Wenonah 18' kevlar racing canoe -- can we do wilderness trips in this canoe?

Hi there paddling community! I am new to the world of paddling but love it so so much! My husband has been a paddler for most of his life and I’d like to get a canoe for our family (of three) to do lake trips (with some portaging) in. I want to get the canoe as a surprise so am asking you for advice.

Someone is selling their Wenonah 18’ kevlar racing canoe and I’m wondering if this kind of canoe can be used for trips?


Very cool canoe but definitely not for that purpose. Light weight but too tight (esp in front), tippy and fragile.

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Thanks Kevburg!

Indeed, probably not. 2 highly experienced paddlers in a 4x32 mixer racer (or less likely a 3x27 pro boat with spray deck) could do ultralight tripping across small-ish lakes in fair weather.

If you’re talking about something like a Jensen 18 then yes you can do moderate tripping in something like that. Its a tad low in the bow so wave size needs to be accounted for, but its great to paddle and adequate for small to moderate water tripping. J18’s can handle many boundary waters lakes and routes.

So it depends on the exact “racing canoe”. do you have an exact model or picture?

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Unless it is an earlier Jensen or the like, if it is a relatively newer Wenonah, it is probably a very commonly raced and camped 18.5’ Minnesota II. I know many people in the Adirondacks who use the Minn II for camping, and racing, including myself. I have seen several of this model used on the Yukon 1000 mile race, which must be loaded with all supplies, food, and camping gear for a couple of weeks on the river. It is a stable very capable boat for many uses. This past weekend was the 3 day Adirondack 90 mile canoe classic race with 239 boats of all kinds participating. Two of the days featured heavy wind, whitecaps, and “washing machine” rolling waves. Although canoes were lightly loaded for the race, none of those of that model type had significant trouble when others did.

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As has been said, it depends on what is meant by “racing canoe”. The Jensen 18’ and Minnesota II have been frequently used for marathon racing in the stock class. A Jensen 18’ would be fine for flat water tripping if the tandem team was not too heavy and the gear load reasonable. It does not have a lot of freeboard.

The Minnesota II has been an extremely popular flat water tripper in the Boundary Waters and other north woods areas.

On the other hand, if it is a specialty race boat like the 18’ 6" Jensen Pro-boat or the Jensen V1-Pro, forget about it.

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If it’s the Jensen 18 that was included in Wenonah’s catalogs for years (now retired, see link) it’s a fine canoe for lightweight canoe camping for two people but personally I wouldn’t want to put my kid and a bunch of gear in that canoe and feel comfortable out on a lake in choppy water conditions.



Chose a big tripper with racing heritage from Wenonah like pblanc suggests.

Four paddlers in a Wenonah M2 plus a Wenonah Odyssey made to the Arctic Ocean by lake-hopping from Yellowknife. Fifty-five days, about 870 miles.


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Supporting the Jensen 18’ as a maybe possibility although I’m not too sure about 3 plus camping gear. It’s been a while but my guesstimate for load for a 5 day lake & portage trip was in the 425 - 450 lb range. I also have paddled unloaded with a 4 -5 year old along on gentle rivers like Michigan’s Grand River.

You could do wilderness trips in a racing canoe, but why?

Buy a tripping canoe if you plan on tripping.

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and they are both tripping canoes not primarily racing canoes. They can be raced. Grummans can be raced
I have had an Odyssey for 30 years . Its a big volume tripper and the deep water version of the MN 2. Sometimes used for downriver amateur racing. We used ours on the Yukon River Lake Superior and many Provincial Parks. The Odyssey can handle three. The replacement I think is the Champlain… again nor a racing canoe.

Where are they selling their 18’ kevlar boat? I am looking for one.

– Andrew