canoe suggestions

I have been on several canoe trips and am really trying to find the right canoe to buy, with no luck so far. I want it mainly for weekend slow moving river trips. Occasionally lakes and eventually whitewater. It will be two people and a 40# dog plus gear. It would need to be fairly stable because of the dog. I really like the strength of royalex, but havent found a light enough boat yet. 65 lbs or less would be good. Any other material would need to be as strong as royalex because of the types of rivers i want to canoe(rocks). Oh and I would like to keep it under $1000, not including accesories. I would love to hear all the suggestions you can think of.

try Royalite.
it’s a thinner version of royalex, a bit harder, nearly as tough and about 10 pounds lighter on a 16-17 foot canoe. My Swift Dumoine comes in at 64 pounds, just under your desired weight. Under a grand, look for used. You don’t say where you’re from. My 2 canoes, royalex and royalite, were bought from the local dealer, one as a demo, $300 off, and one a rental at $625 off list, both under a grand.Seeing as I beat the crap out of them, buying new doesn’t make any sense. Royalex scratches and gouges easily, yet doesn’t lose it’s integrity. Some of the guys I do whitewater with have canoes that look like nascar veterans, yet perform just fine.


– Last Updated: Jun-13-06 9:20 PM EST –

When I was looking for a canoe, I had some of the same things in mind. After reading advice on PNet I narrowed my list down to, Old Town Penobscot, Wenonah Spirit II.
I decided I didn't want a flat bottom because I wanted it to be able to roll a little without flipping so my son (10) could lean and play some while paddling. I also wanted to eventually be able to do some mild WW. Lucked up and found an old Penobscot 16. Great canoe for us. I have paddled it with both my son and daughter (the 3 of us), and just me, my son, and his dog. The first time getting in it, it feels tipsy, but once you get your butt in it's solid. I have had a blast in it. We went on the Etowah River and ran many rapids with my son in the bow, daughter in stern, me kneeling (and praying). The Penobscot was awesome, we only flipped once. Learned the Etowah was a little more than I thought. Really appreciate how responsive the Penob is, it's also fairly quick on slow rivers and lakes. It's also light 58#.
Valdosta, GA

Mohawk still has

– Last Updated: Jun-13-06 9:43 PM EST –

Nova 16's in stock. Its a very stable boat and it weighs in at about 66 lbs in Royalex or 59 lbs in their R-84, whis is either similar to or is Royalite (depending on who you ask). Both are selling for less than $850. Mohawk is almost out of boats, so don't dawdle. The Link is

I second the Penobscot
In fact I feel they have very good initial and secondary stability. Mine is a 16 foot (actually 16-2) and has very good capacity. I use it for tripping with a partner. I would suggest as Bill sells new Old Towns at reasonable prices and ships very reasonably also. He also sells on Ebay.

Yup, Penobscot
I reread the orig post 3x, just because I didn’t want to knee jerk respond with a boat I own. I asked myself if there were any reasons NOT to recommend the Penobscot 16. Yes, there is one. This boat has very good secondary stability, but less primary stability. People not used to it, initially think it “tippy”, but that feeling generally goes away after a few minutes, when you realize it’s really not gonna dump you unless you really offend it. But, there is the dog aspect. Is your dog really well trained? And/or, would you be willing to get wet a couple times to train it? A forty pounder is pretty small as open canoe loads go. Your dog might not be able to tip this canoe. Or it might, if it’s really hyper and decides to do a flying launch off the gunnels in pursuit of a wood duck or something. Mark this one down as an unknown, until you hear from folks that have dogs in their Penobscots.

I will say, that when I wanted to replace what had been decades of old, fat, hernia heavy, wide barge type rec canoes, I came to this group, asked a boatload of questions, and was directed to the Penobscot. It has been a good choice, and is one of only a few canoes that I’d seriously say can handle slow rivers, large lakes and whitewater, (with proper rigging), all with equal cability. I’ve not had mine in anything over class II, but I have had it in plenty of lakes, slow rivers, and even in the intercoastal waterways, and protected coastal marshes. It’s a capable classic. There are better solo boats. There are boats that haul more. There are better WW boats. And there are more stable boats for dogs, or hunting or fishing. But, all in all, this is one very capable boat across the spectrum. I can’t think of too many that do as many things as well. My ONLY regret buying mine is that I bought it brand new from REI. Two trips down the river, and I might as well have saved 50% by buying used. But, at the time, I couldn’t find any used ones.

I really enjoy my Penobscot as well. Taken it through slow moving rivers, some lakes, and a few jaunts through a little II+ whitewater. She performs pretty well with 2 paddlers + gear.


caution in shipping
Ozark Canoe ships with SAIA–my Penobscot came damaged, and I would not order another canoe if it’s going to be hauled on a SAIA truck. Inspect every square inch for damage, and don’t sign anything until you’re satisfied it’s not damaged.

Bell Morningstar
In Royalex, would work super well for you. I think it’s under 60 pounds…just as efficient as a Penobscot but more stable and a bit lighter - under 60 pounds I think. Penobscot would also work well and you often find them at good prices; I’ve seen them new at REI for $659.

Max performance load for Penob 16 is
500 lbs. That’s plenty if you solo with your dog and gear or both tandem paddlers are not big people. We found that performance is very sluggish at 450 lbs and when you hit 500, phone ahead for turns and get a motor.

Ours has done well on lakes and up to class I+ rivers. ClassII requires good technique. Good alround boat and very durable. We bought ours used for $450 with paddles and PFDs about 4 yrs ago.

30 to 40 % off
If you live near OLD TOWN MAINE you can save up to 50 % blemished boats off at the Old Town Canoe Factory Outlet Store in Old Town Maine Big Bucks Savings!!!

A friend of mine has a Penobscot that he uses for tripping and occasionally for ww solo. I bought the 169 Discovery which is the only one in the Discovery series at that time rated for ww to use the same way. We frequently paddle the last 5 miles of the Snake River in MN, for the ww and then it dumps into the St Croix for a slow scenic float as well. We occasionally switch off, the Penobscot works but the Discovery does a better job for us. Hook up with some of the paddlers and try out different types and styles, everyone has different tastes.

I would agree that the Discovery 169 is a little more maneuverable in whitewater, but having paddled it, it seems to me to be less efficient on flatwater and slow-moving rivers. Plus, you have the weight factor…the Discovery is well over the weight limit he was looking for.

Re some of the other comments…I haven’t found the Penobscot to be extremely sensitive to heavier loads. I own two, and use them for overnight floats carrying plenty of gear. I don’t notice a big difference in handling under that kind of load.

Yes, the Penobscot feels a little squirrely when you first get in one, but not unreasonably so. I’ve taken a number of newbies in mine, and all but one of them was very comfortable in it after the first few minutes (the one person I had trouble with, I spent the entire day shifting myself from side to side to compensate for his continual lurching…he seemed perfectly comfortable but I was worn out at the end of the day!).

All in all, I can’t think of a canoe that would fit the bill better.

Morningstar RX

– Last Updated: Jun-26-06 1:17 PM EST –

does have great secondary: our 85-lb Lab used to bounce gunwale-to-gunwale -- and occasionally launch after rising trout -- without ever causing a capsize.(it did cause some excitement) No problems with lake chop or boat wakes. Very maneuverable. My perception is that the Penobscot 16 tracks better.

They're both good boats with different personalities.

The NorthWind RX will give you more room and better tracking than the MorningStar for a bit more weight, but still under your limit.

The Wenonah Adirondack is another 60ish-lb Royalex possibility.

Choosing a canoe
We have been using Wenonah Sundowner 17’ Royalex canoe for a couple of years, and have been very happy with it.

It is a good cruiser, and can achieve very decent speeds. It can also handle quite a load – 2 kids and a 70-pound dog, and with all that, remain stable and controllable. When we bought it, it was advertised as a general-purpse canoe. Now, Wenonah sells them as a special “recreational racing” category for some reason, although we find it to be an excellent all-around boat, good in mild whitewater and on the lakes.

We paddle mostly on rivers and lakes in MN, including Superior.

Royalite not so royal
I wouldn’t go with a Royalite model versus a Royalex. It will not hold up as well over time, and will be way more susceptable to denting, flexing and UV.