Wenonah Vagabond vs Argosy?

Hi folks,anybody got some experience with these two?I tried the Vagabond at the MM paddlefest in Old Forge this past weekend and liked it but unfortunately they didnt have the Argosy on hand for comparison.I also tried a few of the kevlar Bell solos but thought they were a little twitchy for my needs.How does the Argosy compare with those for stability.In any event id be buying a royalex version.Only thing I didnt like was the cross-brace(or whatever it’s called) behind the seat was right up against my back.Any problem relocating the brace a few inches back to improve comfort?

might think about what you want to do
It sounds like you haven’t spent much time in a solo canoe yet. If you think you will always want the more stable design, then go with the Vagabond. But, if you think you may want to get a bit more performance and kind of “grow into” your canoe. You might want to think about the Argosy. You haven’t said what your plans or aspirations are.

Brace/thrwart location

– Last Updated: May-24-06 3:13 PM EST –

I have a Royalex Vagabond, and I vaguely remember my lower back coming in contact with the thwart on my first couple of long trips with that boat. The original seat position was very low, and since then, I've raised the seat a few inches and gave it a forward slope for kneeling (the back edge of the seat is now nearly as high as the gunwale, and the forward edge is an inch or or so lower. The seat height is now about the same as what's "standard" for a sloped seat for kneeling). Though I've switched from sitting to kneeling almost 100 percent of the time now, I find that on the rare occasions that I actually sit on the seat, the slanted seat combined with a foot brace really "locks you into position" without your butt being able to slide back far enough to contact the thwart, but I think the back of the seat is too high for that to be a problem now anyway. I'd try slanting the seat and installing a foot brace BEFORE I resorted to moving the thwart. I think you may be surprised how comfortable that is, especially if you buy a contoured seat. In any case, if you actually sit on the seat instead of using it as a butt support while kneeling, you WILL need a footbrace, so be sure to get one.

If you decide to move the thwart back a few inches, that's easy to do, but you will need to shorten it to make it fit the new location. Better still, make yourself a new thwart so the old one can still be installed in the original position if case you ever decide that the factory thwart position will work for you (like if you do the sort of seat modification that I did).


As has been pointed out, describing your needs will make it easier to recommend one boat more than the other. If you want a boat you can grow into, the Vagabond is probably not the best choice, but if a basic stable hull will do the job for the forseeable future, it should be fine.

Glad I read this thread
I can’t comment on the Vagabond versus the Argosy but I do have a Royalex Vagabond. I paddle almost exclusively sitting and have a foot brace. I also have the seat in a lower position and the rear twart does bother my back. I am about to embark (next week) on a 6 day float fishing trip in the Vagabond and I plan to move the twart back about 3 inches before that trip. I know I will have to shorten the twart but I can always buy a Wenonah replacement should I want to move it back. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Mostly I’ll be using it for fishing on lakes and rivers.I’m not looking to do much WW runs but it should be able to handle class II reasonably well.Might see some use on salt in somewhat protected areas once or twice a year.I felt pretty comfortable in the Bell’s which i’m sure will improve with experience but still would prefer just a bit more initial stability than they had.Ive been in kayaks for awhile now but want to try something a bit different for a change and think a solo canoe will do nicely.

In my royalex vagabond I use a crazy creek chair so my back does not contact the rear thwart. I have installed a scotty rod holder on that rear thwart so it is easy to reach behind left shoulder. Had to get a Scotty rail mount with long bolts and nuts to fasten it to rear thwart but works great.

Love to kneel in the canoe and will try raising the seat as mentioned. Do you have any pictures of how you raised/slanted the seat?

I used a quick and dirty method
The seat originally was mounted on aluminum hangers. Each hanger is just a piece of sheet metal extending down from the gunwale, with an “L” bend a the bottom forming a shelf on which the seat frame sits.

I just cut a piece of 2x4 for each side of the boat, and it’s the same length as that L-shaped shelf. The 2x4 sits on the shelf with the tall dimension being vertical, and one or two bolts go horizontally through the 2x4 to fasten it to the vertical section of the seat hanger. The seat frame posts now rest on the 2x4 instead of on the sheet metal shelf. The 2x4 is full height at the rear (meaning the rear of the seat is 3.5 inches higher than it used to be), and about 1.0 to 1.5 inches lower at the front (meaning that the front edge of the seat is 2.0 to 2.5 inches higher than it used to be). I don’t remember the actual slope. It might be just one inch, but I’d have to measure it.

Thanks! Seems simple enough, I’ll try it. Last weekend I glued some kneepads to floor and it’s so much nicer now to kneel in the canoe. I suffer from backpain so to be able to sit/kneel and change positions is really one of the features I love about the solo canoe for fishing. Not to mention having a nice 25qt hardsided cooler behind seat and being able to bring more gear. I bring the extra gear in a 2.5 gallon bucket fitted with a waterproof lid. Keeps everything dry and organized plus if you capsize the bucket floats.


I hadn’t gone to changing the seats because I thought the wenonah canoes were not designed to be kneeled in for paddling. I am still learning about canoes.

Sounds like the original seat in yours was a little different from the one I tried.This one had the plates but they were slotted to allow seat height and angle adjustments for sit/kneel variations.I like this arraingement however I am concerned about safety with it.I’m a size 12 and getting my feet stuck tucked under the seat seems a bit risky especially in moving water.

You have the new style of seat

– Last Updated: May-25-06 9:55 AM EST –

I don't know how high the new seat style is when adjusted to the "kneeling" position. I'll measure mine later today so you can make a comparison. My feet are size 11, and with the wrong kind of shoes they can be hard to pull out from under there when getting ready to climb out of the boat, but I think in a wet exit I could just grab the gunwales and slide forward, since in that situation there's no regard for distributing my my weight and maintaining balance. The more flexible the shoe is at the ankle joint and the thinner the sole/heel, the better off you will be. Obviously there COULD be a moving-water situation that would trap your feet under the seat. I guess that's what saddles are for.

Might be a good idea…
Might be a good idea to do a wet exit test if you adjust(lower) your seat, or if the seat appears to be too low(factory setting)for you to easily get your feet out from under the seat.

Kneeling pads that fit under the seat will also affect the amount of space you have under the seat.

Why wait till you “need” to quickly free yourself from the canoe?

Be sure to have a friend there to assist you if you have problems.

I like my seat low, with the from edge lower than the back edge. This sometimes leads to problems when you wear size 12 or 13 shoes.