Wenonah Fusion or Vagabond?

-- Last Updated: Jul-08-15 9:37 PM EST --

Newby looking for some advise. I can purchase either of the canoes in Royalex at a local shop. I'll be fishing and maybe some recreational paddling on small lakes and slow rivers. I'll probably want to strap a trolling motor on from time to time as well. Don't really have any desire to become an expert paddler. I read that the fusion has no rocker and the vag has something like 1.5". I don't know how that's going to affect me. Also was wondering if I wanted to bring ny wife along for a little paddle occasionally if the vag would accomodate us. I'm 200 and wife is 150 (shhhh!).

Actually I do have a third option...a Sportspal.

So, what say paddling.net? Any advice. Thank you.

I have Vagabond
I first want to say that there is not much reasonable room in either for two adults. They are both pretty dedicated solos. The Vagabond is a great little boat that I love. It would be perfect for your uses. Mine has virtually no visible rocker though so it tracks well. The Fusion appears to have a more rounded bottom compared to the more flattish bottom on the Vagabond. Each have there pros and cons. If you really intend to do a fair amount of two-person paddling,… I would recommend a small tandem.

Forget about taking your wife with you in eiher of these canoes, it simply isn’t doable.

Vagabond will be a great choice for your other needs.

How big is the Sportspal?
I’ve paddled both of the Wenonah’s listed and they are good boats, but as already mentioned, not suited for more than one person. I liked the Vagabond better for paddling. I’m a big guy and was more comfortable in the Vagabond too. It seemed like the seat in the Fusion was lower. However, it seems like the Fusion is geared somewhat toward the fishing crowd (judging by Wenonah’s description).

If you really want to go out tandem, one of the smaller Sportspals would also be solo-able.

I paddled the Fusion but haven’t paddled the Vagabond. I guess that’s next on my to-do list.

Trust me…
I owned a Vagabond; sold it.

My wife currently owns a Vagabond; does most of her paddling in her Mohawk Solo 13. Vagabond gathers dust.

If you want to test paddle a Vagabond, just to see how it handles; I’d say go for it. Nothing like personal experience to give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into, or deciding to keep yourself out of.

Vagabond as a tandem…

You are wasting your time; will end up getting you & your partner wet, and wishing you had a larger canoe that was more suitable for your described needs.


Well now,…
I also own a Mohawk Odyssey 14 and paddle it 5 times more than my Vagabond BUT,… for the OP’s desired needs and uses and experience, I believe the Vagabond would be a better boat. Small lakes and slow rivers and fishing. I would rather be in the Vagabond for those particular uses. I weigh about 195lbs and am 5’11" and love both boats but for almost opposite uses. My 110lb Daughter and 150lb son-in-law both have paddled it very sucessfully in several trips in a variety of waters. No swimming! Now they have both swam when trying to paddle my Wenonah Argosy just like I have when swinging in and out of sharp eddies in class 2 rapids,… but thats another story. I sold THAT boat after I boat my Dagger Sojourn!

Not much to add

– Last Updated: Jul-11-15 9:11 PM EST –

I agree with all that's been said. I'll add a few things.

First, composite Vagabonds have obvious, unmistakeable rocker, but the Vagabond in Royalex does not have any rocker at all (it's also half a foot shorter). For practical purposes, the Royalex model is a completely different boat and by my way of thinking it should have a different name, but it's fine when used in a way that's compatible with the design (a zero-rocker solo that's reasonably wide for stability).

Second, the Vagabond allows sitting high, or kneeling high. The fusion is not set up for kneeling, though you could modify the seat for that purpose if you wished. With the goal of fishing in mind, I personally think there's no comparison between sitting almost on the floor (like in a kayak or pack canoe) and sitting high or kneeling, and to me, kneeling is the best of all.

Third, the rudder of the fusion is probably just unnecessary weight, cost, and mechanical complexity if you'll be using a double-blade paddle (which would be the choice of most people in the market for a boat of that type). If you plan to use a single-blade paddle but don't want to learn control strokes, the rudder will help you.

Regarding paddling tandem, everyone else is correct. Forget about that idea! I've paddled tandem with my girlfriend in my Bell Merlin II (which is just about the same size as the Vagabond, though actually quite a bit less stable), but we are both a lot smaller than you two, and have the experience to "make it work" even though it shouldn't (when we did that, I was kneeling at the normal location, and she was kneeling immediately behind me). Anyway, it's amazing how the volume of a canoe is so deceptive before you have your own hands-on experience. Trust the folks here and get a two-person canoe for two-person paddling!

As a one-time Vagabond owner, I’d say the same thing. It was a perfectly good boat for fishing, and not at all bad for solo river traveling. Our friend Doug (Bob’s friend too) is still paddling my old Vagabond, with his dog a constant companion, on a lot of different rivers.

I used to take my wife out on a small
lake, in a 13’ Mad River Compatriot. The boat was way out of trim and performed badly with that load, but it was stable enough (wife sitting on a pad on the bottom) that we could look up at the Milky Way.

So I would not say that two adults in a Vagabond is impossible, it is just kind of stupid and feasible under only mill pond conditions.