How tough is Swift's Gold Fusion?

I’m seriously considering a solo canoe, and after paddling the Swift Osprey, I fell in love. However, that ain’t no cheap boat, and I can only afford the “Gold Fusion” layup. I paddle often on a local lake, but rivers and streams are plentiful in my area. I would like to use this as an all around tripper that will see a fair amount of river/stream action, but don’t want to bust up an expensive boat. Swift’s description on their website does not make the lay up sound appropriate for my needs. Anyone have experience with Gold Fusion or something similar?

My second choice is the MR Freedom Solo. I’m not worried about its toughness, I haven’t paddled it, but based on what I’ve read here, I’m pretty sure I’ll like it. I can arrange a test paddle if I need to. Did I mention that I have a bad crush on the Osprey?

A second consideration is that I’m 6’2" and hover in the 225-235 range, so the Osprey may be just a little small for me and 40-60 lbs of gear.

Any thoughts?

I should add…

– Last Updated: Jul-24-11 9:41 PM EST –

I don't plan on doing much more than class II WW with the Osprey, but it seems the Freedom Solo could go to Class III.

a little bump to the top

No the MR Guide cannot go to Class

– Last Updated: Jul-24-11 1:27 PM EST –

3..unless you are quite skilled.

The Gold Fusion is fine for mildwater and flatwater. That it seems to be directed at recreational day paddlers is more a function of its weight. It can be tiring to do five miles of portages a day with that weight (Swift is from Algonquin Park which has that terrain)

However it does have a foam core and foam ribs which are harder to fix.. I would not do class 3 in it.

Finally as you are tall the Shearwater may be a better fit. Knee spread and height are every bit as important as paddler weight.

I know some paddlers here do fine in Class 2 in the Osprey.

Have patience its a weekend.. Most people dont post it seems unless they are on work time.

too small? too big
I’m about your size, and I like a boat that is “too small” for me according to the authorities. My current boat is a RapidFire, and my previous boat was a WildFire, both smaller than an Osprey. I traded my WildFire for a friend’s Osprey on and off for a few days on a trip, and the Osprey felt large. I can’t tell you what you’ll like; I’m just saying to keep an open mind about what might suit you. Can you rent one for a short trip?

Sixty pounds of gear isn’t that much for canoe trippers.


true and I agree with you there
on the too small boat. Technically I am too big for the Colden DragonFly and love it.

You will gain alot if you can find both to test paddle…maybe posting on Getting Together and Going Paddling and seeking Osprey and Guide (I hate the new name) would be fruitful.

Performance capacity does have a fudge factor. You won’t sink the Osprey.

Somes like em a little big and some a little little.

I backpack quite a lot, and rarely carry more than 50 lbs for 4-5 days. A canoe is like a moving van compared to my backpack.

Well then you need a carbon fiber

– Last Updated: Jul-24-11 9:41 PM EST –

solo canoe.

Its quite possible to carry that load including canoe for more than four to five days..

Canoeing does not have to equate moving van..Its all up to you.

I am soloing next week and my total gear weight will be sixty lbs..including canoe. Two weeks.

Yes for you the Guide Fusion may be a shock. You already know that tough+light=Kaching!

Ask Swift
Call or email them. Great outfit, always ready to answer questions. Bill Swift is the president and North American sales director, and loves to talk about his boats. 800-661-1429.

In my Opinion
The Osprey is every bit as capable in whitewater as the Guide. It is a much better lake boat than the Guide.

I go 190 lbs and trip in my Osprey with 40 to 90 lbs of gear. As the gear weight goes up manuverability goes down.

But she remains a pretty dry ride in river and lake waves. And she stays pretty quick.

So if you keep an eye out and plan ahead the Osprey will easily run less technical whitewater no problem.

Both the Osprey and Guide are better kneeling boats than they are for sitting.

Mine is the older Expedition layup and is tough as nails.

Based on that If I was loking for a new one and planned on paddling any whitewater I’d go for the new Expedition layup.

I appreciate the thoughts. What I’m hearing you all say is that the issue with the Gold vs. Guide Fusion is a matter of weight and ease of portaging. This is helpful. As I don’t plan on doing much portaging, except perhaps around white water, I don’t suspect this to be a big issue for me. I also happen to be very strong for my age. :wink:

I still want to paddle the MR Guide just to see for myself.

I’ve been looking around and testing boats for a couple of months. This isn’t my first boat purchase, but my first purchase was about figuring out what I like and what kind of paddling I do. I really want to get this one right.

Yes, test paddle

– Last Updated: Jul-27-11 1:25 AM EST –

I think the Osprey is a better lake boat than the Guide. At load levels over 250 lbs. I'd be looking at the Shearwater over the Osprey from the Swift line.

Paddling class 2 WW and above, successfully and even elegantly, is almost entirely a function of the paddler's experience and skill. Of course, the hull shape can make it harder or easier on the paddler to execute moves in WW.

I haven't paddled either the Osprey or MR Guide in WW, but the Guide's shape and specs appear to me to be more conducive to WW maneuverability at a given load than the Osprey.

Same tough
as any foam-core Fiberglass hull, pretty much. Though, according to Swift it is a sandwich with some Kevlar added in. More expensive hulls can be lighter but necessarily tougher. You could go with Royalex hull as well, it will be cheaper than Fiberglass, and about same “tough” for your needs. For shallow rivers it’s probably better than FG.

Durability and size.
I must express some scepticism. With 295# in the boat, few solo canoes deal that well with class 2 water for dryness or more importantly turning and sideslipping. And if it is class two of the boulder studded type, a composite layup with core is not going to hold up well. Composite boats can take a lot of sliding and scraping over potato size round rock but rocks big enough to hit at the waterline will be a problem soon if not immediately. Have you looked at any small tandem royalex canoes. A lot of guys your size seem to like canoes like the Explorer, Prospector, or Pal for solo use.

Good luck in your search.

Guide is better option
The post above by peterj is very accurate in my opinion. I’ve paddled hundreds of miles in the Guide, the Osprey and the Shearwater. I too had a long term affection for the Osprey. For the size and weight you are talking the Shearwater is a better fit. For rough river travel even Class I or Class II will beat the dickens out of a composite boat in no time flat but the Guide in Royalex would hold up for years and years with no problem.

2 different "Guides"
they are talking here, in case if you didn’t notice.

MR Guide (aka MR Freedom Solo)is MR model available ONLY in Royalex.

Swift Guide Fusion is a Swift brand name for their composite material used on many Swift models.

“… you all say is that the issue with the Gold vs. Guide Fusion is a matter of weight and ease of portaging”

Gold version has more FG than Kevlar, therefore cheaper and heavier. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it is more durable than Guide Fusion.

OTH, MR Guide is made of Royalex, a different material to begin with. Like I said earlier, Royalex can be better in shallow creeks.

Swift Expedition Kevlar is plenty tough

– Last Updated: Jul-27-11 12:07 PM EST –

Up on the Machias a year ago in May.

It was low and rocky. As you can see I hit more than a few rocks. Some pretty hard. Other than some Gel Coat dings I had no damage.
I can not say how the Gold or Guide Fusion hulls compare with thier foam cores but the old Expedition Kevlar is plenty tough.

Might wanna look at a few Mohawks…

– Last Updated: Jul-27-11 8:00 PM EST –

All the forementioned seem pretty well as some Expedition Kevlar layups= I'm a big fan of. Take a look at a few of the Mohawks(Royalex)...seem like their dimensions are in the ballpark...don't go with any of their "Lite" versions of Royalex = have read a few stories...

Swift doesn’t make that anymore
All the Swift laminates are made with what they call “pressure molding” and bear the suffix “fusion”.

I’m not sure which of these laminates would be the closest to the old Expedition Kevlar.

Look for a used Osprey in expidition kevlar.Ive had one for years and it’s indestructable and will carry more than you need. With a Shearwater you will be paddling(and carrying) more boat than you need. Rumor has it that a boat as above will be for sale shortly.