Purchasing advice please


I just signed up this morning after cruising the forums and reviews. I could use some advice for purchasing a canoe as I’m getting swamped with info. I’ll try and keep it short.

I’m 6’3" 210lbs. I am looking for a canoe that I can paddle around Dinner Lake here in Sebring, Fl. and surrounding lakes as well. Some light fishing, but mostly looking to get out and enjoy the water. I will be by myself 99% of the time and would prefer to use a double bladed paddle. I’m basically looking for exercise and enjoyment.

I would prefer to keep my spending at $2,000 or below. The main canoe I’ve been looking at is the Old Town penobscot 164. The OT Discovery 158 with the oar option looks good (I was looking at row boats as well) but I would sincerely appreciate the advice of anyone willing to share. There are a couple used canoes around my area right now:

Old Town Camper 16 royalex: $600

Mad River Destiny 17 ft Kevlar (expedition): $1200

Wenonah fisherman: $995

Thanks to anyone that can give me some advice.


1 Like

I don’t know about that, but I recommend Arbuckle creek from Burnt out Bridge boat ramp to the lake and back. Mild current 1 mph when we were here. Lots of fish activity in the lake and creek.

Be wary of canoes short length and wwwwiiidddeeee beam. They be harder to paddle.

Have you looked at solo canoes? The boats you list are wide and heavy.
Are you interested in going places at decent speed while still being able to fish? Are you going to need to take a passenger?
Isn’t this fun? Looking and learning are great. Then you get a boat and discover what you really want.

I have looked at some. I would prefer the flexibility of a tandem should I need it. Speed is of little concern to me {retired}. I literally grew up in Mohawk fiberglass canoes on the Wekiva River. It’s been awhile since I’ve paddled though for sure. Seems things have changed a bit with materials.

A side note. I haven’t looked at canoes in a few years so I looked at Wenonahs at Piragis , a retailer in Minnesota.
They sometimes have rental canoes for sale.
I was shocked at the prices
Almost every model was $3K!
In the few years since I bought one, the price has tripled. That very well could be a result of material shortages.
I just bought a very used fiberglass tandem that was still in good condition for $250. It is an Indian River, built in Florida.
As for materials fiberglass is still used but Kevlar and carbon fiber are used in the more expensive boats to reduce the weight.
Buy used!

Hi, Daniel, welcome to Paddling.com.

I think buying a used canoe is a good idea. I’ve purchased both new and used and if you can find a used canoe (in good condition) that meets your needs then you’ll save a fair amount of money, especially in this market. The price of used canoes has increased in relation to the price of new so it’s all relative, but you should be able to find a nice used solo canoe for $2000 or less. You might have to drive a ways to find what you’re wanting, though.

It’s also good to first decide how you’ll actually use the boat and it appears you’ve done that. Your comments that you’re “mostly looking to get out and enjoy the water… by myself” should pretty much lead you to a versatile solo canoe. Having a tandem for the few times you might go out with someone else will compromise the rest of the time you’re paddling and you won’t enjoy it as much. I’ve paddled tandem canoes solo and sure, you can do it, but it’s never quite as enjoyable as being in a solo that fits you. Plus, with the popularity of recreational kayaks you’ll be able to paddle with them comfortably with a solo canoe.

As for design and build, I’d suggest a solo canoe designed for general touring and tripping (not expedition) that’s 14 to 16 feet in length. Sport canoe designs could also work well for you since they often share many of the same design elements as a versatile touring boat. And to keep canoe weight down I’d look for a hull built of Kevlar, although most 14 foot fiberglass canoes will still be a reasonable weight. Plastic boats are durable and less expensive, but they’re generally heavier. You won’t regret spending a bit more money for a lightweight boat.

I prefer to paddle with a single blade paddle but I understand the attraction to double blade paddling and “pack boat” canoes. I’m not sure you need to narrow your search to that design, though. I suggest looking for a solo canoe with a traditional seat that can be easily adjusted for height and seat angle using different seat hangers. That way you can experiment with using both single blade and double blade paddles at different heights to see what you prefer. I’ve modified seat height and angle on a couple of canoes and it makes quite a difference in paddling efficiency and comfort.

OK, I’ve probably just added to your information overload but hopefully there’s a few suggestions to help you decide on a canoe. As with most everything, there are a LOT of opinions out there. My suggestions are given in that light. :slight_smile:


PS: I wouldn’t bother with the Wenonah Fisherman unless that’s how you’ll use it most of the time. It’s a specialized canoe.

1 Like

Just saw these. a bit of a road trip…Redirecting...

Hi Sebring. I agree that its smart to buy used because if it’s not the perfect boat you can always sell it without losing much/any money.

The weight of the canoe can often make a difference on how much a boat gets used. If you hate loading it you might hesitate to use it.

Campers are great boats. They are stable and pretty easy to paddle and they work well both solo and tandem. They are relatively light (a bit under 60 pounds IIRC) for Royalex canoes. If it’s easy for you to lift and load it’s a fine choice unless it’s in lousy shape (are the ends chewed up? Is it faded from outside storage?). I’ve never paddled a Wenonah Fisherman but if you read the reviews on this site people that have them like them. If you just want to get on the water and putter around (in comfort) it could be a decent choice, especially if it’s a lightweight kevlar lay-up.

I like solo canoes and single blade paddles. A few weeks ago I was paddling a carbon fiber solo with a carbon fiber paddle and ran into a guy in a tandem aluminum Grumman. He was using a cheap kayak paddle. We ended up paddling together and I could barely keep up with him. But after less than a mile he was used up so we said our goodbyes and I kept going. Seems to me that one can do fine with either a canoe or kayak paddle, especially if they are experienced using it.

1 Like

If you wanted to go with a sit in kayak with tons of room for a large person and run across an an older used Loon 138 it may fit the bill and save you a lot of money. I am 6’ 1" and over 200 lbs had room enough to take a grand child with.

Here is a thread I started last spring when I wanted to do very much the same as you.

I learned a good deal along the way about tandems for mostly solo use and paddling a wide canoe with a kayak paddle. I took photos of each step and there was a first setup and a final setup. I’m totally happy now and eagerly awaiting next season.

My Old Town Guide-147

I have have been canoeing and kayaking for over 50 years. I have had a verity of kayaks and canoes over the years. Finally settled on a Old Town Discovery 133k. I also have a Grumman 15’ Aluminum that just sits. The 133k I have has oar locks and I end up rowing most of the time.

Try as many different ones that you can, what I like, may not be what you like

1 Like

When I think of Fla paddling, I think of pulling over the occasional roots and low-water debris.

If you will always be by yourself, have you considered a sit-on-top kayak? Double-blade paddling a canoe isn’t optimal.

That said, you have a nice list of canoes. I am an Old Town Camper owner, and absolutely love mine. I’ve had it 25 yrs or so, and it has been in the water just south of you and just north of you. A canoe allows you to bring a friend, which is always nice.

Your height wouldn’t be a problem at all in the Camper. Nor would your weight. You’d want to flip it around though, if paddling solo, and paddle “backwards” by sitting in the front seat and paddling toward the rear. This puts your paddle more in the middle.

The Camper is made of tough stuff that does great in your neck of the woods. Plus, it is the cheapest one on your list. And it is probably lighter than the other two Old Towns.

Still, if was me, I might look at a kayak.

I got an Old Town Canoe, and Love it, and it didn’t break the bank

1 Like

I appreciate all the input. Honestly there is more water than land around this mofro and you’d think I was trying to find an albino unicorn looking for a used canoe. I can’t stand driving so it’s looking like I’ll have to buy a new one.

May I get some input on a possible vendor that I haven’t already found on the web?

After a lot of shopping, I bought my last canoe, an Esquif Prospecteur 16, from REI. Not only has it about $250 less than it was at most of the other big on line stores (Rutabaga, Oak Orchard, etc.) but they also shipped it to my local store for free, saving another $300 or so in shipping. I would look there first if they have a store with driving distance of you.