Canoe Recommendations

I’m completely inexperienced with canoes but I’m ready to have a go on one. I’ve been looking through different sites and searching classifieds and can’t really find what I’m looking for–maybe it’s just not out there or I’m being unrealistic.
Looking for any suggestions for a good classifieds site to locate or names of manufacturers and/or models that I might search for specifically.
This is the criteria I’m hoping to find:
weight-- 40-60 lbs
length–14-16 feet
tandem but paddles solo well
relatively stable
used cost between $300-$700 --condition not too important, as long as it floats.

So I’m assuming anything that’s not fiberglass or rotomolded would likely be excluded.
Any help would be appreciated.

Look around for an Old Town Penobscot 16 out of Royalex

The Penobscot 16 was one of the lightest Royalex tandem canoes made, with an advertised weight of 58 lbs (but typically running a couple of pounds heavier). It would be a good choice, but you will be lucky to find one, as they are rather sought after since the manufacture of Royalex was discontinued a couple of years back.

You might also look around for a used Wenonah Prospector 15 in Royalex, which had an advertised weight of 62 lbs. Not as fast or sleek as the Penobscot, but they paddle reasonably well tandem or solo.

Most other Royalex tandems and all roto-molded polyethylene tandems are going to weigh considerably more than 60 lbs. There are lots of tandem composite canoes that weigh under 60 lbs, and if you are patient and look around, you might be able to find a decent one in your price range. See what you can find on craigslists in your area. If you find a boat that you think might fit the bill, come back and ask whether it specifically might fit your needs.

I agree that a Penobscot 16 would be a fine choice for you. There is one on the classifieds on this site and there are lots of them out there. If you want to tell us the area where you live we can help you shop…or send a private message to any one of us.

If you can find a Bell Yellowstone tandem it almost fits the weight criterion… It was a thick rx and ours comes in at 65 lbs.
What distinguishes it is that it is one of the better tandem/solo boats out there as it is relatively narrow… 32 inches at the waterline and 31 at the gunwales making it possible to get a pretty good solo… Ours has a kneeling thwart and two seats.
However these are hard to find and not $300. Maybe at 700.
You are going to learn to be a patient ambush predator.

@TomL said:
I agree that a Penobscot 16 would be a fine choice for you. There is one on the classifieds on this site and there are lots of them out there. If you want to tell us the area where you live we can help you shop…or send a private message to any one of us.

I live in the southeast. I took another look at the classifieds on this site and found several that fit the bell–but they were all too far away.

There’s a Dagger Legend on Columbia SC craigslist that would work well for you. It would be around 60 pounds. He’s asking $700 so would probably take $600. It looks great in the one pic but you’d want to see pics of the bottom to see if it’s torn up. One good question is “does it have any damage?”.

The Legend 16 was listed by Dagger at 70-76 lbs depending on trim options, the wood gunwaled boat being lighter than that with synthetic rails. I owned one with synthetic rails for years and it was well over 70 lbs. I well remember carrying that beast up the 3/4 mile uphill takeout at the end of Section II, beginning of Section III of the Chattooga. Mad River Canoe also molded Legends after Dagger stopped making canoes, and there was a 15 foot Legend in Royalex that was listed at a mere 66 lbs.

The Legend 16 can be paddled solo and I did paddle mine that way some. But it is really too wide to be anywhere close to ideal for that purpose, especially if you don’t have long arms and/or a long torso. Unfortunately, the same can be said for many tandem canoes paddled solo.

The Southeast is not a bad market place to find a used boat, but if you are in the southern Appalachians as your username might suggest, many boats will possibly be more river/whitewater oriented than flat water oriented. Southeastern streams can really destroy Royalex boats through abrasion going over sharp rocks and hard ledges, so keep that in mind.

I agree with Kim that the Bell Yellowstone would be a fine choice if you can tolerate the extra weight and can find one.

One option might be to check out some paddling clubs in your area. There are lots of them in the southeast. A lot of club members will have a boat or boats that they have not paddled for years, but not taken the time and effort to list for sale.

Wow, chunky. I can’t tell if it’s a 15 or 16 but it makes me wonder how my paddling buddy ever managed his 15 since he used it primarily solo.

Hey mountainpaddler, there is also a “reviews” section on this site that you can use to get some comments on just about any boat that you come across.

If you are near Knoxville this boat may well be worth looking at (quickly). The seats are shot but you can get two good new seats from for about $75 including shipping and they are easy to install. The archive says it weighed 49 pounds in royalex or 43 in 4R84 which was a light duty royalex. The heavier layup is better but either would work for you if the boat is not damaged. Both materials have skins so it’s easy to tell by looking at the bottom if the skin is chewed up because you’ll see a different color than the red skin.

@TomL said:
Wow, chunky. I can’t tell if it’s a 15 or 16 but it makes me wonder how my paddling buddy ever managed his 15 since he used it primarily solo.
Perhaps Canadian Style … It is possible to handle even a 20 footer solo that way but its a lot of windage. 16 feet is a common solo size among Canadian paddlers.
Can’t figure out that Mohawk mode.l sssh grab it. Mohawk made good boats and Ed’s Canoe has replacement seats

I am not sure of that Mohawk canoe model either. It is most definitely not an Odyssey 14 for which the 43/49 lb weights would apply. To my eye, the photos make it look longer than 14’, and sellers are notorious about just guessing the length of their canoes rather than actually measuring.

Assuming it is 14’ in length, it could be a Mohawk Sport. If so, that is a really beamy boat at 37.75" gunwale width and won’t be the easiest to paddle solo, but it might well get you on the water and any tandem Royalex boat in decent condition should not be difficult to resell at that price.

Mohawk listed weights for the Sport 14 at 54 lbs for R-84 (Royalite) and 65 lbs for Royalex. Here is a photo of a Sport 14:

If you buy it, assuming the wooden seat frames are sound, you can refurbish them by refinishing the wood with spar urethane or varnish, and re-caning them, or converting them to web seats, neither of which are difficult. Either would be significantly cheaper than replacing the seats.

Ed’ s has the whole seat in cane for $32 and web for 38 just to put it in perspective… Northwest Canoe similar prices…

Cane and spline from Island Falls is $18… But you have to chisel out all all the old spline… It can be a messy discouraging job. We have done the same for neighbors canoes. It took most of the morning.

Not too bad with a decent sharp 1/4 wood chisel. Start with a Dremel and a small bit if you have one. Dremel is useful for clearing out the curved portion of the rout at the corners. Apply hot water to the old spline in the rout before you start to remove it, and as you go if need be.

I buy pre-woven cane and spline from caneandbasket dot com. Twelve inch wide cane is wide enough to re-cane nearly all canoe seat frames in the front to back dimension. Fine open-mesh 1/2" cane is what most canoe seats are caned with and costs 35 cents per lineal inch in 12 inch widths. Thirty-two lineal inches will usually be enough to re-cane a pair of canoe seats and costs $11.20. Twelve feet of spline costs another $3. Eight ounces of wood glue costs $2.75. Add it all up and you are at about half the cost of a new seat to re-cane two older ones.

A pint of Helmsman Spar Urethane costs about $10. Add a couple of bucks for a couple sheets of sandpaper and a couple of disposable foam brushes. But if you install new seats you will need to saw the ends of the frame, drill holes for the mounting screws, and you will still need to finish the raw wood at the ends of the sawed seat frames and the inside of the holes drilled for the mounting screws, so those costs are a wash if you don’t already have the finishing materials. And in any used canoe I would remove any thwarts and yokes, give them at least a light sanding, and apply bright finish to them, especially the cut ends.

But yes, it does require a little more work than installing a new seat. Installing a new seat in a canoe is not entirely fool-proof for a first timer though. I have seen plenty of people mess it up.