Hodgepodge of used solos which one

I have posted several threads asking separately about a few used solo canoes recently. I am currently looking for a versatile used solo at hopefully under about $800. I am looking for a light layup so know that is a low ball figure. I can still handle 50+ pounds to load and unload, but have a bad disc. So If I can go light I will.

I see several boats for sale, the Pen 15’, freedom solo, and argosy in RX in the $5-600 range, and an MR Indy, Wenonah encounter in Kevlar in the $1000 range. The RX boats are within 1-3 hours drive one way, but the Kevlar canoes are 7-9 hour drives one way. I might be able to test paddle the Pen 15 and the Argosy, but the others I won’t. These are just the current crop of used boats for sale that I think might work for me. I don’t feel I have to pull the trigger on one right away, but if one does seem promising I certainly would consider doing so.

I’m just trying to figure how they stack up. I have no experience in a dedicated solo so I am relying on the reviews and advice I get here to help me in deciding. I have paddled an old Mohawk fiberglass 16 foot tandem for many years, and now paddle a Kevlar MR explorer solo when paddling alone. I am 5’ 10”, 190# with long arms for my height. I also am a sea kayaker. I will mostly use it for day trips and camping on piedmont rivers and lakes with maybe some class I/II ww in some sections, and low country swamps. I also might take it to the everglades, and SC coastal environs camping. I am finding I enjoy developing my paddle strokes in our 3 acre farm pond and just dancing some with the canoe. I know that one boat can’t do it all well so will be satisfied with a compromise (maybe). I figure it is time to get a solo in the near future if I find a good canoe for a good price. Thanks for all the info on this and the other threads I have posted.

I wouldn’t do the extra driving for the kevlar canoes. The RX boats will get the job done, and the Encounter is probably too much boat for what you plan to use it for. I have no experience with the Independence.

Since it sounds like it’s pretty close
… and given your size, I don’t think a Rx Argosy is a bad place to start for what you want to do. After you paddle it for a while you can consider something else or something in addition. But you’ll have a much better idea of the trade-offs after you jump in and get started.

As much as I lust after an Independence
…I think you should go for that Freedom Solo. Based on your stated class 2 use. None of the others mentioned will handle as easily in that. Of course - it will be a little slower than others, but you probably won’t care at this point.

Some people use the Argosy in cl2, but I wouldn’t choose it for that. Didn’t care a lot for it as a first solo either. The Freedom is a pretty forgiving solo, IME. I can stand in it and pole some without feeling too shaky. Not so much, my Dagger Sojourn. The Encounter is strictly a flat-water boat.

Where is that Independence, again???

I somehow missed the freedom solo
… in the OP. And I kind of agree with you class II rational. But there’s such a wide range of water that is class II, I guess I’d want to consider how heavy a class II he’s talking about.

True. They say there’s only one class 3
on the 8 miles of the Nantahala, but I know it would be difficult to get my Guide Solo through some of those class 2s.

Class 2
Yeah - I was erring on the side of safety there. There is some big class 2 about 45 minutes from my home that I would not hesitate to take the Independence on. And there is another class 2 a couple hours away that would be pretty unkind to that boat, to say the least.

But the Freedom Solo is much closer to the OP anyway.

Where is that Independence again???

I hear you.
Same here with The Mile on our local Slippery Rock Creek. At lower levels we consider it a class II. But you’d definately be pushing it in the Guide. It’s very technical with some pretty wet drops and holes.

But by the same token the Clarion River supposedly has 3 class II rapids and you could run them all backwards in the Argosy.

“Class II” covers a wide range of water types. I know you know that but other folks reading may not.

Mohawk odyssey and Dagger sojourn
Can be added to this list. Both sound like decent RX solos. Read in the review that the stems are prone to crack in the cold. Why?

If that Odyssey is a 14, and…
you don’t want it, can I have the contact info?

I regret selling mine.

I have one - got it last summer. I haven’t paddled any composite solos yet, but I’ve read that it’s pretty fast for a royalex solo of it’s size. It does move along pretty good even with my bad technique, and has some decent glide. It’s a hard-tracking boat and has no rocker. In fact - I would almost call the stern “skegged”. It’s low shear line makes it pretty manageable in the wind. ~28" wide and shallow-arch bottom - it’s a fairly “lively” hull, but has good secondary stability.

Probably not what you want for river running, unless the river is flat and wide.

I’ve only used mine on the local lake so far, but I’m not expecting any trouble with it when I finally get it out on the flat stretches of the Snake River this summer.

Cold cracking
Can happen to any royalex boat, but seems to be mostly a problem with those with wood gun’ls. The accepted method for avoiding it (besides keeping the boat inside in winter or avoiding sudden temp changes) is to loosen the gun’l screws near the stems for winter storage. Although unsightly, it’s repairable, btw.

Easier class II.

Location, events
You might consider attending some solo canoe rich events before buying based on location, price and anecdotal data.

Paddlefest in Old Forge NY is 17-19 May.

WPASCR is North of Pittsburgh first weekend in June.

The Adk Canoe Symposium is in Ray Brook NY, in mid July, but that seems to be late.

There are demo events in several local shops, Piragis has one in Ely, Midwest Mtn in the twin cities, Rutabaga is on water so demoing is easy.

sounds like a good plan
Any event close to SC?


– Last Updated: May-03-13 11:26 AM EST –

The Florida Canoe Symposium was held in Yulee in mid March. Sorry, but it'll be back in 2014.

There is a decision tree we might run over again, apologizing for being repetitious if, in these several posts, it's been stated.

Start with your stance in the boat: sit low, sit, kneel?

Based on stance, height, weight and general balance; select hull width with note on length.

The water paddled will help select rocker and cross sectional shaping.

One will arrive at a handful of useful hulls to search out. Probably anything in the list can be had used, because it can be resold for the same price if another, better, hull on the short list becomes available.

Did I offer my solo canoe dimensions chart? email charliewilson77@gmail.com for an electronic copy.

I live here in SC, my 2 cents
I have owned the Argosy, Sojourn, a Solo 14, and numerous other Solo WW canoes and have ended up with a Mohawk Odyssey 14 as my ultimate do-it-all canoe. Just sold my Argosy here on p-net but haven’t removed the advertisement yet. Just SO HAPPY with the Odyssey and how it paddles that I was able to liquidate and save some storage space. The Argosy is however a great touring canoe that can run class 2 WW but you gotta hit your marks perfectly or you will swim. The Sojourn is IMO even LESS of a WW boat BUT fantastic speed for royalex (mine was royalite) and really fun on flatwater or bigger rivers. There is a Odyssey 14 in Houston TX right now that I would snatch up if I was not 1000 miles away. Hey WHERE in SC do you live,… maybe you can test paddle my Odyssey if you want? I paddle all over the area! Live in Lexington

from the reviews
I thought the odyssey would be a good choice. I will send you an email yatipope.