? for thebob (& others)

-- Last Updated: Feb-05-07 7:46 PM EST --

Thanks for all your informative posts that I have read. I seem to be zeroing in on Wenonah solo canoes and I know you have a Vagabond in your fleet. Have you paddled a Prism? I seem to be most interested in the Vagabond, Argosy and the Prism for a solo canoe. What is your take on comparing these three for Ozark rivers, an easy going river like the Kansas, and, finally, the Mighty Mo. I know you stated that the Missouri River had many hazards to consider but that paddling would occur infrequently, but would occur I suspect. I am going (hopefully)Saturday to the Iowa Paddlesport Show in Indianola, IA and they will have many speakers/presenters there...including a Wenonah representative. I just hoped to get any input/questions you might suggest I ask of these 3 models. Thanks!


Wenonah Vagabond
Hey Prairiedog,

I’m one of the “others” you solicited in your post, responding to you because I also was searching for a solo that would be at home on quiet waters and zeroed in on the Vagabond and the Argosy. The Argosy, I understand, would have more rocker and be better suited to river tripping. I picked the Vagabond because I’ll be doing more flat water and it’s a nice weight (about 32 lbs.) in Royalex and a nice portable length (14’ 6") I haven’t picked it up yet from the dealer because we’re under feet of snow and there’s also bitter cold here in Central New York. I wish I could tell you how it handles but I can say I was encouraged by the comments from Vagabond owners in “product reviews” on this site.

Sage advice; I doubt it, but here goes

– Last Updated: Feb-06-07 12:36 AM EST –

Both my wife & I have Vagabonds. The Vagabond will do ok on any moving water river of class 1 & 2 difficulty, as long as hard manuevering is not necessary, and you don't overload it. There are other boats I would prefer; especially if I was traveling with a heavy load of gear. The Vagabond will take on water if you get into good sized wave trains, and it seems to bog down some & starts pushing water with a heavy load. Easy to handle off the water; you can pick it up like a suitcase & walk off with it.

I previously owned a Prism. Fairly fast, decent glide, tracks well, easy to keep moving, carries a decent load, good initial stability. Not a boat I'd use with regularity on Ozark rivers.
I'd want a shorter, more manueverable boat, in Royalex layup.

Have no experience with the Argosy.
Hopefully, that will change in the Spring.

There is a wealth of feedback regarding the Prism, and the Vagabond available here on pnet.
Check out the product reviews on those. You'll get a lot of input there. Doesn't appear to be too many paddlers that own an Argosy, or they don't care to post a review.

Take a look at my recent comments to Zeke on his Solo Canoe thread, posted on 2/5. I stand by my comments as they relate to solo canoes for usage on Missouri Ozark rivers. I am a big fan of the Bell Wildfire/Yellowstone Solo, the Mohawk Odyssey 14, and the Mad River Guide/Freedom Solo. I like Royalex layup boats, and don't care too much for the R-84 layup, otherwise I'd also suggest the Mohawk Solo 14.

If I were going to go on the Missouri River for another 100 miler; it would not be in my Vagabond, or Bell Wildfire. On the other hand, I wouldn't hesitate to take my Odyssey, or Guide.
I do not personally view the Missouri river as being that hazardous, but the Missouri river does have an element of risk; especially for novice paddlers in recently purchased solo canoes. I always advise anyone doing the Missouri for the first time to have a couple of more experienced paddlers along as companions.

If you flip your new canoe midstream, in some of the wider parts of the Missouri river, you will have a "long" swim to shore & will most likely be downstream a good distance before you make shore. Boat retrieval will probably not be a fun experience.

If you're not quite ready to buy a boat yet & are just doing some research; I would be happy to let you test paddle some of my solo canoes, prior to you making a purchase. Have a Wildfire, Guide, Odyssey, and Vagabond readily available, among others.
Don't know how far apart we are? I'm in central Missouri. Feel free to email me if you care too.
Be happy to try & assist you.

My opinions are just that, opinions.
Others may vary........


Vagabond Specs

– Last Updated: Feb-06-07 12:50 AM EST –

(Just a preface since Bob's post is indented the same as mine: this is in response to the post by Michael)

You say you are looking at a Vagabond in Royalex, so bear in mind that the actual weight will be closer to 42 pounds, not 32. In addition, don't be surprised if a Royalex Vagabond will be about 14 feet long and not the 14.5 feet that Wenonah says it should be (mine is exactly 14 feet long). Also, be prepared for a boat with minimal to zero rocker (mine has none). I've seen a couple other Royalex Vagabonds without any rocker, and I suspect that's a common defect. It's still not a bad boat, but maneuverability suffers a bit as a result.

Read the Wenonah website. The Vagabond is placed in the “Recreation” category. The Argosy is placed in the “River Touring” category. This means something.

Without a doubt, if I was looking at either of these boats for river running, I would be looking at the Argosy. I have seen several paddlers using Vagabonds on local rivers and streams. Most of this is very mild water and most of the paddlers were moving gently down the stream with either single or double blades. If you want to push yourself, play, and advance your skills then the Argosy would probably allow you to do this better than the Vagabond.

Sorry, Guideboatguy
Sorry, my mistake. I meant forty-two, not thirty two pounds! I was probably fantasizing about having a Kevlar or Graphite hull! Thanks for the correction.

Ha! No Apology Needed.

– Last Updated: Feb-06-07 7:16 PM EST –

I feel better already knowing that you won't be surprised.

Somebody on P-Net told me that that other stuff I mentioned, where the length is shorter and the keel line is flatter than advertised is because a Royalex boat shrinks after it comes off the mold, and the other canoe companies apparently take that shrinkage into account when building the mold in the first place, so that they can build a boat that's shaped like it's supposed to be. I've never heard anything from Wenonah about that, though. Maybe that's something Praireidog might try asking the factory rep.

Of the three boats you list, the Argosy will be your best choice for rivers. The Vagabond is a rec boat and the Prism probably isn’t as maneuverable as what you will want. I know a couple of folks who have Argosys that say they do a good job on the rivers.