Vagabond or wildfire (yellowstone)

Narrowed my search for a solo down to these two. I’ll get to paddle them head to head later in July. Anyone paddled these two (in royalex)? Can you tell me about your experiences and things to look out for? I never paddled a dedicated solo. I’ll use it primarily on flat water and slow but rocky streams.

Thanks for the tips!

Owned Both
I have owned both canoes. Sold the Vagabond, still have the Wildfire. You don’t have a profile so not knowing your experience level I’ll give you a general overview:

Vagabond. Fast, flat bottom hull, good initial stability (you can sit & comfortably paddle her)but very little flare above the waterline which translates to low secondary stability. It weighs just a little less than the Wildfire. The Vagabond is faster than the Wildfire but is really better suited to flat waters. Has a very sharp bow and cuts into big waves and drops. Also has less rocker than the Wildfire.

Wildfire. Excellent secondary stability, you can lean her over to the gunwales. Confidence paddling position is kneeling in the Wildfire - not sitting. Not quite as fast as the Vagabond, seems to “hit the wall” but still fast enough unless your objective is racing. The Wildfire’s a great solo canoe for river running. Handles big wave trains with just a little water shipping over the quarter of the bow. When leaned can easily catch eddies and will handle moderate drops with its blunter bow. With more rocker than the Vagabond it handles all the conflicting river currents better.

Long story short - the Wildfire is my preferred river canoe for slow to CII water. For flat water I use a touring kayak.

Hope this helps. Paddle Safe - Louis

Thanks for the info Louis. I’m probably an intermediate -adv. intermed. on lakes but a beginer on moving water. I see your from OH and you may have paddled Pymatuning. This boat would be used on lakes similar to that with slow rocky streams as well class I at most.

Thanks again

my side
I have never owned a wildfire but know it is more popular than the vagabond. I own a vagabond. I looked really hard at both canoes before my purchase. The Wildfire is 6 inches shorter at 14 feet. It has about an inch more rocker than the vagabond and therfore responds more quickly in a turn. I took a canoe class and everyone but the instructor and I was paddling wildfires. He was in a ww canoe and I had my vagabond. I was at a decided disadvantage carving sharp turns but healed the canoe to one side and made the turns.

I chose the tuff weave layup. I did so for a few reasons. One is that we have a 20 year old tuffweave echo in the garage that has served for bwca trips and beating down the rive for most of my life. I wanted the stiffness and clean entry that fiberglass offered over royalex. I was able to buy the Vagabond in the more expensive material for the same price as a royalex wildfire.

I wanted a canoe that would serve me on small lakes as well as local rivers that are nearly always class 1. Unfortunately there has been so much rain that I have been kept off the river for all but a few hours. In that bit of time I found the Vagabound to be plenty manuverable for what I ran. The est of my canoe time has been spent on various lakes near home. I am very impressed by the flat water ability of the canoe.

It is my first solo but I find it to be very stable. I even stand a bit making casts in small protected bays. It is fairly fast. Not race fast but beat the storm back to the put in fast. I let my uncle paddle it with a kayak paddle and it flew across the water. I like to use a straight shaft paddle in it for controll purposes. I was using a bent shaft and still do for long paddles.

I would never say do not buy a wildfire. But I can say that I love my vagabond. If I ran tougher rivers(class2-3) I would want a wildfire in royalex but for split duty for the same money you can have a faster cleaner canoe for the same money. By the way tuffweave vagabonds come with foot braces. Buy a kneeling pad. It makes a world of differance comfort wise. Good luck. I do not think you can go wrong with either canoe.

I too
was looking at either the vagabond or the yellowstone solo and will now go with the latter when it’s in the budget. I’m curious, though, why doesn’t anyone post info on Souris River Canoes when the subject is bigger boats. I’ve never seen a comment here on Souris. Are they bad news?

Not available locally
Don’t know if they’re good or not but they are not available locally like Bell,wenonah MRC and OT.

souris like langfords, swift, etc. seem to be more of a “canadian” canoe and difficult to buy in the states, especially the farther way from the northeast you are. as are bells, wenonahs, i’ve been told are not as common in canada and are more of an “american” canoe. what happened to free trade?

Free trade is not so much the problem,
but being able to build enough boats is.

I have to wait a(nother) year now, to get a Swift Osprey,

because they can’t make anymore of them his year :frowning:

Souris River
It is an interesting question as to why some of the Canadian boat aren’t more common in the U.S. I’m guessing it is mostly about low volume sales of solos and canoes in general together with the hassles of transportation. Add in demand factors. Most folks ask for what they see or know of already and those are the boats common in their area now.

I’ve paddled a Souris Quetico 17 and thought it was a stable, seaworthy, efficient and very well made boat. They have good reputations. The Q 16 is supposed to make a nice high volume solo.