One Canoe for NFCT

With my wife and baby out of town for the weekend, I met up with an old paddling friend last night for dinner. We started discussing the “perfect” boat to complete the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

While he simply stated that it would take two or three different boats to complete the trail, I disagreed.

I have my own feelings depending on my mood (Old Town Cascade, if I could find one) what do you think?

can you stand in it
Poling is very helpful for the upstream sections.

You will find the perfect boat when the perfect house is discovered.

Come on…any boat can do it.
The question is, can the paddler?

Paddlin’ on


with the variety
of water on the trail, I highly doubt a Coleman RamX could handle it! :wink:

Just hearsay but
I’m thinking your Mistral might not be a bad choice.

Or an Old Town Appilachian.

Or a Mad River Explorer.

Or one of the many Prospector hulls.

But to paraphrase GK, it ain’t the boat, it’s the motor.


– Last Updated: May-04-08 8:02 PM EST –

A Wildfire or Yellowstone Solo.

Or a Présage.

Or a Dumoine.

I haven’t finished the trail yet
but every section I’ve paddled has been done with my 16-foot Mad River Explorer (except when I tandemed in a buddy’s boat, which was also an Explorer, but a 17-footer).

It has handled everything from large lakes to Class III whitewater, and a number of carries, with no issues. A portage cart helps a lot, and most (not all) of the portages can be carted. Plenty of room for gear. I’ve paddled and poled it upstream and downstream, and I definitely recommend a boat that can be poled. It will save you a lot of grief. I just finished the stretch from Rangeley Lake to Flagstaff Lake this past weekend, which consists of the Dallas Portage and the South Branch Dead River. The river threw everything at us…flatwater, quickwater, Class I, II and III rapids, a stretch of lake, and one carry. I’m glad I had the Explorer.


the Mistral will be picked up tomorrow. Want to get together soon so you can try it out?

Will a Wildfire retain its performance
excellence when loaded with gear? I know my MR Guide loses some whitewater ability when loaded for multi-night trips.

16’ rx Mad River Explorer
I am amazed at the loads I can run WW with. Stand and pole. I can carry it.

O.T. Appalachian …
… that would be my choice for varied waters on an extended journey … it is an expedition class canoe and reviewers who own and use one , have high regard for them … it is a very responsive boat that hulls a load in swift class waters very well , it’s weak side would be flatwater due to slight rocker , but a paddler who’s stroke has become second nature should have no difficulty on flatwater , I think … I’ve used both the Appalachian and a Tripper on mountain rivers (normal stuff, light W.W.), also a Disco, the Appalachian is by far superior, I think …

I agree with
the OT Appalachian, its a fantastic boat. After getting into the Mistral tonight for the first time, I honestly believe its a boat that could do it all. Its a jack of all trades, but a master of none. I tell you though, that twin-tex definitely glides nicely compared to royalex. So much more efficent on the flats but still can handle the white stuff with 3.5" of rocker. For those of you that emailed asking for pics of the Mistral, I’ll get them up tomorrow