.

A Lot of choices
I think a smaller tandem in the 15’ foot range will serve you well for the type of paddling you want to do. A Nova Craft Bob Special would be a good choice. The same with an Old Town Penobscott 16 or even a 15’ Grumman or Alumacraft.

Thanks guys…
…I’m still doing some research and appreciate your suggestions.

Mad River Explorer 14 tt
I bought a used one for about $400. I think they are about $500 new. I removed the seats changed the thart to a shorter one to reduce the beam. I put back only one of the seats in a more central location. It’s a pretty nice solo boat, but I’m still working out the optimum width/rocker for best handling.

Thanks Frank
But, I have no idea about removing seats and reducing beam. I need a canoe that will be good enough as it comes, I think. I have looked at the MR Explorer 14TT, though! Glad you like your boat!

Paddling Solo
In case you don’t already know this, to paddle a tandem canoe solo simply turn the canoe around so that the back is the front and vice versa. That is, sit in the front seat facing backwards. This puts you closer to the middle for paddling solo.

If the canoe still lifts too high in the front, put some weight up there to help balance things out. When paddling with your dog, have him sit up there. Actually a tandem paddled this way works well when paddling with a dog; much better that using a solo.

One problem you might have is that there is a thwart right behind the front seat. That’ll make sitting facing backwards difficult. Try to buy a canoe that does not have this feature or remove that thwart.

When you do want to go with someone, simply sit in the canoe the normal way.

Besides the Solo Plus, the Adirondack is another boat that will work well as a tandem/solo boat. I’ve paddled it tandem AND solo in rivers and the lake country of the BWCAW in MN. I respectfully disagree about the Mad River 14 TT on slow rivers and lakes. I have a MRC 14TT, and had one even when it was called a St. Croix. I LOVE the boat, but it loves to turn. Rivers are it’s forte. It’s a bear to try to make track on slow waters. Good luck in your hunt! WW

Odyssey 15T looks like it might work, and solves the dealer problem. But I’ve never paddled one.

I’ve got a RX Bell Morningstar that I use for solo/tandem/dog transport. Very manuverable and stable when leaned but takes a bit more effort to keep straight than some other canoes.

The tandem/solo question comes up a lot here – check the archives. The OT Penobscot 16 seems to be a favorite.

Penob 16 is a good all round boat.
You should be able to find one used for $500-600.

We found that the max load for the Penob 16 is about 500 lbs. More than that and it handles like a block of concrete. It is a fun tandem day tripper on rivers and we have fished lakes from it.

All that said, the hubby and I got Mowhawk Odyssey solo boats and we are much happier. We are now thinking of selling the Penob 16 and getting a prospector type boat. We want a tandem that hauls more and can still maneuver. We have our solos, so we would use it as a tandem.

Mowhawk is a great company to work with and their products are a good value. I would still try to hook up with a club or group of paddlers in your area. Also, paddling a variety of boats will give you a better feel for what you like. From experience, I would suggest buying something you can afford that will suit your immediate and near future needs and then be prepared to buy another. Get a boat, get on the water and see what you really will be doing with the boat. Also, as skill progresses, desires change.

I just want you to know…
I hate you people! If I could ever get my dog in a boat with me, my wife would never see me again. My “golden” Corgi mix doesn’t like getting his feet wet and would never sit still for a boat ride with me. How do you get a dog in a boat. Or is it a boat in the dog?

My $.02
I paddled a Solo Plus. It is a very comfortable boat. Great for flat water and slower creeks. If you have to do a lot of tight turns on faster water it isn’t the best choice.

dogs and canoes/kayaks
Well, I have 3 dogs…1 loves to canoe(lab), 1 tolerates it(shep), and 1(pekingese) won’t look at a body of water larger than her water dish. Maybe you can try your canine buddy on a short trip and see what happens. You might get lucky!

Too bad your wife isn’t interested…she doesn’t know what she’s missing!!!

Put in a small rug so it has secure footing. Put the canoe on the lawn, and feed the dog in the canoe, play games, etc. until the canoe becomes a fun place to be.

My Golden
I can get her in the boat. I just can’t keep her in. She thinks swimming is more fun than canoeing. Also, she wants me to swim with her.

I don’t take her anymore.

MR Malecite

…thanks for your input so far. And, for the record, I have no idea if my lab/shar-pei mix will even get in a canoe, but, since she likes to go swimming in my goldfish pond (grrr), my guess is she will love it.

Nova Craft Canoe Prospector 16
I believe a Nova Craft Canoe Prospector 16 (Royalex) would be worth test paddling given the criteria you mentioned.

I own a MR 15 RX
I find it great for tandem paddling and hauling two dogs. It’s also light enough to load it on my truck without help. It’s a good boat to paddle solo when paddled backwards. I just bought a Mohawk Odyssey when in Florida this year. It’s nice paddling a solo boat but wouldn’t want to take my dogs in it unless it’s hot and I want to take a swim.

When paddling with the dogs my wife and myself make sure we have each one between our legs so we can control them; otherwise, every time they see another dog or animal you get to practice your braces. Cut up a sleeping pad and glue it were they sit so they don’t slide around. You then have a pad for when you kneel.