Confused about which canoe to buy

Though I’ve had a Grumman canoe, which I bought used, I now want to buy my first real canoe, but after reading all the past posts on the subject and the manufacturer’s cataloges I’m very confused!!!

I looking for a canoe to be used for recreational purposes by no more than 2 adults and one 10 year old. I don’t plan on loading much more in the canoe than 2 or 3 of us and some fishing poles and bathing suits. Though my wife and I have rented many canoes over the years for both whitewater and flat water, she has never really felt stable in a canoe. To further complicate things, I want a canoe that could be used solo as well by my son as he grows older. Also the canoe can’t be too heavy or I’ll never get it up on the roof of my car.

Having read all of these requirements does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions as to which canoe might be best for me? Thanks for any help you can offer.

some options…
you don’t mention budget, but keeping in mind that weight and price are relational (as one goes down, the other goes up - though not necessarily in the way we’d like…), you’ll find a number of 16 foot boats in Royalex from Wenonah, Mad River, and Old Town that could fit the bill. Though I’m not a huge fan of Old Town’s canoes, the Penobscot 16 (about 58 pounds) is a good general purpose boat that can double as a solo by adding a center seat. It’s a little narrower than some of the others out there, which lends itself toward solo use. Only available in Royalex, but widely sold, and there are always used ones on the market.

In the Wenonah line, both the Aurora and the Adirondack are 16 footers. The Adirondack has a slightly flatter bottom shape (though it still has some arch), and is well suited for fishing. The Aurora is a little faster and deeper. Both of them are available in Royalex (about 60 pounds each) or in lighter weight composite constructions. Kev Flex Core layups are typically in the 50-52 pound range, and sell for $1500-1600 new.

Word to the wise for anyone looking for a composite layup canoe or kayak - buy now from dealer stock if you can, since the 2006 pricing (already in effect with some brands) is going to cause some sticker shock. Don’t say you weren’t warned…:wink:

While a 17 footer might be ideal for the family use, it’d be harder to solo paddle unless you were interested in teaching the young 'un traditional Canadian style/freestyle padding technique. You could always skip the idea of solo canoeing altogether and get him a day touring kayak as he gets older…

Mad River

– Last Updated: Aug-18-05 2:49 PM EST –

I think the Mad River Explorer is a good all around boat for the family. It's got great secondary stability and and is a very good all around canoe. I paddle mine solo frequently and it works great as long as it isn't real windy.

While its not superior in any one handling characteristic, it rates pretty high in all of them. If you want one boat to do it all, it's a good choice.

Get a bell morningstar.

Enough capacity for your intended purpose - as long as the two adults aren’t LARGE. Stable enough. Enough tumblehome to make solo paddling decent - with a center seat (it’s assymetrical so turning it around isn’t that great - paddling backwards in the bow seat).

Some others could be - of course a lot depends on your size:

Old Town Penobscot 16

Mad River Explorer, Express, Eclipse

Wenonah - several models

Prospector - made by several manufacturers 16’ or 15’

Oh, almost forgot to ask, what material do you want? There are a lot more canoes to add to the mix if you look at composites.

And the ten year old? He might need
a Northstar or more. I started my family with an 18.5" supercanoe, originally designed for downriver WW racing. We never thought we were overboated. Now, for just two of us, we are using a 16’ 10" Bluewater Chippewa, and again, we don’t ever feel we have too much canoe.

But if one is going to paddle solo much at all, staying around 16 feet will often work out.

general thoughts
For three people now and as a solo later on, I’d suggest looking at a 16 footer. The Prospector is a tried and true boat, the Penobscot 16 is an excellent tandem/solo boat, the Souris River Quetico 16 is another excellent choice, the Bells are always good, and there are a whole lot of other 16’ boats that I’m sure other folks will mention that will give you good service.

WeNoNah Prospector
We bougth a 16’ prospector two years ago, and it has been a great boat…tandem or solo. I have tried to tip it over as a solo and had the gunwales in the water without tipping. Glides forever on smooth water. Kevlar weighs 49lbs. Paid $1700 well worth it. Easy to transport by myself. Can hold three adults. To solo you have to sit in the bow seat facing the stearn and kneel. Turns quickly and easily. Use it for fly fishing…I won’t stand up in it…but I won’t stand up in any canoe. Rating = 10/10

I’m starting to see a lot of canoes come up for sale here in Northeastern PA. What’s your 20?

Paddleing solo in a Bell tandem
I’m looking for a Royalex.

Regarding Bell canoes, I notice that the Morningstar and Norhtwind for example have a thwart right behind the bow seat. Doesn’t this thwart get in the way when you want to paddle solo by sitting backwards in the bow seat?

Naw. The thwart just stops you from doing something stupid, like trying to paddle an asymetrical hull backwards.

Soloing Bell
I put a kneeling thwart in my MorningStar for solo use. Works nicely.

For two adults and a child I’d go up to the RX Northwind for a bit more room ,speed, and tracking.

souris river quetico 17
with a spring creek seat yolk is what i have . it is a good all around canoe for triping/fishing and i think it weighs in at 46lbs in kevlar . i take the kids/wife in it and we all feel stable in it ,the spring creek seat yolk makes a good solo(or third) seat and flips over and is used for a carring yolk . the quetico 17 would be a bit miuch to control solo on a windy day but is fine on a nice day . i use a double ended canoe paddle when i solo it because most tandem canoes are to wide and have no trumble home . like on other person said you may also want to concider a solo boat also . my oldest daughter loves to go solo but she is only 10 and cant be trusted to go alone . here’s some links for you to check out.

hope this helps,