-- Last Updated: Jan-18-15 2:16 PM EST --

I am looking at a faster canoe for multi, day trips on flat water. I will occasionally use on 2-3 mile an hr up stream currents. Thinking about the Bell Magic. Any feedback?

OK - so what you want to do is “multi-day tripping involving going upstream against 2-3 mile an hour currents”… but what does that entail?

If you’re a 280lb paddler who carries a Baker Tent, a firebox and Kelly Kettle, axes, saws and god only knows what else… that’s a tad different from if you’re a 140lb paddler who likes ultra-light hammock camping!

The there’s “how”. Do you want to sit or to kneel? Do you wish to mix in some poling to get up and down those streams? Occasional sailing?

For me, the way I like to do things… a Magic would be near-perfect… but for someone else, the preferred option could be anything from a Colden Flashfire through a Placid Rapidfire (now Swift Keewaydin 14) to Hemlock SRT.

Though designed for paddling from seated… removing the seat drops gives scope for kneeling… and if you can heel it to the rail, you end up with a touring hull which tracks well when flat and which will still spin on a dime - and the rocker allows reasonable manoeuvrability even when paddling from seated.

Ps. Take seriously the optimum load range of 160lbs to 280lbs: that’s generous… but if you’re likely to go outside of that in any very significant context… other options might be preferable.

Try the Jensen designs, both made by Wenonah and Clipper.

i second
a Jensen design. The only time some one else’s design beats me in a race there is a none design factor(that is the team is 80 years younger then my team or they actually have more ability). Head to head in a fair contest Jensen designs are hard to beat. The only weakness of a Jensen is they never seemed to have a good talking head to push them the way Sawyer and Bell did. At least that is my take on the question.

Faster than what?
What is your reference canoe? Are you looking for a racing fast canoe, a faster tripping canoe, a faster fishing canoed?

I’m 6’1" and go about 170. I always paddle with my 28 pound dog in the bow which means extra weight in the back to balance trim. The Magic is my go to boat for day trips and week long canoe camping trips.

Most of my paddling is 2-3 hours at a time 2-3 times/week on the local river. I hit the water after work, paddle 3-6 miles upstream, and then come back down. The current runs just over 2mph when bank full. Flatwater, no rapids.

I’ve also got a Jensen designed WWC1 solo and it’s great as well, though I don’t use it much since it’s heavier and I have the Magic. The Magic’s bow rocker makes upstream travel more friendly as well. It would be even more so if I didn’t have the extra 50 pounds of dog and ballast along. But that being said the Jensen (no rocker) has logged plenty of river miles for me as well, both up and down stream.

When I was in better shape and doing some racing the Jensen was slightly faster than the Magic. I doubt there would be a difference with me in the seat now. Don’t be too concerned with speed when looking at similarly hulled boats (Prism, Magic, Advantage, WWC1, C1W, etc.). You’ll be the determining factor, not the boat.


Magic is a great boat
Here is tommyc1 loaded for a 5 day trip in the Adirondacks (Long Lake to Saranac Village)

Here are the other solos on that trip – the Magic in the lead, a red SRT in the middle and a Yellowstone Solo in the back

I’d say that the Magic was the fastest boat in the group, but as others have said, speed isn’t everything. We all ended up at the same place at the end of the day.

Magic and other Canoes
I very much like my Magic for the uses the OP mentions.

I go 200 lbs and carry as much as an extra 100 lbs when tripping. Oh yeah and I’ve raised the seat to 9" and kneel all the time.

I can heel her over and spin her when it’s just me. With a tripping load I can not get her to spin.

I’ve had her out on some good sized lakes in moderate wind. And I’ve paddled her upstream where I had to take advantage every eddy I could to continue. In all of that she’s been confidence inspiring and good clean fun.

On the trip with Erik and on others we all get to camp together. But I work a lot less than some of the others to get there.

If you have the muscle and perhaps a little technique I think the Jensens and other Marathon oriented canoes are faster. I had a J200 and a Clipper Sea One. Still have a Wenonah Voyager. I could not and can not drive any of those faster than the Magic. But others sure can.

Currently I find myself torn between the Magic and my Mad River Independence. The Indy seems to catch less wind and carves an inside circle. It also tolerates sloppy balance a little better. The Magic really wants to surf those long swells when I find them.

A Hemlock Peregrine is another I’d consider. That is one I’ve only paddled empty and briefly. But I did like how it paddled.

Magic lover
I’ve had excellent luck with a Magic, whether loaded for tripping or just out for the day. I weigh in at around 200# plus gear. It’s fast , handles Class Two water just fine, and is very confidence inspiring when the water gets bouncy. Hard to go wrong with one if this is the kind of paddling you want to do.

Just my $0.02.