List of narrow tandem canoes with 34" or less beam

I am looking for a narrow beam used tandem canoe of 16’-17’ in length, around 33"-34" in at gunwale, preferably in Royalex. Don’t want Kevlar, carbon fiber or wood.

Don’t want to go over 17’ by too much.
Don’t want to go over 75 lbs by too much.
Don’t want to go over $800 by too much.

Old Town Penobscot 16’ seems to be the perfect canoe for me. What would be a good price for one in good shape?

Some Wenonah Royalex or fiberglass may work too, though I have not seen many in my area (Boston, MA). I have seen a 18’ Sundowner that I like, but it is nearly 6 hours of driving away from me.

I love Wenonah Jensen J2 (USCA C2) designs and think I can get used to its stability. However, it is too long at 18’6" and my wife may not be able to get used to its stability. We are both small at under 5’9" or 145 lbs.

I may have to store the canoe outside for a year or two with protection provided by tarp. Also we have lots of rocky shores. So I don’t think Kevlar is a good choice.

As for my experience, I have done quite some sea kayaking and a marathon in a 22" wide kayak without feeling too tired.

Please help me add on to this list. Thank you.

PS: there are tons of 36" wide canoes, but I prefer a narrower canoe. We can use lower seat height, if we have to (and are able to) adjust that.

The Bell EveningStar might be what you’re looking for.
length 16’-6" / gunwale 34" / waterline 34.5".

There’s one for sale in Colorado (appears to be Royalex) that seems like a good deal if you can figure out logistics to get it back to Boston:

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There are lots of canoes that fit your description, really too many to list. You didn’t mention what types of water you intend to paddle. A Penobscot 16 is a nice boat and you should be able to get one in excellent shape for $800. I think you should get as far under 75 pounds as you can since lighter boats are so much easier to load and use (unless you live right on the water and never have to cartop the boat). Kevlar boats can be stored outside no problem…you’d just want to avoid wood gunwales. I have a kevlar Swift outside with snow on it right now and the boat has spent years outside even though I could fit it into the garage with my other canoes. Kevlar doesn’t mind rocky shorelines unless you plan to ram it into the rocks or drag it over sharp rocks fully loaded (which would also tear up a Royalex boat).

There’s a Penobscot 17 on Craigslist near you right now. I’d agree that the 16 might be better for you since it’s lighter and also a better fit for your light load…but if you live on water the 17 is a fine boat.

There’s also an Old Town Camper on Craigslist near you in apparently excellent shape for $750…so you could probably get it for $700 or less. Campers paddle surprisingly efficiently. Perfect for smaller lakes and rivers and quite light for Royalex. Not the best for big waves since it has a flat bottom so doesn’t like to lean like a Penobscot. Maybe best if you scout for boats and then ask about the ones you find. I’ve got a Kevlar tandem I’d sell you that you’d love if you’d like to pop over to SW Michigan. :slight_smile:

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Thank you very much, gents.

I honestly don’t know any more 16’-17’ canoes that are 34" wide or narrower.

Water I intend to paddle with family is mostly calm and flat water. I paddle rough water, only by myself.

Unfortunately, Logistics are against me. Michigan is already too far for me to drive, not to mention Colorado :frowning:

I can car top 75 lbs without problem. So I am willing to accept heavier canoe, if it is narrow at 34" wide.

Old Town Camper 16’ is 59 lbs and 36" wide. 2" wider than what I want. Flat bottom too.

Penobscot 17 looks good. 1" too wide. Hmm…

Please don’t judge. I am buying this for family use and sometimes my family won’t paddle at all. I am going to use a long kayak paddle and sit at the bow to power the canoe (Boston is very windy and I don’t know J stroke yet). So I am not sure 35"-36" width would work for me. I don’t know any other canoes with 34" or less beam, other than OT Penobscot 16 and some expensive high end canoes like Bell, Wenonah, Northstar or Hornbeck (which is really a hybrid not a true canoe).

I am asking for names, so that I can search around. There are so many canoes around, but most are 36" or wider.

I did hear about wood gunwales and how I should unscrew gunwale screws slightly in winter.

I can’t think of many tandems that are less than 34". Mad River Explorer (34.5’) is a classic and versatile boat that you will definitely find around New England. Penobscot is a great boat - go with the 17’ if you can find it (36"). Around here (also in New England), a used RX tandem will run from $300 to $800 depending on condition. Anyone who owns a narrower, probably fiberglass, probably racing boat will probably want more money for it.

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Bell Yellowstone Tandem…
Bell Yellowstone Length: 15’6 Width: 35 max- 31 gw-32 wl Weight: 63lbs. 6" Freeboard 950lbs, Optimal Max. load: 550 lbs.

I have one and it is a bit sporty for the paddler seeking initial stability

Mad River Malecite gunwale width 34.5 inches

Swift Mattawa. But the gunwale width is 36

Kevlar is fine on lakes. We live in Maine on a lake and have mostly Kevlar or Kev carbon fiber canoes for lake paddling. We are quite familiar with rocks as there is nothing around here that is not rock. ( Our house is built on sheer rock)

Way outside your budget but take a look at the Placid Boat Works Ohneka Gunwale width 28

You said you would be double blading… True the power comes from the bow but the stern has to at least know how to rudder. Pack Canoes are ideal for stability as you are down low aka kayak but are open and also light.

Check out the Nomad solo /tandem from Hornbeck

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A couple of others older designs to look for:

Sawyer Cruiser - one of the sweetest paddling hulls out there. Ours is 30 years old, has always lived outside, and is “goldenglass” - similar to the one below in Michigan.

Wenonah Jensen 17’ (or the Jensen 18’) Shorter & more stable than the J2. I had a 18’ for years & found it reasonably stable.

Found in Michigan on the “Sawyer & Other Michigan Canoes” facebook group. Just as a reference as I do understand not wanting to travel a long ways for a buy.

1980s Sawyer Cruiser Canoe 17’9 L.O.A 33’ Beam, 12 1/2 Deep Weight 68 lbs
Good condition , stored inside few scuffs $750.00

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I totally agree with the Wenonah Jensen 17 and Sawyer Cruiser. The Bluewater Freedom Tripper 17 (33 inch width) would be a great choice but they are rare. If you can find a Mad River Malecite I think you’d like it…there are a lot of them out there. There are several Blackhawk tandems that fit your requirements but again fairly rare. There’s a Bell Northstar in the classifieds that’s way over your price range but it’s a great boat that wouldn’t depreciate much if you could swing it…it’s been in the ads for a long time so maybe you could get it for around 1800. Based on your stated desires I think the Jensen 17 is a top choice since it’s very fast and would work quite well solo. I can’t think of any fast/narrow Royalex boats other than those mentioned. There’s also a fiberglass Old Town Canadienne on Craigslist near you and I don’t know the specs and haven’t paddled one but people seem to like it…maybe you can read the reviews on it.

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You are a very light pair for sure. You certainly don’t need a 17’ boat unless you are considering some long expeditions. Actually a 15 footer like the Dagger Reflection 15 would fit you well. There is also a Reflection 16. Both are 34’ beam I believe. They were made in regular Royalex and also R-Lite which was Royalex without the vinyl layers. Wonderful hulls that show up occasionally on Craigslist and canoe classifieds.

You have a winter to look and wait for the right boat. Watch craigslist listings out to the distance you feel you would travel. I don’t think 6 hours is too far for a boat that you will use for years, maybe decades.

Don’t get too big a boat for your weight. It will be a pain in the wind.

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Just 3.5 hours away. A long day trip for sure, but a decent hull at a good price. It is unclear to me if it is Royalex or R-Lite.

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Thank you very much, gents.

Savage River also has the Deep Creek in about the size you want.

If you don’t mind a light weight 18’6" boat, their Susquehanna is a spectacular boat. It is the fastest standard model boat out there and is still quite stable.

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I also would recommend the Dagger Reflection boats to you. They (both 15 & 16) fit your specs. I own and paddle both of them, usually solo in the 15 and with a partner in the larger boat. Both show a good turn of speed and track well. I use them where I want to cover distance and not where tight maneuvering is needed. Several of them showed up on Craigslist in CT over the past year. There was one not long ago on the classified ads here. Edit: It is still there, but it is the 17, not the 16.


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Hey TomL, agree on the Bluewater Freedom 17 Tripper…brought a friend with me up into Canada to one of their season opening demo daze, back in the early 90s, and got to paddle that Freedom 17, what a terrific boat…just didn’t have the spending cash but left kicking myself, mentally, all the way back to W.Roxbury, MA…lol. Northstar is carrying on Bell’s fleet. I don’t off hand know what Ted? at Hemlock has for tandems but his hulls are as stiff as anything out there… That Jensen 17 and no doubt the 18 are rockets as well. As it is a fast tandem the 17, when paddled solo, can be a bear to turn back into the wind if you’re on a downwind trajectory…not much rocker(in the 90s models). One would have had to experiment with its heeling…

Yes the Freedom Tripper 17 is quite a unique boat. It’s even pretty hot solo and spins like a freestyle boat. I can tell you that with the shallow vee design it can be pretty thrilling when the dog shifts her weight. Tandem it would just ignore high wind. I sold mine but would get another and also kind of regret not buying the one that Bluewater recommended…which was a Kevlar with skin coat. Many years ago my favorite dealer had a “special edition” in carbon lay-up with red metalflake with mahogany/cherry trim but one of their employees took it. I still think about that boat. My brother tried mine and ran in straight up a concrete launch ramp…and that was my “better” brother. Don’t lend good boats to amateurs.

Ted ( Bell) would be at Northstar
Dave( Curtis) at Hemlock The Eaglet is a big solo little tandem

Thanks for the heads up on names(ie Dave Curtis at Hemlock) kayamedic…

Here are a couple more. Mad River Malecite. Blue water Freedom 17. Both are 33 inch beam. Craigslist for New England,especially Maine, is good territory.

Thank you all for your advice.

I ended up getting a Mad River Jensen C2 spec’ed canoe. It is made of kevlar and weight less than 40 lbs.

I tried it alone today, sitting at bow (with stern loaded with 40 lbs of weight), using a 213cm kayak paddle. About 12mph wind. No stability issues. I am medium-sized at 5’9" and 140 lbs.

I found it difficult to turn in the wind with some current, as expected. But overall I love it.

I am selling my Swift Temagami canoe (17’, 37" and 40lbs Kevlar) and am keeping the Mad River Jensen.