Sub-30 lb solo canoe recommendation

Somehow while I was not paying attention, I got old. Part of the joy of aging is that it becomes increasing difficult to put a 50 or 60 pound canoe on top of my car. I carry it on top of the car instead of on a trailer because I often pull a tiny camping trailer. Anyway I am looking for recommendations for a very light solo canoe. The requirements are pretty simple. Weight under 30 lbs (less is better). I want a boat to fly fish out of on flat water. I am looking for a stable more than a fast boat. Knees too abused to kneel for hours so I will be sitting. I would just as soon be up off the bottom of the boat a little instead of just sitting on foam pad – it makes casting easier. I am 6’3” and 200 lbs so a tiny wee lassie will not do. I know that are all sorts of pack canoes made around the Adirondacks that would fit my needs but they are pretty few and far between here in the flat ugly middle of the nation. Anyone got any suggestions/considerations/information/insights? I will be back east this summer and would like to try and buy a boat while there if I can not find one locally.


Have you tried an Old Town Pack?
It’s 33 lbs, rather than sub 30 lbs, but it’s pretty stable and can handle a pretty large paddler and I’ve seen a few used pop up on craigslist this spring in the midwest.

Do you stand when you fly fish?

If you seek a Pack
it has to be used. The 33 lbs one is no longer made.

Its been replaced by the same design in poly at 49 lbs

The Old Town Next is not going to help either.


Placid will put in a higher seat in their pack canoes.They do not use foam seats directly on the bottom

Not sure about the others, Hornbeck Savage River Slipstream and Adirondack.

You might see if you can find a Wenonah Fusion. Its a pack canoe but it looks from the diagrams that you might be able to raise the seat. Its a traditional seat on what looks to be metal hangars. Howver I have never seen one.

Thanks for the suggestions

– Last Updated: Mar-25-16 7:05 PM EST –

The Placid Boatworks Spitfire 13 looks like a good possibility at 29" width and a weight of 20 lbs. The Rapidfire seems very popular but would not be an ideal fishing platform. The Weninah Fusion is a possibility but at 30 lbs. it is at the top of my limit. The Wenonah website seems to be an outstanding example of incomplete and confusing information. Maybe their catalogue is better. By the way why would anyone want a rudder on a canoe? I have paddled an Old Town Pack and was not impressed. I already have an old beat up OT 119 which I will keep for rocky creeks.

Does anyone know about the Northstar ADK? It specs great at 20 lbs. and I have liked all the Northstar boats I have used in the past.

considered a folder?
The 20 lb Pakboat Saco and 29 pound Saranac have been endorsed by the North American Fishing Club. Though technically “kayaks” the decks are optional and the adjustable inflatable seats are very comfortable.

I have the predecessor to the Saco (mine is a Puffin 1) and it’s a very nice little boat. Besides being very light, the full length inflatable sponsons make it stable enough to stand in (you might need the larger Saranac since you are bigger than me). You can ship it in a box for $30 and carry it packed down in a trunk. Pakboats are great for us “geezers” – I can carry mine with one hand.

Lightweight composite pack canoes are lovely but pretty pricey. A new Pakboat runs from $900 to $1250 and I sometimes see used ones on Ebay for $500 – that is what I paid for mine. Simple to set up and you can leave it that way if you don’t want to break it down. They can be car-topped on saddles or j-racks.

Wenonah Wilderness
Aging snuck up on me as well and 2 years ago I began the search for a light solo canoe as I too put my canoes on top of the truck.

After much searching and paddling quite a few light weight canoes I settled on the Wilderness. I liked its combination of tracking and ease of turning with its slight rocker. And I prefer the hanging webbed seat to the tractor seat on a pedestal.

If fails your 30 lb limit, but at 32 lbs in the ultralight layup it is pretty close.

I’m 6’2 and 230 and find it fits me just fine,

Second the SpitFire13
Placid Boatworks’ SpitFire for big boys. Give Joe a call; he’s great to work with.

Light weight canoe
I bought a Swift Osprey in carbon fusion layup with carbon kevlar gunnels. It has a fixed seat and weighs

just under 27 pounds. I use mine mainly for wildlife photography but I also fly fish out of it. Its not cheap but it is a perfect 10 for my needs. It also paddles either flowing water or flat water well.

If I thought there was anything any better for my needs I would have it.

Fishing and Light? Nova Craft Trapper
Check the reviews out on them. Here’s mine and another one on “Trailspace” also. The Tuffstuff layup is a bit over 30lb and the kevlar layups can be had 29-31lbs. If you want to try out a royalex model, come down to the Current River and give me a holler.

Also “Canoe Roots” recently gave a good review on the Wenonah. Can’t find it online, but here’s Have a great weekend!

Northstar and Hemlock light weight layup
Both the Northstar Phoenix and Hemlock Kestrel have light weight Layups. Pricey but light and a little bigger than a pack canoe. Hemlock(used to be Curtis) Premium Lite Kestrel comes in at about 26 pounds. Dave Curtis custom builds these to each persons needs and has demos available I like the gell coated bottom of the Hemlock but you might be able to talk him into leving off the gell coat to save a couple more pounds.

The need for Ultra light weight canoes are still a few years away for me. But have started thinking about this. Have a Bell Blackgold Wildfire that is very light(made with foam tanks not the normal tanks they used on most). Also saving up for a Northsar Polaris in Starlight.

You might also wish to look at light weight paddles such as a ZRE carbon fiber.

Swift too
So far AAA has your first stop at Hemlock, a stop at one of several Swift dealers!us-dealers/cj98

Hornbeck in Olmstedville, Adirondack in Minerva, call ahead to enquire about a tradional non foam seat… not sure they can do those

Slipstream does the sort of seat you want. And they do have flatland dealers

Placid in Lake Placid They too do a higher non foam seat

You will have quite the tour!

I owned a wonderful Hemlock Kestrel and loved it, but wouldn’t want to fish out if it due to it’s tenderness.

Most lightweight canoes are responsive designs unfortunatly.


Thanks all
Particularly kayamedic. I have been looking at boats like these for quite a while and had never come across Slip Stream Watercraft before. Looks very interesting. I will be wandering the northeast this summer (okay there are some advantages to being old and retired) and hope to try as many as time allows.


sitting position
if your willing to sit on the bottom there are many options in your weight range. I thought you wanted a high seat?


OP just does not want to sit directly on
the bottom on a foam pad IIRC. You can have a pack canoe as you know Turtle and have varying seat heights with some manufacturers.

For example I have a 3.5 inch off the floor seat in RapidFire.

If you get to Hemlock Canoe
(And you should, if possible) check out their Eaglet. Lightest weight is about 36 but you may find that manageable due to it’s distribution. And talk to Dave about any possibility of weight reduction if you need to. At your size I think it would be a great platform for fishing as it would allow lots of movement in the boat while maintaining stability. And it paddles nicely. Boats always available for test paddles.

You will need…
You will need deep pockets if you want to go “BIG TIME” with a new, super light weight, kevlar layup canoe from Hemlock, Swift, Placid, or Hornbeck, and to a lesser degree the same can be said for Nova Craft, and Wenonah.

If you’re loaded; no problem.

I truly regret selling my Hemlock SRT & Swift Osprey; both were fine canoes.

Just for grins; give some consideration to a used boat…avoid sticker shock. Nobody “needs” a $2,500.00 canoe to catch a fish. “Wanting” one I can understand; to some degree.


Of course
It is my intention to win the Hemlock canoe in the current contest. All this discussion is just backup on the very unlikely chance that I’d do not win this round.


oh there is a canoe up for grabs?
Thanks for the notification!