Nova Craft PAL 16 on the NFCT, Allagash, etc

Looking for input from folks who’ve paddled the Nova Craft PAL 16 for tripping (week long 100-150 miles) on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Allagash, BWCA, and similar areas.

Two paddlers (6ft, 180lbs; 5", 110lbs; occasional dog.). Currently fitting comfortably with gear in a 15’ 5" older Royalex that’s about done in.

Aware of some other choices, but interested specifically in feedback on the PAL.

Thanks in advance.

R U still looking for feedback on a Nova PAL?

Always - I’d appreciate it.

I’ve not paddled the Pal in the boundry waters but have on numerous lakes in Wyoming & rivers here in Tx. Also a solo trip down the Buffalo for 5 days. I would not hesitate to take it to the Boundary Waters.
I’m 6’1" at 200 lbs & my lady at 5’6" & 125 lbs. We formally paddled a 16’ Royalex Prospector which burned up. So, coming off a Prospector, the Pal was far less responsive to correction strokes but had a tad better glide, didnt react to wind as much. In the kevlar layup it is much easier to Portage which would be good in the boundary waters. It has more primary stability and slightly touchy secondary when paddled on the bubble Canadian style solo or putting the rail to the water playing. It’s a “nice” canoe for family playing, fishing or just poking around on lakes & slow moving water. I would like to sell this Pal & get a more suitable craft suitable for my paddling preferances like one of Ted Bell’s designs.
For tripping or for traveling any rivers with technical class 2 water & up i would not get a Pal, but would look to a Prospector or similar tripping hull design as made by several canoe manufacturers.
Just my $.02.
Respectfully, Snarvol

Hi Snarvol - thanks for the write up. The comparison between the Pal and the Prospector matches my own experience with the demo boats we have at the shop. The Prospector is both deeper and has more rocker than the Pal, giving it the additional margin when edged and make it easier to turn. It also makes it a dryer ride in the more technical water. For folks doing more flat water, the Pal is more likely a better fit - less windage.

Thanks again.


You might be aware that Bill Mason used his Pal way more than the Prospector. The NFCT has portages around real technical WW. And it has considerable lake area. I would regard the Prospector as a real slug across Flagstaff and Moosehead lakes.

Hi kayamedic - good to hear from you. I had heard that Bill Mason was actually paddling a Pal for his Solo Whitewater video, but haven’t seen a second source.

I’m on the way to owning a Pal myself - should arrive in December. We’ve been a Nova Craft dealer for almost a year now and I’ve had a chance to paddle, the Prospectors, the Pal and the Bob Special and settled on the Pal - it just seems to almost pull you along - like it’s eager to go.

I can see the value of a Prospector with it’s depth and rocker, but I like to be a bit closer to the water and don’t intend to be doing any long expeditions. If I needed a 17’, I’d probably go with the Cronje.

How are y’all doing?