Can anyone recommend a source for aluminum canoe gunnels or the same product from plastic? Prefer not going through manufacturers as the prices are often inflated. My husband and I are getting older and need to reduce as much weight from our OT Tripper as possible. We still love paddling small, low water, rock laden streams in Maine so we love the hull of this boat. We are trying to do this inexpensively.
Mainegal, I am not sure that replacing the gunwales is going to reduce the weight very much. The original tripper outfitting was already plastic or maybe wood if it was a deluxe model and are fairly light. I doubt that replacements would be any lighter. Most of the Tripper’s 90 or so pounds is in the hull. If your Tripper has the old style moulded plastic seats, you might save a bit there, but that is still a difference measured in ounces.
The weight of the Tripper is due to the thick hull… Alu gunwales are not inflated in price when you consider they are not straight pieces. They have to be prebent…They are not easy to install and they are expensive to ship… But there will be minimal weight savings so you can drop that idea.
And sanding the hull is quite impractical to reduce weight.
You could get a lighter RX boat… Lighter because the RX is not as thick.
As others have said, your best way to reduce weight would be to watch craigslist for a good deal on a different royalex boat thats ~60lbs. There is nothing you can do to substantially reduce weight from a plastic boat like the Tripper.
And a cart could greatly improve your enjoyment… Except on the Mud Pond Carry… ( too narrow) and the Attean to Holeb low carry
The problem with a fitted gunwale that goes down both sides of the hull is that there is no standard hull thickness and your tripper is especially thick. Gunwales made for a fiberglass or Kevlar canoes will not fit down over the thick royalex hull. Old Town did make that beast with aluminum gunwales and cane seats which are lighter than the vinyl gunwales and rotomolded seats. Bigger weight difference in the seats than in the gunwales. And the gunwales must be very stiff and strong to hold the floppy royalex hull in position. Hardware store or building store aluminum extrusions will not be strong enough, the aluminum used for canoe trim is a much stiffer and stronger alloy. As a DIY project you could go with spruce inwales and outwales and save dollars and weight. Just don’t drop or tie the canoe on its side.