First Canoe

While I have a little experince paddling I am looking to purchase my first canoe. I have decided to get a solo in royalex. I would like a versitle canoe to paddle empty and loaded for 2-4 night camping trips. It should handle a moderate load of gear and a cooler. Trout fishing along the way is a must. I spend the majority of the time in slow to moderate rivers at Class 1 or less. I am leaning towards the Wenonah Vagabond and Wilderness but can not decide between the two and no stocking dealers in the area to test paddle. Guidance would be helpful

The wilderness would be more stable for fishing, I believe.


I don’t find the Vagabond to be particularly unstable and it handles well for me with a load of camping gear. But the Wilderness is a higher volume canoe that will probably handle the gear for an extended camping trip better.

We have one that my wife paddles–seems stable as a rock to me. But I don’t think that practically it would be fun to paddle with much more than 275, maybe 300 lbs. load total. I weigh 225, my wife 100 lbs less. The Wilderness is a pretty new boat, so I haven’t seen it, but it is getting good reviews.

I think it depends how much you weigh. If you’re below 200 lbs, I think the Vagabond would be fine, even loaded for a few days camping. Above that I think you would need more boat–my wife paddled it on an eight day trip, but I would have to pack very carefully to go more than a couple of days in it.