Solo-Tandem canoes: Suggestions?

So, I’m looking for a canoe mostly for my solo adventures, but that can also work for me and my wife when she want’s to join me on an excursion.

The only canoe I now built for this is the Wenonah Solo-Plus.

Are there others? Thank you.

lots CAN be

– Last Updated: Nov-04-06 8:51 AM EST –

quite a few tandems can be soloed. I have the Solo Plus and I love it. I use it for alot of things. For me it was a GREAT choice. YOu may also note that the Solo Plus is about 98% of a Jensen 17. If you get the Jensen, you get the sliding front seat.

Really, how much will the little lady be with you? is it worth the step up to a boat of that grandure? could you get a used 14 foot solo that she may be able to ride along in with you? what are your weights? day trips or weekend excurstions?

anyways, my money is in my solo plus. Love it wouldn't trade it.


P.S. Look up Canadian paddling
actually an addition. I have seen a few more people commenting on thier love for the Solo Plus. It lead me to actually write down the numbers for the Solo Plus and the Jensen 17. Just for an interest comparison. (the Solo Plus is just slightly smaller, but deeper)
max width___33 3/4__________32 3/4
gunwale_____32 1/2__________29
waterline____32 1/2__________31 3/4

center______12 1/2__________13

I just wanted to spread that information to the world. well to all of those who don't sit around and compare cataloges.

I have to chime in here…
The Solo-plus is a fantastic canoe! Too much canoe for someone my size solo but it is a dream to paddle tandem I sold mine to get a dedicated solo but if I paddled tandem more often I never would have gotten rid of it.

Clipper Canoes made one called a Maverick. It is now discontinued, but being in the NW, you might find one used. It looks similar to the solo-plus.

Souris River Canoes Quetico 16 is offered as either a solo or tandem.

Comprimise is tough. Good luck.

another discontinued
canoe, I have a dagger reflection 15 with a center seat. Have had it 6 years now, my boys solo canoe now. We still tandem it on occasion on tight streams. I solo my Swift Dumoine which has a kneeling thwart. Piragis I believe sells a center seat, as I’m sure other outfits do, which drops in on the gunwales and is fine for flatwater. You can also turn a symetrical canoe around and paddle it backwards, although I hate that look. Learn to kneel and you can solo darn near anything, although keep the glucosamine/condroitin handy if you’re knees are like mine.

Swift Kipawa

– Last Updated: Nov-03-06 6:41 PM EST –

My favorite in this category is the Swift Kipawa (composite only, as far as I know). It's flared all the way up, which makes for a very comfortable solo experience. It has the capacity for multi-day trips for two. Available in many pretty colors. If you buy it at their factory in Dwight, Ontario, you can immediately go for a trip in Algonquin, an added bonus.

I owned a Mad River Malecite for a few years. It was fun to paddle solo, though not as much fun as the Kip. It doesn't have the volume for two people to do much tripping.

Others I would look at: Bell Northstar (or whatever they call their 16.5-footer; I never remember Northstar vs. Northwind vs. Northwoods), Old Town Penobscot. Models with wood rails would be easy to add extra seats or kneeling thwarts to.

Depending on how big you folks are and what kind of paddling you want to do as solo versus tandem, you might also look into a high-volume solo and rigging it with kneeling thwarts fore and aft. That wouldn't be comfortable for long trips tandem, though.

I've never paddled the Wenonah Solo Plus, unfortunately, so I don't know how it compares to the boats I've named.

-- Mark

We like our Wenonah Escapade
It is very efficient paddling and good all around.

Read the reviews, and demo as many as you can.Good luck, and Happy Paddling!

I’m with you; but I would recommend the Mattawa depending on the TacomaPaddler’s weight. Do you think they have Swifts on the west coast?

check Clipper
You might want to take a look at the Clipper Canoes website to see if they have something you would be interested in. The Tripper S looks like a very good candidate. I’ve only been in a couple of their boats (the Sea-1 and the Prospector 14), so I don’t have that much exposure to their work, but both of those boats were excellent designs for their intended uses and the build quality on both was very good.

Here’s the website:

Tripper S
Yup…I’ll second the Tripper S…it paddles very well solo or tandem. One of the posts further up in the thread mentioned the discontinued Clipper Maverick…the Tripper S is the main reason the Maverick was discontinued. It is worth checking out.


Ranger Otter

– Last Updated: Nov-04-06 9:05 AM EST –

I've owned a and paddled a Wenonah Adirondack, Souris River Quetico 16, and the Ranger and all are good for solo/tandem but the Ranger is better. Has a lower shear line than the others, which makes it good in wind, and will feel more stable when paddling tandem than some. Also, it is a real bargain as the designer is the builder/janitor/secretary et al so low overhead. When paddling solo, I paddle from the bow seat facing the stern with a bit of weight in front of me. Heres a couple links, one to website and one with the Ranger next to my Adirondack so you can compare the hull. If you have ever paddled a Mad River Malecite, it has probably similar speed and feel, with a bit more stability. WW

weight important factor for solo
I bought an Old Town Penobscot 16 for solo/tandem paddling, but its weight (58 lbs.) is a bit on the heavy side for me to load on my van. Fifty pounds is about my maximum to load safely. Consequently I never have used it to solo.

The Solo Plus is 60 lbs. in Royalex, lighter in the Kevlar models. I’d keep weight a primary consideration if I were to purchase another canoe for solo/tandem use.

Two canoes
I’d look for a solo for myself, since it seems that’s what you’ll mostly be paddling, and a beater tandem for when your wife wants to go.

Used, you should be able to pick up a pretty nice solo for around $500, and a tandem for maybe $300.

I think that would be more comfortable than trying to find a boat that can do both.

A dark horse entry- Millbrook AC/DC

– Last Updated: Nov-04-06 12:32 PM EST –

is a John Berry tandem design for one-class whitewater. It has little rocker and is narrow, so it can be paddled solo easily.

paddler weight/size considerations?
is this an issue with canoes, as it is with kayaks? or are canoes more one-size-fits all boats? How does this play out with solo-tandems, if it is an issue.My wife is 5’3", 125 or so. I’m 5’10", about 200 pounds. thanks, and for all the amazing s-t canoe options, too.

It’s certainly less of an issue, but the
difference in weight between you and your wife might require one or both of the tandem seats to be shifted. This is not a big deal, though the method depends on the design of the gunwales, seat hangers, etc. Certain boats come with a sliding bow seat, making the adjustment quick and easy.

I strongly recommend trying for even trim, or having the bow just a teensy bit higher when paddling tandem. It has proved to be very worthwhile in all of our tandems.

My two cents … for what it’s worth
I had a Solo Plus and traded it in for a Mad River Freedom Solo.

As a tandem we found the Solo Plus bow and stern paddler positions too narrow for large paddlers.

As a solo canoe I found it very good for lake canoing and non-twisty rivers like the lower Wisconsin, but there are better dedicated solos. However, I found it’s length and lack of rocker a hindrance on twisty Ozark rivers. That’s why I traded for the Mad River.

Now we both paddle solo canoes.

If I were to look for a tandem for those rare occasions when we paddle tandem I would look at a used Old Town Penobscot 16. They are not too hard to find used, they are an all around good canoe at a good price, and many of my friends paddle them solo from the turned around bow seat. Some have even installed center seats for solo paddling, but even those folks are moving to dedicated solo canoes.