Carbon Fiber Pack Canoe?

-- Last Updated: Nov-06-04 8:11 AM EST --


I'm still on my quest for a killer pack canoe. I'm going to demo one of the 10.5 foot 'Wee Lassie' type boats, but with me at 175 lbs it sounds like that size may be marginal for me. Generally, these boats take a double paddle.

Now, I am thinking about a carbon fiber Grasse Works Peeper.
It's 11'8", weighs 14lbs, has a low tractor seat, and reportedly can be driven with one of those single bladed paddles!

So, other than the high cost and the fact that I can't demo one, what do people think of this boat? Do you have an idea of how fragile a boat like this might be? I am bound to hit a rock now and then.

I'm looking for this boat to be as much fun to carry as it is to paddle, and it must be fun to paddle. Does that make sense?


gotta try em

– Last Updated: Nov-06-04 8:37 AM EST –

Too many personal variable to know by reading other people's ideas. I tried quite allot of them and each has its own pluses and minuses, but the next person I talked with felt totally different. Depends so much on your height, weight, use of boat, comfort in a tiny boat, how to carry it, how much cargo, etc.

Enjoy trying them


– Last Updated: Nov-06-04 2:14 PM EST –

Yes, but I'm not asking 'how will I like paddling it?' I am asking those who have experience with carbon fiber boats how well they think it would hold up to typical pack canoe use.

1000 pardons
OK, paddled the Hornbeck and it is pretty tough, save for superficial scratches, etc. However, I am a super light weight backpackee type and much easier on stuff than many. I am tall so I found a 12 foot boat pretty small, heard he might be coming out with a bit larger one too.

pack canoe
You might want to check out the Spitfire at


– Last Updated: Nov-07-04 8:04 AM EST –

No pardons necessary, and thanks for your reply. I have pretty much decided that the Hornbeck kevlar composite is 'strong enough' for my pack adventures. I wonder if the carbon fiber would hold up as well.

Evans, having narrowed my question, may I broaden it and ask what your weight is, and how you find the Hornbeck 12 carries your weight? Thanks again.

Grasse River Peeper
Contact Brian McDonnell at He is a Grasse River Dealer in Lake Clear NY and has one in his shop that he has paddled and he is big like you and a very strong paddler. He was raving about it when i saw it on his rack in August. I did not have time to try it out. Their construction is very solid, there are rocks in every Adirondack body of water.

Another short, tough canoe that you might want to paddle is the new Grumman solo. It is advertised at 44#, but the one i paddled did feel like it was even 40#. I am about 190# and it handled my weight with no problems. I was impressed with this little hull, especially considering it is aluminum.


Peeper etc.

– Last Updated: Nov-08-04 10:20 AM EST –

Hey thanks. As it turns out, I already had an e-mail out to Brian and am working on getting out there to try his demo Peeper before all water freezes.

I am going to try to get into a Hornbeck canoe on the same trip.

The Grumman, while OK for some applications, is about 3 times the weight I am looking for in a pack canoe.

It is OK not great
I am 180 and it is OK but rides a little low for my sense of it. Weight adds to slowing a boat down especially one so short and wide. For me, I would want one just a little longer. Hornbeck has had others like me requesting that and I think he is following through on making one. Remember, this just my sense, yours may be entirely different. Depends on how far you wish to go, how fast, how stable, how much gear, etc. It is a balance, because the main idea of the 12 footer is to gain the access to hidden hard to reach places in the Adirondacks and give up some of the other features for this ability. Makes allot of sense, so give it a try.

Wenonah Sandpiper
in carbon fiber weighs in at 22 lbs. It is a pretty small boat, too small for me, but wow is it light.