need advice on canoe purchase

Hi all-

I’m new here but have been reading reviews and this forum with great interest. I’m about to buy a new ABS canoe (can’t afford glass or kevlar) for multi-purpose use, some solo, some tandem with my wife. Top three caoes so far: Bell Morningstar 15’ 6", Old Town Penobscot 16’, Wenonah 16’.

I intend to use the boat for fun and masters degree research (in the short term) on rivers in the northwest, mostly WA for now but could be ID, OR, and MT. Home rivers are Yakima/Naches, if anyone knows them. Slow to moderate current, rocky bottoms, some logs. I will be dragging the canoe ashore a lot onto cobble bars. I used to canoe a bit back east but haven’t for a long time, and I feel comfortable on the water-probably a beginner to moderate skill level.

I would greatly appreciate comments and advice on the relative merits of the boats I listed plus any others I might want to look at.



Of the three choices
I like the Old Town better than the wenona. Don’t know about the bell

My neighbor has a Penob
Great boat according to him. Until recently, I owned an OT Scout. It was a great boat all around boat but a tad heavy. The OT Appalachian is the same boat as the Scout but is Royalex and approx 10# lighter. (still heavier than the Penob though) You might want to check it out. Be ready to fork out about a grand for a new one. Good luck.

I didn’t know they made the…
OT Penobscot out of ABS.

Mine is royalex.

I think it is a great boat, and my wife and I like it but I don’t know about the others, so I can’t make a comparison.

I wouldn’t drag any boat on rocks or gravel even a ABS one.



WHICH Wenonah?
Wenonah makes at least four 16’ Royalex boats, each very different from the others.

If you’re looking at the Aurora, it’s similar in shape to the Penob 16, but the thicker sheet of Royalex that Wenonah specifies makes for a stiffer boat. The Adirondack is more recreational in concept, with a flatter bottom shape - perhaps a little draggier than the Penob, but with higher initial stability.

Prospector 16 is based on the Chestnut design, good choice for faster rivers and a more traditional look. And the Kingfisher is a big sport boat; great for fishing, not so much for paddling.

2 of 3

– Last Updated: Jul-13-07 6:22 AM EST –

Between the Bell and the OT, the Penobscot tracks better and is faster. The Morningstar is more maneuverable and a bit more stable.

All of those canoes come in Royalex, not ABS.

I think I’d opt for the Old Town Penobscott 16. That’s pretty nice do-it-all boat.

The Bell Morningstar is a close second.

As far as wenonah, I like their boats and currently own a Prospector 16, which I love … as a tandem. Some people will solo in them but I think it is too much to handle solo.

Other wenonah 16 foot(ish) canoes are the Adirondack, Aurora, Escapade, Rouge, and Solo Plus. The Rouge is a whitewater boat. Neither the Adirondack nor Aurora solo well (IMHO). The Solo Plus is OK as a solo, but does not perform well as a tandem.

IMHO, the best cross over boat (ie solo and tandem) that wenonah has is the Escapade. However, it is the only one of those above NOT offered in royalex.

The Nova Crafy Bob Special is another nice cross over boat. But of the ones you have listed I think the P16 is the one to go with.

The Bell
We have a Bell Morningstar for about 18 months now and we like it a lot.

Of course, it is our first canoe.

But we have paddled others and we have no


Hubby is about 250lbs and I am about 135lbs and we take along our 11 lb dog and usually paddle 9-10 miles each time we go out.

Good luck with your choice.


Royalex is ABS

– Last Updated: Jul-13-07 11:47 AM EST –

ABS layers, ABS foamed core an' vinyl outer skin.


You are right and I was wrong
I never stop learning.

I always thought it was a single unique mterial.

thanks for the correction,



Hey Jack
Here’s a nice diagram on de composition of Royalex for yer information.

Fat Elmo