Solo Canoe vs. Tandem Kayak for Single Parent

And if you need staff to assist you (in any way) in trying out a variety of dif. kayaks (that set on shore next to this pond), they will do so. Before buying our Hobie kayaks (one in 2004; one in 2007), we went to their pond daily for 5 weekdays, trying them out, with 1 dog in each kayak at a time, before making our minds up. They gave us all the x we needed. Since we did not need help, we had the place to ourselves, trying out kayaks & letting 1 of our 2 aussies run around the pond’s perimeter as we tried out the dif. kayaks. I have pics of it if ever you want to see them. We like the open-top kayaks. I don’t ever feel like I could be entombed in a center hole.

Sounds like you’re on a good path with all these great ideas. Wish you the best of luck!!

Solo canoe that I would recommend:

Sea Eagle 370 : This canoe is designed for solo paddling and is very stable. It is also made of durable materials that will last for many years.

If you are still not sure which type of boat is right for you, I recommend talking to a local paddling expert. They can help you choose the right boat for your needs and budget.

Thanks for the great reply and see you have spent time on the Great Lakes on those magical calm as glass sunsets. We have watched 1000s of them over the years from the beach and I’m sure 100s from boats after a long day in the sun. That visual and sensual experience is something I fully understand wanting to share with your daughter. It can be done safely if you are right there a lot and pick your opportune time. You don’t need to venture far from safety to feel you are all alone in nature.

I have similar plans to yours floating around in my noggin. We have two little boy nephews that are 4 & 5 and they are about 40# each. I have talked to their parents about doing a little safe paddling with us just to get them that experience while they are still young. My canoe is 38” wide and I think I could rig a seat in front of me they could share side by side. If not I could put the younger in front and the older behind me. I have a couple old small wooden paddles I can cut down and tether to the boat for them to feel they are helping. I have found with kids they need to feel they are doing something to keep them engaged for any time. Another option is she could easily fit the youngest in with her in her old town rec-kayak so we each have one kid.

It would be such a new and different experience for the boys.

Sounds like you are getting some great input so far looking forward to hearing about your first outing together.

Just some more food for thought.

On the tandem canoe side you could consider the Hemlock Eaglet 1…a small 15 foot tandem set up as a solo. Hemlock can add any outfitting that you want. But I think you’d have to order a boat.

I have a Northstar Polaris with the optional solo center seat. This configuration eliminates the center yoke and gives a ton of room right in front of the paddler. It’s an inch narrower than the boats rival51 mentioned so a bit more suitable for solo. The Escapade on Wenonah’s site shows a similar set-up and Escapade is also worth considering since it will be above average for efficiency. Polaris will easily do everything you want with the only downside being it’s not as fast as a solo canoe or kayak…and the speed probably isn’t as important as how it feels.

You can get a Polaris or Eaglet under 40 pounds, the others are slightly over 40.

Nova Craft Bob Special would also work well and lots of solo paddlers like them as dog boats. The Polaris and Escapade are more efficient and would give a little more of that kayak feeling than a 15 foot tandem

Personally I’d want to test fit you into a solo canoe to see if it’s a good option. Larger solos can easily handle the weight so I think its a matter of adequate space and whether you need the massive stability of a tandem.

My Swift Shearwater solo could handle a 65 pound dog + 70 pound 9 year old plus me…320 total. You could consider a Northstar Northwind solo or perhaps a Wenonah Prism (if the kid fits in front of you with the sliding seat in rearmost position then it’s a great choice…stable, fast, meant to carry a load). My Swift Keewaydin 15 can also handle 320 pounds and has plenty of room right in front of the paddler for a dog or kid or my wife.

A solo would be ideally loaded with your planned weight (assuming no St Bernard service dogs) and paddle better than a lightly loaded tandem. But when you add both a kid and a dog then you may need a sliding seat to keep the boat trimmed level as you load it up. Sliding seats can be added to most solos. You’d also have to make sure that a kid sitting in front of you won’t interfere with your paddling style.

If you’re near SW MI you’re welcome to try my Polaris and also my Keewaydin 15 to see if a solo is a viable option.

Snickerdoodle in a Keewaydin 15

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Another option.

Don’t expect a lot of change from a $5000 bill. :grimacing:

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As mentioned, Northstar’s Polaris is another option along with the Northwind 16 and B 16. Note that the B 16 has a bit more stern rocker than the other two so it may turn a little easier but take a bit more effort to maintain a straight heading. I’ll bet all three could be built with two of their Lounger seats instead of hanging seats for significantly enhanced stability … would add a few pounds, though.

Dave Curtis of Hemlock Canoes, is usually at the Western Pennsylvania Solo Canoe Rendezvous which is next weekend at Cooper’s Lake campground about halfway between Erie, PA, and Pittsburgh. If it’s within a reasonable drive from your location there is no charge or reservation needed to attend but you do need to pay a modest day fee to the campground to be on the premises. Excellent chance to see and test a wide range of canoes and maybe Hemlock will even have an Eaglet 1, the tandem TomL suggested, among the samples they bring for people to try on the small lake. Dogs and kids welcome and food is provided, camping optional.

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Was at Lake Erie last night at sunset at the mouth of Elk Creek and took this photo thinking about this thread. I marked the kayak on the photo as without marking it most people would miss it. The lake wasn’t glass but close to it.

As a kid we made it a point to take our first swim of the year on Memorial Day and I have first hand knowledge of how cold the water is still. Most years it was a really quick swim. I’m pretty sure the boater knew what he was doing and had a wet suit on. He had a good time not going out past where he was in the photo and stayed out all thru twilight coming in just as it was getting hard to see him any longer.

I think if you zoom in you will see the boat, but not sure how much the forum reduces the resolution.

I wouldn’t have taken my canoe out last night but a few months from now with warm water and the same conditions I would staying within 100 yards of shore and maybe with another boat along.

I don’t think you’re dreaming. There should be many summer evenings suitable for a safe sunset paddle. The wind is usually dying down in the evening unless a cold front is coming through, so there is less risk of an unexpected change in wind during the evening than during the day, less chop, and less boat traffic.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s near Rochester, NY in a boating family with grandparents who lived on the beach, so I spent a fair bit of my childhood on and in Lake Ontario. I remember enjoying many midsummer sunsets on a relatively calm lake, with just a gentle breeze and light waves like in the picture above. Glassy conditions were rare in the evening, but more common early in the morning.

July 4th used to be the first good swimming day of the summer, with water temps near shore in the mid-upper 60s. From then until the end of September, we were always comfortable swimming and playing in the lake for hours without wet suits. I think Erie is similar if not warmer.