Spirit II vs. Prospector 17

I am wanting to get a T-Formex canoe and am trying to decide between a Spirit II or a Prospector 17. The Spirit II is 73lbs, the Prospector is 76lbs. However the Spirit II is $2299, the Prospector is >$3000.
Is the Prospector that much better? I want it for the shallow water rocky rivers we have here in Texas. I have an Old Town Penobscot made of Polyurethane, but left strips of red plastic behind on the rocks and I don’t want to destroy it by doing that again. I also own and Wenonah Minnesota 3. I love that boat, but would not dare take it through the rocks. I do not have any experience with Swift.
Any thoughts? Thanks.

The Old Town Penobscot would have been made of either Royalex or three-layer, rotomolded polyethylene.

Do you really need a 17 foot tandem? If you are not tripping with a load a 16 foot Prospector might suit better.

Of the two boats mentioned I would go with the Spirit II. The Prospector has a bit more rocker and will probably turn a little easier but the Spirit II will be more efficient and is a nice jack-of-all-trades design.

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Yes, my Penobscot is made of poly. I wish Old Town would go to T-Formex. I like a 17 foot boat because I am normally camping and bringing a good bit of gear. I did this video on all the stuff I bring. How to Pack for a Camping Canoe Trip - YouTube

Well, I have done canoe camping with the composite version of the Spirit II. Assuming the T-formex version is dimensionally similar, you would be able to pack more into a 17 foot Prospector.

I don’t know about the Swift, but I own a Spirit II and a Novacraft Prospector 18. Even though the Novacraft is longer it is a much more maneuverable than the Wenonah. For a rocky river I’d want the manueverability the Prospector would give. Also not sure about the Swift Prospector, but it probably has a higher capacity and would float higher in that shallow river with the same load.

Personally I’d get the Spirit II even if it was more expensive since it’s such a versatile boat and one of the few non-composite boats that paddles efficiently.

If you haven’t seen the Review section on this site there are 55 reviews of the Spirit II.

I don’t understand the comments about Swift; I didn’t think they had a T-Formex Prospector. Swift Prospectors are somewhat unusual in that they have considerably less rocker than most Prospectors.

The Spirit II is actually the cheaper boat. Swift does make the Prospector in T-Formex. Prospector 17 (River) - Swift Canoe & Kayak - People Who Know, Paddle Swift

I have a Spirit II and love it, but it is kevlar and set up for lake paddling with tractor seats. Haven’t seen it in T-Formex - in fact have never seen a T-Formex boat. Don’t know what the used market is like in TX, but around here you can still get Royalex boats, which is the ideal material for shallow rocky streams, for a lot less than either of these two boats new. Money is no object, I’d go for the Prospector - why not. :wink:

So I just realized that REI carries the Esquif Prospector 17 in T-formex. https://www.rei.com/product/206859/esquif-prospecteur-17-canoe
It is about the same price as the Spirit II. The nice thing is they will ship it to my local REI for free. However, it looks like the Esquif has more rocker (2.5"). It is hard to find good used canoes down here, but I will keep my eyes open. I have to wait until bonus time next spring anyway.

Thanks, didn’t know Swift was selling T-Formex boats. The specs show 2 inches of rocker front and rear like their 16 and 17 foot composite Prospectors which should make them glide a little better on flatwater than the typical Prospectors with 3-4 inches of rocker. Not sure what you think your total load will be but if it’s well over 500 pounds that might push you towards a Prospector.

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Another option, only because I can get it in Houston. Turns out I can order a Nova Craft Haida 17 in TuffStuff from Austin Kayak. Nova Craft Canoe Haida 17 Tuffstuff Canoe (the-house.com)
Not sure that it is better than my other options, but it is lighter.

Both of these canoes are good ones. I am partial to the Prospector because it has better rocker for use on rivers and will turn better.

I am not sure why you would want to buy a new canoe for rocky rivers. Use your old rock boats for those kinds of streams.

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Novacraft makes a great boat. I own 2 of them in Tuff Stuff. You do have to take some care with rocks or you’ll being repairing gelcoat. I’ve never seen a boat in Formex, but I understand it would be significantly tougher than the Tuff Stuff.

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