need a wilderness tripper

ok… so i posted something similar on the paddlers place forum, but have had little feed back… I am looking for a wilderness tripping canoe. I own a penobscott 16 royalex, and a ranger otter, i love them both for diff uses. I like the ranger but my party for my trip has expanded from me and my dog to me my dog and my brother, so i was looking for a longer canoe with more capacity. I really like the shallow v of my ranger in rough water, some say the shallow arch when loaded is just as good… what are your thoughts from the experienced trippers here? I reviewed and searched the reviews and products here, and the one i find fits my needs best is the new mad river expedition series 186, with all three of us and gear, i think we will need the room… I have been to the Quetico 3 times when i was 13, 15, and 17 for week long trips, but used a 17’ allumacraft for all three. I am open to suggestions for boats etc, and this will be almost the only thing i use this canoe for, annual trips with my dog and bro to the Q…weight wise I am 215+/- my dog 90 and my brother 190 plus roughly 200 lbs of gear food and fishing gear i am guessing, we plan on going for about 8 or 9 days in the park. If anyone from the other forum reads this, i do appreciate your advise, just looking for more feedback…

wenonah MN 2 nm

Wenonah Champlain
The Minnnesota II is a great tripping canoe that will go fast with a load and will carry what you are suggesting. But your past experience in AlumiCraft and the other mentioned canoes suggest you might be more comfortable in a more stable canoe.

Test paddle both the MN-II and Champlain. The Champlain is 18’ in length, but much fuller over its length than the MN-II. It was designed for big guys and big loads. It is not a slug by any means, it will outdistance all the other canoes you mention with your specified load. Only the MN-II has more speed and there is a loss of stability vs the Champlain to get that speed.


also add in a Northwoods (Bell)
Another good tripper, particularly in BlackGold layup…but not inexpensive, but what isn’t these days.


I would not buy a thing
for the next trip rent from an outfitter in the area.

Looks like you may have rented from Canoe Canada as they have Aluma craft.

Rent a Wenonah from them.

for the info guys… no i never rented, week long scout trips, my tropp had a total of 15 aluma canoes… I thought about renting, but haven’t looked into it yet. I also did look at some bell canoes, the north woods and shore… my main prob is there is no high end retailer around here to try a demo… i will prob have to find a expo or something and try a couple there maybe

i think you may be right… it will only cost about $300 roughly for the 8 days we will be out, it would take 10 years of trips almost to recoup for the canoe i would buy for almost only those trips…

Wilderness Tripper
I have a Swift Temagami in the Expedition Kevlar layup. It’s 17’6", loads of capacity and very stable for fishing even when daytripping without much gear. If you aren’t planning any whitewater use, then you could avoid the royalex and save 30lbs of canoe weight. I’m not sure what availability would be like in your area.


“No your other left”

When we went in for 12 days in ‘73, we
took our own 18.5’ supercanoe because it was fast and could handle heavy water. But, being inexperienced campers, we rented or bought nearly all the rest from an Ely outfitter.

Wrong way to do it! Our canoe was over 80 pounds, too hard to portage. The outfitter’s food was mediocre, and there was too much of it!

Kayakmedic is right. Rent a boat, bring your own gear and food. AND you won’t need to buy a Minnesota canoe permit for your boat.

What is most always a good pick…
>rent from an outfitter in the area…

I have seen outfitters give
clients a huge jar of peanut butter that would last a whole family of five two weeks eating it every meal for a party of two on a four day trip. And jelly to match!

You can do your own backpack food shopping in the market…and we digress cause you never said you would ever ask for complete outfitting…

just had to pass along what I saw on a trip as I passed a couple at lunch. I thought the poor things were being tortured on their BWCAW trip.

rent to own
check with several outfitters

most will sell you a used canoe, and some may apply the rental fee towards purchase

you don’t need a brand new canoe - if you like the model you rent, and get a decent deal from the outfitter, your all set. If you don’t like it, then don’t buy that model

thats cool, i didn’t know some would do that and apply the fee, that is a pretty good deal, esp since they seem to sell the used at a good price from what i have seen to boot…

I appreciate eveyones advice, thank you

Souris and Wenonah
The Souris River canoes and Wenonah canoes seem to be two of the most popular. Here is my summary:

Souris - More stable, much easier to repair/refinish, tougher.

Wenonah - Much more sophisticated design, more efficient and faster.

Both are quite comfortable, and well made canoes. If buying a used souris, look for cracks along the chine. If buying a used wenonah, look for any breaks in the foam core.

I’m with them but…
I’ll go along with renting. It saves you gas getting there (car that gets 35 instead of my truck or mini van with a canoe strapped to the top) which offsets some of the rental costs. Never thought about rent to own but if your only gonna use it once a year I wouldn’t even do that. If you do you are back to having to haul it which negates any gas savings and once you own it you have to maintain it.

But…200lbs in gear?!. Some cutting back may be in order unless you aren’t portaging at all. For seven days we generally carry about 130lbs and are gonna cut back on that some. Definetly wouldn’t want anymore. On the dog food note, buy a pack for the dog and make him carry it.


Other Choice
Bluewater Freedom in either the 17’ or the 17’9" version. I like the 17’ version. It’s my favorite canoe for the BWCA and slow moving rivers. Both are efficient and stable. They turn better than a MN II.

The bonus is you can also build these models out of cedar strips.

Rental suitability
Just one quick caveat about rentals - they do tend to be pretty specific to the area and the needs of the outfitters. For example, it seems the Minnesota 2 in ultralight core is the most popular boat in the Boundary Waters. I agree it is a fantastic canoe, but not really versatile, and unless weight was paramount or I was racing, I would go with flex-core on any Wenonah. Another example would be the poly boats that river outfitters use - good boats when new, but very hard to repair and really heavy, so not the most versatile. For a personal boat, I would usually choose royalex over poly.

You Know, I Would Look At Renting Too
A Wenonah Champlaign or Bell Northwoods are two hulls I would feel comfortable in if I were paddling with a dog in the BWCAW/Quetico. You HAVE two good boats, if you would only use the tripper infrequently… I actually traded in my Ranger for a Bell Northwind to have more capacity for tripping. The Bell got used 1-2 times a year while I used the Ranger 1-2 times a week. After about 4 years I sold the little-used Bell.

I WISH I had opted to keep my Ranger and RENT a lightweight tripper since I don’t take 2-3 tandem wilderness trips a year like I once did. The only downside I see is you won’t be as intimately familiar with the boat as you will with one you own. But I think the benefits of renting outweigh buying in this case IMHO. BTW, here’s a pic of my old Ranger. WW

Well, the best input that I could give…
Is cut down on the gear weight/Quantity. Do everything you can to dissipate that.

As a avid soloist and lightweight hiker, My gear weight is 47.265 lbs (I am 158) & my dogs gear weight is 21.876 lbs (She is 162).

Sounds strange to some, but-

“ounces = pounds over distance”.

The same is true for dimension-

“size = mass over area”

Get rid of anything that is equal to surface area. ie: wrappers off canned goods (identify with a sharpie), take items that are in a cardboard box out & put into zip-lock bags (unless already bagged in the box, then just discard the box). Get rid of “redundant equipment”. Carry “multi-use” items. Only take the maximum cookery (do you really need three different pans and 5 different pots? Learn the "one/two dish cooking method). Etc. Etc…

This should open a DRASTIC amount of room in an existing canoe & save $$$$.$$ in the long run.

Just for alittle example, I use a 9ft kayak if I am by myself. I also use a 16ft canoe if it is me and the dogs (162lb English Mastiff & 48lb English Bulldog). And no boat at all if it is just me & the Mastiff hiking. So you see, my two dogs = you… I = your brother & the gear = about 1/2 yours, all in a similar boat. LOL

Paddle easy,