Hi all! I haven’t posted here in eons, but I’m in need of some advice.
I have been a kayaker for several years. I have a very wonky knee and it has been getting harder for me to get in and out of my kayak so I’m looking at switching over to a pack canoe. I have looked at the Swift, Wenonah’s solos and a couple from Placid Boatworks. Features-wise, I think I have my heart set on the Swift.
My local store is having a demo day/Swift event this weekend. They’re touting special event pricing on in stock boats, so I will definitely give it a test paddle. It’s MSRP is $2495, but I don’t really know much about pricing when it come to negotiations on a kevlar boat.
Any experiences, advice or suggestions would be appreciated!
Hi all! I haven’t posted here in eons, but I’m in need of some advice.
Look at an osprey
I purchased a Swift carbon fusion Osprey a couple months ago. They will probably have an Osprey at the demo days. Suggest you try one of these.
Swift’s workmanship looks to be excellent.
The Osprey is far from a pack canoe
but Swift does sell a sit in the bottom adjustable seat for it.
Seems a bit deep for such an arrangement,but whatever works. The Osprey is a good large volume tripper, but again it’s size and length makes it out of what most think as a pack canoe.
try it out…it’s kinda small, but see
how its stability and paddling efficiency are.
I have both a Swift kayak(Saranac 14) and a PBW Spitfire. I love them both and have paddled both of them in the Daks with much enjoyment. I have never paddled the Swift Pack canoe but I am sure you will be pleased. Since your in the area why not go test paddle a PBW boat also? I did order my Swift and they typically give you $100 off the list price, not sure what kind of deal they will give you on an in stock boat but my experience is that most dealers don’t stock to many of them.
I tested the Swift with a buddy a few years ago. Didn’t like the thin wood thwarts. Tried the Rapidfire from Joe at Placidboats, loved it and bought it! Fast when needed on Lake Champlain, easy to turn on the Oswagotchi (sp?). Few hundred more but well worth it. Go test it or you’ll be sorry you didn’t. I feel that the RF works best for most of my needs where the Swift wouldn’t work for me on larger water. Enjoy testing.
There are also some minty USED boats
out there, Bell Magics/Merlin 2s, Placid’s Spitfire/Rapidfire…along with Swift’s Osprey. I believe Wenonah has a pack model too. You pick up(and maybe modify a little) the Yokes with the Wenonah foam pads and those 15-16footers(only in 40+lb range) are just as light. Don’t know if you’ve ever been in a Magic, but it can rock & roll with some pretty big waves… Check out Hemlock(new & used) and Colden.
Pack canoe vs short solo
What is the advantage of a pack canoe over a slightly longer solo canoe like the Osprey? To me sitting on the floor vs a traditional canoe seat is a lot more uncomfortable.
Pack canoes are very light. The original intention of the design was for them to be very easy to carry through the woods from pond to pond. Also, such small boats move with much less effort than longer boats, and on the small waters they are made for, the greater speed of a longer boat means less than the ease of carry and ease of paddling of a small one. I think the seating position evolved with the ease-of-use idea in mind (nothing is easier than sitting low and using a double-blade paddle), and lots of people don't find sitting on the floor to be uncomfortable at all (if they did, kayaks wouldn't outnumber traditional canoes by 50,000 to 1!). I'm sure kayamedic or some other northeastern paddler can add more.
I will absolutely try out an Osprey.
essentially short undecked kayaks
light so that they can be shouldered along with a pack and taken through unmaintained portage trails. Such as often found in the Adirondacks.
There has been some evolution and longer models work well on larger water. Such as the ocean or the Great Lakes. A hallmark is that they have less depth to allow sitting on the bottom and double blading but if the hull is designed for wave shedding some work quite well in bigger waves.
They have been around for over a hundred years but got a resurgence in popularity with the appearance of the reasonably priced Hornbeck pack canoes. The Lost Pond is something like 17 lbs.
Pack canoes are harder to find in some areas than others but in the Adirondacks it seems that wherever you look there is a pack canoe on a car.
Traditional Seat vs. Kayak Style Seat
One of my concerns about going with a solo canoe over a pack boat is the fact that I am unable to kneel. I’m afraid that sitting on a traditional canoe seat will keep my center of gravity too high and therefore in a less stable position. Entering and exiting the boat would be easier with a traditional seat, but is that worth the loss in stability?
I haven’t been in a canoe in probably 20 years so my concerns might be totally off base. I like that the Swift Osprey has the available combi seat option and I’ve also seen instances of folks lowering the stock seat positions. I will try out as many canoes as I can and go from there.
My Swift osprey has a non sliding webbed seat. It is very stable for me and I don’t kneel. In fact I often put one or two layers of 12 inch square carpet on the seat to raise me up for a more powerful stroke. The important thing is to experiment and see what you like best.
Good to know!
Do you paddle with a single or double blade?
Single blade graphite paddle
I use an older Greg Barton graphite paddle that I sit and switch with. I actually have 2 of these. The one I use most is a 50" lightweight model that weighs 9 oz. My second one is a 52" medium weight model that weighs 11 oz. Both are absolutely fabulous for moving a solo canoe. They both have a 12 degree bend.
My outfitter in the Adirondacks has taken on the Swift line and loves them. They sold or rented Hornbeck, Bell, Wennonah, Vermont Canoe and a few other brands over the years so they know their stuff. They usually knock off a few hundred off of retail (depending on the price of the boat) or give you 20% off any accessories. They will give a 10% discount off msrp if you place an order with them and they place the order from the factory.
I love my pack boat and would not even consider a kayak or solo canoe for my lake or easy river adventures. The light weight, easy paddling, capacity, ease of entry / exit and portability are the big advantages. Placid’s are very very nice but also cost more than all the other boats out there.
My favorite outfitter
in the ADK is Adirondack Outfitters in Saranac Lake. It was there that I was introduced to the idea of a pack boat. I was there to ask advice about a new lightweight kayak with a large rec opening to accommodate my knee problems. (I haven’t paddled all summer due to the knee and a badly sprained ankle that kept me from being able to handle my 50+lb. plastic yak) One of their staff members showed me a pack canoe and it really made me think! I wasn’t able to demo that day, but fortunately my local paddle shop carries the boats I’d like to try.
I second the rapidfire
test paddle the rapidfire! It will handle a variety of waters and handles it all very well
I would, but…
I can’t find one to try out. Placid is about 250 miles away and I don’t expect to be back there until next July.
You might ask here on pnet
There are RapidFire owners in Connecticut.