Esquif adirondack

Thats not the way true canoe addicts spin especially soloists. You are talking pack canoe and the standard tripping solo for week long adventures is a different ball game. Hornbecks Fast Tricks are interesting but not for a paddler with gear and repeated portages… Getting in and out repeatedly gets old.

But I am glad I looked at the new offerings from Hornbeck and pleased to see them in business still.

I have a dozen solos… All are different and used differently. I do think I have covered all the bases.

I bought one of these in fall 2020, primarily for fishing because I’m old and my back couldn’t take slinging my 1985 Mad River Royalex Explorer on and off the car any more. A photo of it fully rigged for fishing is my profile header photo. I paddle it with a kayak paddle. I weigh 230 lbs. I love this little boat. It lives on top of my little Mazda for 8 months a year. I use it on average 2-3 times a week.

I’ll use it for 2-3 night canoe camping trips, but:

  • I camp in remote accessible-by-boat-only campsites that are no more than a 3-4 mile paddle on flat water away from the put-in. I spend the first day fishing my way towards a site and the last day fishing my way back.

  • I was once a long distance backpacker. I still have all that gear and am happy eating like a backpacker so I’m good at packing compact and light. One 55 Liter dry bag holds most of what I need for 2-3 nights ands that fits easily in the bow with room to spare. A smaller bag goes in the stern These days I sleep in a hammock. I carry a ground cloth and my self-supporting two-person tent fly (without the tent) in case I need to shelter from rain. My stove weighs less than a pound. I carry one small stainless steel cooking pot. Most canoe campers might consider all this a bit draconian.

The esquif is definitely not built for speed so your kayak buddies might need to be little patient. If you can afford the pricier boats, go for it. You could probably make do with the esquif, but you’d be “settling” to save money.

A possibility is the Nova Craft Fox 14, a short cruising solo with 550lb carry capacity. It’s quick through the water, fun to paddle. Weight ranges from 34lb to 50lb depending on material (and cost ranges from $1,269 to $2,339).

After a lot of years paddling with kayak groups, even sea kayaks, my experience is that the groups I’ve paddled with seem to average about 2 knots.

I had a Wilderness and it was a great day paddler. Not a great boat to camp out of though.