Wenonah Adirondack

I am interested in purchasing this canoe in Royalex from a local dealer. I had the opportunity to test it and just loved the way it handled. As you can see I am new and I am only going to use this in bays, lakes and quiet streams (no white water). My question is while testing this I relized that with the slightest shaking the bilge flexed sort of like a wavy motion. Is this normal? And is the bilge going to become damaged if the canoe is dragged out of the water? I only used a Coleman a fe times and there build like a battleship so I’m not fimilar with the more light weight and touring canoes. Any help you can share would be great.

Thanks, Bob

get composite adirondack
i’ve owned both royalex and tuffweave adirondacks and, although; i had no problem with major oilcanning in my royalex adirondack, i much prefer the tuffweave. i paddled mine mostly on boney ozark streams, NO PROBLEM with the layup on those rocks other than scrapes to the gelcoat. i think you would be much happier with the tuffweave. seems there have been a few complaints lately with the newer wenonah royalex boats being a bit more “floppy” than their earlier royalex boats. ww

Wenonah oilcan
I recently test paddled the Spirit 2 in royalex. It oil canned severely at midships. I was also interested in the Adirondack, but decided to look at other boats in royalex as the oil canning bothered me quite a bit. I would think that the Wenonah boats in tuf-weave or kevlar would be much stiffer. For me it came down to the Bell Morningstar and the Old Town Penobscot. Both were great boats with similar characteristics and neither hull oil canned. I chose the Old Town for it’s longer hull and it’s responsiveness.

I would also consider a Tuffweave
but if you get the ABS, you can cut down on the oil-canning by putting a minicell pedestal center seat between the center thwart and the bottom of the boat. Adds flotation, makes a better solo seat than many alternatives, at least if you prefer kneeling. It is even possible to build a portage yoke into the front of the pedestal.

Adirondack’s Royalex hull flex
First of all, I like the Adirondack for it’s easy access to the water … i.e. narrow width equals more vertical paddling strokes. The long diamond shape of the Adirondack provides for slender ends with a fairly wide middle that’s evident for only a short center section. What might be a tippy hull design is made less so by virtue of it’s relatively flat shallow arch. Unfortunately, what is an ideal compromise hull shape out of the water changes to an even flatter bottomed Royalex hull due to it’s flex upward when weighted with more than about 300-350 lbs. As soon as you put in a couple of 200 lbs. paddlers in it with an extra 25-50 lbs. of day gear, that shallow arch starts to oilcan upwards unless measures are taken to counteract the water pressure around the center of the hull. Wedging a cooler or pack underneath the yoke helps a lot. Or you can post down to a x-country ski that runs 200 cm along the floor for a fix that doesn’t take up too much space.

OR … you can get the Adirondack in a composite layup for a stiffer, faster and more abrasion (not impact) resistent canoe. Try their Tuffweave with black trim for a good looking and performing combination that’s not too expensive.

sounds like
Yep it is oil canning. From the uses you describe I would go with tuff weave as well. I bought a Vagabond in tuff weave and use it for about everything but whitewater. The clean lines and stiff hull of the tuff weave will make for more efficient paddling on flat water. You can go faster easier. While speed may not be your goal you can achieve a comfortable cruising speed easier. Wenonah makes great canoes-they are all I paddle.

Is oil canning bad?
Is this a problem with the canoe? Will this cause me a problem long term if I was to buy it? I tried a Dagger Reflection 15 also in Royalex and that didn’t seem to oil can as much, at least I didn’t notice it doing it. The Adironack was less ‘tippy’ than the Dagger that’s why I was leaning towards buying it. I am going to assume unless I’m not understanding alll of you correctly, that it would be a mistake for me to buy this model in Royalex.


Oil canning
I’m no expert, but my belief is that if the hull is flexing you are wasting some of your energy in going forward. I don’t believe that it will affect the hull’s integrity. However, I think that if you are going to spend close to $1,000 on a canoe it should not flex like a $400 Coleman. My .02 for what it’s worth.

Durability of Tuff-weave
Is tuff-weave enough durable for everything except white-water paddling? I’m planning to buy Minnesota II (tuff-weave) or Champlain (royalex) in future for flatwater paddling. That’s why I’m so interested in durablity of tuff-weave.


You can abuse the hell out of royalex and it will keep right on going. However, it is not as efficient a tuff weave of kevlar because of the flex(oil canning) of the hull and blunt entry lines. If you are going to buy A pure flatwater boat get it in kevlar. For canoes that pull double duty tuff weave is the way to go. For rocky rivers and lots of abuse go royalex. The drawback to kevlar is that you can really tear it up if you are careless arround rocks and the like. Tuff weave handles them better(I have a 22 year old one in the garage) royalex takes it the best. I would hate to have to paddle a royalex champlain instead of a kevlar minn2. Portaging it would be even worse.

Say no to Royalex
If you are never going to be in whitewater, I would strongly consider staying away from Royalex in an 18 foot boat like the Champlain. Not only is it heavy, but in a boat that long it will be that much more unwieldy to portage ( or even carry short distances ) when combined with the weight . Unless you are habitually careless or have small children where durability could be an issue , get Tuff Weave or better yet Kevlar. Expensive, but worth it in the long run . My Kevlar Advantage is 10 years young and while obviously scratched, is still in top shape . While you have to be careful with Kevlar versus Royalex, it is not as fragile as some people think. And the performance benefits are huge.

Another vote for TufWeave
My wife and I have a Wenonah 16’6" Sundowner (~1990 vintage) that we use the same ways you are planning. Ours is TufWeave with a foam core; the boat weighs ~ 55 lbs, and is pretty easy to portage. Very stiff and solid through the bottom and bilge. We’ve also paddled it on some moving water and hit our share of rocks – some scraping of the gelcoat, but no more than that; the canoe still looks sharp.

I like Wenonah
My first canoe was a royalex Adirondack which I picked over the Penobscot (close contest). Our boy scout troop does a lot of paddling trips. I like the way the Adirondack handles in a wide variety of water and conditions and is fun to paddle with experienced paddlers as well as new scouts. Occasionally, I’ll use it on rivers with class I & II rapids and it does fine. Nowadays I tend to use my Minn II in ultralight kevlar more since I’ve gotten into racing. At 18’6" it’s not as nimble in the turns as the Adirondack, but it’s very fast. I just got back from the Adirondack Canoe Classic, a 90 mile race through lakes & rivers with 7 carries. There were plenty of both boats in the race. I’m very happy with both boats. The oil canning was just not a big issue for me.

tufweave is plenty durable
Tufweave is very durable, just like any other decent composite hull, and is a very good value for the money. The only downside is that it weighs a bit more than the kevlar layups, but I don’t find the weight objectionable at all.

a good friend still owns my first wenonah adirondack in tuffweave. it’s about 13 or 14 years old, has been to the bwcaw numerous times, dropped on a couple of very rocky portages (accidentally) paddled several hundred miles of various rocky ozark streams, been broached on a strainer and merrit rock on the current, run class II ww on the granite river, etc, etc. no damage except abrasions and scrapes which have been touched up. Need i say more about the durability of tuffweave? i would have NO qualms about buying another one in this layup. hope that helps! WW

So, Royalex Is OUT!!
From the message board it appears the majority of you are telling me to forget royalex. I really thought this was going to be the one for me. I was just concerned about the oil canning since I was never in a good canoe before. The canoe is used and in excellent shape. Doesn’t look like its been used and the price discounted would be approx. $700. Should I forget this???


i would buy another tuffweave or kevlar adirondack without hesitation. i was not crazy about my royalex adirondack. ww

There is nothing wrong with royalex boats. Just find one with a stiffer hull. One with a true shallow arch or shallow vee shouldn’t oil can. Of course, if you can afford kevlar go for it!

Man 7oo is cheap. We are all talking about how much better tuff weave is and for flat water it is true. However, plenty of floks paddle royalex boats on lakes. Composite will be faster but royalex will work. If you can get this canoe for 700 bucks you are looking at doubling your price for composite. You have to make the call if the increased speed and ease of paddling are worth doubling your price. For just playing on the water I would have to buy the royalex. If you are going to do any long paddling upgrade.

Price is a factor…
I think Emily Latella (SNL) used to say: “Well, that’s different… Never mind!” $700 for a good Royalex canoe vs ~$1400??? for the Tufweave equivalent would certainly make the decison more difficult.

You mentioned you had also tried the Dagger Reflection. Never paddled one myself, but I seem to recall lots of favorable comments from others on this site about it. The tippiness you feel may be due to your inexperience with that particular boat – I suspect with a bit of practice that you would rapidly get used to it. Also, my impression is that there is frequently a trade between primary and secondary stability – the Reflection may actually be more resistant to capsizing (I’ll let the experts weigh in on this, though). So perhaps you might want to reconsider the Dagger, assuming the price/condition is comparable to the Adirondack.

Last comment: if you plan to keep the canoe for many years, the difference in cost between Royalex and TufWeave will pretty rapidly fade from memory. The pleasure of a good canoe will not.