Solo canoe for a Big paddler


I’m looking to get a solo canoe (been using tandems flipped front-to-back) and have been considering Mohawk’s Odyssey 14 and Mad River’s Freedom Solo. I paddle everything from calm lakes and rivers, large lakes and rivers with chop, to moving water up to class II. I’ve never taken a multi-day trip although I hope to do some canoe camping this year (no more than 2 nights).

My concern is capacity. I weigh in at a portly 250. Will these boats maintain their reported excellent paddling characteristics with me onboard or should I look to a bigger boat? I really hope to keep boat weight under 60lbs.

Also, I’m not made of money, so boats over $1500 or so are out of the question.

If no long trips then
those boat should be perfectly fine. Even if you paddle long trips if you pack like a back packer you’ll be fine. But if you pack like most people do for canoe trips and you are out for a week or three you might be happier with a a bigger boat.

Nova Craft SuperNova
I have a few friends in the big boy class (over 230 lbs).

They have used the Mad River Guide/Freedom Solo and have liked it for day trips. However, they found it did not have enough volume to haul what they wanted for multiday trips.

They have been quite pleased with the Nova Craft SuperNova for multiday trips, and after getting used to paddling them unloaded have been quite happy with its performance on day trips ( The SuperNova has more volume than the Guide/Freedom Solo

Check out the SuperNova reviews on PNet (

Around here in Central Iowa you’re more likely to find used SuperNovas than you are Freedom Solos or Mohawk Odysseys. It seems that smaller paddlers here find it too much boat.

As usual it’s best to test paddle before you buy.

The SuperNova is an odd duck
Decidedly river oriented, your paddling strokes better have perfect correction to keep it going straight on flatwater.

Swift Shearwater is a great big boy boat… but in class 2 its a bit hard to eddy out in.

Look for used. SRT is another big boat. The pertinent measurement is your height and arm reach. Weight is secondary. Plenty of big boys trip in WildFires but they do not take coolers and furniture on their Boundary waters outings of a week or more.

Both the boats you mention are fine. Your main constraint is your location. See if you can locate a Clipper 14 foot Prospector in Duraflex. Clipper is a west coast boat.

taking a look at the Swift Raven, which weighs in right around 60 lbs in Royalex with vinyl trim.

My Raven comes in at more than that without outfitting. I swear the thing wants to kill me when I carry it. It is a decent river/flat boat though if you can carry the weight comfortably.

A used bell RockStar if found might be the best option.

Several made in RX, some in composite.

Clipper Prospector 14
Ooooh, salt in a wound. I just missed on of these on Craig’s list this spring. In Kevlar with the expedition layup to boot!!!

Bell Rockstar
Yes, from the specs this looks to be a super big-guy solo. Hard to find used however.

Check Wenonah solos in Tufweave.
It’s an excellent composite crossweave of glass and polyester. Nice light, stiff boats, wear smooth, quite repairable. The prices, new, aren’t that much above your $1500 limit.