My son and I have been enjoying our new-to-us river tripping canoes: a Dagger Legend 15 (for him) and an Old Town Cascade (for me), the latter of which I picked up with advice from the forum here. They’ve been great boats for overnight to long weekend runs on the middle sections of the Buffalo in Arkansas, the Eleven Point, and the Toccoa, all of which we’ve paddled in the last year along with day trips around middle Tennessee.
In order to increase our skill level, this spring, we did two days of whitewater canoe lessons at NOC with a great instructor. Instead of our personal boats, we used two new Esquif Prospecteur 16’s (owned by NOC). We had such a great time training on the Tuckasegee and the Nantahala that we’d like to return and continue to develop our skills for beginner to intermediate whitewater.
But’s there a complication. My son now says he’d like to get something more whitewater oriented that still gives the option for overnight trips. So, the bug has bitten and I’ve got a challenge ahead of me and lots of questions. What boats will do both day trips on the Tuck and Nantahala as well as overnight trips on water like Clear Creek in Tennessee or the Saint Francis in Missouri ? The latter are probably the most difficult streams we’ll try to do anytime soon, and I’d like to build our skills toward that class of water.
I’ve read as many of the archived threads that contain info on this subject that I can find, and among the boats that seem like good candidates are the Dagger Impulse and Mohawk XL 13. (I’d like to buy used as I really like the old boats, and they’ll end up being learning boats anyway). My immediate question is whether or not these boats will offer enough performance improvements over what we already have. Or should I just bag out the boats that we currently own?
As well, to complicate matters, we’d both like to continue using bench seats over saddles, at least for now. I’ve seen XL 13’s on the used market with them, but I’ve never seen an Impulse with one. I have read that kneeling thwarts were used with that model occasionally.
More pertinent info: We’re both 6’ 1" and from 190 to 200 lbs. Beginner whitewater skill levels. Playing in rapids is less important than handling a load of gear for tripping. We both kneel to paddle through anything challenging but like the bench seat for the flats.
Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.