Prospector - the wrong boat for me?

I have a chance to buy a very nice Prospector design from a good maker in Kevlar at a great price. I’m tempted to do it, but keep thinking as much as I love this boat, it doesn’t fit my needs. Which are - 75% flat water but not big open water crossings, the rest class I and a little II river. Day trips and few, if any overnighters. I’m an intermediate paddler and my wife is a newb. I’m concerned the Kevlar will need to be babied too much although I’m decidedly not hard on my gear but its hard to imagine this lightweight canoe in a rocky river and not getting beat up a bit.

That said, this boat is to-die-for beautiful, crazy light, and will always be in demand (for resale)

Any help for me?

First, with regards to Kevlar, aramid is not fragile. It has a higher strength to weight ratio than fiberglass. The reason that many people perceive aramid canoes to be less durable is the construction methods used for some.

Because aramid has a higher strength to weight ratio, it is often used in the construction of “ultra light” boats. Typically these use and endo-skeleton of foam bottom core and ribs to provide rigidity without as much weight as an all-fabric canoe. The amount of cloth used is reduced to a rather minimal level.

On the other hand, all-fabric canoes constructed of aramid, or a combination of aramid and another material like fiberglass or carbon fiber can be very strong. So in order to judge the durability of the Kevalr canoe you are considering one would have to know the layup used.

Prospector designs vary considerably but in general, they make better river boats than flat water boats. They tend to have somewhat high, recurved stems that like to catch wind. Many have considerable depth to increase load-carrying capacity. The increased windage can work against you on flat water.

My experience with a Prospector design leaves me thinking that it is my favorite all-around boat. I have a 16 foot Prospector in a light weight layup that I use about as you describe. I paddle it both tandem and solo. I solo it from a kneeling thwart. The only time I struggle with it is when I am solo and the wind pipes up. I usually carry a long double blade paddle to get me through those times.

After 7 or 8 years it was a bit battle scarred from running in boney rivers so I put a coat of epoxy on the bottom. Now I think it will outlive me.


If all I ever was going to do was mostly flat water and nothing more than a little class II, I would skip the Prospector for something that handles easier in the wind. I have spent a of of time in the NC Prospector, and it is my “go to” boat for times when I don’t know what I might get into (Lake? River? More technical class 2 or class 3, maybe? Some poling? Newbie along?) - but it gives up a lot of efficiency to other designs that still do well in class II.