Tandem or Square Back Canoe???

Hi. Never owned a canoe before. I want to buy a canoe for the family; me, wife, 2boys 5yrs old. I was leaning towards a square back canoe with the idea of getting an outboard motor. But I also want to go canoe camping in the adks. Not sure how a motor will work in that environment? So now I’m back to a large tandem canoe.

I can’t decide which is best. Please help me. Thank you!!

no motor
Do your family a favor and paddle. Motors are for lazy people or skiers. Some of my best childhood memories are canoeing with my uncle in a giant heavy aluminum canoe. I’m betting a motor would have taken away from that.

Ryan L.

Square back canoes are truncated with a tyransom, which significantly increases block co-efficient and consequently ruins tracking. They paddle horribly!

You need to decide if you want a lightweight, narrow, motorboat or a canoe. The two concepts are mutually exclusive.

the only reason I can think of …
… that someone might want a square back canoe with an outboard , other than for fishing … is to haul a large heavy load like yourself , two boys , wife , gear and not have to be the one (or only one) who is trying to move all that weight by themself with just a paddle .

I vote for the double-ender
Canoes with motors are not good for the inexperienced, or for families.

If you want a motorboat, get something wider, or a long freighter of 19’ or more. Otherwise, they do tend to be pretty unstable. They aren’t great for fishing, as they run a bit fast. They aren’t good for portaging. They weigh a bunch, and smell like gas.

I like little aluminum fishing boats, and I like canoes, but I don’t care much for the hybrid. I say get a good sized canoe. Depending on your use and budget, something like an Itasca from Wenonah, or a Tripper XL from Old Town, or a Mackenzie from Clipper, or a Miramichi from Esquif or an old 20’ Grumman would be nice.

I used to believe in the 16’ canoe, and while I still think it is enough, and versatile, I am now convinced of the merits of a large canoe.

Get a Wenonah Minn 3
Outfit it with four seats and live happily ever after

jack L

The ADKs and motors
many of the areas prized for canoeing forbid motors.

Most of the Whitney Tract and St. Regis Canoe area comes to mind.

If you will be using the boat mostly for something else where a motor is fine a square stern would be what you want.

You can rent a canoe in the Adirondacks but the caveat is that you might not have enough experience to be safe on larger lakes.

So it goes…one size does not fit all.

tandem canoe
Yes. I agree with you. After I posted that question I did some more reading and youtubing. Paddling looks like such a wonderful experience. It would be ruined with a motor. I’m sold.

Our local sporting goods store sells Pelican canoes. Any opinions on the 15’ 6" canoe. I think they call it the explorer? Thank you for your feed back!

o lord its no secret that I think the
Pelican Explorer is a piece of junk. The bow seat so crammed into the bow that only sitting is possible.

Last year on a river trip a couple had a Pelican Explorer. There was high water and pushy currents. They had to kneel…incredibly cramped and uncomfortable. The bowman had to have an incredible sense of balance not to get their head and upper body over the rails and hence capsize. They were scared s**itless all day.

You are far better off getting out of the big box store. If you want to do canoe tripping, the Pelican or its ilk are not for you…Imagine carrying it on your back for a mile…

Right now I would just rent a Kevlar boat next summer.

They are a dime a dozen
and rate right down there at the bottom just above the Colemans.

If your funds are that low look for a better used boat

I saw one this morning on flat water with a husband, wife and two kids, and I thought sure it was going to capsize every time one of them moved.

I guess it didn’t though, because I saw them return about twenty minutes later

Jack L

You guys offer very compeling testimony. I really appreciate your input. I called a dealer who sells the Minnesota 3 canoe. He said that its a beautiful canoe for a family of 4 and gear. Its a little hard to get started, but once its moving it gluides nice. It also cost $2700! Ouch.

I don’t know if I can get my wife to allow me to spend that much. I do agree that being out on the water with a family is the wrong time to learn of a canoes short comings.

I think the salesman also said that up in adks they rent these wenonah canoes. It certainly has my interest. I’ll look at some other suggestions mentioned in this thread. Many thanks!

look at your local dicks, the one here in Tennessee north of me in Murfreeboro, is selling their Penobscot 16’ for like 850$ it is a nice canoe, and well reviewed here, and everywhere as a great all around fishing canoe. IF you want to spend a bit less, look on craigslist, or ebay, be patient and you’ll find a good deal… but go try some boats out before you buy, even ifyou have to rent… don’t want to buy a pelican and hate yourself for it later on…

old town penobscot that is, and its not listed on the net, but at the store they have it…

You can use a squareback without motor

– Last Updated: Mar-10-11 2:15 PM EST –

though a squareback may not necessarily perform as well as a traditional under paddle.

I say if you think you are going to use a motor all the time, get something like a jonboat, not a canoe. If there is a good possibility that you will use a motor sometimes, get a squareback. If you think it might be nice to try a motor sometime, get a traditional. You can always buy or build a motor mount. I built one for my traditional canoe, cost me less than $20 in hardware and took less than an hour (though this was for a trolling motor, not an outboard.)

Be careful on here…all the elitists are going to make it seem like you HAVE to get a composite canoe…and spending less than $2500 will ruin your summer with a crappy canoe. There are a TON of nice, long canoes that will be fine for your family and be be far less expensive and more durable. Look for boats made of Royalex in models such as the Wenonah Champlain, or even the Sundowner. If the kids are small a longer OT Penobscot would work too. Just be advised, 4 people in a canoe isn’t ideal…it can be done but depending on body size you may be cramped. 2 adults and 2 small to medium children can fit in a 16’ plus canoe, if the kids are older perhaps look at 2 boats. The Sundowner can be had for under $1500 and will fit two adults and 2 kids.

Penobscot 16 is a great boat.
I have one, but it is way too small for a family of four

jack L

“elitists” !
I assume you are referring to my post above recommending a Minn 3.

A person never knows what another poster is willing to spend, unless the OP spells it out.

But don’t you just cringe a bit when you see a family of four in a tippy el cheapo 16 foot long canoe ?

Jack L

I actually wasn’t referring to you Jack…I think your advice has always been spot on. Charlie’s too…others, not so much.

Used Minn 3
I found a location on the internet that has used Minn 3. A 2yr old unit will cost me $1900 with shipping. That’s on the very edge of reasonability. I was prepared to spend $1000, but I think I can make a case to my wife using your testimony that an extra $900 is worth it.

Of course if she still balks, we’ll rent. In retrospect, a 16’er seems too scary with the family on board. Man, I’m excited to get out there!

Assuming you use the canoe. $1900 could be considered cheap. I’m sure a night out could easily cost you $120 with the fam. A new flat screen will be $1000. So just skip the next tv and 7 nights out. Plus that boat is sweet compared to a plastic disaster or an aluminum cruiser.

Ryan L.