Material & tandem model for class I-III

I live in western NC and would like to tackle the Tuckasegee and Little Tennessee Rivers. Both have rocky ledges, but not generally the fast water of, say, the Nantahala.

Currently we enjoy a kevlar Wenonah Prism and an old, but wonderful fiberglass Jensen 17.

Would one of Wenonah’s tuf-weave canoes, like an Escape, do without self-destructing?

Or is Royalex the way to go? And is there a boat that you’d also recommend for flat water enjoyment as well?

I know this is pretty basic stuff, but I just got the canoe bug a few months ago and am learning as fast as I can.


I paddle the Tuck and Little T and
I don’t think a Wenonah Escape is the right tandem for those rivers. Too sharp-ended, too little rocker. Tuff Weave is a pretty good composite material, but Royalex is really better. Wenonah has the Rogue and Cascade which are OK. You could look at an Esquif Vertige X, or a Bell Nexus or Alaskan. NOC can get them for you. It’s a matter of how much lake speed and capability do you want to retain versus how much easy maneuverability do you want. If you go all the way to a Mad River (Dagger) Caption, for example, you’ll have wonderful Nantahala handling, but a Caption is kind of a pig on a lake. The other boats I mentioned are more of a compromise. Look at that Bell Alaskan.

Many thanks to g2 for the advice

Second the Royalex
The Tuck and Little T both can be pretty bony in places, depending on water levels. The Little T also requires a ton of “run small ledge, spin, ferry to other side of river, run small ledge, repeat” moves, so you want decent maneuverability. Along with the other boats mentioned, an Old Town Appalachian or Dagger (now Mad River) Legend 15 would work. I’d pick one of those over the Alaskan, actually. The Alaskan handles about the same as the other two, but it’s not very deep and would be pretty wet running through something like the Little T Narrows.

2nd the Wenonah Cascade
Have owned one for 10 years and have used it on the Waterfound & Fon-du-lac Rivers of Northern Saskatchewan and the Pipestone River in Ontario, all of which had plenty of class I-III runs. Handled great loaded and though we called her ‘Ms. Piggy’ at first sight coming off of Wenonah’s delivery truck, we renamed her ‘Dancing Ms. Piggy’ after our first few sets of rapids on the Waterfound. Holds a load of gear or people and not all too bad on the flats on calm H2o sections either. My paddling bud has borrowed her for trips on the Rio Grand and the Nantahala Rivers with equal admiration.