I’m trying to choose a new canoe for extended paddling trips mostly on rivers (up to class II) for 1-4 weeks or more. Right now I have a Bell Wildfire Royalex with Wenonah adjustable seat mechanism and a Novacraft lace seat(ask me how). It is very comfortable to paddle, but sorta slow and somewhat difficult to maintain course in the wind when unloaded.(I’m 5-10 170lbs and 60 years old) What I’m after: faster with more directional stability, yet still manuverable on winding rivers, durable enough to hit the occasional object, light enough to portage a good distance. Since I’m getting older, I want a boat I can manage to car-top and portage when I’m 70. Any advice will be appreciated.
a kevlar rob roy?
it will definitely be better in the wind you describe. their stock seat sucks, but you can put just about anything in it and paddle single or double blade. kevlar version is relatively light at 35 pounds or less. just a thought.
composite WildFire, RapidFire
The composite WildFire (that I owned for 11 years) was faster than the Royalex Yellowstone Solo (that I rented for a few days). Very nimble, reasonably durable.
I have now switched to a composite RapidFire for the sake of speed. I miss the nimbleness of the WildFire, but I don’t know how to get it back. The RapidFire was plenty maneuverable for a recent Pine Barrens (twisty little rivers) trip. I haven’t tried it in whitewater.
Millbrook AC/DC, but don’t take me
seriously. Just check their website.
How much load?
What's your typical load for your trips? Are they mostly flat/quickwater with occasional rapids, or are you dodging rocks a lot of the time?
The Hemlock SRT has a great reputation as a river tripper, but may be a bit big for you. Dave Curtis would be happy to answer your questions.
Wenonah Argosy or Rendezvous, or the new Wilderness?
Bell Merlin II
In BlackGold or WhiteGold (KevLight is too fragile for your use). It is much faster (more efficient) and will track straighter than your Wildfire. Its advertised weight is 33 lbs. in BlackGold and 39 in WhiteGold (with alum. gunnels); my WhiteGold model checks in at 39. I own six canoes and this is my favorite all-around model for its mixed-use versatility on lakes and rivers, loaded and unloaded. I weigh 160 lbs. Optimal load is advertised at 160-280 lbs. I have used mine for up to one-week trips.