hi i’m new to the canoeing down here in galax virginia and i am looking to buy a canoe for canoing in the new river and over night trips and some of the other rivers around me here and i want to know what would be the best canoe for me it will be me and my wife and 2 dogs(jack russel and shiba inu) most of the time the only class 2 or 3 rapids around here are only like 50 feet long so there ant much down were i’m at i am looking at the 16 ft camper so any information would be appreacated thank you!!

Class 3 rapids?

– Last Updated: Nov-10-09 12:31 PM EST –

I suggest that you get in touch with local outfitters and talk with them about those rapids, and the skills and canoe type that'd get you thru them safely. Or a canoe that'd portage well.

Class 2 rapids in a canoe without skills can be an issue, but class 3 can be a much bigger step up than you seem to think.

What is a shiba inu?

Link here

I also suggest two doggie PFD’s. Neither of these dogs is optimized for floating, it seems.

For your use
Definitely not the Camper. I’m not the one to give you advice about your local (or any class 3) river, but I can tell you from experience that the Camper model - as good as it is for easy rivers - is definitely not the one to choose for class 2&3 rivers.

I’m guessing from your mention of the Camper that you’re not really experienced enough to tackle cl3 yet, but intend to be at some point. Once you achieve that status, the Camper probably won’t keep you happy anyway. But a 16’ or larger Prospector (Nova Craft makes a very stable example) or similar probably would.

I’ve had nearly rank beginners in my NC Prospector who were very comfortable in it on moving flat water right away, yet the boat has what it takes (I am told) to do class 3. I haven’t done more than cl2 with it yet, but I’ve done some of that standing in the boat - so that gives you some idea.

…I totally agree with Celia.

Canoe Choices
I agree that the Old Town Camper isn’t such a great choice here, and that something like a Prospector would be much better. The fact is, LOTS of general-purpose tandem canoes will do the job (any rapids that can routinely be run in a Prospector have ALSO been run by plenty of folks over the years in Grummans and Old Town Discoverys), but something like a Prospector has enough rocker to greatly increase maneuverability compared to most other general-purpose tandems. The up side of that rocker is that you can eventually learn to do some really nifty moves to get through whitewater. The down side is that when first starting out, paddling a straight line won’t be as easy as in many other boats (such as the Camper). At this point, any boat that gets you started will do the job, but as you get better (assuming you stick with it), a canoe with a fair amount of rocker will let you expand your capabilities a lot more.

Will you “really” be paddling Class III whitewater right away? Probably not, but it’s nothing worth nit-picking about. At this stage of the game, if you see a “real” Class-III rapid (what experienced whitewater folks would call a III), you’ll take one look and carry your boat around. If you paddle a short Class II and think it’s a Class III, who cares as long as you have fun! One of my favorite stretches of river is written up in nearly all the guides as having plenty of Class III whitewater, but in actual fact, even the worst of it only rates an “easy Class II”. Most people won’t blindly paddle through something that is way too much for them, and I hope that is true for you as well. Work your way into more difficult whitewater slowly and it won’t take you long to figure out what you can paddle through and what you must avoid until your skills improve, regardless of how various people rate it.

thanks to yalls advice and no i wont be paddling head first into a class 2 or 3 i have lived in florida most of my life and have had surfboards jet ski’s i was even in the florids times union paper for catching a tarpon off my sea doo that was a blast and alot of kayaks yak boards to play in the waves with but now that i’m back home i want a canoe to just fish in and to do some overnight trips in with me and the wife and the dogs and eveywere i have read say that the camper would be a great boat for me i would love the applachain but i cant find one in my price range so i want all the info i can find from anywere so any suggestion will be thankful

Price sometimes matters

– Last Updated: Nov-10-09 3:51 PM EST –

Sam - if you look at the reviews here, you'll see pretty much all I have to say about the Camper. It's not a bad boat and may work for you at least for now, if the price is right. Just don't expect it to be real good beyond class 1 whitewater, and don't accept it's handling on rough water to be indicative of what you would get from a more capable canoe.

The thing about flat-bottomed canoes is that they want to conform to the shape of the water's surface. That is good if the water is flat, but not if the water has much disturbance to it. Combine that with a tendency to suddenly upset if leaned too far, this makes for a little more excitement than you or your partner might be happy with when the water gets more "interesting". A slightly rounded or slightly "vee" shaped bottom will make the boat feel more stable on rough water because it is not so subject to the changes on the water's surface. To put it simply, the rounded bottom (although it takes a little getting used to) helps the boat cut smoothly through the rough stuff that causes the flat bottom to get unstable.

I assume you're looking at used. If not, maybe that will open up the possibilities for you. Craigs list is a good place to shop for used canoes. Should be a good supply of Prospector-ish boats in your area.

I'm not saying that you need a Prospector, but that's just an example of the kind of design you might want. Lots of other designs would be great starters that won't let you down. They mostly have in common things like limited to moderate rocker, shallow arch or vee bottoms, 16' or more in length, 34"-36" in width, 13 to 15" in center depth. those aren't hard and fast numbers - just a ball-park to shoot for.

One other thought, and the dogs

– Last Updated: Nov-10-09 4:17 PM EST –

Is your wife expecting to be a passenger or an active paddler? You should factor this into your discussion with the local outfitters. They may have a very different take on where you should go based on the answer to this.

Also, portage if you are bringing the dogs. It's not fair to the dogs to risk them being drawn into a strainer - it wouldn't take much of one to drown them. (and no, the PFD would not prevent that)

Lots of true class 3s (based on text of
AWA rapid ratings) get downgraded to class 2 by people who learned to run them by following other people. Don’t trust the degraders. A class 3 rating means you need to stop and assess the rapid in light of the skills you know you have (or don’t have) for similar rapids run in the past.

Familiarity breeds contempt, and leads to distortion of a fairly well written rapid rating system.

I can run most class 3 rapids without scouting. You can’t. Not yet.

i have talked to a bunch of outfitters around here galax va and they all run the discoverys and said that the camper would be a very good one to get just as long as it is the roylex i have looked at the prospector and it is like 75 pounds compared to 59 pounds and i cant even find one on craiglist i would love to have the applachain but i cant find one of those either so what canoes would be a good choice ledgend,appalachain,Prospector,camper etc… i will taking this canoe on and off my vw passtt mostley by myself alot keep the comments a coming thank you everyone

New River?
If it is the New River, I think I have seen those rapids and they are short! Not that you can’t get in trouble in a short rapid, but I think you’ll be okay in a Camper. That canoe can do okay in CII, but you do have to lean it waaaaay over to get it to turn quickly. With dogs and partner, that’ll take some practice.

Outfitters love those Discoverys. They are heavy, but tough (I think that’s why the outfitters like them), and they handle pretty well. I suspect the outfitters know your local waters and if they are telling you a Camper…well, they probably know.

The reason to get more boat is because once on the car, it can go to other rivers, too. And there are lots of Whitewater runs down in that corner of the state.

Another boat to consider is Mohawk’s Intrepid.

If you see an Appalachian for sale, grab it. I’m looking for one myself, and I can tell you they are only rarely available on the used market.


Not a Camper
I don’t think the OT Camper is what you want. As others mentioned, look at one of the Prospector models, most major canoe mfrs. make one.

Some other ideas, Mad River Explorer or a WeNoNah Spirit II or Aurora

You might want to try
New River Canoe Mfg in Independence, Va, if they are still in business.

They used to make some nice canoes at a reasonable price, and naturally are familiar with the New River.

If you will be using the canoe on the sections of the New that are near the NC, Va border; for what it is worth, every year I race my Wenonah, kevlar, ultralight Jensen there, and as long as you watch the water levels and know how to run the rapids, you can use just about any canoe.



what is the best canoe for me canoe
their is a guy near me that builds fiberglass ones my options are o.t. camper,mad river legend 16.wenonah rogue 16,mohawk intrepid 16,nova craft 16(if i can find one) all in rx materials except the fiberglass man there like 80 pound monsters

the only thing that I can say is :
if you are getting a 80 pound canoe, get a OT Discovery.

You can’t hurt them.

Mine fell off the top of my Ford F-150 one day, and it just bounced without ever getting hurt.



Why the rush?
It doesn’t appear that you have a problem finding canoes around you, and it isn’t moving into prime canoeing season unless you also invest in clothing for cold weather. It also isn’t clear whether your wife is fully on board with this idea. If she is hanging back and you move too fast, you will need a solo canoe anyway.

So how about you spend some time demoing and learning a bit about canoes while the air is still above 25 degrees F, and worry about the canoe after that?

yea my wife is on board sometimes but it will be me and my 2 dogs mostly i will even get me one of those stabalizers if i have to i think i might go with either the m.r. legend 16 rx or the mohawk intrepeid 16 rx i wish i could find a used o.y. appalachain 16 rx

Learn about strainers
Before you make any decisions about whether the dogs will be in the boat with you thru the rapids. The Jack Russell especially would not have much of a chance if they got into a bad spot, and even in Class 2 moving water you couldn’t count on getting back up to where the dog was trapped in time.