Need Advice Chosing a Canoe

I need advice from more experienced paddlers. I’ve searched consumer reviews to little avail.

I want to purchase an entry-level leisure canoe and am debating between the Pelican 15.5, Dakota (15.5 x 37in W) and the Old Town Rockport (14 x 42 W).

I’d like to read pros and cons on both models. Thanks.

Don’t plan on…
…going to far in the Rockport. Too wide but unreal stable. This canoe is the extreme stable. Requires a motor almost to appreciate.


– Last Updated: Feb-15-10 10:27 PM EST –

Unless you plan on very limited use, like at a lake house or something for the kids to play around with on a pond. Both are quite heavy and not made of the best stuff and as B-O-B mentioned above the Rockport is very wide. Neither one is very durable if you live somewhere with shallow water and Neither are much fun to paddle.

Last October, my club rescued a couple in a brand new Pelican who had pinned on a bridge piling and both had their feet entrapped under the seats due to the poor hull rigidity. Both would have drowned if the center seat had not finally broken away. Needsless to say, I'm not a fan.

If cost is driving your decision, I would recommend talking a local dealer in your area and possibly checking out some used models in maybe a better Old Town or Mad River. Maybe demo a couple of models before deciding.

Nothing will put you off of paddling like getting the wrong boat.

Coffee’s gonna bust our…
…chops for this.

I agree on the “neither”. You will have more fun paddling in a beat up used Old Town Penobscot (Likely you can find one for under $300) than either of those boats. If you need to find cheaper and can stand the weight, consider the Old Town Discovery 169. If you feel you need exceptional stability, the Fisherman Eric suggested is a good option. I had one, and it is an easy boat to paddle, carry, and stand in. If you find one used and in great shape, it should be in the same price range as a new Pelican or maybe just a little more. Another similar (to the Fisherman) hull is the Old Town Osprey.

Lots of used boats out there that will work way better than either of the two you mention.

As noted above

If you’re on a budget you can pick up a used grumman or alumacraft for the same money and be way better off. Or the recommendations given will work very nicely.

A Penobscot for under $300? Show me!
I’ve never seen one anywhere near that price around central IL.

There have been several
in my neck of the woods (Dallas) on Craigslist. One of the guys in my club just picked one up for $350 that was in excellent shape. Another got a Disco 169 for $275. You have to look at the ones that just say canoe and sometimes you have to be patient, but they can be found. Especially in this tough economy, people need cash and start selling stuff they no longer n\want ot need.

Look in Sporting Goods and Boats, sometimes prople do not cross list.

Pelican… not the best choice.
I watched a couple of friends paddling a Pelican/Coleman. Many times they were actually traveling sideways when trying to go down the river. They had bust it hard to keep up with the rest of the canoes. they made it, but it was a lot of work and a lot of swearing at the boat.

used kevlar is good
The lighter is your boat the happier you will be. You can try dealers and demo days. Some plastic are much lighter than others. www.jjcanoe has excellent footrests. You really need footrests to be efficent

The old town discovery is a great choice, they are basically indestructible. You can pick up a used one from 300-500 bucks all day. I have 4 of them in the family, and I have no problem letting 10 year old kids paddle them on SLOW rivers. Good luck, and buy whatever feels good to you, alot of people will try to pressure you in to spending way to much money. Oh, by the way I paddled a old town discovery for 2 weeks in boundary waters and had no problem, and took it solo down heavy class 2 many times.

bite the bullet
spend the money and buy an old town tripper—I had one for over 25 years, sold it in 2007 and still regret selling it—stable but with enough rocker so you can enyoy WW and it holds over half a ton of stuff if you want to load it up


– Last Updated: Feb-17-10 3:53 AM EST –

About $300 total invested as shown. Lotsa life left in it.

I admit it didn't look that nice when I bought it - but it was usable even in the shape that I found it. And it did take some looking, but there aren't many Penobscots around here to begin with.

canoe #1

– Last Updated: Feb-17-10 9:28 AM EST –

Ditto others...hold out till you see something Used, either in Royalex or kevlar/something, or do some demoing before purchasing!! Might wanna try lifting a few to see what your high-end weight for portaging is..might think about getting something with increasing stability when you try to heel the thing.


They both stink
I wouldn’t get either one. You are better off getting a used quality canoe.

Thanks for the advice
Thank you all for the advice. I think I’ll look around for those models you all suggested. I’ve seen some used ones out there so I’m sure I could find something. Again, thanks!

I agree
Even a beat up one for that price would be a steal, and the Old town Disco mentioned below is not in the same class as a Penobscot.