Right Canoe?

I was wondering if anyone could suggest a good canoe for general rivers. I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information I would just like a few suggestions, at least where to start.

I am looking for a tandem canoe that will be good on slow to moderate rivers (I to II), no whitewater, and can hold my 2 big dogs. I want a boat that won’t easily flip but won’t be terribly slow.

Thanks for any ideas!!

You should have no trouble finding a good general purpose boat.

Price and weight might be deciding factors.

A Grumman Aluminum is stable, and they last forever, and can be found used. They are a bit heavy, and not really fast, but they are predictable.

The “Ideal” boat might be something like a Souris River Quetico (very nice, light, tough, but not cheap).

A Wenonah Spirit II, or Champlain might fit the bill.

If you are only doing day trips, a 16 foot boat should work, go 17-18 if you plan longer camping trips with your dog and another paddler.

If you shop around, you might want to ask again about specific boats you are considering.

Good luck

My $.02 worth
A Mad River Explorer would work great.

If you’re looking for a stable, yet quite fast 16’ tandem canoe, might I recommend Wenonah Adirondack. I’ve been more than happy with mine.

How Big Are Dogs?
The Adirondack and Explorer are both good on MO streams. If you go with tuffweave or kevlar, I’d get the Adirondack and if you go for royalex I’d get the Explorer. I don’t like Wenonah’s royalex, it is soft IMHO. The Mad River Explorer will also hold more gear than the Adirondack. Too bad, I just sold my Mad River Explorer today since I solo much more than I paddle tandem. A couple others that I’ve not paddled, but are worth looking into are the Royalex Bell Morningstar and Royalex Bell Northwoods. Lots of good imfo here, we have a couple Ozark Rendevous’ every year with the next in October. Check the thread out in the “Getting Together” area of the Message boards. You could test paddle several boats then. Don’t get in too big a hurry and buy the first thing you see! WW

If you’re not carrying too much
a 16 ft is adequate. I use a Champlain for tripping which would be way over kill unless going out for an extended trip even with two dogs – I always bring my dogs on trips unless not allowed. I have a 15 ft MR Explorer that I use when just day tripping with my wife and two dogs. Get Pfd’s for the dogs which will make your life a lot easier since they have handles on that you can lift them into or out of the canoe. My wife and I each keep a dog between our legs so that they don’t have run of the canoe.

Old Town Discovery or Mad River Explorer
There’s a reason so many rental fleets consist of Old Town Discovery canoes and Mad River Explorer canoes. If ya don’t need light weight, and want tough, these are hard to beat as general purpose family boats. They’re big, heavy and usually realtively cheap. And they’re as close to indestructible as it gets in this class. And they’re stable.

The Spirit II is a good first option,
with Tuff-Weave recommended. A reasonably light, easy-cruising, easy-turning, and nicely stable craft. I don’t know of anything made by MR or Old Town that would match it for your purpose.

MR Explorer? …maybe
The royalex Explorer is a good river tripping canoe and whitewater poling canoe but it’s slow on flatwater and brutal in the wind.

It will haul you and your dogs no problem.

No one mentioned Penobscot yet
So I will. We love our Penobscot 16 from Old Town. Of the 16 and over (in length) “general use” royalex boats it’s the lightest. My wife can handle it one end at a time putting it on the car with the Yakima boat-loader bar out.

I stand and fly-fish in it, being so used to it’s manners.

It’s fast in the canoe world. Perfect for class I and good for class II waters. Don’t use it for class II plus though. Wet boat then and not enough rocker.

Good luck!

read and demo
get out and try as many boats as possible. if that isn’t an option read read read. then ask around on here again.

http://www.wenonah.com a great place to start…and probably end


um, maybe not Penobscot
I purposely didn’t mention the OT Penobscot, even though mine is one of my favorite boats. The reason I didn’t include it in this discussion, is the OP mentions 2 big dogs. The Penoby has great secondary stability, less primary stability. Depending on how rambunctious those dogs are, it might not be my first choice. If the dogs are extremely well behaved, and will NEVER, EVER decide that they have to leap up and over to chase a duck, another dog, a carp, or what have you, then MAYBE.

But, to be honest, when I think of a dog boat, much less a 2 dog boat, I think of the ones I don’t like to paddle like the wide OT Camper or OT Discovery 169. Actually, thinking about it, if I had 2 large dogs, like let’s say Labs, a 17’ OT Tripper might not be a bad way to go. It’s not light, but weighs only about what many popular 15-16’ rec canoes weigh, and it’s got volume and stability.

Novacraft Prospector 16
We have a Penobscot 16 and it won’t handle your load. The Prospector is actually faster and more maneuverable. Didn’t believe it was faster till we saw it for ourselves. It also hauls a lot.

Live weight is different than dead weight, so be careful not to overload with the dogs in the boat. Live weight shifts and creates momentum, possibly in an undesireable direction. The capacity listed by the manufactuer is more weight than you want to carry. There are optimum performance capacities that you should try really hard not to exceed. We’ve made that mistake and it is unpleasant.

Have fun shopping!

Which canoe?
Hard to say. But 30 years ago, I bought an Old Town Tripper. Expensive, yes at the time and today, still is. I realized that I made the right choice (back then) when a “old timer” (who just purchased one) that we meet on the Allagash said that he’s been paddling the Allagash for 35 years and never paddled such a great canoe in his life. At the time I had no experiance but learned with the Tripper. Last year, it had to be retired and I still bought another. I lucked out at a thousand dollars. I have not paddled many other canoes, but I feel just right in it. In the last 30 years, I’ve paddled maybe close to 750 miles (who knows?), mostly lakes but quite a bit of white water and I have +no complaints+ at all, with the Tripper. It’s fairly long 17’2" but easy to handle

Prospector is faster?
I didn’t know that. Good info. I have only paddled with one prospector owner and they were not in any hurry.

Good looking boat too.

Right Canoe for MO
I find the Old Town Camper to work well for my needs on most Missouri streams and rivers. We usually go for more than one night and haul a bunch of junk along with us. We’ve had our boat loaded to about 85% capacity and it handled great with the weight and left plenty of freeboard for the wave trains. (Not that those wave trains were big by any standard!)

Your mileage may vary.

OK, I’m gonna cut in again and say
that a Tuffweave Spirit II is a better boat for what the original poster said he wanted than any of the alternatives nominated so far. The Spirit II is more stable under doggy loads than the MR Explorer and Penobscot. It is faster than any of the other boats named. It is decently maneuverable, at least as maneuverable as a 17’ Penobscot or a MR Explorer. It weighs about 63 pounds, is tough, and repairable.

I owned a Tripper. Why anyone would want an 80 pound monstrosity just to paddle easy rivers is beyond me.

2 “big” dogs, no class 2+ whitewater, no poling …

Used Tripper for $600 in central IL
OLD TOWN Tripper canoe, 17’, Royalex, excellent condition, $600. 217-356-5860

you won’t know

– Last Updated: Jun-19-06 11:22 AM EST –

You won't know if you've found the right canoe until the day you sit in it, go for a spin, and say -- all right!

It may take you many years, as it did for me, but it will happen someday, sometime, when you least expect it.

I am not a believer in the concept that one can "shop" for the "perfect" canoe as "shopping" implies compromises and forced decisions, which is not the best recipe for finding perfection.

Your perfect canoe will find you -- or perhaps you might already own it but don't know it yet.

Keep paddling.