I was lookiung to purchase a canoe this Spring, and was hoping for some input. I am looking for a "all arounder"- something I can take the kids out on (day paddling and overnight camping), and for solo paddling. This will mainly be a river canoe, nothing greater than Class II+/III. Locations like the Upper Cumberland in Daniel Boone National Forest (KY), parts of the Big South Fork (KY/TN), and other small rivers around southern Ohio like the Great Miami. The rest of the time (25%) will be quiet early morning paddles in lakes and tributaries/creeks, places like Lake Cumberland and Laurel Lake. These are mainly for relaxation, nature viewing, and occasionally some pan fishing (crappie, blue gill, smallmouth, etc.- nothing too strenuous).
So the question is would the Charles River RX fit the bill? The Wenonah Spirit II has been suggested, as well as the Penobscot, but I really like the retro big curving bow and stern on the Charles River RX. Sure they'll catch wind, but 75% of the time I'll be paddling in a decent river current, not out on an open lake. Is 16'3" enough room for me and the kids (two boys under 5), or if I can manage to bribe her, me and the wife? Anything to consider- oil-canning, etc.? Any other plasitc boat recommendations given the above description?
That boat appears to lack the rocker
needed for the occasional whitewater you describe. You don’t need high rocker, but you could use some. A length of 16’3" is just enough for the capacity needs you describe.
If you had been around at the time, you could have bought my Old Town Tripper for $350. But that was ten years ago. If you can afford the Tripper, it is a great boat. It is a lot to handle solo, but I recall several real small guys using Trippers on the most difficult big rivers in the SE back in the 80s.
I bought an St Charles 16’polylink3
this winter. I as you really liked the more traditional look of the canoe. I read many product reviews and emailed with several people who owned the boat and all had high recommendations for the canoe. I paddle mostly lakes and slow rivers solo and tandem which fits the canoe perfectly. I would think the moderate rocker would be a good compromise for all the varieties of paddling you do, but I’m not any kind of an expert on running class 2-3 rivers. Good luck.
If you are going to be in class 3, you might want to consider the Old Town Appalachian. But if you have the whitewater skill to run class 3 in a 16 foot+ tandem canoe, the Charles River or Penobscot would do fine I’m sure.
I too like the looks of the Charles. Reminds me of the shape of the aluminum canoes we used at our cabin in Michigan when we were kids.