Does it take Two to Canoe?

My friend and his wife never canoed or kayaked until this weekend.

We went out for a full day of kayaking at a nearby lake and river. We switched between my tandem and a rented single. His wife LOVED being together in the tandem, but did not like being in a separate single. Funny, but that holds true for my wife too.

However, they wanted more capacity for camping and taking along their adult daughter. So, they asked me about canoes and the ability to carry one, two or three. But ARE there canoes large enough for their wishes, yet designed to be paddled solo as well? Or, would he need a single kayak for his “Solo” days.

Frankly, I’ve never seen anyone paddle a canoe solo, at least not one as large as they would need.

So, does it take two to canoe?

there are many in the 16 foot range …
…that can be paddled both single and tandem.

My Wenonah 17 foot Jensen was billed as the longest canoe to be able to be paddled both single and tandem, although I am a little too short to paddle it solo.

My Old Town Disco 158 is good for paddling tandem or solo.

Get on Wenonah’s web site or some of the other better manufacturers.

They have canoes for everyones needs.

Just remember: “Try before you buy”



does it take 2 to paddle
I paddle a Mad River Freedom mostly solo,its alittle pushy on lakes in the wind but if you are tucked in the shore line usally fine,plenty of room and deep.I have also paddled this boot on trips wih the wife and daughter and our gear for the trip with no problem,somewhere in the 65lbs range,have him check out mad river canoes and see if they have any Blems.

I have a really quick tandem canoe,
a Kevlar MR Malecite. It is a rocket when paddled with a partner and can easily be paddled solo, but comes no where near the performance of a kayak when solo.

one, two, or three
An efficient solo canoe will be designed to carry one person just like a kayak. A small tandem will carry two and be reasonable for paddling solo but not quite as nice as a solo. Just like a small tandem kayak.

A big canoe with the capacity for three adults or a months worth of gear can be paddled solo but it will take more strength and finess and unloaded be more vulnerable to the wind. Kind of like paddling a big expedition kayak unloaded.

I soloed my 16’x 35" Mad river Explorer for years. It works well on rivers, OK on lakes and is a bear in more than a moderate breeze. These days I’m much happier soloing my 15’x 30" Osprey.

Do a search on solo tandem canoes here and you will find lots of options.

Check out the WeNoNah Prostector 16

Prospector 16"
Ditto on the recommendation for the Prospector 16’ in Kevlar. 49 lbs is much lighter than the OT discovery 174 I used to have. The Prospector is excellent solo and tandem. I can bring my adult daughter in the middle with no problems.

Paid $1700 brand new, but wirth having the best canoe made. Easy to put on top by myself. Paddles upstream in fast current very well.

I paddle my Mad River Explorer solo about half the time and it works nicely. Its also carries three people and equipment quite well.

Solo or tandem?
I recently bought a 12-foot solo canoe (Old Town “Pack”) because of its light weight. I’m in my 70s, and my old 17-foot aluminum “tank” got a bit heavy for me. It’s hard to steer this little solo model–I don’t like paddling on one side, then the other–makes me look like an amateur. I’ve been doing the old “J” stroke for 35 years, and can’t figure any way to do that with this fixed-seat vessel. I bought a 9-foot double-bladed paddle, but can’t get into tight places with it. Besides, it drips water into the boat. Any ideas, other than buy another canoe?

Thanks, Ray

No such thing as a canoe needing two
Learn Canadian Style Paddling and it doesnt matter what you are in.

The technique works well in a twenty five foot long war canoe as well as a sixteen foot long traditional tandem canoe.

What is Canadian Style Paddling?
Ignorant me.

I really hope this isn’t a dumb question.

Makes you…
look like an amateur???

I guess the best solo paddlers and racers in the world must be amateurs then, since the “sit and switch” method is the best way to paddle solo and the way that 90 percent do it.

Your other alternative is to get drip rings for tha kayak paddle and continue to “look like an amature”.



Canadian style paddling
It’s leaning the boat on it’s rail, while paddling that side. The advantage of this is making it easier to paddle a variety of tandems (or solos) this way. The theory behind it is by leaning the boat on it’s side, there’s less surface area in the water, making it easier to paddle (because you now have less friction on the boat) This style was made popular by Bill Mason & Omar Stringer.

check this site
Here’s a good pic of what the Canadian style of paddling looks like.

solo or tandum
I have a scott lil canoe which is only 12’ long

as a tandum but paddles well solo,has a keel and

moves out when needed.Most of the time my hummingbird portable depth finder is my only partner in the front seat!

the Pack…
4sickdogs, I owned a Pack for many years. You’re right, it is not a good tracking canoe, especially given the placement of the seat. The first thing I did when I got mine was move the seat forward about 8 inches or so…I don’t remember just how far forward, but I wanted it to be placed so that my weight was just barely behind the center of the canoe. As I remember, I had to buy a new cane seat with longer “arms” to span the greater width of the canoe that far forward, but it certainly helped in minimizing the need to switch sides on every stroke. However, the Pack will never be a good tracking canoe, and if most of your paddling is done in flat water you may want to trade it in on a better tracking solo. Most of my use of the Pack was on narrow, shallow Class 1 streams, and it was excellent for that application…except for a couple of streams that had LONG, dead pools. I also had, and still have, an old Oscoda Coda fiberglass solo that tracks MUCH better, and I always used it instead of the Pack when I was going to be on a lot of flat water.