first canoe purchase

looking to purchase my first canoe. I’m from southern indiana so there are not many canoe fitters down here so i mainly go to blue river day trips and current river weekend trips.

i love the current river as we will get a decent group to go down but after $100 rental fees a weekend i figured i might as well buy one before our 4 day trip coming up.

the canoes i see around here for sale used in my price range are colemans (with float boxes) and old town’s.

im fond of the old towns as that is what i have always used and they are large enough for my large cooler as well as my radio cooler that i use for when we are camping. other equipment is girlfriend, tent, chairs, coleman propane grill, and other odds and ends. so its a hefty load

im 6’1 and 170lbs and she is 5’ something 115lbs what would be a good canoe for us at a decent price. i see 17’ colemans all day long but im not a fan of the float boxes. i have a lead on some old towns that im going to check out soon but should i be looking for anything else or just settle with the coleman if the old town falls through?

any advice is very appreciated and sorry for such a long post.

tandem canoe?
It sounds as if you are shopping for a tandem canoe with enough volume to permit overnight or multi-day canoe camping trips.

Try not to settle for a Pelican or a Coleman. I would buy an aluminum boat before I would go that route. I am not bashing those who paddle those canoes, but you can almost certainly do better if you look around a little bit.

Rather than seeking a specific model, or even a specific maker, I would look around and see what is available used within reasonable driving distance of you and then determine whether the boat(s) that are available meet your needs.

For river work on either the Blue River or the Ozark streams such as the Current, the Jack’s Fork, the Eleven Point, or the Buffalo a Royalex boat probably makes the most sense, although if you came across a decent composite tandem at an attractive price I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. You could also consider a polyethylene boat like an Old Town Discovery model, although the poly tandem boats get quite heavy.

Look for a boat from a quality builder such as Old Town, Mad River, Wenonah, Dagger, Bell, Mohawk, Swift, Nova Craft or the like. You might conceivably come across a used tandem made by Esquif, Souris River, Hemlock, Sawyer or another quality builder from the present or past, so don’t limit yourself to those makers.

There are a number of people in southern Indiana who paddle. I am located in Evansville. Furthermore, I have a Royalex Dagger Legend 16 (basically identical to the Mad River Legend 16) that I am considering selling. It might fit your needs and you could try it out on the Blue River the next time it has decent water if we can coordinate schedules. Yakjak and I paddle it fairly regularly. If you are interested send me a PM.

Lastly, you should really try to make it to the fall Ozark Rendezvous this year. Check out this thread:

actually i have that week off so might actually be able to attend the fall meet if the dates stay the same.

thanks for steering me away from the colemans i just needed an extra push away from them and i guess i got it. also i really would prefer to stay away from the alluminum. are there any other types i should stay away from? as pretty much those two rivers are mainly all i stay on.

i was about a half hour late on a sawyer and regretted it very much. also what kind of price are you thinking for yours?

Jeffers , there are 2 Bass Pro Shops …
… in Indiana , one in the north and one in the south . Just google Bass Pro Shops and select “stores” to find them .

Bass Pro sells the Old Town Expedition 169 in their camping dept. . I believe it cost 699. there now . If you sign up for the Bass Pro credit card , they will give you 10% off whatever items are on your 1st purchase with the credit card , canoe , PFD’s , drybag , paddles , etc. (that’s their policy so ask for it if you go that route) .

The OT Expedition 169 (at Bass Pro) is the OT Discovery 169 . I’ve really liked ours . It’s a good size for what you need , handles nicely in mountain rivers w/currents and rapids (cl l-ll+) and on large reservoirs with the wind kicked up … nice stable safe feeling , high volume hull that holds a lot of gear and weight safely (plenty of freeboard left when heavily loaded) . Is a high volume shallow arch hull , slightly rockered and weighs 84 lbs. , and can take a beating . A very practical canoe , no frills , just a great work horse … and it’s not slow either , just not fast .

Bass Pro sells Extrasport brand PFD’s and Seal Line drybags , they’re pretty nice .

I wouldn’t consider any of the wood paddles Bass Pro is carrying lately , but they used the have Carlisle 8" Beavertails which are nice comfortable handling and practical paddles . Those can be purchased directly from Old Town . I think Bass Pro still sells the “Carlisle Golden Light” paddles which are a nice aluminum/plastic type (everybody should have at least one like it) . So I thought I’d just tell you about this in case you weren’t aware .

ps., … make sure you check any canoe for symetry , no twist , etc. before purchasing (especially new) … more so any plastic type . Some new ones are sold twisted , you don’t want that and checking before purchase eliminates the chance .

great info
Thank you for that. i have a few seal line baja bags so im good there as well as some vibram shoes that have lasted me 3 years of canoeing and still look great. I recomend those to everyone as they are a great paddling shoe.

there is a canoeing place a few hours away that is putting some old towns up for sale that i think i might go ahead and give them a test run and possibly buy one of those if everything works out right.

How about this type!
I have used plenty of different canoes from Coleman to Wenonah canoes and Grumman 17’ which I had tried another type of canoe and that is a Raddison 15’ then I fell for them tracking was great and very light weight. I finally bought my new 12’ Raddison double end also came with a motor mount and the oar paddles and anchor rope. If your from NY or New England area you can find them easy. Another from Canada is the sister company of the canoe is Sportspal. Check them out. Mine is 12’ 38" wide 34Lbs. I wouldn’t trade my canoe for nothing.

thanks for the tip
i will definately check them out. thank you.

if your going to Mo. ozark rend
there are 3 new mad river explorer canoes in a shop in springfeild that you might be able to get a good price on… nice tandem for the current , blue and sugar creek in indiana … i cant remember the name of the shop but it wouldnt be to hard to get…jack

Jeffers, you say you have used OT’s …

– Last Updated: Jul-27-11 10:49 PM EST –

...... and are fond of them because you're accustomed to them , they have sufficient room for you and GF and expected gear (cooler , etc.) .

What Old Town model canoe(s) have you used ??

The OT Discovery 169 is not the like the Guide 147 or Guide 16 ... the Disco 169 is much more canoe than the Guide models . Most rental places that I've seen that offer OT's , either have the Disco's or Guide's to rent .

Of the polyethylene canoes out there , you can't get better than Old Town linear 3 layer construction , perhaps there are comparables to Old Town's from some other mfg. (I don't know this though) ...

a Royalex canoe is said to be an upgrade from there (debateable but has merit both sides of the debate) , I own both types , both are Old Town's of same size and volume basically ... then onto composite lay-up construction , and then light to ultra-light composite canoes . Each step up the ladder cost more $$ , and needs to be justified by the users intentions and needs .

You would like my Old Town Royalex canoe 16'-10" , as well as my OT Expedition 169 (Disco 169) ... I like both but have preference towards the Expedition 169 .

My Royalex was purchased used locally for 400. and in very nice condition , needed cleaning and new thwarts , that's all . You should be able to find a comparable Royalex canoe for the same $$ I believe .

We purchased the OT 169 new in 06 for 575. total (inclds. tax) .

I would not purchase any used canoe that has signifigent hull problems unless it was an almost give away deal ... and then only if I was of a mind to spend the required time and $$ on it to bring up to snuff .

thanks for the advice
i think the ot’s i used were the discovery 169’s. i dont mind the extra weight to save a little money.

i have been in a few other canoes but not loaded down as much than i do to the ot’s. i feel safe in them and more importantly the gf does as well. my last trip a few weekends ago was her first time out and we did not have any problems at all. i think maybe an over correction once but that was about it. she enjoyed every minute of it so keeping her happy with it is important.

I dont want to go overboard on my first one as i just want to make sure that this is something that i will do more often than just putting down a g and going out once a year type deal. so pretty much around the $400 mark is where i want to stay. but it all depends on what i find i guess.

thanks for some prices and reassurances on the old times. as well as differences between them.

I agree about canoeing here in southern Indiana, I live in Paoli. I will be buying a Nova Craft. I have to goto Bloomington to get it but it will be for my trip down the Mississippi next year.
There does need to be more paddle manufacturing in this area. If not in the US in whole.

Be aware that the Meyers Sportspal and the Canadian Radisson are much thinner skinned than a Grumman and will not take as much scraping over rock shallows before the hull get worn thru. Keep off the rocks and the 16 footers are a nice stable and comfortable downriver fishing canoe. My choice for what you describe would be a Wenonah Spirit 2 in Flexcore Tuffweave. Your petite partner would really love the sliding front seat to get her forward where the canoe is narrow and she can keep her paddle vertical. The Old Town Discos are tough but an84# canoe is just too heavy. For comparison, my 23’ Minnesota 4 weighs 64# with 4 seats and room for gear, A good kevlar 17 canoe should werigh less than 50#.

Man this is a blast from the past. Glad you found one pretty close by. I ended up buying a barely used old town allagash 174. Pretty heavy but that is not much of a problem. Took it to current river first time on top of the truck but was not a fan of loosing blocks and the noise. Built a 2 spot canoe trailer after that and that made things nice and easy.

I sold the trailer a few years back as I do not go much anymore so I figured someone else could get use out of it but I did buy another boat trailer to convert before hand so when I want to build another one I can as I did keep the canoe.

Just getting a good canoe is the first step you can always upgrade later. If you would like to build a trailer it is pretty easy and you will enjoy it. I think I had maybe $400 invested in mine and sold for $1000. Just takes a little time but the extra storage and ease of loading and unloading are worth it.