Solo Canoe Suggestions

We are considering adding to our fleet of boats. We want a solo canoe for small rivers, 2-3 day river overnight camping and mild whitewater (Class I & II). Our paddler weight is in the 200# - 240# range. We have been looking at the ‘Nova Craft - Super Nova’, ‘Bell - Yellowstone’, ‘Mad River - Freedom’, Wenonah - Vagabond, Rendevous, Argosy’. We looking for suggestions from other similar sized paddlers who love to solo. Thanks

I have a Supernova
It will easily handle what you are proposing. I am bigger than either of you and have loaded it heavy and run Class II+ with no problems. Be aware, it is a BIG boat for its length. Very deep boat with a round bottom. She has nice rocker and will turn very nicely, crosswinds can be a problem on lakes but she is built for moving water.

Mad River Guide/Freedom Solo
Be me pick. Great all-round river boat in me’ ooponion.


At the weights you gave

… and with camping gear and class II thrown in, I’d stick with either the Guide/Freedom Solo or the Supernova. Both are great boats. The Super is a little more WW oriented than the Guide/FS, but not by much. The Guide/FS would be better in extremely low water conditions. The round hull and 3" of rocker makes the Super sit lower int the water at the center.

I wouldn’t get a Yellowstone Solo or an Argosy with your weight, camping gear and class II … not with the better choices available to you.

Good luck and have fun!

I agree Argosy and YellowStone Solo are, maybe, a little small, but disagree that Freedom is a good shallows boat - that V taker hr deeper in the water than other hulls.

Anyway, while comparing SuperNova and Freedom, take a look at Bell’s RockStar. Another hull for the huge among us!

Have to disagree

The shallow V running the entire length of the Guide’s hull sits higher off the river bottom than the “bubble” residing in only the center ~30" of the Super. But like you said, I wouldn’t call either one a shallow water boat. I guess a good shallow water boat is a Prospector paddled solo.

Well sure any tandem paddled solo
but the essence of the Prospector is its a deep volume boat.

Its just that with the greater surface area a solo paddler floats higher than a Prospector with its usual load.

I have seem people enamored of Prospectors that dont have the horsepower to keep from getting blown all over the place soling it on the river.

Thanks for the Great Advice
I think we’re leaning toward the Super Nova or maybe the Freedom Solo. There’s currently an ad for a Super Nova on the PNet site that I’m looking into.

just be aware that the SN

– Last Updated: Jun-30-10 11:48 PM EST –

seating position is quite stern bound so your steering is regulated by skids. Its designed so you can reach your equipage in front of you. For remote trips(more than a few days)this can be an asset.

The Guide with its more centrally located paddling position offers more precise manuevering for day trips when you don't have that six weeks of stuff to deal with.

For your parameters, I would suggest the Guide.

Swift Osprey
I’m 5’11" and weigh 235lbs and the Swift Osprey is my go to solo for most everything. I’ve used it for numerous day trips on small, twisty creeks, rivers, and lakes. It handles up to class II and also does well in wind. It’s quite maneuverable with moderate rocker and an asymetrical hull to aid tracking. I have taken it on multi-day solo trips in the Adirondacks and Algonquin and have found it to be a capable and pleasurable boat to paddle and portage.

I’m paddling an Argosy and weigh 200 lbs. have no problem at all with it, have easily carried an extra 50 lbs. with me so should easily take your weight. I’m enjoying the boat alot, fun and still can paddle in a straight line when you want to.

Bill H.

bell Rockstar
Check out the bell rockstar, I weight 210 and love mine.

I like the Osprey too
The Osprey is my do anything boat. Happy on rivers. Happy on lakes. Loves day tripping and wekk long tripping equally.

It only comes in composite though so if you expect to hit a few rocks go with the Expedition layup.

Its easy
to move the seat forward one seat width.

do you need a new seat?
Mine was already moved when I got it and the seat was not original. It would seem the original would not be long enough at the new wider position. But your point is good one, it’s easy to move, even if you need a new seat from Ed’s. Between the Guide and the Super, I’d get the one I had the opportunity to get. Right now there’s a Super in the classifieds.

Related to the Osprey
the Swift Shearwater is a large solo for tripping for bigger folk.

Unfortunately there does not seem to be a dealer near you.

Agree with FatElmo except …
I wish they would drop that goofy IQ system and give you another choice (aluminum or vinyl) other than wood. Up here in the cold north I’d have to take wood gunnels off to avoid cold cracks. I know it’s not difficult, but I most likely would not do it until it gets real cold (always a chance of one of those warm December weekends for one last paddle.)

Bell Rockstar
You should add this one to the list. I have had a Freedom Solo, Super Nova, Argosy, Yellowstone Solo, Vagabond & Rendezvous and the Rockstar is the river touring and multi day masterpiece. I would have to say that the Super Nova is my second choice for this application, but it is not as responsive as the Rockstar.

You really don’t need a new one. The width difference moving only one seat width is not a problem. The drops will flex more than enough to handle that.

I am finally replacing my seat, its getting old and has some cracks in it. I got a heavy duty from Ed’s.

a couple of Curtis models
The SRT, which is a deep downriver boat that requires a good correction stroke on the flats and the old Curtis Nomad.

What would be really neat is a slightly upsized WildFire for larger folk. which would way outclass the Rockstar and its shrunk cousin the Yellowstone Solo, That skegged stern really hurts the last two boats in moving water but is intended to compensate for imperfect forward strokes on the flat.