Any recommendations for an “economical” flat water/lake canoe? Would be used solo 75% of the time for paddling/fishing around the lake. Occasional tandem paddling with teens.
Budget? Economical can mean a lot of stuff. How light do you need it to be?
Location? I have a 16’ OT that I am selling. Located in MA
I just bought a used Old Town Guide 147 14’7”. I think it is a nice size and new they are priced reasonable. The only drawback to many of this type canoe is the molded bow seat isn’t conducive with sitting backwards and paddling solo. You can do it if you pull the backrest and add some padding to fill in the molded area. Some people change that seat to a bench for this reason a simple DIY mod but you lose the backrest.
Just keep that in mind when looking as the stern seat in most tandem canoes without any weight in the front will not ride all that level, so think about going backwards when alone.
I would just watch craiglsist myself. I bought a tough as nails plastic coleman for about $300. Not a solo but I use it as one. I also bought a new looking Wenonah Prism for $900 last year.
not knowing what’s available in your area, I’d just say to keep your eyes open for a used deal to come by, then go check it out. Your needs are not unique among canoes.
Thanks for the replies - Stable and tracks on lake water for fishing and paddling.
Budget is $1200 but that is assuming I am able to sell or trade my '91 Swift Dumoine for $600. Its on Craiglist and I’m looking there too. I used to white water with it and it was great for that but its horrible solo on the lake and very tippy! My first canoe was a Coleman many years ago. I’d like a step above a Coleman though.
Anyway - Just looking for suggestions on something that is fairly stable and tracks well solo on lake water for fishing and paddling.
My big OT is about as stable as a canoe can be. I have fished from it, while standing and floating down a slow river. I take my 2 young kids and my wife out and even with the kids moving around between the seats, it is as solid as can be.
Just sold my Dumoine, it was my first solo whitewater canoe…dang, after that everything else was a breeze. I ran a 6’ drop with it one day, and was so glad for the 12’ of airbags in it. It started as my sons and my second ww tandem (which made sense), at 11 he started soloing the Dagger Reflection 15, our first canoe, and the Dumoine ended up as my primary poling canoe, the Reflection became my sons poler.
Only advice I can offer is what I said above…Reflection has great initial stability, and mine had the 3 seat set up, solo/tandem. Now that Royalex is history, I have no clue what’s out there that’s inexpensive. Sold and gave away all my boats (18) except 1, a Whitesell Pirana. It can run Niagara. If weight isn’t an issue I’d look into the Old Towns in Superlink/Polylink, but dang, they push 80 pounds. Maybe find an older fiberglass boat.
Older fiberglass won’t be any lighter. My '75 glass OT weighs 84 lbs
Thought #1: Look for a good quality Sit On Top (SOT) “kayak” designed with fishing in mind. Keep the Dumoine for those few times that you go out tandem.
Thought #2: Find a Grumman or Michi-craft aluminum canoe in good shape. Solo, paddle it backwards from the bow seat and have a 5 gallon bucket of water for ballast in the front. Can also be done using one of the Daggers referenced in this thread.
I would look at an Old Town Penobscot 164. Should be fairly easy to paddle straight, and a tough seaworthy boat. It’s a tandem, but has nylon webbed seats. So to solo paddle it, simply sit in the front seat backwards and paddle with the stern going forward. This will probably work just fine as a Solo provded you are not out in strong winds. You might need to put some weight in the front to trim the canoe when you’re in it solo so the front end isn’t to high out of the water, which will make it more stable. These boats have an msrp of $1300 and come in green or red.
Thanks for a ll of the responses. I would love to have a Grumman but pricey new and none used. Boats are getting slim picking here so I went with a OT Discovery 119. I was able to sell my old Dumoine so I’ll have $300 in this one for a summer.
A Royalex Old Town Camper or Penobscot 16 would work well. The Camper is more stable and the Penobscot tracks better. Both good boats.
If you care about economical, then you must learn to shop hard. Canoes come and go, but once in awhile there are some that are irresistible. I have been selling off canoes lately but last fall a kevlar OT Canadienne fell in my lap. It was near home and cost $250. It needed some epoxy repairs which took a few hours. I painted it and now it looks like a new boat from 1987. Keep looking and you will find what you want.
Typically good lake canoes have some length, little rocker and are not too beamy. I would look for fiberglass or kevlar first since are going solo a lot of the time. Royalex and cross-link poly boats are heavier. So is aluminum and not very fast.
I’m not a racer, not a long-tripper. I’m a fisherman and outdoor writer. If you don’t have to portage it and a primary goal is stability, I would steer clear of lightweight boats. A heavier boat does take more work to paddle, but is more stable and will track better. The worst lake fishing boat I have owned was a kevlar Fisherman 14. The slightest breeze blew you away and if you tried to heel it over to get moving in the wind, you just created a larger sail with its 39-inch beam.
My Dagger Reflection 16 makes me much happier. Relatively low-profile for its size and flatter bottom for stability. Has a skeg to help keep you on line. Like I said, if you’re not constantly lifting it, weight doesn’t matter.
You don’t need a velodrome bicycle to ride to 7-11 and you don’t need a kevlar to paddle out and fish.
Well…I bought a solo OT Disco 119 on Tuesday. Tried it out on Wednesday. Returned it on Thursday and unfortunately paid an $80 restock fee. For me personally, that little boat was a slug, tracked terribly and the seat was slung so low to the hull i could not get my feet under it to paddle kneeling if I wanted to. I ended up getting a Disco 133 with an oar kit and so far its working well for me though the oar locks are really poor quality. I have taken it out rowing twice and it rows fairly well though one oar lock bent (I wasn’t heaving into it either). Ive paddled it once and it seemed to track fairly well for such a wide (40") boat. All and all I think its a better fit as a small tandem (its a pig though at 79lbs) and I can just leave it tied to the dock.
If you want to paddle a short canoe that is 40 inches wide go ahead, but I will not wait for you when we go on a trip.
If you want to paddle a long canoe that is narrow go ahead. I’m not planning any trips with you or anyone else.