help me choose

I am looking at buying a used canoe soon. A person close to me keeps quite a few in stock all year round. The thing is pretty much all of them are aluminum.

He said he has one Old town tripper 17ft made out of royalex with the 1500lb capacity. All the rest are aluminum

Has a few grumman 17 and 18

one alumacraft 17

two smokercraft 17

one michicraft 17

Do I buy the old town or do I go with a aluminum? I want good fishing canoe for lakes and rivers with the possibility of a BWCA trip. If I buy a aluminum one what brand would you suggest and why?

Dont get misled by capacity in the OT
1500 lbs should read more like 900 lbs. But that is seriously more than you need in the BWCA.

How young and strong are you? The OT Tripper is a fine canoe for big lakes, rivers and not so fun on portages.

I only know that Grummans last and are put together well. But 18 feet is a lot more Grumman than you might want to carry.

None of your choices are good for portaging. However what proportioh of canoe use will be for those BWCA trips? You can always get a Grumman or one of the others and rent a nice 45 lb kevlar in the BWCA.

None are good Boundary Waters canoes. Just get the one that works best for your main use. Personally, I’d go with the Old Town over any aluminum, especially as a fishing canoe, since the Royalex is SO much quieter than aluminum. And if going with the aluminum, assuming all of them are in the same general condition,you probably couldn’t go wrong with the 17 ft. Grumman.

strength isn’t a issue
I’m 28. 6’1" 190lbs. Strength isn’t a problem. I was actually looking into a set of wheels for portaging. I have been leaning more toward the OT also. I started to remember now how noisy the Aluminum canoes are just from dropping a split shot or something against the side of the canoe. It all depends at the same time what the guy has in stock when I go to buy a canoe.

You should know that
portage wheels and carts are not permitted in the BWCA. One way around that is to buy what you will use at home and rent there.

As other have said the OT is probably the best choice.

No one has asked yet, what is your budget? Ive found great deals about once every month or 2 on craigslist. If you budget is around 400-600 bucks Ive seen a fiberglass wenonah spirit 2 in mint shape go for $600. a MNII kevlar Ultralight in ok shape for $650… Just saying that if you look frequently you can find great deals on middle to high end canoes. They only last an hour on CL, but if you’re lucky or dedicated you can get A LOT of canoe for your money. The best time to look is approaching (march-may)

If you go with one on your list, rent a canoe for the BWCA. Im 27, 6’1", 190lbs, strong, and had an old town penobscot that weighed 72lbs for a little while. it was hard to carry. I can easily lift 70 lbs above my head, but when that 70lbs is spread out over 16’, an odd shape, you have to maneuver it around and carry it for a while it gets to be quite difficult. going down to a 60lbs wenonah even made a large difference in perceived difficulty of portaging. My 29lbs kevlar ul solo now spoiled me. Being able to car top a canoe on foam blocks by yourself is hard to come back from.

Remember,you will need a place to store the composite canoes out of the sun lite.

Aluminum doesnt mind being stored outside.

I can carry my 18 foot grumman quiet far but if I get that wierd feeling in my shoulder I can barely get it up on my shoulders.

I did a few portages with a kevlar Scott canoe this past summer, and even with the pain in the shoulder I could do it by myself no problem.

My suggestion is stay in your buget at home and rent a canoe you dream about owning for the trip.

Keep the open side up!


Unmentioned Factor
You didn’t happen to mention the price for these boats. All boats have a price/value tradeoff. I assume he is charging more for the royalex … but how much?

which one
Al is right. Most large canoes can carry about 650 pounds. A Tripper might go a 100 pounds more.

I didnt realize that about the portage wheels. I just remember when I was kid portaging some of the lakes around ely. We had a guide and were in a boat and I remember then having wheels for the boat. Must not have been any wheres close to the actual bwca.

Right now I am not willing to pay over $1200.00 for a canoe. It really depends on my tax return. In the area I live in it was very hard toss between a small boat in and a canoe but I enjoy river fishing a lot. pretty peaceful compared to the competition on lakes.

mcimes, I will have to keep my eyes peeled. I wouldnt mind making a 4 hour drive one way to pick it up if its the right price. Where you seeing the best deals for these Kevlar canoes on CG? I am in the detroit lakes area of MN

the royalex is going for 700

grummin 17ft-5-600 18ft-700-800

alumacraft-17ft-450 guessing its pretty beat up.

smokercraft 17ft 500-600

michicraft 17- 600$

This is just what he has in stock now. He also starts picking up a lot of different ones around march he said. I guess the only reason I want buy now is I want to make some modifications for fishing and would like to have it soon for I dont have to rush to get them done.

In that case

– Last Updated: Jan-16-13 4:33 PM EST –

With a budget of less than 1200 you can get a used Kevlar UL layup in great shape. Personally I think hes asking WAY too much for all those boats and if it were me I'd look elsewhere. I bought an old town penobscot royalex for $400 in good condition. I sold that to get a Wenonah Jensen 17' in Tuff weave (fiberglass with gel coat) in great shape for $800. I bought my wenonah solo in kevlar ultralight for $600 in near new condition. So, all im saying is that if you are willing to put in some work you can get a much nicer boat than a old town or Alumacraft for $800. Ive seen aluminum boats go for as little as $250 in ok shape with $400 not uncommon.

you can get a used MNII Kev UL in very good shape for $1200. just sayin, if it were me, I'd keep looking. Early spring-Early summer is prime canoe selling season. Most of the canoes I mentioned were in the twin cities. I drove to Milwaukee for my Solo. Ive seen a couple good deals in Duluth too.

The good deals are gone within an hour so either check a lot, or set up a Google alert. It will email you when it finds a term that you tagged. If you don't use I highly recommend it as it will search multiple websites and all cities on craigslist. It makes searching much easier.

Probably can’t go wrong with any of them
for a start, although I have not paddled all of them, I will put in a plug for the Smokercraft.

For a 17’ aluminum it is quite seaworthy, strong, and stable. Paddles good for its class, whether tandem, solo, or standing with a SUP paddle. Right, I had some real fun times using my SUP paddle with it.

Good luck!