Canoes & Kayaks for Livery?

Greetings All ~

Just curious if anyone would like to share their thoughts of some good canoe mfg’s & models, lengths, etc. for a smaller creek. It flows nice in the Spring, so no issues there, but am looking to purchase a fleet & need all around advice on canoes/kayaks which will perform better in shallow Summer conditions…but still perform well all year.

Looking for 1 or 2 models of “general” and also “premium” grade canoes and kayaks I can offer the customers. Considerations would be durbability, performance and of course, cost.

Thanks in advance!


NC Liveries
Places that rent canoes around here get Old town Discovery poly boats or poly mad river explorers and then sell them every year or two.

Back home in Florida places that rent canoes have dozens of 40 year old Grummans and they replace about 1 or 2% a year. If I was just starting out I might be inclined to buy some of each. The grummans cost more but they are far more durable.

A Grumman is hot when it is hot and cold when it is cold and loud when you bang it, but those things won’t stop you from renting it. I poly boat is as heavy as a Gruman, and even more indestrutable in the short term, but the sun and abrasion will wear it out so it won’t last decades like a Gruman will.

You may want to give the folks at PPA a call. They specialize in livery and rental operations and offer some deals on boats for members.

An Unusual Rental Model

– Last Updated: Feb-14-07 10:27 PM EST –

I was really surprised last summer to find out that a local canoe-rental place had bought, not just a few, but a whole fleet of Wenonah tandem canoes in Royalex. I'm not sure of the model, but from a distance it looks like they could be Spirit IIs, and that would be a logical choice. A Spirit II would definitely be a "premium-grade" boat in the world of rental canoes.

Almost all the other rental choices I see around here are Old Town Discoveries and Coleman/Pelican Recycled Milk Jugs or whatever their official model designation might be (both brands are invariably so badly warped that the term "canoe-shaped" no longer describes them) and old Grummans and Alumicrafts.

I agree with FrankNC that the aluminum canoes definitely hold up a lot better in the long run, but the recycled-milk-jug canoes are so cheap that they are a lot more popular and may be more cost-effective. I think if there's much chance of canoes getting pinned and wrapped around rocks or strainers, I'd go with the cheapest milk-jug boat you can get so that the loss when it's eventually destroyed on the river is less. If there's little chance of that happening, a boat with better longevity seems like a better long-term investment.

I've never run a business of my own, so take this for what it's worth.

Buffalo 15’ Tandem
Royalex are pretty doggone tough rental boats. A lot of liveries in the Texas hill country, SE Oklahoma, NW Arkansas and Missouri use them as their rental fleets under very similar circumstances and getting longer useful lives out of them than even the OT Discos. Prices arent too bad either.

I will agree on the Buffalo canoes
After seeing them up close in the town where they are made. They are hugely over built. Heavy plastic, extra strong seat hangers. They will make good livery boats for creeking.

Perception kayaks
Perceptions sundance kayaks(9.5 and 12) seem to do well for the local shop. then there is the swifty just a cheaper (cost only) version of te sudance 9.5. so far the sundance modol have held up nicely the last couple of years. and they do take a beeting.

Rutabaga in Madison has used the Perception Sundance as a large part of their rental fleet for several years. My beginner class there was done in one of their Sundances

Take a look at the Wenonah Northfork
It’s a triple-dump rotomold, so it’s durable. I beleive it’s also less expensive than Royalex. Looks like it would be a great river outfitting boat. I’m sure the PPA folks could give you some feedback on it.


– Last Updated: Feb-15-07 7:49 PM EST –

Quite a few liveries in Missouri & Arkansas, are replacing a lot of their Old Town canoes with Buffalos. The Buffalos remind me of some of the Blue Hole models, and I'm not so sure that they aren't made in old Blue Hole molds. Appear to be "bomber"; as the Blue Holes were/are.