first canoe

I am looking for a low priced starter canoe for

me to use on flat water and level I or II rivers

in my home state of MO. I have a friend at work

who is willing to sell me his old canoe for $50.

It is an old Coleman which looks to be an aluminum-tube reinforced polyethylene model with

aluminum gunwales. It has no holes and looks to be in fairly good shape. It is a 17’ model with three seats. Can anyone tell me if this boat will do a passable job of introducing me and my kids to the sport of paddling. Cost is a big concern for me, and this is the only boat I’ve found for under $350. I understand that it’s not as light, strong or attractive as a kevlar

or royalex, but I just want to know if it will be

safe and able to be handled by a beginning paddler. Please give me feedback if you can help

We Paddle the Same Rivers
I’m from MO also, and would rather paddle ANYTHING else. The problem is the tubes will eventually bend and then you have an all new hull shape. Also, 17’ is a little long for beginner on Ozark streams. I’d look seriously at a polyethylene Mad River or Old Town or a royalex boat for MO streams. A good place to start is the classifieds. I know another fellow Missourian (eyeopener) who has a Blue Hole canoe for sale. That would be a MUCH BETTER boat to start with, and he’s a nice guy who I would trust. WW

galyans sells 2 bell boats with their name on them. I have the 16.6 one which is a bell northwind in royalex. I picked up mine for 540 bucks. You can’t find a better deal.

I’m fairly sure…
I’m fairly sure that eyeopener sold his Blue Hole to someone in Kentucky.


If you really can’t afford more than $50
AND YOU ALREADY OWN AND WEAR A GOOD PFD, I’d say go ahead and get it, mindful that when you can afford it, you’ll want to move up. Also suggest you read all the articles under “Guidelines” to the left,

check out a good basic canoeing book at the library, and link up with a local paddling club. It’s a great sport.

Coleman Canoe? Why not
The Coleman is about the lowest level of canoe around. $50 is not under priced for a used one. Still, IMHO if $50 is what you’ve got to spend, and you know that you’re getting the lowest level starter canoe there is, I say go ahead if you want. At worst you’re out $50. It’ll get you out on the water. I bet you’ll find a way to have fun in it.

Be warned that it will not do much in the way of moving water. Limit yourself to riffles (sub-class I). If you pin it, it’s done. Those aluminum tubes can not be fixed. You put a hole in it, it can’t be repaired.

If you and your family start to enjoy canoeing, upgrade your canoe soon. You don’t want to be turned off using a tub when your skills are improving and you’ll want your canoe to do more.

If you are very lucky, you might find a used aluminum canoe, or a used Old Town Discovery, for $350. Either will be a BIG step up from the Coleman. Tough, if not impossible, to find a good canoe for less than $350

I agree with the 50-dollar remarks
Get the thing if that’s what you can afford. But I don’t agree that holes can’t be fixed. It’s true that there might be no good and pretty way to fix them, but if you are willing to improvise and don’t care how it looks, you can do it BECAUSE it’s a fifty-dollar boat!

A number of folks here started out in Colemans and no one else here applies a guilty-by-association stigma to them because of it, so if that’s all you can get right now, go for it.

Bell Makes Canoes for Galyans?!
Are they branded Bell? How do you know they’re bell boats?

If you are really just curious as to whether canoeing is for you and your family, perhaps the $50 would be better spent for a few rentals from a local outfitter or livery? For that price, you would be assured of being supplied with appropriate PFDs and paddles as well. The outfitter can also give you (or should be able to) some basic instruction, which can help a lot. A few short trips should help you decide how serious your family is about canoeing; you will either be wanting and willing to buy a canoe better than the Coleman, or you walk away from the experience wiser, but without having to deal with storing/reselling your Coleman and equipment.

Yes, the Woodsman series Galyan’s
boats are made by Bell and are Royalex version of the Northwind. I sell them at Galyan’s.

Colemans float…
We used one for a fishing trip and then decided to buy a canoe of our own. Worth $50 to get you started. Listen to the advice about good PFDs.

If you’re near Emminence, MO and want to rent a Royalex Old Town, see the folks at Two Rivers. They have Discoveries, Campers, and kayaks. We have done business with them and they are nice folks.

Paddle safe and hope you get hooked on paddlesports!

for $50 I would buy it.
It will get ya down thr river or accross a lake. Can always sell it and buy a better 1 later.

You can improve Coleman canoes
I had that same 17 footer in the early 90’s and modified it by slipping a well-urethaned, fir 1x4’ (a twelve footer I think) underneath the long pipe that supports the hull bottom. I screwed the pipe to the 1x4 with brackets (so it wouldn’t shift off) and put a few short cleats under the 1x4 so it would stay centered over the trough below. It turned the hull shape into a radically keeled (more deadrise angle) v-bottom … which ofcourse made it track much better than maneuver. However, it also gave it a softer shoulder/side transition, making it’s wn-the-water ride less abrupt when traversing 1-2 foot lake waves. I took it to Murtle Lake in BC for a three-week solo that was fantastic (setting it up for rowing … much better than solo-paddling a 17’ boat). It was used as a very tough lake-touring boat that was made portageable by extending a small wheel off the end (a deeply notched 2x6 with the 6" wheel running in the notch)so that part of the weight rolled on the ground behind. I padded the seat for a shoulder/neck rest (it doesn’t come with a center yoke … a hint I think). Anyway, all this is too give an example of how even a lowly Coleman (single-layer polyethylene) canoe can serve you well if you use your imagination and realize that the tough (and heavy) hull is a mixed blessing … and that it’s keel will always make running shallow riffles a “drag”. It’s marginal (at best) as a shallow-river boat … but potentially can serve you well as a flat-water tripper.

What is the price difference
Between a retail Bell and the Galyans model?

Gotta love it!
Ingenuity in action. That beast would make a hell of a sailer after that keel job! Sounds like a good ole boat.