Picking a Canoe

I am looking for a good river canoe to handle up to class III. I’m new to canoeing and I need a sturdy but affordable canoe. I really like the Mad River Legend 15 but $1300 is a little too much for me. If you have any brand suggestions or tips please help me out.

Stay with
good quality such as the Mad River, Wenonah, Nova Craft, etc… Good used canoes are out there and about 1/2 new price.

Check out a rental facility
They often sell their old models about this time of year. Pick a rental outfitter who rents boats for use in Class III water. E-bay and Craigs List are other ways to get outfitter cast-offs.

  • Big D

what is your budget $$ range ??

– Last Updated: Sep-16-10 1:38 AM EST –

...... basic items needed to be included in budget are , the canoe , paddles- 2 (or 3) , PFD's -2 , ropes-straps , carry device (rack or foam blocks) ... these get you out there on the water for starters .

Paddles , I have a dozen or more (expensive fancy ones too) . The 3 that are most used are the basic Carlisle Beavertails (54" and 57") and a Carlisle Golden Light (aluminum and plastic) . Most of our canoing is in "rocky (as in rocks)" mountain and piedmont rivers , and these paddles have proven to be "GREAT" !!! They are plain janes that do the job fantastic . These 3 paddles (or similar) would cost about 165. total . (call Oldtown and order direct from them over the phone , they ship them to your door) . Trust me about these paddles , you'll love them , ask me and I'll tell you why (you can try others later) .



PFD's , we are using 2 Exrasport models at present , they cost me about 200. total (you can get other brands and/or less expensive ones) . I love my Extrasport , reall good stuff !!


Good ropes and straps are a must . Two 30' braided ropes (3/8" or 1/2") will cost about 40. ... I'm using 2 Yakima straps also . a two pack cost about 38. .

http://www.yakima.com/shop/racksytems/accessories/heavy-duty-straps (trust me about these straps , not all straps are created equal , these are the ones you can depend on everytime , flawless operation , strong , make you smile)

Foam block carry kit cost about 20. (??) .

A good used tandem canoe budget range (Royalex or other) , maybe 400. to 550.

165 + 200 + 38 + 40 + 20 + 550 = 1013 bucks .

I purchased locally a nice 16'-10" used Royalex Oldtown canoe for 400 .

In 2006 purchased a new OldTown Expedition 169 (16'-9") for 550. from Bass Pro Shop (this canoe goes for about 700. now at Bass Pro ... if you sign up for the Bass pro credit card they'll give you 10% off your first purchase , that's a quick 70. dollar savings on a new Expedition 169 right now) . This a great canoe , the only thing I'd swap it for is an Oldtown Royalex Tripper 172 (17'-2") ... both canoes weigh about the same . Don't let anybody tell you the Oldtown Expedition 169 (Discovery 169 model really) , is a barge ... it's a "FIRST CLASS" mountain river canoe in every way !!!


I consider all the items mentioned to be basic , reliable , tough , and "great" equiptment , the kind of equiptment that never has to be worried about and performs flawlessly everytime .

I don't use the foam carrying blocks much , I have a rack system (Yakima and Reese) that cost me about 300. (which is worth it , but foam blocks will get you started) .

So what is your budget range ??

IMHO, try finding good, USED

– Last Updated: Jan-29-11 10:12 AM EST –

...with a little length to provide initial stability over width. Usually 15-16' will work, and definitely with a hull/rocker for moving water. The material..??? expedition kevlar, of course polyethylene would be ideal, but heavy to portage...
*IF I read your initial msg right...you might try getting some moving water time under the belt before going into Class III. Not that difficult, but if you haven't worked through Class I & II...there's always going to be some aspect of the canoe hull's behavior that might throw you a curveball.

MR Legend 15 is what I have

– Last Updated: Oct-20-10 4:39 PM EST –

I absolutely love it- very nimble, but big enough to do some solo overnighters. You can fit two people in there but not with much weight. It has a good set up for fishing for rods, poles etc.... when using solo as well.

Definitely a little pricey, but for me it's worth the cash. However, going used is always a great option if price is a factor.

Here's a few pics for perspective- I couldn't find any when I had it set up for fishing.