New to canoeing

My wife and I are in our early 50’s and are looking for a canoe we would be using a small lakes to fish with and just paddle around.Since this is our first canoe we dont want to spend a fortune we would like something versatile and not to heavy.Any SUGGESTIONS would be helpful

Old Town Camper

I concurr
Despite it’s pedestrian name, it would more than meet your needs and it is readily available almost everywhere (even by mail order!).

The elitist crowd will recommend that you buy boats that are lighter and faster, but they’ll be harder to find and much more expensive boats. While you may get a better boat, the trade-offs aren’t really worth the extra hassle and expense.

Truth be told, for a beginner the sticker price of the Camper might seem expensive when compared to what you could buy at WallyWorld.

In this case, however, the trade-off is worth the extra money over a Pelican, Coleman, or whatever else you can find for half the price as there is a minimum level of performance you don’t want to dip below.

Crucial Missing Info
Your and your wife’s paddling experiences are pretty critical in order to make any serious recommendation (eg. Can you proficiently paddle in a straight line; Does “tippy” make either of you nervous; Do you need drink holders? Will you want to take this canoe out by yourself?

Also does your (or your wife’s) back hurt at the thought of a dead lift from the ground of 40+ pounds? Remember that lift includes turning it over and extending it over the top of your car.

Enjoy paddling … in the right canoe!

How To Lift A Canoe
Lifting a canoe is not as difficult as some might imagine. Done properly, even an 80 lb boat goes up easily on your shoulders. Check this link for step-by-step instructions. They do advise practicing 2-4 hours a day, but I think they were just being silly. Once you get the knack of working with the weight of the boat, rather than against it, it lifts easily

Have fun!

a 50+ paddler

I am a 59 year old paddler.
I frequently paddle alone but on occasion I paddle with my lady friend. Even so, I do all the lifting, loading, etc. So for me, weight is important. My solo boats weigh in less than 42 pounds each (33 and 42). My two tandems weigh 58 pounds each. Not only is weight a factor in loading but so is length. My 15 foot tandem is much easier to load on top of my truck (with a cap) than my 16-2 boat which weighs the same.

So from my take, try to keep you weight down to less than 60 pounds. You could check the P.Net classifieds and see if there is a used boat in your area that would fit your needs. I don’t know where you are located but www.ozarkcanoe sells Old Town boats (including the Camper) at reasonable rates and will ship reasonably also.

If you are in Illinois or close, I have a good tandem Nova Craft I will sell. It is currently on the P.Net classified ads.

You might want to consider…
…TWO solo canoes, for instance the Old Town Pack, which is light and cheap (read about it in “Product Reviews” to the left). I’m 71, & started with a Pack a few years ago, now own a kevlar WNN Voyager, which is lighter yet. My wife, who is younger, paddles a recreational kayak. With solos, it’s far easier to communicate (I’m hard of hearing), because we can be side by side, each can explore byways independent of the other (or fishing spots), etc. If you are extremely careful about balance, you can even grab a smooch! Try that in a tandem canoe. You can still carry each canoe together to and from the water.

Where are you Giants Fan born in '54?
I’m still hoping that the original poster will respond to the questions about his and his wife’s canoeing abilities.

I am pretty sympathetic to his purchasing challenge. I bought my first canoe at post-50 and was really perplexed by the tradeoffs involving maneuverability, durability, sea worthiness, and weight. It was probably a years worth of canoe stores,, reading, and talking to other paddlers before I could really balance out my priorities.

Where are you on your decision Fangiant54?

Missing info
SORRY for the late follow up.We can paddle in a straight line.I think we would always be together in the canoe.drink holders would be nice.My wife does have a weak back.I dont think the weight would be to much of an issue?THANKS FOR EVERYONES INPUT!

again, it depends
From what you’ve indicated, the real question is just how much you’d like to spend to avoid how much weight. There are any number of options that would suit your needs just fine, but only you can prioritize spending vs weight savings. Frankly, I feel that lift weight, while very important, is made less important by gizmos such as the fabulous T loader. (Google canoe loader or goto Cabela’s and enter canoe loader.) It makes loading a 16ft canoe onto a tall SUV or truck a one person snap for anybody that can lift just one end of a canoe up over the height of the vehicle.

OK, you want specific recomendations? There’s a reason that so many canoe rental fleets are full of 16’ Mad River Explorer TTs. That’s a good boat at a good price, and is beginner friendly. Another boat that makes up a bulk of rental fleets is the Old Town Discovery 158. Really, it’s hard to go too far wrong with any of the 15-16ft offerings from Mad River or Old Town Canoe. Both of the one’s mentioned so far are heavy, and relatively inexpensive. You can pay a lot more and drop the weight down into the 50-60lbs range. Many people, (including myself), feel that the Royalex boats are worth the extra $$$. But, the aforementioned canoe loader can really even out the score for a lot less $$.

What do you expect to spend, and how much of a weight penalty are you willing to accept to save $$$? That really is what a lot of this comes down to at the early stages, before you realize why spending more to get just exactly the hull you want makes sense.

There is a better way…
and you never even have to pick up the total weight of the canoe before it gets to your shoulders.

It is how I portage my 80 pound OT disco, and I am 20 years your senior.

1.With the canoe upside down on the ground and the bow against some immovable object like a tree or big rock -

2 Pick up just the stern from the very back.

3 Keeping yourself centered raise the back up in the air (like lifting a barbell) and walk forward under it, suffeling your hands forward on the gunnels as you get it higher and higher (all the time keeping the bow on the ground.

4. When you are under the portage yoke let the canoe settle down on your shoulders and let the bow come up parallel with the stern and you are ready to go.

If you are setting it down, do the exact same only in reverse.

The key is the immovable object at the bow, or else the bow will skid along the ground and you will wear the heck out of it.

On my 39 pound Jensen, I do it like your pictures, but if you have a heavy boat that is a easy way to hurt your back.