River Rat Canoe

I just got back from a week of day trips down U.P. rivers. Lots of fun but my Horizon 17’ boat was a little slow on the meanders and around the log jams. I’d like to get a canoe that’s a little more nimble for running rivers. I’d like to stick with Royalex, maybe 16’. Any suggestions?

river boats
I have a Wenonah Argosy that I am very happy with. Its only 14’6", there are lots of other very good river boats available.

solo or tandem? n/m


– Last Updated: Oct-19-08 8:32 PM EST –

Sorry, tandem. I also have an Argosy solo. Very quick. Don't get to use it much. My bride always tags along, and she gets mad when I leave her on shore.

by slow, you mean handling?
If you’re looking for a quicker handling boat look for some rocker in the hull. The Prospecter designs are good in that regard. I’ve got a Swift Dumoine which handles pretty well as a tandem, especially for a high volume boat.

Wonderful tandem for twisty river day trips.

I checked out the specs on the Morningstar. Looks like what I’m after for these kind of trips. Thanks.

Or maybe
A second solo for the bride?

Nova Craft Canoes
You’ll enjoy the Morningstar; it is a very nice boat. However, I’d encourage you to compare it to two Nova Craft 16 footers: The Prospector (suggested earlier) and the PAL. The Prospector is a fabulous river boat with 2 inces of rocker, so you can really get it to move around. The PAL is straighter keeled (still has a little rocker) but a lively canoe, certainly closer to the Morningstar. These two would make an excellent A/B comparison. By the way, both Nova Crafts make fine solo boats (paddled “backwards” from the bow seat), something that is difficult with the Bell Morningstar with out first moving the thwart that is directly behind its bow seat. Anyway, this is a class that has lots of cool boats, so have fun trying them out. Paddle On!

Prospector In The Garage
Well I bought the Prospector 16’. Looked at the Yellowstone, a Morningstar in KevCrystal with wood gunwales, and another Prospector 15’. The Morningstar was a good deal ($1520), but I like royalex and not worrying about rocks. The Prospector was a great spruce green, and I’ve already got it set up with skid plates. Thanks for the help. I can’t wait to take the boat out for a spin.

Different Prospectors
I like the NovaCraft Prospector, and unlike the discovery series, I find their poly to be acceptable (Royalex is still better as it can be repaired easier).

The NovaCrafts, though, are bigger, broader, and slower than other prospectors.

For day trips or even short expeditions with average people, I would prefer the following boats:

Hellman Scout

Wenonah Prospector

Evergreen Prospector

Esquif Prospector

I’ve heard many good things about the Old Town Appalachian, but haven’t spent much time in one. Some people also love the Esquif Canyon. I suspect it is a bit more boat than you need (tons of volume), but it does reward a good whitewater paddler.

In sum - I’d get the Wenonah if I were in your position. It is a great, versatile boat from a good manufacture, who is also US and has many good dealers. Our Canadian dollar is tanking, and oil is dropping, though, so the Esquif might be a bargain next year.

Have fun!

I think you’ll like it
My good friend who goes by the name of PJC on these boards has a 16-foot Novacraft Prospector. He cruises along effortlessly with the rest of us who are in smaller, lighter solo canoes. That big Prospector can be a bear in high wind, but I’ve played with its maneuverability, and as tandem canoes go, its response to a solo paddler is just outstanding. Again, it’s a bit ponderous compared to a true solo canoe, but maneuverability is one thing that is NOT compromised. I’d choose that boat in a heartbeat in preference to a Bell Morningstar if solo boating on twisty rivers was my goal. Have fun.

The Wennonah is what I got, and it is very well-made. I like the gunwales better than my Mad River, which has screw heads down the top of the gunwales. I am always skinning my little fingers on those screw heads. Took to duck taping them.

The Wehnonah is ready and as soon as the weather breaks, I’m looking for moving water (most of the streams are low in my part of the world).