Multipurpose canoe

Hi everybody,

As I can not afford two canoes. My wife and I paddle together and myself solo, I need to buy a canoe that fits both paddling activities.

I paddle 90% flatwater and have narrowed my choices (after reading different posts) to three models :

Bell Northstar

Wenonah Escapade

Swift Kipawa

My total paddlers’ weight is 370 lbs + 50 to 100 lbs equipment depending the trip(I am 6’, 230 lbs)

I need your experience to know if these canoes really meet my requirements and maybe some other boats ?

Bell gets my vote
Hi Canot,

I can’t knock the other boats since I haven’t paddled them, but we have a Northwind in BG and love it. Very fast and sleek, turns on a dime, much more durable than I had expected; an all around pleasure to paddle.

And the product reviews for the Northstar are 10-for-10. I paddle our boat solo and the tumblehome stabilizes beautifully. I’m planning to take it this summer on CII rivers in Quebec.

Good luck making a choice and happy paddlin’.


I also endorse the Northstar. As I said on a previous thread, it’s the easiest tandem canoe to paddle solo I’ve ever experienced. It holds a week’s worth of gear for two paddlers (~475 lbs total) while remaining fairly agile, even with relatively low freeboard. Initial stability is moderate, ultimate stability is great. Straight line speed seems to be better than many longer boats - or is that paddling skill? :slight_smile:

Wenonah and Swift make great boats, so check them out also. Good luck.

several Bells
The Northstar is way nicer boat than the Kipawa in my experience…both solo and tandem…the Kipawa is a fine boat but maybe a bit dated. The Northstar would work well for you…better tandem than solo but okay solo (it’s an incredible tandem and a reasonable solo). The Bell Starfire is a fine little 15 footer that’s still a fine tandem and would easily carry your load, but would be much more fun for you solo. The Swift Mattawa is a way cool boat but your max load may be a bit high…but if you’re within the boat’s intended range…up to about 430 or so (I’m sure you could push this a little), it’s a great boat both tandem and solo…again more of a true solo boat than the Northstar. The Bell Morningstar would work fine for you too.

If you plan to paddle mostly solo my recommendation is the Bell Starfire or the Swift Mattawa. Overall the Starfire is the most versatile since it carries more weight than the Mattawa…plus you can order a center seat which is more comfy than a kneeling thwart.

From what I remember

– Last Updated: Jul-06-08 9:54 AM EST –

from serious test paddling the NorthStar,
I can say that compared to the Kipawa, the NorthStar:
* is less wide at the paddle stations
* is a little bit more maneuverable with more control from the stern
* pitches a little more in waves, and therefore possibly
is a bit harder to paddle in waves than the Kipawa?
* has an aluminum gunwale with a more comfortable shape on
the underside to lift the canoe or to touch with your knees, if you are inclined to paddle that way.
* has less sophisticated seats than those from Swift.

Mad River Malecite (eom)

Of the three, get the Bell.

– Last Updated: Mar-19-04 4:43 AM EST –

You did not say where you are from and your profile does not show, but if you are anywhere a Souris River Canoe you should give them a serious look as well.


more worth looking at would be,Wenonah-Solo plus,and Dagger Reflection(mho).