How good/bad is this fiberglass canoe

I could not find any information online about this brand/model (Wilderness Adventure 15 feet fiberglass canoe):

I am checking it out tomorrow morning, in person. How good or bad a deal is it, for $200 local pick up?

Owner said it weight at around 65-70 lbs. Looks like a tandem.

seller says no leaks, should get you out on the water just fine, its a great deal if it gets used. If it just ends up taking space in the garage, then not so great a deal. The best boat is the one that gets you out

Thanks. What I was really asking is, can I buy better performance and feature (portability and durability) for less? Do you see any issue from that canoe?

For example, I was going to buy an Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 for $310 shipped, then changed to buy a Folbot 16’ tandem for $600 shipped. But I just found a folding kayak forum and people there were selling slightly better folding kayaks at $350-$550.

So if I were to answer the question “is that Folbot a good deal for $600”, I would say, it is a decent deal; but $600 can buy a better folding kayak, if one can be found locally.

In our current case, I under it would be very hard to find a folding canoe for $200, so I won’t require that feature here. Besides canoe performance, I was wondering, is that canoe light enough and durable enough?

I do have some other inflatables to get us on water, but wonder if we can do better here.

Doesn’t look like a tandem to me. It has one uncomfortable-looking seat placed aft of the center thwart for solo paddling. The things at the ends are flotation tanks.

It is probably a chopper-gun fiberglass construction judging by the appearance and estimated weight. That type of construction is adequate for a flat water boat but makes a weaker and heavier boat than fabric lay-ups. The boat also looks quite beamy for solo paddling.

Looking at the gunwales, it would not be the most straight forward job to try to modify it for tandem use by adding a new pair of seats. And the front float tank extends rearward far enough that I suspect leg room for a bow paddler would be quite limited.

If you want a heavy, solo canoe for casual flat water paddling it might be worth the price. I probably wouldn’t much care to paddle it but you might. I would forget about it if you are looking for a boat to paddle tandem.

Its probably not portable. It is a tandem ( Pete look there is a seat in front of the rear tank)
has the shape of a fishing canoe… Short and tubby. If that is what you want it would probably work. I’d not want to carry it far so if you have to car top you might think this over.

I have boats in the 15 foot range that are 40 lbs… They are also more than $200. In the paddling world you pay more $ for less lb.

It’s $200. Should work in Houston . You might spend more on accessories though.

Thank you so much, gents. Your comments are very helpful.

I do want a tandem paddle canoe for nature seeing, photography and occasional casual fishing. Need to car-top it, as it is not folding or sectional (I have to save up longer for folding/sectional).


By “fabric lay-ups”, did you mean the other type of fiberglass construction that is not the chopped glass type, correct? How much lighter can fabric lay-ups be, for similar dimension for a 15’ tandem, assuming our chopped glass one weight 75 lbs (as it says so on its shell)?

What would be a good price for a 15’ tandem that weight at less than 65 lbs? I understand that in the paddling world I need to pay a lot more for less weight. Every 5 lbs count, when it is over 65 lbs.

I do have a kayak instructor friend and he did advise me on the basics.

I saw the canoe in person this morning and did not buy it. It is a tandem with what looks like chopped glass construction. It weights 75 lbs (I don’t consider it portable, even though I can lift/carry it myself with correct techniques). It is not very rigid, though not overtly flexible either. Just decent (but not good) construction quality. The seller said his uncle got it from Academic, which means (in view of what we have seen in person) it might be cheaply made, I guess.

I admit I considered that canoe, mainly because it is cheap and close to my location. I thought maybe I can cover it up with tarp nicely and leave it in my yard (already have a sectional tandem kayak and a Folbot folding tandem kayak in garage). Just want to have one canoe that hold all my family members (all of which are tiny in size, 140+115+45+35 lbs, none is taller than 5’9").

Chopped glass construction is weaker because instead of the fiberglass strands being long and woven they are short and bound together only by the resin matrix. Chopped glass construction usually also results in a resin/fiber ratio that is much higher than ideal. Too much resin makes the canoe heavier and more brittle.

The weight of an all-fabric fiberglass or composite lay-up will depend on many factors other than the size and shape of the boat. Even if we consider only an all-cloth fiberglass boat, the variety of fiberglass will be one issue. S-fiberglass is about 20% lighter and stronger than the common E-'glass. Of course, the weight (ounces/square yard) of the cloth will matter, as will the number of layers and whether these layers are full blankets or partials. The use of fabric allows more thickness to be positioned where it is needed and less where it is not.

The construction technique also matters. With hand lay-ups the cloth is placed in a mold and resin is applied by hand using rollers and squeeges or the like. The resin/fiber ratio can be improved further using more advanced techniques such as vacuum bagging and infusion technology. If you are interested in those methods you can search google.

If you want to reduce weight further, fiberglass can be combined with other materials such as aramids (e.g, Kevlar), other synthetic fiber fabrics such as Innegra, carbon fiber, polyester, and other materials.

Ultralight canoes typically use some type of a foam skeleton of a bottom core and side ribs to provide stiffness while allowing the number of fabric layers to be reduced.

Trim selection (gunwales, thwarts, seats, etc) also comes into play. Most composite canoes are gel-coated which provides for a nice, glossy appearance. But the gel-coat adds weight but little or no strength. Omitting the gel coat in a skin-coated boat will save several pounds or more.

Here are a couple of examples of 15 foot composite tandems. First the Nova Craft Bob Special which is available in 5 different lay-ups:

You can read about the different lay-ups here:

The all-fiberglass lay-up is the heaviest and least expensive and weighs 58 lbs, which I would say is fairly typical for a 15’ tandem canoe.

Here is a Colden Starfire, which is a gel-coated, all fabric, fiberglass/aramid composite hull built using resin infusion technology:

The boat weighs 45 lbs with wooden gunwales. The weight can be reduced further with composite rails.

Thank you very much, Pete.

15’ tandem at 60 lbs would be nice. 75 lb -> 60 lbs is a huge weight reduction, when I have to carry it long.

I did look into Nova Craft Bob Special before. It is a very popular light canoe option and a southern US dealer near me can ship it to me for a great price too.

For $1500-$2000 USD, I would slightly prefer to buy a Pak Canoe though, for occasional travel (though I know assembly can take up to an hour). Both Nova and Pak Canoe look very nice.

The Golden Starfire is nice but too expensive for my use, if purchase new.

Good that you didn’t buy it. A typical 16’ royalex canoe can weigh 65 lbs or less, and would be more durable than a chopper glass boat. Quite likely to be a better handling boat besides. There are still occasional used royalex canoes in the $2-300 range, by my observation. Prices on used royalex canoes spiked when rx production stopped, but seems like they’ve settled back down, now that a couple other comparable options have hit the market. Patience pays off.

Good used composite canoes generally run a higher price than comparable rx canoes - even when the weight is about the same.

Thank you, Steve. I did see a “16’ Mohawk tandem canoe” for $350 locally, online. Mohawk canoe’s web site lists it as a 15’ Royalex and it weights at around 58 lbs.

I am leaning towards getting a tandem folding kayak or canoe though, at $350.

zzffnn, if that’s a Mohawk Nova 16, that is a very good tandem canoe.

Yes, Mohawk made some nice canoes.

I talked to the owner over the phone. He cannot remember much and could not find its model name. But he said it is a fiberglass model that he bought about 25-30 yrs ago. The inside feels rough rather than smooth. So most likely it is at least partly made of chopped fiberglass again.

I remember reading Victor / Class Five 's post here, saying that they made Mohawk canoes in hand lay-ups starting 2008. That also suggests that the old canoe may be a chopped FG type.

Mohawk made good canoes. That it’s rough suggests a weave

Sorry for my newbie question, but what does weave mean? Good or bad? Better than chopped glass but worse than hand lay-ups? Much heavier than 65 lbs or much lower? What model is it? Would you buy it at $350? Thank you very much, @kayamedic

Fiberglass ( S glass usually) weave is very good. Hand Layup refers not to a material but a method… You lay the fabric then add the resin and squeegee out the excess.
Its usually lighter and stronger no matter what the material.
Fiberglass weave used to be the standard for quality canoes and it has to be a hand layup or an infusion… It is better then chopper gun layups due to the excess resin ( which does nothing structurally) being removed.

No picture, No opinion sorry.

Thank you.

This is the only picture I have. The seller is a senior person and seemed reluctant to get to the canoe (when I asked him if there is a model name or serial #), as it is hang on his garage ceiling. He may be able to get help from his son to get to the canoe, but we will have to wait till weekend. Canoe is not close to me either.

All the meaningful info I got was: 16’, fiberglass, inside feels rough, bought in late 80s or early 90s.

Is it a good buy for $350? Or should I ask for more pictures (if a specific view point is required), before we can opine on it?

You need to see the hull to answer your question looking for damage.
My guess it that is a good buy because he cared enough to keep it inside.

@string said:
You need to see the hull to answer your question looking for damage.
My guess it that is a good buy because he cared enough to keep it inside.

I thoughy garage was a mess!