canoe for poling.

hi all.

I am looking to start in poling abit more and more next spring.

i am in ottawa/ontario.

righ now i paddle a lot off kayaks but would like get into poling…look like a load off fun and chalenging.

BUT what is the best canoe to do so…?


i am a 220 pound man.

and would like to mabe do a bit off freestyle wit that same canoe if posible if not no prob…will get 2.hahaha.

thanks to all.

joco…aka marco

The MR Explorer has always been
popular. I poled an Old Town Tripper and found it very good except for its swing weight. Many 16 foot Prospector designs would work well. You want some rocker in a good poling boat, but not a lot. The ends can be full in order to help the boat lift up onto low ledges. The shortest boat designed for poling is shown on the site. It is a modified Souhegan. However, at your (and my) weight, I think a 16 or even 17 footer is better.

Many people think that a very flat-bottomed, stable boat is needed, but I started with a boat that was quite “tender,” and I found that with the pole to balance and brace, the tippiness was not a problem at all.

second the MRE

– Last Updated: Oct-23-08 6:46 AM EST –

which I saw a lot of this past weekend, and mentioned to joco on the regional board. Seeing as you're from Canada, perhaps you can try a Swift Dumoine. I'm happy with mine, round bottom and pretty nimble for all the volume.

If the MRE, make sure it's the old style in Royalex. Seems like the new ones are 14', in Triple tough. Too short, weigh too much. MR should be ashamed to badge the boat with the Explorer nameplate.
Ravensjester uses a blackcrystal(?) Bell Chestnut, looks like a prospector hull. Nice boat, real light too. Seems to hold up to the rocks we all bounce off of nicely as well.

Flat bottom vs round bottom

– Last Updated: Oct-23-08 12:35 PM EST –

Since I've been playing "musical used boats" while learning to pole (and paddle, FTM) I think I can comment on that.

If you have a calm river to pole in, you could get away with a flat bottom with little or no rocker, but it will be slow. The advantage, for a beginner, seems to be that it is less work on your legs to maintain balance - at first. Also, the harder chine (on the Camper, in my case) seems to aid in turning. Oh - and if most of your water is very shallow, the flat bottom may work out better.

OTOH, the more rounded hull will be faster - which will translate into less poling effort going upstream. And it will be more stable in rough water. But I found, as a beginner, that such a hull (as on my Penobscot) takes more out of my legs with it's liveliness - although I'm getting better about that.

Falling out of the boat is really not an issue between the two, in my limited experience. I find that I fall out of either just as readily, because I tend to push myself to the limit (edit: my limit) with either design. ;-)

I've seen it written that you can pole almost any canoe, and I think that may be true. So if you have anything at all within reason available to start with - use it. But if you're like me (and you look forward to challenging runs), you may soon realize that you really want something in 15' to 17' (more towards the 17', since you are larger) with a shallow arch or shallow vee and moderate rocker. If you won't be seeing anything over class 1, you could do without the rocker (Penobscot is working pretty good even in some technical stuff).

OTOH - I intend to keep my 14' and nearly flat bottom Wenonah Fisherman mostly because it works so well for a few specific locations that involve tight turns and very shallow water.

Here is a link to a myccr thread that
you might find interesting.

ditto on the prospectors
My next boat will probably be a prospector for the reasons listed in this thread.