Need help on selecting right canoe!

-- Last Updated: Mar-04-06 10:29 AM EST --

Hi,New to board. I have some experience in kayaking, but very little with canoes. I am looking for a a canoe that I can go solo or tandem. I will be using it for inland lakes and midwestern rivers. Hardly any whitewater-rather portage.
I will be paddling mostly tandem in rivers,and mostly solo in lakes. I believe my best choice is a canoe in the 14-15 foot range. I need to have a descent capacity load to it also. I hope this is not to vague. Any suggestions on styles or models would be much appreciated.
My partners experience varies from young daughter-none, to brother with limited experience.
I am 6'1'' and 200 lbs., anyone that I will be canoeing with is either equal my weight or lighter.


– Last Updated: Mar-04-06 10:00 AM EST –

That's a topic that comes up a lot here. Try searching the archive for past threads on that topic. Here's one:

If you could tell us your size and weight, your intended load, and if you'll be mostly solo or mostly tandem, that'd help.

Boats commonly mentioned for that role include the Old Town Penobscot 16, the Wenonah Solo Plus, and the Bell MorningStar or NorthStar.

I've got a MorningStar (Royalex) that works nicely as a solo kneeling -- it's very solid up on edge, and easy to turn. Like any tandem, it can be a handful in strong winds when lightly loaded. If you'll be doing a lot of open lake paddling you might prefer something with stronger tracking.

Beam is probably more important than length for comfortable soloing.

little more information
what about your partner? what is thier experience? What part of Ohio are you in anyways? I am in the North East. If you are close I have a new Solo-Plus on the way, we could meet up and i could let you try it (depending on if You have a cooler kayak than I do)

I am betting that you will end up with a Penobscot though. they are pretty nice for everthing (size, weight, design, durability)

Keep us informed


similar to kayaking
Most of the design tradoffs are the same as with kayaks: More load capacity means more wind-catching freeboard when lightly loaded. More manuverability means looser tracking. Less weight usually costs more money. Stability is often traded for speed.

Beam is important in a canoe for solo use because you want to put the paddle in the water with a vertical shaft. If you want to paddle hit & switch from a center seat a beamy tandem may force an uncomfortable reach. Look at the specs on some solo boats for comparison.

A lot of your kayaking skills will transfer to the canoe. I didn’t appreciate canoes until I started kayaking.

Remeber that in a canoe it’s fairly easy to change the seat position, seat height, and thwart locations if the stock setup doesn’t work for you.

Center seats are factory or dealer options on many tandems.

Don’t be afraid to buy something used.

The Wenonah website & catalog have some good basic information on canoes.

How young is your daughter? If she’s…
…6 or 7, she might be ready soon for her own little rec. kayak, which could flotilla right along with you. You’d probably never get her out of it.

solo/ tandem
Biggest secret is the Wenonah Encounter, sold as a solo boat. Refit as a tandem/solo convertible and you have a rocket ship that will blow off a Jensen 17. It’s perfect for big water and is no slouch as a solo. Check out product reviews for the Encounter for a better description of handling and mods. If I was Wenonah I’d market it as the Encounter II…but then again what would I do with all the unsold Solo Pluses.

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