Hi, I have been reading all I could here, and I am now wondering if I have gone Overboard! I am looking for a canoe. Most the time by myself. For short quite water paddles. I do have a son that may ride with me (6years old) and 2 dogs (50lbs each) if I can train them…if not they can stay home. From reading previous messages here…I have come up with the We-no-nah (wilderness, escapade and solo plus) from NovaCraft (pal) and from Bell (northstar and Merlin II) All would fit my price point, but I am wondering if I am missing something utility wise. I do plan on fishing out of it. I am comming out of a QCC 400XL kayak, and also a SOT that I use for fishing. I need to learn the canoe paddle, so may look at also carrying a kayak paddle with me to start. Do you see any negatives from my choices? And am I missing a canoe that may better serve me? Lastly Should I be looking at a Royalex because of the dogs and kiddo? Thanks for your replys!
A Solo boat does not make a tandem
The Merlin II is a solo boat. Not possible to paddle it tandem.
A six year old is not baggage or if so now will not be for long.
Two dogs and a kid and you is a lot of load.
For the same reason nix the Wilderness.
Look for a small tandem in the sixteen to seventeen foot range.
Your best bet is to check the classifieds here for a used small tandem rather than buying new. Invest in lessons. They will pay off.
You don’t need Royalex unless your
dogs have steel claws. A composite canoe, maybe a Wenonah in Tuff Weave layup, would provide better traction inside the boat for kids and dogs.
Maybe a Wenonah Aurora or another one of their 16 foot stable tandems. You can still solo paddle it, but as kayakmedic said, some instruction could help you with that. Double bladed paddle is a nice backup or mileage maker, though as you know, can be drippy.
…think I’d go light & long
*Demoing will be the way to find what works...
Just you & son a 17'+ tandem will be much more enjoyable & safe. As the dogs weight = another young person...think I'd look towards either a royalex barge(18'+..ie OT Tripper-style = HEAVY! but stable in water) or a longer composite(18'6"- 22'). Take a look at used composite tandems...either a "Big two-person" or a three-person tandem. Give the dogs a nail trim and a large enough blanket or something and I would think a composite's hull floor "should" do fine.
Maybe I should back this up a little. I am a Mr.Mom and most of my time is during the day while kids in school. My wife and daughter kayak, and son may this year also (or ride with me) I am just looking to learn a new way. I am 43 and have learned lessons shorten the curve. But anyway, my main use will be slow moving water for 3-4 hours a time, and some fishing…nothing serious. My dogs are a Golden (that may never stay in the boat) and a Samoyed (that may never want to go Thanks again.
Solo vs. Tandem
This is a common question, and trying to get too much out of a solo canoe seems to be one of the most common issues. You've gotten good advice so far, assuming that the dogs will normally be coming along with you. I would add that since you need to "learn the canoe paddle", you might want to plan on going solo in a solo canoe at first, just to make the learning curve a lot easier. Learning to paddle a canoe solo is difficult enough as it is without making it harder than it has to be, and starting out in a tandem just "might" cause too much frustration for you to ever develop the kind of skills to make it "fun". The young son complicates this issue, since even though you may go fishing alone quite a bit, doubtless you will want to take him along at times, and he will only get bigger.
If you want just one boat, I'd definitely plan on leaving the dogs at home and get a SMALL tandem. You don't need a big tandem if you can do without the dogs. A small tandem won't handicap you nearly as much as a full-size tandem when paddling solo, but it will be more than big enough for you and a child, even for many years to come (assuming that you are fairly average in size).
Don't rule out getting two boats eventually. If you keep an eye out for used boats, there's a good chance you can get a good used solo AND and small tandem for the same price as some of those boats you were originally considering. Shopping's not as easy that way, but it can be done.
I have an 18’ 6" supercanoe, and can’t
paddle it solo in windy conditions. Even tandem it can be a handful unless loaded with a week of gear.
I have a 17’ high capacity tandem, and I can’t paddle it solo. Even tandem, it gets blown around on windy lakes if not loaded with gear.
I’m 6’ 5" and 225 pounds (after a week of stomach flu).
You, Spencer, must be a really big guy.
Guide boat guy, Thanks…That was what I needed to hear. It is frozen here in Wisconsin, so I have not visited a store. I always shop used if possible, but am prepaired for new. I read alot of reviews and past postings, but I guess as you point out that I do need to learn the paddle…it seems I will refocus on a solo and worry about a bigger boat down the road. Thanks!
this is just an idea ok …
...... you are wanting a canoe to take your young son along with you on occassion (and I hope that becomes more often than not) , and perhaps a dog or two depending .
I suggest you consider the Coleman RamX-15' in decent used shape . It's a stout enough canoe that is constructed in the basics of design and materials , and is inexpensive on the used market , $250. ...
This would make a nice canoe to take your son along , go fishing , share with him what's out there and all that , let the pups get wet sometimes , see how it all goes .
If you want to paddle it solo , you can do that too (you'll mostly be paddling it solo anyway , with or without your young son and dogs along - meaning you'll be the one who does most all the paddling).
Now for the "real solo" canoe that performs and does those things that an acomplished solo canoist expects it to do (which would be your intentions as a soloist), where he expects to be paddling ... well , when ready and if your sure by that time , think about the expensive and high performance solo canoes at that time .
What I'm saying is , start out with that Coleman 15', take your son along ... get some paddle time and then hone in on a personalized solo canoe , don't rush into the high end market , but do rush into a canoe like the Coleman 15' .
The Coleman is in the catagory of basic recreational canoe (which is what dad , son , and pups will be) ... the specialized solo canoe is in the catagory of high performance high end solo activity ... get both , just start with the inexpensive Coleman 15' .
You didn't ask but I'm gonna say it anyway ... get yourself the Carlisle 54" and 57" Beavertail paddles to start with , direct from Old Town on the web. you'll like them as much or more than the other 10 paddles you'll try next .
Yours is a problem that I have spoken to manypaddlers about over the years. A need for both a small tandem and solo canoe as well, but not so into it that you are willing to buy two canoes.
I agree with Kayakmedic’s comments above. I feel the best solution is to find a good small tandem and learn the techniques of paddling a tandem canoe solo ( some call this Canadian style paddling). She in fact is an excellent instructor of that technique. HTH
Old Town Penobscot 16
+1 on the Penobscot…
…or a Mad River Malecite. Should be able to find one or the other used for a good price.
Old Town Tripper 172
Well I ran into a Tripper for less than $200.00 so I bought it…still lots of snow and ice here. Will find out in a few months how it paddles. Might need the help of the wife!
I started with a SoloPlus and quickly learned that it works as a tandem only with small paddlers. With two adults’ worth of load it bogs down. Look at the Bell NorthStar - 16’6" long, narrow enough to paddle solo, but big enough to carry you, your son and both dogs, plus a reasonable amount of camping gear. And don’t worry about the dogs’ claws - just keep them properly trimmed and they won’t damage any boat.
At $200, you didn’t get hurt
And the OT Tripper is known to be a pretty good poling boat, so you can also look into learning that skill. If you find it hard to solo with a paddle, it might be easier for you with a pole.
Solo plus and Northstar
I have had both of these boats. The solo plus worked well to haul my big body and 2 small kids around but it left no room for supplies in this configuration. It would be a good solo boat all by itself. The Northstar in tandem form was good for my teenage kids but felt small with adults. It solo’d well when I just kneeled in it without a solo seat.