Dumb Question Time

As a description for a canoe, what is a “tripper”? What is the dividing line between a tripper and, you know, “not-a-tripper”? Thanks.

werll back in the 60’s a tripper had a certain mystique…oh you mean canoe?

good boat for taking a legitamate canoe trip:

  1. good capacity
  2. good tracking BUT also…
  3. good maneuverability
  4. good in ALL conditions
  5. dry
  6. effecient

    7…get my point?


You can take a lot of stuff in a tripper
A non-tripper, not so much.

If you would consider camping for a long weekend or a week using the canoe to transport all your stuff, it’s probably a tripper (assuming you can keep upright in it as you go down the river). If you have difficulty fitting a bag lunch in the canoe, then it’s not a tripper.

  • Big D

I don’t think it is a "dumb question"
at all.

As a life long canoe paddler I have often wondered the same.

Maybe I’ll finally find out.

Back when I was a kid I visualized it as one of those birch bark canoes that the northern fur traders used.

But did in fact those northern fur traders use birch bark canoes ?



I have a Seliga Tripper canoe. It hauls gear. Lots of it. The Tripper I have was designed for the bwca. Loaded it handles like a dream but its not fast. Unloaded it handles like a sail.

Thanks to all
who have responded so for.

As for flatpick’s " 7…get my point?" – actually, no. Go through the manufacturers’ catalogs or other promotional material (ie, the web), they typically claim that many of their boats meet most or all of these criteria. So are most or all of them trippers?

As for “taking a legitamate canoe trip,” well, legitimate compared to what? At my age (never mind), propelling a straight-tracker for 4 or 5 hours over open water seems pretty “legitimate” to me (and usually leaves me drained for the rest of the day).

Thanks to JackL for being brave enough to admit sharing my confusion.

This is helpful …
It starts to separate the sheep from the goats, so to speak.

Maybe I’m a cynic, but I just can’t quite believe there are boats out there that do everything well and nothing not-so-well, or even poorly. Life is full of trade-offs and compromises, and I see no reason to believe there are canoes that are exceptions to this rule.

I’m looking for reasons to believe that “tripper,” as the term is applied by the manufacturers, isn’t essentially a promotional gimmick. I have a catalog from one company (who will go unnamed) that uses the term for at least 2/3rds of their canoes. Based on personal experience, that just doesn’t wash.

=able to carry grill, chairs, dining shelter, picnic table, radio seven cases of beer and mother in law for an overnight. Which may well be all you want…

non tripper=able to carry paddler and minimalist gear for seven weeks

the power of marketing

Paddling Efficiency over long distances
A tripping canoe is not just a big cargo hauler. Jon boats can do that, but i would not want to paddle one for a couple hundred miles.

A tripping canoe must be capable of hauling your gear and handling the water you are hauling it over, and be efficient enough that you can cover a lot of water each day. Not 5 or 10 or 15 miles down the river with the current each day, but propelling your canoe across the water for 15 or 20 or 30 miles a day.

Expedition canoes take this same requirement and raise the cargo load to weeks worth of gear, and the water to anything that nature throws at you in the wilderness.

A tripping canoe should also be light enough that it can be portaged over long and difficult carries. An 80# canoe does not rate as a tripper in my book unless it will accommodate 4 people to carry it.

Yes various manufacturers have rated some real barges as tripping canoes. Perhaps it was the best choice from that manufacturer for a trip, but still a barge by comparison to true tripping canoes. The marketing guys will always rate their stuff as more capable that reality shows it to be.


Tends to mean a large boat that can
cover ground pretty fast. An 18’ Grumman is not a “tripper.” An 18’ Jensen might not be a “tripper” because the depth would limit capacity. YMMV

It’s the canoe…
that given total freedom to choose any hull possible, is your personal choice to paddle and camp for say, longer than 4 or 5 days and covering fair distances per day.

a boat capable of
trippers to go tripping

Looked on Wiki just to see. No entry, but lots of entries where Trippers were mentioned. Seems to go along with most of what has been said here, but no clear lines.


For me, its a canoe capable of carrying gear for long trips of a week or more, efficient hull with moderate stability for fast moving water, or moderate whitewater up to class III max. Has to be light enough for portage as well.

all-round touring canoe

– Last Updated: Dec-09-08 12:41 PM EST –

for me a 'tripper' is a touring canoe with enough capacity for camping trips of a week or so.

No stupid questions…

…just lots of inquisitive idiots.

I’ve always envisioned
a “tripper” as being a canoe made of beaver pelts, paddled by the voyageurs while seeking and harvesting birch bark.

It’s starting to clear up for me …
Thanks to all who have contributed here, especially to those who’ve obviously made an effort to think the matter through and to explain their thinking clearly and fully. I’ve taken notes. The next time I have to deal with the guys at the outdoor supply store, maybe I’ll be better able to separate facts from baloney.

Good initial and secondary stability
so that when you are trippin’ on 'shrooms you won’t go for an unintended swim.


ok for tripper dimensions reccommendatio
it has to be at least 16ft long,it has to be at least 34" wide.It has to be at least 13" deep.It should have some rocker for maneuvering with a load yet track decently.This of course is for a tandem boat.Material construction to match the type of waters example royalex for rocky fast rivers (desireable)although good paddlers do use wood canvas.Those dimensions I read in a book somehwere but used it for my first canoe. Solo trippers should probably be at least 14ft long and 30" wide with a minumum of 12" depth and a touch of rocker.

Sounds like CWDH’s tripper
from this past years’ trip to Assateague! But where is the huge turkey in this list of items?

Tripper canoo - One dat…
ah’ be a’paddlin’ back fro’ a two week trip instead of walkin’ back holdin’ jus’ a busted thwart.

Fat Elmo