First Canoe Purchase. A couple and a dog!

Looking to buy a canoe for my fiance and I along with our 70lb golden. We’ve rented plenty of times but are looking to get our own. The dog is fairly good on the water but likes to migrate between the two of us.

Looking for something fairly light that doesn’t feel like we’re trying to maneuver a yacht. We’re generally pretty casual and not going great distances. Just like to get out on the water and cruise. Leaning more towards a budget setup than high end but don’t want something we’ll have regrets about.

Any recommendations would be appreciated!

What is your budget? Light costs money but I don’t know what fairly light means to you. You are probably looking for something in the 16’ - 17’ range unless you are both quite small (or quite heavy). Prospector style models come to mind as do Mad River Explorers (used) and some others like the Swift Dumoine in the classifieds here ( in my view about $300 over priced but …)

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Don’t have a real budget. Whatever the low end of mid range range is will work. Money isn’t a real concern, just want to match to cost to potential usage, which like I mentioned will be fairly casual.

We’re a combined 300lbs or so plus the dog.

There are so many canoes that fit your needs. Are you near any canoe dealers that would let you test paddle? Lightweight and modest budget don’t always go together…used canoes may be your best bet. In a new boat something like a Northstar NW16 or Swift Keewaydin 16 should be a bullseye if the price is OK with you (both are light/versatile/efficient/friendly) but there are lots of other choices too.

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Congrats on wanting to get on the water!

Once something is on the water weight is not a big problem. In fact a craft that is very light can be a bit more challenging to make behave in wind depending on the hull shape.

Are both of you up to carrying an end of boat, and/or would one of you be trying to take it out as a solo?

300 lbs for two puts you in the mid range where most anything will work. Adding the dog suggests that something with a bit of width (35" - 37") is a good idea. To give you a feel for price & weight here is what would be a good option:

My Mad River Malecite handled a similar load with no problem . The dog was a fairly active 45 lb.

After a decade of related experiences, I will recommend the Wenonah kevlar Fisherman canoe. It handles and paddles surprisingly well, and its seaworthiness has impressed me.