Need some canoeing advice

As of recently my interest in canoeing has been peaked. I have enjoyed all that encompasses the outdoors sice my early childhood in the mountains of western NC. My canoeing background is limited to a few trips on small lakes and ponds. I am looking to purchase a canoe for the purpose of taking it on lakes and slow moving rivers. I would need a canoe that seats 2 people, is durable enough to withstand some minor rapids, lightweight, and one that is easily fished from. I have been pricing some canoes but my knowledge of them is very limited and wanted to ask for advice from more experienced paddlers. Are inflatable canoes even a viable options? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Your choices
are nearly limitless, but I wouldn’t include inflatables among them. What brands are offered in your area? Might be better to let us know what’s offered, otherwise you’ll have 100 different models offered, all of them right.

Old Town Penobscot 16
I don’t know anything about fishing, so I’ll leave that aspect to others. You don’t say what your budget is for weight and cost (“lightweight” means what?).

One approach would be to buy the cheapest 16-foot used canoe you can easily get your hands on, learn what you like and don’t like about it, and then sell it and buy something better.

My favorite compromise-on-everything tandem canoe is the Penobscot 16. It’s tough enough and maneuverable enough for Class 2 rapids (but get a little whitewater instruction first). It’s fast enough that it won’t be a total hog on flatwater. It’s light enough that one person can portage it without cussing too much. It’s not that expensive. It can be soloed nicely if there’s not a lot of wind. There’s room for reasonable camping gear (maybe not enough if you want to bring two kegs and the dog).

From either of those starting points, you can move to different boats. There are a lot of canoes out there that might meet your requirements.

– Mark

Stick with ABS, and check out some
Wenonah designs in Roswell, at gowiththeflow. You should be able to get a 16 footer that sits firm for fishing, and has tolerable speed.

Yes, your choices are almost
limitless. Lots of good canoes out there that would work for you. I’d suggest a sixteen foot canoe since it can be paddled solo or tandem and has enough displacement to hold gear for an extended trip. A MR Explorer would be a good choice or one of the many Prospector clones. A Prospector is mostly a river canoe though. Bill Mason thought it the ideal canoe design. A Royalex canoe would be desired if you expect to encounter lots of rock gardens. If not, and you can afford one, I’d suggest a kevlar layup since they are a lot lighter. My eighteen foot kevlar tripping canoe weighs less than my 14 ft Roylex solo canoe. I’d stay away from the plastic boats if you can since they weight a lot more than the Royalex canoes. They are a good value though, so I wouldn’t discount them, but simply they wouldn’t be my first choice. Go for price since your requirements are so general that it wouldn’t make too much sense to spend a lot more for any particular canoe. Look through the product reviews and you will get some ideas of what to look for. You’ll find most negative reviews are from people who bought the wrong canoe for the type of paddling they are going to do. You don’t want a canoe with a lot of rocker on a lake or a lake canoe on a river. If you want to paddle on both lakes and rivers find a canoe that is a compromised design with some rocker for the river but not too much for lake paddling. Just about any sixteen foot canoe would be great for fishing.

1st canoe
Wenonah makes a great hull, that’s for sure. I own & much enjoy a number of them. They also have a very informative catalog that offers great info on different hull materials, shapes, & advantages & trade offs of each. If you’ve a local dealer stop in, pick up a catalog, read & study it to become a more informed buyer.

Try before you buy is the mantra & even more important for someone new to the sport.

That said you can’t go wrong w/ a 16 Penobscot. Despite owning a # of lighter, faster hulls, don’t believe you can find one more versatile.

Enjoy the learning curve !

A few to consider
Mad River Explorer 16 rx

We No Nah Spirit II

Nova Craft Prospector 16

Mohawk Nova 16

Second the royalex and Penobscot
I fish almost exclusively from a canoe (either a solo or tandem) My tandem choice is a 16 foot Penobscot in royalex. Light, durable, a regular pack horse (for those week long adventures), manuverable, at home on lakes and rivers, and affordable.

But as said before - there are many choices - so try several out.

Bell Morningstar
We purchased just over a year ago a Bell Morningstar, it is 15’6" in Royalex.

We have done all that you state you want to

do with no problems.

My DH (love him) is 250 lbs and I am 135 lbs

and we take our 10 lb dog with us also.

We’ve even had a 3rd person in there who weighed

around 175 lbs with no problems (other then she wasn’t paddling…hahaha)