Suggestions for light 15' Royalex

The friendly folks here strongly recommended I NOT put two seats in my 38lb solo Wenonah Royalex Sandpiper ($500 used, not bad at all). So I’m looking for another used canoe, but all the 15’ Royalex I’ve seen weigh 60lbs or more. I mostly do slow streams but want canoe to be OK in up to class 2 rapids, so want Royalex.

I’m getting rooftop crossbars for MY CRV, and perhaps cover them with pipe insulation foam - so hefting it onto them should not be a problem. Can anyone suggest something I could get used affordably in a 50ish lb Royalex tandem - if they exist. Thanks. Jim

You could watch for a Dagger or
Mad River Reflection 15.

A Wenonah Aurora 16 Royalex might come in at 60 or under.

Also, watch for a Wenonah Tufweave in the pocket tandem range. Very durable layup, stiffer and lighter than their same boats in Royalex.

Hard to find one that light

– Last Updated: Jun-11-13 1:32 AM EST –

If you can get your hands on a Bell Morningstar in Royalex, you'll have a pretty nice little tandem that weighs about 57 pounds. Yeah, that's pretty close to 60 pounds, and you are correct that most small Royalex tandem canoes weigh about 60 pounds or even a little more. If there were one that were a lot lighter, I'd be worried about just how flexible the bottom would be. Some Royalex boats are pretty flexible even at "normal" weight.

Okay, here I go again talking about canoe-carrying, and trying to make the job easier. Is it possible that you can do most of your carrying and loading as a couple? If so, I don't think 60 pounds is a deal-breaker at all (yes, I do remember that you two are small). My tandem paddling partner is very small and not very strong, and she can carry one end of a 65-pound tandem quite easily, and can even do the roll-over thing at her end with no risk of slipping and dropping the boat. It's solo handling that gets to be a real challenge if the canoe is big and the handler is small, but for two people the job isn't bad at all.

Since you will probably end up with a boat that weighs 60 pounds or more, here's another trick for loading the canoe on your roof. Once you get near the car, set the canoe down on the ground, upside-down. Abandon the typical method of putting one person on each end. Instead, you and your partner go to the center of the boat and lift from opposite SIDES. That way you can swing one end as high as necessary to get it up over one cross bar, yet neither person needs to lift their hands any higher than their waist. Once one end is over a bar, you can just slide the boat up the rest of the way, and the farther it slides, the lighter your load becomes. Handling 30 or 33 pounds at waist level (and less than that once it starts sliding up onto the roof) is a cinch, and I'm often amazed that among people who have a hard time with overhead lifting of the boat, it seems that none use this method. It's also a great way to get the boat in or out of the water where there's a high steep bank without dragging it (you just walk your hands along the gunwales and shuffle the boat up or down the embankment while standing still (as your lifting point moves toward one end, the water carries the other end), rather than carrying it from the ends and walking/stumbling/dragging).

By the way, if you want to pad your cross bars, pipe insulation is okay if little patches of the stuff are put in place after the boat is already loaded, but it will tear pretty quickly if used as padding for sliding the boat onto the rack. Carpet with glued-fabric backing (no foam-based backing) is a lot tougher. The carpet on my cross bars is about 4 years old (I usually replace it every couple of years though).

Old Town Penobscot
also comes in a tad under 60 pounds. I’ve owned both a Penobscot and a Bell Morningstar. The Morningstar will serve you better in class II as it has more rocker and turns better. The Penobscot will track better on flatwater. Both can be found used if you’re patient. And, no plug intended, Blue Mountain Outfitters has/had a new Royalex Morningstar in stock. These are no longer in production.


Or a Prospector

– Last Updated: Jun-11-13 9:34 AM EST –

Like Penobscots, Prospectors are pretty capable river boats and there have been a lot of them sold, so you might come across a 15 footer used.

But a 15 foot Prospector is going to be closer to 60 lbs than 50. Wenonah lists their 15 ft Prospector at 59 lbs. I have hefted a lot of them and I think that is fairly accurate.

I think if you really need to get down to 50 lbs or less for a tandem canoe you should go with composite as g2d suggests. I would have a lot more confidence in a 50 lb composite tandem holding up than I would a 50 lb Royalex tandem, and that includes paddling Class II whitewater.