Lightweight Solo Canoe Advice:)

Howdy all. New to this place. I likey:)

Anyhow, use to paddle alot and want to get back into it. Looking for recommendations on a lightweight solo canoe. May pack a 90lb dog and some gear into here and there, but not the kitchen sink.

For lakes and rivers and will be fishing out of it here and there. I ruptured a disc in my lubar so the lighter the better.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/advice.

Yo Han

light recreational solos
If you’re not in a hurry, the venerable Old Town Pack is listed at 33 lbs.

For something speedier, the Wenonah Vagabond goes from 42 lbs in royalex to 29 lbs in the light kevlar layup.

How big are you?
What kind of Rivers? Shallow? Rocky? Swift? How tall are you and what do you weigh? 90 lbs of dog will max out lots of boats if you go 200 yourself. A wildfire in my opinion is too burdened with my 215 lbs. plus a 90 lb. dog. No capacity left for a 50 lb. pack.

Mohawk solos
Mohawk solos are reasonbly priced and in R-84 are very light. Depending on which You choose as little as 44 lbs. I have the Odessey 14 which I use for camping.

Thanks all!
…for all your replies.

I will look into all that was recommended.

I’m about 160lb and the rivers I will run with it would be smallmouth waters, with shallow areas and some swift currents but mostly steady moving.

Trying to keep it under $1200 if possible.

Thanks again for everyones input!

Yo Han

Marjority of the time it will be paddling lakes more than likely.

Hemlock Peregrine.
Mine’s 34 pounds in kevlar and strong and stiff and easily takes me and the 70 pound lab (maybe 275 pounds with a light pack and gear). It’ll handle 300 pounds easily without feeling the least bit burdened and could probably take more with no performance loss.

Seems perfect for what you want.

If your looking for mostly lake work
take a look at Bell Merlin II. I would advise against a dog in it as its slightly tender until you get used to it.

Mine is white gold and 38 lbs soak and wet. Got it with foot braces and glad I did.

Another option that may add more capacity and stability is a Ranger Otter. A tandem boat I know, but is good to solo and not bad on the wallet. 56 lbs in weight. Made in NH.

Good luck,


Does Ranger have a website?

so much for the reccommendations. Gotta try to find some good shops locally and see if I can’t try out some of these boats.

Thanks again! Keep em coming if you have more advice;)

Yo Han

Lake Boat
Sounds like you need a lake boat, then. Most of those can handle some current just fine. Your weight is such that you can probably do fine with the smaller boats, like a Vagabond or a Merlin 2. With your budget maybe a used kevlar boat would be your best bet. With these tender backs, every pound counts and you’ll use and enjoy the boat so much more if you get one you can handle. Shoot for something under 40 lbs.

If you haven’t paddled solos much they’ll seem tender (tippy) at first, so be patient and you’ll get more comfortable with experience.

Have fun.

…for the advice. Those 2 are in the list. Also looking at the Hemlocks, alot more, but seem very nice. Problem being…probably be hard to find one to try out locally, sure I won’t have any problems finding Bells or Wenonahs.

Was thinking that myself. Going with something under 40. The hemlock are 29lbs on one of the 15footers, now that’s light.

Thanks again!
Check out his website. He also sometimes has blems at his place for less. He’s in Ashland NH. I-93 Exit 25. He works out of his house.

Closer to your place is the Kittery Trading Post. I believe they sell his boats.

I purchased one blem he called “an abortion” that wasn’t bad. The Gelcoat blistered a bit.

The other I bought was a prototype in candy apple red that is sweet!

Good luck,


Could NEVER go wrong…
with a boat from Dave Curtis (Hemlock). Without a doubt the benchmark of quality IMHO. That said, I went to his shop with two of his boats in mind. After a couple hours and he pressed me on what I wanted to do with the boat, he talked me out of his hulls and I bought a used Swift Shearwater from him. This made a statement about his integrity. It turns out some three years later I’ve had a chance to paddle one of his peregrine’s and though a great hull, was not what I was looking for back then. Dave Curtis is a true gentleman and an honest businessman.


…from all I have searched and read so far here in the archives, noone does nothing but rave about this canoes and him as a person.

Really interested in the Perigrine, sorta wish he was closer so i could check him out and test drive a model or 2 of his.

I have a tuffweave Vagabond that I really like. I fish both rocky rivers and smaller lakes in it. I believe mine ran well under a grand but I cannot remember exactly.

But at almost 36" beam, a bit wide for a small person solo.

Thanks all for your advice. There are alotta good canoes suggested. So far I got em down to 2, but pretty sure I’m going with a Hemlock Peregrine. Just gonna test paddle one in summer then make the purchase.

Just got off the phone with Dave at Hemlock, very nice guy. I told him of everything I needed from my canoe and what I was planning on using it for and he sugggested the Peregrine. I recently ruptured a disc and he even gave me some tips on kneeling/seat configuration.

I’m really excited about my back getting better and getting back into paddlin!

Thanks again for everyones input!

Yo Han

Peregrine’s a great boat
I’ve got one on order with Dave.

I test paddled one at the Raystown event in October.

Final two choices were the Peregrine and the Merlin II.


BLK. Merlin II was in my final 3…all great canoes. He’s actually doing a demo in central NJ in June. Plan on test driving then and if all is well putting an order in. If my back gets better sooner, might have to drive up there and check him out.

Hope you get your’s soon. Let us know how you like it!

Yo Han