Suggestions on first canoe

My girlfriend and I have just recently experienced canoeing. We fell in love and have been a few times already in the last month. We live in Florida so the areas we have available to canoe are mostly slow moving streams, natural springs, and lakes. There are a few longer runs available that we would like to do as a weekend trip here and there down the ocklawaha river and other similar rivers. These are a little less calm, but nowhere close to whitewater.

We would like to get into a used canoe that is reasonably priced. We don’t want to go out and spend $1000+ on a new one that will be our learning tool. I don’t forsee us ramming rocks, but as I said we are new at this. Im hoping to find something under or around $300 to get us started.

A little info about us:

I’m 5’11" and currently 200 lbs. Looking to be down to 180 soon.

She is 5’6" and 125 lbs.

A lighter canoe would be preferred without losing strength as we will have to load it onto the roof of my truck and carry it upstairs into our 2nd floor apartment. We have a spare room to store it so length isn’t much of an issue.

Let us know what brand and model you would recommend for us.

Thank you


Look for…
…a used Old Town Penobscot. If you are a little patient, you should be able to find one somewhat aged and worn, but not in need of repair, for about that price.

what is available locally?
Decide how much you can afford to pay (remember that you will need paddles, PFDs, and a means of cartopping the boat if you don’t have these things) and how far you are willing to drive to go look at a boat.

Then within that geographical area keep checking craiglist listings for the major metro areas. You can also check the classified ads at this site.

There are many hundreds of boat models that might suit your needs but who can tell what is going to show up within your budget? If you set your sights on a particular model, it could be years before you find one for sale locally at a budget price.

Did you measure?
Are you sure you’ll be able to get a 16 or 17 foot canoe up stairs, around corners, and through doors to get it into your spare room? Might want to measure it to make sure, if you haven’t done so. 16 feet is longer than it sounds. Even if it fits, I imagine it’ll be a PITA to get it in and out every time. Have you considered a folding canoe? You’d need to keep saving, as they are more expensive than “normal” canoes. But they are a good option for people with limited storage.

For normal rigid canoes, I think the consensus is that a Royalex canoe gives the best balance of weight and cost. If you have to get a polyetholene canoe to keep it in your budget, I would recommend sticking to an established canoe maker like Old Town or Mad River. Avoid Pelican, Coleman, and other big-box store “brands.” And if you see a plastic canoe with a keel - run away! El cheapo boats are fine for getting out on a pond to fish and lily-dip around. But for your stated use, I think you’ll want something half decent. You might need to spend more than $300.

For only 300 dollars, a used Grumman might be your best bet. You wouldn’t need to store it inside, either, just lock it to a fence or something.

I’m not saying you have to spend more than 300, but if 300 is the budget, it doesn’t make sense for us to recommend make/models, as you will have to see what you can get.

I agree with avoiding everything by Coleman/Pelican, as they are the worst canoes I have encountered.

Central Florida+used canoe=Mohawk
Your profile says Central Florida. I just spent a week in Sanford and saw lots of used Mohawk canoes in the Orlando Craiglist. (They used to be manufactured there.) At the moment there are five or six Mohawk Blazers for sale at $300 or less. Our first canoe was a 16 ft Blazer and it’s really a pretty nice boat. Weight would be the only downside, since it’s not the lightest boat around.

I have never seen a second floor apartment that I could get a freaking canoe into. If there is a rental place near you go see what they are selling and ask about storage options. You may be able to rent space from them. Other than that, and I hate to say this cause I am a canoe guy, you may be better with 2 small kayaks that you can get into the house.

if you know you like it.
Then wait and get a better boat. If you are going to use it get something you really want. It’s like buying cheap tires, but buying expensive jeans. Your going to use the tires way more. A used composite boat would

be perfect for Florida.

It will be light to carry and a joy to paddle. Get decent wood paddles and you will like it even more.

Ryan L.

For under $700 = used Royalex will be
the majority. Used to be that one could find a steal of a kevlar tandem slightly over $1k but I think you’ll find the norm for composite tandems around $1600 minimum…and that’s a steal. Keep your eyes open…but you might wanna look for a used Royalex tandem 16’ or 17’= better…for flatwater and try to go the “paid storage” route if possible. Above all else…don’t get something cheap and light = as it’ll oilcan on you = sheer hell. OldTown(Penobscots…Discoverys are really heavy as hell).

Dagger, Madriver and Wenonah have made some terrific boats… When you find one/some post up for advice…there are always a few dogs that’ve been made.


Thank you
Thank you all for your thoughts. It seems i need to do some rethinking. I was just pulling a number out of air with the $300. In all honesty under a $800 is really what I’m looking for.

We were looking at the Mohawk brand as they are about the right weight/size and seem to have a good history from what I could tell. The nova 16’ was recommended by their customer service rep, which seems like a nice boat. Any opinions on this brand or this particular model?

As for getting the canoe into the apartment I can be done. Not the easiest, but better than leaving the boat mounted to the roof of my truck… Or is it? Can I leave it on my truck if it is properly secured and protected from the weather?

Still accepting brand and model recommendations so please feel free to let me know what canoe would be a good one to keep my out for?

Why not consider an inflatable.
Innova or Sea Eagle.

If you want the option to leave it on your truck or somewhere else outside, I’ll second the recommendation above to get an aluminum canoe. Can’t beat alum for weather resistance. My dad has had his canoe sitting out in his yard for literally 40 years with no maintenance beyond hosing it off occasionally. And good aluminum canoes don’t weight any more than royalex. They can be had for cheap and will hold their value. You should can sell it for what you paid for it when you’re ready to move on. Grumman and Alumacraft are good brands.

Solo canoes
Much more fun to paddle than a tandem, shorter, lighter, easier to get upstairs.

Mine is 12.5 ft, 25#, and I keep it in the living room of my second floor condo.

Paddle-Addict …
… are you near central Fl. ??

I’ll send you an email .

First boat

– Last Updated: Jun-16-11 3:06 PM EST –

I'm another fan of the ubiquitous Grumman aluminum as a first boat. Lighter than a OT Discovery of equal length, good initial stabilty, next to no maintenance or upkeep, you don't have to worry about running it up on a sandbar and scratching it. You can find decent examples used on CL for $300 all day long and then sell it for the same amount in a couple years when you want to upgrade.

I wouldn't pay more than $300 for a used Grumman though. Some people who have newer Grummans that aren't dented and banged up and have been well taken care of think they are worth $600-$700 for what amounts to cosmetics. I realize they paid more than that if they bought it new and want to recoup some of their initial outlay because they only used their boat on lakes and it's never touched a rock. The reality is that a Grumman can be pretty well banged up and paddle just as well as a new one.

On the other hand, $800 will put you square into "used Royalex in pretty nice condition" territory and a few hundred more will get you into Older Kevlarville.

What do you think…
about this one

Its a 17’ grumman aluminum. The guy is asking $350. I tried to get the serial number and extra pics, but the seller is currently in the hospital from an auto accident and will be there for the next week. He said that is the reason he is selling, but from the picture it looks fairly new and in good shape. Plus he’s only an hour away.

It will be very heavy and noisy when paddling. There is something nostalgic about paddling an aluminum tank. By getting a grumman you are staking your claim in the grumman vs alumacraft old canoe battle.

Ryan L.

you will have to go look and water test
Its possible the boat looks good and still leaks. Rivets get loose and seams separate.

And sometimes the old Grumman is just as good as the picture shows.

Having babysat a couple of dozen Grummans they are fine for a first boat. And I have had to fix a couple that looked good and leaked.

Florida , Sun , Hot metal …

– Last Updated: Jun-18-11 12:55 PM EST –

...... aluminum gets sorta hot in the Sun , not as hot as like the sheet metal body of a car though .

I think the water absorbs some of the heat from the alum. . Grummans and the like (alum.) make pretty loud noises when things move and shuffle around in them . They have hard keels , kinda snaggy on rocks and such . They dent (especially the thinner ones) .

I've always been in and around Jon boats and they are alum. , though heavier gauge . I'd prefer no other material than alum. in Jon boat . I've paddled Grumman canoes also , and would not want to own one ... I'd still paddle one as a rental or borrow though , wouldn't hurt my feelings none , they paddle OK and are stable .

Check this out
Try EBay, I live in Ohio and see tons of boats I would love to bid on in your area but too far for me to go since i am only looking for a second loaner boat to use when inviting friends to go with. Like someone said it might be a while to find one in your budget but I think you are being smart looking for a starter boat. Who knows if space is no object you may end up keeping it as a loaner or to use under different conditions then the boat you may ultimately purchase later on. Have fun, be safe, enjoy.