Choosing a Canoe


Hi everyone,

Due to my fathers failing health I am forced to become a solo canoeist.

I have been reading this forum for a few weeks trying to pick the “perfect” canoe and have narrowed the search but would like your input.

I’m in the market for a canoe that will be mostly used solo with a kayak paddle (at least until I master the “j” stroke) and only occasionally will I want it for tandem use with inexperienced passengers. It will be used exclusively on lakes and slow moving rivers for fishing, photography, and sightseeing day trips with my 25 lb beagle (a veteran canoe dog) and the occasional over nighter. My main priority is comfort and stability, not speed. I consider myself a beginner but not a complete novice.

I have narrowed the search down to 6 canoes that are readily available in my area and would like some advice from those who have used these models on which you think would best suit my needs.

Wenonah escape

wenonah prism

esquif avalon

esquif champlain

bluewater peterborough

scott wilderness

Thank you for you help.


I would
add the Wenonah Solo Plus to the list.I’ve very little exp with canoes but I thought it was one of the best I tried at a demo day a while back.

I was just drooling over a Prism the other day. Very pretty boat.

misc thoughts
The Escape at 17’6" is a pretty big boat to use solo. I’d scratch it from the list.

The Prism is a good, stable solo, but you wouldn’t be able to use it as a tandem.

The Solo Plus that someone else mentioned would be an excellent choice. Good for paddling with a dog, works fine as a solo, and is a good tandem for smaller paddlers.

The above three are all good boats, though. I’ve owned all three and liked all three. I just think the Solo Plus is the best of the three if you are sure you will need to use it as a tandem on occasion.

Bluewater Peterborough - Looks like another good choice for a tandem/solo boat. It was on my short list for a long time, but they are hard to come by around here.

The Scott Wilderness would be a good size. I’ve never paddled one, so can’t comment on it other than that. The Novacraft Bob Special is about the same size and is also a very nice paddling boat.

Esquif makes good quality boats. I’d probably choose the Champlain, but that’s because I’ve been eyeballing it wondering if I’d like one for our family.

If there is a Bell dealership around, a Morningstar might be another one to consider.

Good luck - it looks like you have some nice options to sort through.