Help Me Choose The Right Canoe

Hello Everyone, first time poster here.
I’m in the market for a new canoe.
This is specifically what I need it for.
2 adults, 1 100lb dog, and 1-2 weeks worth of gear. My wife and I are no stranger to packing light, so I’m not super concerned about the gear, but we would like to stop renting canoes now that we will be bringing our dog with us. This canoe will be used primarily in large open water scenarios where we’re not going to be running up on rocks all the time. I

I would like to hear what you all have experienced with different brands and different sizes. I’m no stranger to the world of kayaks but i’m Not overly experienced with the canoe market. I’m also considering this a long term investment, I don’t mind spending 2-3k to get a good one that’s going to last me 20-30 years. I’m going to look at a Wenonah Itasca in their Tuf-weave Flex-Core material next week but I could be persuaded to look elsewhere if some of you with more experience think it’s best. Thank you

Hi David, We are going for a Nova Craft Pal 16 ourselves made of ‘tuff stuff’ ( basalt/innegra mixed weave with vinylester resin and finished in a strong gelcoat ) light, strong and stiff - a classic design that has many fans.
I once paddled a Cedar and canvas Pal 25 years ago and still remember that very clearly - good stuff. If you ever expand to include some more rapids though might want to have a look at Nova Craft’s Prospector 17 in Tuff Stuff/ Tuff Stuf Expedition - classic design that has worked well for decades in a slightly longer version and the basalt/innegra material of the hull is super stiff and tough.
impression of just how strong it is - first some comparisons with other materials simple bend tests, then on to the hammer blows - theres another vid where they hurl off a building, and another where they take one out from the factory, drag it across the pavement, chuck it off some cliffs, wrap it round some rocks in the rapids, etc… The gelcoat will scratch, but thats something easily fixed up in winter time. quite a few vids on this one on youtube including some reviews one of which had them going on a 45+ day expedition in one and liking it a lot ^^ Friend of mine builds boats and this stuff is the bee’s knees in his opinion.

The Itasca would work better than a Prospector with its high sheer at the ends and symmetrical rocker. The Prospector is probably the best river tandem but it fares less well on big lakes
in 1991 we bought a Wenonah Odyssey. The deeper version of the MN II with an extreme flared bow. We still use it for tripping. Its got the volume we needed to carry gear for two weeks and our 80 lb dog, that liked to stand. No longer carried it seems to have been replaced by the Itasca
We also got a Souris River Wilderness 18 cause we were putting canoes on a train for awhile and the limit for cheap transport was 18 feet. It is slower than the Odyssey. SR carries a Quetico 18.5 I think but I have no experience with that.

You really do need to look at 18 feet and up for big water. We use our canoe on Long Island Sound and in Quetico and other traditional parks and our favorite is the Canadian shore of Lake Superior.
Beware…when unloaded these big boats tend to be less maneuverable and more twitchy so be careful on day paddles. Bring the dog and a dog friend along.

With the need for volume and not knowing the weights of the paddlers, I tend to recommend the Wenonah 18’ Champlain. It will give up a bit of speed relative to the Itasca, but is very seaworthy and more suited to a big dog and bigger paddlers. A 17’ might be cramped for a big dog and gear and you would certainly be losing freeboard of the paddler weight total pushes past 400#. I agree that any of the Wenonah mentioned would be better paddling hulls on big lake than a Prospector.

Thank you guys for the input! Definitely good for thought. I’ve got some time before the next trip so I’ll try to take a paddle in a few of those before I buy.