Help with choosing a canoe

-- Last Updated: Jul-12-06 11:13 AM EST --

Greetings all,

I am selling off the WW kayaking gear and picking up the short paddle. I was hoping some of the more experienced P.Net canoeists could help me pick out my next boat. Problem is, I've got two distinct needs, and only budget enough for one boat...

I am 30, soon to be a father of two, and love camping and hiking. As such, I am looking for a stable family canoe that won't break the bank (diapers being expensive and all!). A functional boat that can carry *family* camping gear, and participants accross flat water and VERY mild moving water.

I am 30, soon to be a father of two, but haven't given up on adventure. I need a canoe capable of handling class I to mild class II white water. I need to be versital- two paddlers when a friend wants to tag along, or solo when I need to get away from it all and rough it (bare minimum camping).

So to sum it up- one boat for both sedate family outings, and for mildly adventurous outings (class I-II when i have a partner, MILD class I solo paddling/camping when I don't).

So my first thought was the Old Town Guide 147 (14'7"). There has been a ton of positive reviews, and I figured it would be a great start. My limit here is about $600, since that's what I'm selling my WW kayak for. Any suggestions?


The one boat

– Last Updated: Jul-12-06 3:41 PM EST –

that's mentioned here most often as an all-around solo/tandem/flatwater/easy whitewater craft is the OT Penobscot 16. It's more than you want to pay new, but you might get lucky with a used one. A used Bell Morningstar RX might also work for you.

And I'm sure someone will mention one of the 16' Prospector designs....

14’ 7"
will be very small for kids, camping gear, etc. A 16’ penobscot, as mentioned above, will be better and can do most of the things you are looking for, but it may still end up being a pretty tight fit.


There are lots of canoes out there
that would work for you. I agree that a 14 ft boat would be too small. Although, I have a fifteen foot Royalex MR Explorer that I go out with my wife and two dogs. The problem is that it would be too small for an extended trip. I wish I would have gotten the sixteen foot model. I use an eighteen foot Kevlar Champlain for tripping, but I wish I had a plastic boat for tripping on rocky rivers. A sixteen foot boat would be a good size when later you go out for longer than a day paddle, but not to big to be paddled solo. A sixteen foot MR Explorer or the Penobscot previously mention would work well for you. Both are proven designs and good canoes for extended trips.

Lots of choices. I’d go Royalex, 16’, some rocker. look around, check local dealers, look used or demo. Don’t get too wrapped up in the minute details so many get caught up in. With your experience you can overcome supposed “shortfalls” in any given design. Welcome to the light, your legs will love you for it.

Now that I took the time to look up the BWCA, this is DEFFINATELY somewhere I would be interested in visiting. This would fall into the B: section…

Solo Plus
Wenonah makes the Solo Plus. It works great for your family needs and also as a solo. I hope you find one around Cincinnati. It would be great for the Little Miami, Whitewater river or the Great miami or any lake you wish.

I like you decided to switch to mainly canoes due to having a 9 year old who always wants to go with me. It’s been great! Look around for a used boat and I think you will find one in your price range.


Dagger Interlude?
I found a used Dagger Interlude for sale. There’s three cane seats in it, and it’s only 16.5 long/36" wide. Would this work as both a family boat, and weekend solo’er?



Mad river 14 tt
It another really in expensive but good boat that might fit your needs.

I also agree that an OT penobscot 16 or 17 might serve those needs a lot better. The OT Guide paddles better than most pigs but the Penobscot is a boat you’ll never outgrow.

I think the
Interlude would suit you pretty well. Center seats are great, boats actually 34.5" wide so soloing isn’t bad, enough rocker to turn fairly well soloing, enough room for company. About as good as you can do in a one size fits all boat.

from WenoNah. Small enough to solo, but basically a tandem for average sized teams/ trips. I have raced against one and paddled one and I think it fits your needs, if you can get a used one, or bit the bullit and get tuffweave instead of kevlar. weNoNahs tuffweave is pretty good as is their kevlar. I have taken one of their kevlar cruisers through 2 1/2 foot standing waves with no ill effect.(please be aware that I try dillegently to avoid hitting the rocks, and prefer to carry around snotty water.)

Royalex or poly is good for family use.
It will take abuse. It’s heavier, but will bend instead of cracking when kids jump on it. Once you get them trained, you can switch to a lighter boat.

A Penob16 is marginal for your use. Over 450# load will severly affect handling. Good for two adults and light gear.

16’ prospector style handles bigger load because of the way the hull distributes the weight. You can paddle them solo, Canadian style.

I would consider your majority use and buy a boat for that purpose. If you’ll only be tripping with family a few times a year, rent a suitable boat for the trip.

Dagger interlude?

– Last Updated: Jul-20-06 12:12 PM EST –

I really apporeciate allof your input!

Now about the Dagger Interlude? I can't find any reviews of it! No guide as to weight of the boat, how much it weighs itself, year it was made, it's MSRP when new, etc.

Does anyone have any experience with this boat? I have stumbled accross what could be a great deal on one with three cane seats. Given the nature of my needs (see the first post in this thread), will this boat fit the bill?

Second, how do you self-shoulder/portage a canoe that doesn't have a carry yolk? Can you balance the weight on the center seat, or will that damage something?

Thanks again,

Order a portage strap from Mohawk.
They roll up out of the way when not in use. Not good for long portage unless you wrap with thick padding or PFD. Also, I put a piece of pool noodle over mine when it’s rolled up so that it’s more comfortable next to my legs. I sit, so the pool noodle works as another contact point with my boat when paddling.

No that Mohawk is basically gone
… I don’t mind asking a question I’ve had for some time. Why not just make a roll-up solo strap yourself? Is there something special about the Mohawk? I never actually saw one.

Me too!
I am 30, soon to be a father of two, and love camping and hiking.

Describes me exactly. I have an almost 2-year old daughter and another daughter due in early October. Good luck with the birth (and the canoe)!

I went for the same thinking. Family canoe. Can fit us all, plus gear. I went with the Adirondack by Wenonah, but it’s a little out of the $600 price range.


– Last Updated: Jul-20-06 1:22 PM EST –

Good to hear! My son is just over two, and we are expecting our second in late January.

I sold off my kayak stuff since it's not exactly a family-oriented pursuit (at least not while he's this little).

Hopefully I can find a canoe to make some memories with- camping trips, nature watching, etc.

The budget is only a constrain t becasue the wife doesn't like canoes. She says she's been in a canoe three times, and got drenched/swam all three times. So not only will this boat be a family "toy", but will also hopefully change my wife's views about them.


You can make one if you know what it
looks like and how it works. And I believe that Mohawk still sells accessories.

interlude site

This is exactly one of the things I wa lokking for. I checked the Dagger site, but only saw kayaks listed.


So it can go both ways- solo and tandem. It also looks good for wilderness tripping (4) and mild WW (3).


What I am concerned with is the 0 it gets for overnight camping, and a 2 in the hunting/fishing/photo catagory.

I don’t plan on doing a lot of hunting/fishing/photography from it, but to me that would indicate stability, and with a child onboard… I think stability would be paramount.

The other negative is their skills listing: a 1 for beginners, 3 for intermediate, and 5 for experts. This is my first canoe, so I’m thinking this might be out of my league, especially for a “family” model.

Any thoughts?