canoe suggestions for kayaker

I love my Bell Northstar, but I think you may be asking it to do more than it’s designed to do. When my paddling buddy and I start our annual weeklong ADK trip, we don’t have much excess room (certainly not enough for a kid or a dog) and we’d probably have insufficient freeboard to handle a very windy day on Little Tupper. My suggestions, which have all been made previously: Check out the Bell Northwind & Northwoods - in kevlar, they’re only slightly heavier than the Northstar, but they’re great boats which will handle your proposed load. Rent a boat from St Regis Outfitters and pick David’s brain. And a correction - you’re leaving the dark side, you’re not being turned by it. Good luck!

Talk to Steve at Piragis Outfitters in

– Last Updated: Mar-03-04 1:06 PM EST –

Ely , Mn. then go paddle what he recommends.Either 'Steve' can advise you. 800-223-6565. Nice folks for Yankees; got to be paddlers.

pontoon boat?
How about a nice big pontoon boat? You could haul a bunch of kayaks on that and then use it as kind of a floating base camp. The kids and the dog could get up and run around.


Cool! Do you think I could get one in Kevlar?? Talk about the Dark Side!!!

I’m not sure
I think that would be the ultimate canoe!

Might be a little hard to paddle though, I would think about getting some sort of motor for it.

(hee hee hee)

test driving a flatwater tripper
Don’t know if fishing is something you will do on your wilderness trips. But if it is then initial stability may be more of an issue than you state, especially when you’re sitting empty and dead still in the water. Be sure to test drive a Minnesota 2 as it does have a little more initial stability and makes a better fishing platform compared to some of the other boats mentioned. And be sure to test drive your narrowed down selections at least some of the time with your expected 600 lb load; preferably in some wind and waves.

good advice

– Last Updated: Mar-04-04 9:53 PM EST –

Actually, the advice jws gave is a pretty good idea, I'll rent something from St. Regis outfitter and take it on a real trip with gear & all, someplace where there's guaranteed to be wind & waves. Little Tupper lake shold be just the ticket, never spent a trip there without 3 out of 4 days windy & wave-tossed. Actually, with just me & the wife & camping gear we'll be hard-pressed to load up with much more than 450 total lbs. I'm seriously considering the Northwind as my front-runner choice, either KevCrystal or the Black Gold and Bell's specs say optimal load for that boat is 350-600 lbs. which is perfectly in my range expect for the rare exception. A local outfitter currently has clearance stock from last year, new KevCrystal for $1700. Sounds like a decent deal, so now I need to identify a few more & get out & paddle. Spring's just around the corner!

Oh yeah, I don't fish so initial stability shouldn't be a concern after getting used to the tippy feel. Don't eat fish either, so we have to bring all our food (one of the reasons we load up maybe a little more than some of the rest of you).

BTW, thanks to all for the good advice and suggestions so far.

Anybody have any comments on the kayak paddling the Northwind suggestion? It sounds tempting, but will we be giving up some control in lieu of speed using kayak paddles? Other drawbacks to be aware of? Anybody else doing this tandem??

Sundowner 18
I owned a Sundowner 18 for several years and disliked it. It is sluggish! And it wallows. I have owned several 18.5 ft rec racers and wilderness trippers. So, have a fair amount of experience. Sold the Sundowner (thank God!) and bought a Bell Northwoods. Huge difference! Handles waves & wakes much bteer and is significantly faster. I would consider either the Bell Northwind or Northwoods.

What about a large rec kayak? One of you can

take turns hauling the passengers and the other

one can still be “normal”. You would still get a

stable ride, which would be important with a kid

and a dog. You would be able to still spread out

all that weight. My son was 2 his first trip and

he loved standing in the front of the canoe.

haha silly kayaker!!!
I gave up my TRAINING paddle long ago!!!

My two cents…
Ok, I apologize if anybody’s already said any of this, I very quickly scanned most of the responses. Why the whole canoe vs. kayak thing anyway? People always ask what I like better, canoeing or kayaking? It’s like asking me if I like beer or wine better. No way you’re ever gonna get a answer outta me. On to the question at hand. If I had one canoe to use for the rest of my life it would likely be the Northwind, black gold lay up. Terrific boat for tripping (I’ve been BWCAW trippin’ for a little more than 20 years) and well suited to the occasional afternoon fishin’ trip. My chief complaint about Wenonah’s “tripper” boats is they don’t paddle well without a load in 'em. Specially in any kind of wind. It doesn’t sound like you’ll be getting a royalex boat, but I’ll mention this anyway, as much as I like the Northwind (and Bell’s in general) I was not happy with the royalex NW. Way too soft. Good luck!

Rec Kayak ?
tuckerdl, if you re-read chaze’s requirements, a large rec kayak flunks the portage requirement . I wouldn’t want to carry a rec kayak on a 100 yard portage, let alone some of the mile plus ones in the Adirondacks .

Another Choice
In case it hasn’t been mentioned, here’s another one to look at The Borealis. I’m a little partial to this design because I know Skipper Izon, the fellow that designed it using Gary & Joanie’s experience.

While I’ve never paddled this hull, I have paddled some of Skip’s proto-types to give him my input and they all are great hulls.


20’ Clipper Mackenzie
You sound just like me about 2 years ago. I have a large family, enjoy camping, and wanted a canoe that could accomodate it all.

My solution was the 20’ Clipper Mackenzie. It’s been on lakes and class II rivers. It has performed well. While it meets your load requirements (and then some!), it is twice as heavy as you’d like. I chose the fiberclass version that weighs in at about 95lbs. I am able to load it onto my van by myself, but I am fairly strong. I would not advise portaging it for long distances unless you have an easy trail and opt for wheels (which I have as well).

I’ve had 5 adults, 3 kids, and a dog in the canoe at once. It was sluggish, but it worked for a nice trip around a lake.

Normally, I paddle with a friend and kid or two. I am taking my canoe on a camping trip down the Alsea river in two weeks with 2 friends. One will be in my canoe with me and the gear while my other pal scouts in his canoe. I’ve never done the Alsea before and the river is running a little high, so we’re playing it safe by having a second boater (kayaker) and filling the center of my canoe with a large float bag. Should be fun!

Here are some pictures of my canoe in action:

Finally, here is a link to the clipper mackenzie product website:

Hope this helps.

great paddler
The Winnona Minnisota II is a wonderful boat and a joy to paddle and portage. Paragis in Ely Minn rents these and if you have the time you can go over and rent one before you buy. My wife and I can paddle ours at about 6 knots when were paddling strong, it carries a huge load, is very stable and very light for the long portages.

Hey Jim … thanks for the McKensie pics
I’ve often wondered what it looks like and whether it might be “the boat” for extended coastal touring up in British Columbia. That last picture you gave a link to makes it look like a modern, soft-chined canoe with nice "super-sized proportions’ suitable for heavy loads on big waters. Rigged with a cover, I think it would be the best and most affordable large canoe for diverse large-scale expeditions. Your red one is really a great-looking boat !!!

Talk with Piragis they know their stuff. I paddle a Minn 2 and it is the best flat water boat I have ever been in. 42 pounds in Kevlar. They also make an Escape at 17.5 feet and an Escapade at 16.6 feet if you need a shorter canoe. While not as fast the Itasca and Champlain have huge capacity. Get a wenonah. The sliding front seat is great cause you can trim the canoe very easily.Yes I am bais. Bell makes beautiful canoes but the wenonah is the superior canoe and cheaper.

Souris River
Try out the souris river 17. It’s not going to move like your kayaks, but stable, should carry around the weight you mentioned, we held at 4 mph (based on my GPS) for 2-3 hours to make our ride on time, although that was only with about a 400# load. My adult sons stood up in them to check out routes, albeit carefully in quiet water. The lightest lay up in Kevlar is now around 42 or 43#.