Help us choose a canoe

The wife and I want to get a canoe and we wanted to get your recommendations on canoe designs. While we don’t want to spend much we are mostly looking for help on hull designs. We plan to float some slow moving rivers in middle tennessee (mostly class I, with the occasional brief class II section), maybe poke around the local lakes, and take it to Savannah, Georgia to the inland marsh/rivers on the coast. Would a recreational design (like Mad River Explorer) or a more river running tripping work better? We might bring the dog and a child in the future.

Mad River Malacite
Has 3 seats. Center one for those times that you might want to go solo.

Here are some photo’s of the one I picked up and stored for CWDH. He picked up a nice used one.


Well, the MR Explorer is not a
"recreational" design. Did you mean their cheapo Adventurer?

I would suggest the Wenonah Spirit II, in either Royalex or Tuffweave. A reasonably fast, reasonably maneuverable boat, feels “stable,” and has capacity for extras.

Old Town Penobscot

Spirit II
I have 3 Wenonahs and really like them. Agree that the Spirit II probably has the design and features these people say they want. Whether or not the $1.5k price tag (for the Tuf-weave) will be attractive to those who “don’t want to spend much” is another matter.

pretty much
most of the most common 16’ boats you find out there will be pretty solid for what you want to do. FWIW, my folks have a MR Explorer and we’ve fit 4 adults in it (nearly 700lb) with no trouble. You can buy aftermarket drop-in seats for extra people if you need to…or you can have the kids sit on pads on the floor, or on top of coolers or whatnot.

I have a 16’ Wenonah Aurora I picked up secondhand for 550 that I’ve been more than happy with. It’s a versatile boat that can take some Class II as well as paddle reasonably on some lakes.

The Old Town Penobscot (someone else mentioned) is another good one to consider.

Lots of solid boats out there. Make yourself a list of boats that would meet your needs and see what’s available in your area.

A few
MR Explorer is a good all around boat. We No Nah Spirit II would also be a good choice.

Or maybe a Nova Craft Prospector 16 or some other Prospector 16.

another vote for …

– Last Updated: Jan-15-08 9:34 PM EST –

the Spirit II. We like ours. Depending on how big you want to go. It's 17', 68 lbs, and fits my wife, and 2 kids easily. Watch the PNet classified Ads. That's where we found our first. Good luck.

Old Town ‘‘Guide’’ 16
is what I guide out of most of the time. Last summer I brought the wife+1yr. old out a few times.No problem. I do wish I could afford a Malacite though. Good luck, Bill.

– Last Updated: Jan-15-08 10:14 PM EST –

Here's four boats you might want to keep an open eye for any deals on:
1) Bluewater's Freedom_17 is a nice paddling canoe, but it isn't cheap... Fronteac(sp?) southern Ontario is their main dealer..and has a "Sale" webpage often...with a blem now & then.
2) Bell Northwoods (18'+) BlackGold
3) Wenonah's Jensen 18
4) MadRiver's Lamoille (90's model)
*I've seen some pretty decent, if you call them decent, prices on some of MountainMan Outdoors' blems they pick up.... Agree on the Malacite, Spirit II...etc...all pretty good boats.

thanks for the replies
and the recommendations. For the past month i have been looking via craisglist and ebay for something local to middle tennessee. The only one I found was a Dagger Legend 16 outfitted for whitewater. Beautiful canoe but didn’t think it was right for the price ($875 firm) or for what we wanted to do. But the season is not quite upon us yet so we are looking at the supporting equipment right now (PFD’s, paddles, etc…) and will get one soon. Mohawk Canoes are close by…anyone like them?

Old Town at a reasonable price

This dealer is located in south eastern Missouri (not too far from you) and he also ships. He has good clearance prices on Old Town boats.

You asked about Mohawk
Mohawk makes some really nice solo canoes. By “nice”, I mean that some of them are very practical, functional designs for a good price. For some reason, their tandem canoes are not as commonly appreciated on these boards, but I just looked at the specs on some of their tandem models, and for general-purpose stuff I’m sure a couple of them would be roughly comparable with a Wenonah Spirit II or the like, with shallow-arch bottoms and just enough rocker to allow some maneuverability. If you have a choice between Royalex and Royalite, Royalex is tougher, and according to some folks here, a lot lesss “flexy” too.

If I were looking for a tandem canoe that didn’t need to be highly refined or purpose-built, I’d certainly consider a Mohawk.