Need Some Canoe Advice

Im looking for some advice on purchasing a canoe for use on a lake. Ill primarily be using it in coves, but may get into some boat wake or wind. I’ve been told that Mad River Explorer or Old Town guide would be good choices. Any opinions on either, or possibly a Mad River Teton(used) … or maybe something else entirely?Thanks for your help

We’ve enjoyed…
our Wenonah Spirit II on lakes…

It all depends on your intended use,
fishing, photography, paddling for excercise, tripping and the number of people and gear (cargo)you will carry. Are you thinking solo or tandem or more than two people? Are you more concerned about stability or performance? There are lots of great boats available but not one that will satisfy all needs or conditions. More information would help us offer better advice. Remember it is only advice (i.e. our opinion.) The final decision needs to be yours.

Thanks for the Advice so for…need more!
Thanks for the advice so far. I have a house on a 35,000 acre with alot of open water. I wouldnt generally go into the open water, but rather stay in the coves near the home. I would want the ability to paddle solo, but would also frequently have a partner. I want something sturdy since I have college age kids that will be bringing friends etc…who knows what abuse it will end up taking. It is solely for recreational paddling. No need for speed, but needs to be stable I will have some very novice users at times. Bottom line…its just going to be a play boat that I can have some fun with.

solo, the Guide is out
The Guide by Old Town (not to be confused with the Old Town Guide, one of their wood classics) is not a good choice for even occasional solo paddling. The boat’s too wide for solo use, and the molded seats are not amenable to turning the boat around and solo paddling from the bow seat. The Mad River Explorer 14 TT, on the other hand, lends itself well to convertible use, being 5 inches narrower and with bench style seats. The Teton is, I believe, just the earlier name for the Explorer 14 TT.

Don’t forget Wenonah
The Solo Plus is a great boat for lakes etc. Very stable, comfortable boat.

college age kids???
I’d go for the “pelican” with the can holders and built in cooler.

MR Explorer
I’ve got a 16’ Explorer. I consider it more of a river boat than a lake boat. Tandem it’s OK on lakes but solo it’s a bear in the wind. It is not a particularly fast or efficient boat.

It is pretty stable and rugged. Waves won’t bother it much. It really comes into it’s own with a little current under the hull.


Thanks all for your advice. Daggermat; thats what Im afraid of, If I got the pelican with the cupholders, I’d never get it back from the kids. I didnt know this canoe buying thing would be such a hard decision. I grew up in the boy scounts and we paddled aluminum canoes in rivers and lakes all over the country and since we didnt have a choice, the aluminum was great. Thanks again for the advice folks!

Go for a tandem symetrical design with
web or woven seats and you have a boat that can be used well solo by paddling reverse from the bow seat. I have a Bob Special that is a good stable boat, handles two well and paddles solo well.


– Last Updated: Jan-04-06 9:54 PM EST –

Just so you know, daggermat was kidding about the Pelican! You want something that won't be a burden to paddle or carry! (Just playing it safe here, since you say you're new to the choices that are out there)

I disagree about the guide
The old town guide is actually wide enough to make a good solo row boat by installing a seat in the middle and oarlocks on the gunnels. If you want a canoe instead of a rowboat then I really liked my Mad river 14tt and will likely get another one.

or buy something
with pointy ends that floats and have fun. I was kidding about the pelican though. Seeing as you’re on a lake you don’t really have to worry about transport weight. I see people having the same fun in everything from inner tubes to kevlar canoes. As the nike adv. says “just do it!”

Explorer 14 TT…
The MR Explorer is my first (and current) canoe… Being relatively ‘new’ to this game, I found it to be reasonably priced, comfortable sitting in it for hours, relatively lightweight ( No it’s not a 28 lbs canoe, but it doesn’t cost $2K either… more like $500-$600), and durable.

However, I do have to agree with TommyC - and I am not sure why (high profile ?) it can be a ‘bear’ in open water and wind… but as a recreational user I don’t see that as much of a concern.

Mine is only 14’ and I usually go solo - given your intended use - you would probably go with the 16’ - good luck in your search - happy paddling!