help in deciding on canoe or kayak

I have been paddling a Buffalo canoe (16' royalex, tandem) that I bought used about a year ago. Although it is a very tough boat, it seems slow and sluggish when manuvering. It is fine for floating with friends and just hanging out on trips. However, I would like to buy a canoe or kayak that fits my individual needs. I would like something a little smaller that is able to hold myself-185#, an 80# dog, and enough gear for two nights. I was hoping there was something a little smaller than 16' and more responsive on rivers slow moving and class I-II whitewater. Thinking about tandem kayak or solo canoe. Any suggestions?

Class 1-2 rapids, you, and a dog?
Definitely a canoe. But when you throw in the dog, that canoe is not going to be a whole lot smaller than your Buffalo. Because I am very adept at getting WW boats to track, I would get a used Dagger Caption, or maybe an Esquif about 14 feet long. My Mad River Guide would be able to handle me (large) and a relatively small dog, no more than 35 pounds.

You might let us know your paddling area and your (ahem) weight.

But as for tandem kayaks, you mean you and a dog in a tandem kayak? Tandem rec kayaks are not especially agile when managed by just one paddler, and when the other party is a dog, the kayak may be out of trim, hurting handling significantly. Being a WW canoeist and kayaker, I can’t think of any tandem kayaks on the market which would handle as well as my MR Guide.

This kayaker says: Get a canoe! :slight_smile:
Considering your requirements, including taking your dog along, I really don’t think that a tandem kayak would work out very well for you. I don’t know enough about the various open canoe models available, but I’m sure someone here can recommend some boats that meet your criteria. Good luck!


Two canoes
I think you might like a Bob’s Special.

If you learn to paddle “Canadian style”, with the boat healed over, most canoes can be quite responsive. They are not, however, fast, and going into the wind is more difficult.

I liked my mad river guide, but your dog would need to be very calm and pretty much stay still or you would have to be very alert.

good luck

he weighs
(ahem)185#. If you’re in the northern half of the country I would imagine the local canoe dealers may be having “demo days.” Good chance to check a few canoes out.I solo a Dagger Reflection at times, but no dog(I get the center seat).The reflections are a low canoe and fairly narrow, unfortunately not made anymore. Mine is very maneuverable, me at 220#, no dog.Mad river I believe has the old dagger molds now.

Start Poling
I regularly run class II water in a 16’ canoe with up to two dogs (50# and 25#). By standing and poling I have greater control over the boat.

Your Buffalo is a similar hull shape to the old Blue Hole OCA which makes for a great poling platform.

Solo Canoes
There are some nice solo canoes that might fit your needs. They tend to be narrow ~30" or so. If that 80 lb dog likes to move around much things could get exiting.

Off the top of my head you might look at the Mad River Guide, the Swift Osprey and Shearwater, the Hemlock SRT and the Novacraft Supernova.

Mohawk Solo 14

– Last Updated: Mar-14-06 11:37 AM EST –

I have a Mohawk Solo 14 that I paddle on overnight camping trips with my 65lb dog. It's no racehorse in the water, but it handles the load quite well. I have the dog in the bow, and all other gear behind me. At the start I'll usually have one bag with a 2 liter water jug at the very front too, and that puts my trim just right. The Solo 14 is royalite - so if you're on rocky creeks, it might not hold up as well as royalex (but as a bonus, it weighs only 38lbs which makes for very easy car topping, even after a long day of paddling).

The Mohawk Odessey 14 which is in royalex might be another option which could certainly carry the load just as well, and probably be drier in class II rapids than a Solo 14.

Only problem is Mohawks aren't in production anymore, but you might find one used...

Good luck!

myself at
200+ a blue heeler 3days worth of gear for me, wife and two friends…they all paddle kayaks…super nova …trying to post a pic but it may not work

It all depends . . .
on how strong a paddler the dog is.

Or at least on how well trained. With a dog that big, you’re going to need a pretty big canoe (I can’t see a kayak) unless the dog is so well-trained that you know he’ll sit still.