Unloaded solo

Well, i read constantly about how stable solo canoes get when you load them. I don’t wanna carry anything, pack anything, load or unload anything, ect,ect. I canoe close to home on small lakes and rivers, always making it home at night. What solo works well unloaded, with just a 260 lb paddler in it? I have a prism now.

At 260 pounds, you have no worries about needing to bring a load. I weigh slightly more than 100 pounds less than you and I’ve tried out several different solo canoes and have never perceived anything you could call a lack of stability. Even at my weight, I greatly prefer the way my canoes (and rowboats too) handle and feel with little or nothing extra on board than with a load of camping gear. My typical load of camping gear weighs about 50, or maybe up to 70 pounds, and to me, it seems like that’s enough to make a solo boat a lot more sluggish. The only time I might prefer a somewhat heavy load would be paddling a solo canoe in strong wind, but most times I don’t have all that much trouble in wind even with no extra load. At your size, I’d not be worried about having too little weight in the boat, and would actually expect you to be happier in one of the larger solos than in something very small and lively. The Prism is a pretty big boat as solos go, though it’s one I haven’t paddled and can’t speak to its stability, though that’s a sitting boat and the only way I paddle is from a kneeling position, so consider that as affecting my feelings about stability too. Still, I can’t imagine any need to bring anything as ballast in your case.

Are you unhappy with your Prism? It should handle your weight pretty easily. If you want a boat that has more secondary stability then either a Hemlock Peregrine or Swift Shearwater would be perfectly happy with you in it but nothing else…both are very friendly and work kneeling or sitting. The Peregrine is a bit hotter than the Shearwater and the Shearwater has a bit more room and stability than the Peregrine.

The Prism should work well for you.

Not unhappy with the prism,.don’t know any better. This is my first solo. I guess i am reading too much, and “grass is greener” syndrome hitting me. I need to forget about my next canoe, and paddle this prism.

I think my problem is weight distribution. I am top heavy. Big chested stocky guy. My older son, a big tall boy, that carries most of his weight above the waist, has the same wiggly problems in my prism. All “normal” people who try it are stable as hell! I get better each time though.

You could get a couple of cheap 25 liter roll top vinyl dry bags. Carry them to the water empty, fill or partially fill with water, and put them equidistant from center in front of and behind you for ballast. Empty and rinse out when through paddling.

Put some emphasis on Pete’s recommendation to rinse out afterward - at home with tapwater! I guess I hadn’t been paying much attention, because I just learned today that our biggest local lake now has both the spiny water flea and zebra mussels. In terms of water clarity, one might tend to cancel-out the other, but in terms of a healthy ecosystem and thriving fish populations, the arrival of the spiny water flea is a disaster of epic proportions. And it didn’t walk here. It came via people’s boats and/or trailers. A ballast bag could do the same thing.

Your “get better every time” remark is a common experience for those new to solo. It is normal to think it may be the boat that is causing your feeling that you lack stability. Time on the water will fix that. An experienced solo paddler can jump in many kinds of hulls and feel comfortable. Of course kneeling vs sitting will generally help. You have a very nice boat for traveling, and it will certainly handle your weight. Give it some time and if possible seek qualified instruction.