Wenonah Boundary Waters/Kev vs Kevflex


  1. Anyone have experience with the Wenonah Boundary Waters 17?
  2. Kevlar or Kev-Flex with gelcoat color finish for canoeing in the BWCA (i.e. weight vs. protection)
  3. Aluminum vs. Wood gunwales? (i.e. looks vs weight)

Cant comment personally but I found this from a couple years ago:

A good tripper

Posted by: nermal on Jan-04-08 10:06 AM (EST)

I had one for a weekend trip.

It was an easy to paddle boat. It was dry, carried a load well, and was really stable. I believe Wenonah built this boat at the request of BWCAW outfitters as a response to the Quetico 17. This boat is much more efficient than Souris boats with the typical glide expected of Wenonah’s hulls. The sides are quite vertical with a sharper chine. It makes it easy to load packs. I wouldn’t recommend this boat for someone who plans on paddling empty all the time, but for the tripper, I really liked it.

Not clear which “Kevlar” layup you mean.
Kevlar Flexcore? Kevlar Ultralite?

It may be a matter of how much gelcoat protects the surface, because any canoe maker who puts Kevlar right at the surface is going to get complaints from buyers about the Kevlar fuzzing. I think Wenonah puts some protective clearcoat over the Kevlar. With a pigmented gelcoat, you get more thickness for protection. I hate gelcoat. It adds weight and is hard to repair when chipped or scraped through. But it’s put on canoes because most customers want the color.

I like gelcoat on laminate
boats but I use them on gravel bottom rivers. My boundary waters experience and more importantly the rental experience of the outfitters indicates that gelcoat is not worth the weight on the lakes. A minimal bow skid plate is all you need. On the portages, every pound counts. Especially for the most awkward piece of gear, the boat.

Wood trim is also quieter but requires storage under roof or tarp.

UL vs Flexcore
If portaging is going to be a factor, get the Kev/UL. If it’s a major factor, order the skin coat (lightest weight) - if it’s only a partial factor and you want the look of color, the gelcoat only adds about 5 pounds (Wenonah usually overestimates).

On the other hand, if you just want something that’s reasonably light weight for using around local lakes/rivers, Flexcore (gelcoat standard) is still reasonably light, and you’ll save $500-600 in the process.

I always order wood gunwales on Wenonahs, since the aluminum gunwales always look like crap by the end of one season. On an ultralight boat, Wenonah’s wood gunwales are only a pound or so heavier than alum, and it’s easier to maintain an oiled wood finish than constantly be touching up brushed aluminum or black aluminum rails. Wood gunwales with black thwarts and seats are a good compromise solution if you want some wood, but want to keep the weight down.