What Canoe is best for me?

What type of canoe is best for me?

I am in Atlanta, GA. Rivers nearby, Chattahoochee, Etowah, Broad. Lakes, Allatoona, Lanier.

I want to know an option for solo, and an option for tandem (which will be used solo with the occasional friend). I am 6’-4" and 236 lbs. My areas of interest are slow moving Georgia rivers which have Class I’s at intervals, maybe(rarely) a class II. A lot of shallow areas with rocks. This boat would also be used in ponds, swamps, lakes.

Capacity/stability to carry a dog on occasion, and gear for an overnight to weekend canoe camping trip.

I would like it to be affordable, so if new isn’t an option then I have no problem getting a used canoe.

I don’t want to spend $1400 on a first canoe.

I just want to avoid buying something that is bad for me.

Also, Kayaks are not for me. I have done canoeing and kayaking both; my preference is for a canoe.


Royalex tandem

– Last Updated: Feb-16-11 8:42 PM EST –

You will probably be best served by a tandem canoe made of Royalex. Although your budget would allow you to buy one new, I would look around your area for a used tandem in decent condition.

Any boat that has enough volume for your size and another person, as well as carrying capacity for overnight trips, and is seaworthy enough for Class II water, is going to be very awkward and slow when paddled tandem. That is not to say you can't do it, but you probably won't want to paddle it very far, and it will be heavy to carry. The vast majority of canoeists who paddle both tandem and solo wind up with more than one boat, another excellent reason to buy used and save money.

Rather than give you a very long list of suitable Royalex tandem canoes that might suit your purpose, why don't you check out craigslist for the major cities in your vicinity as well as the classified ads here. If you come across something in your budget that you think might be suitable, come back and inquire about it in a new thread.

There are lots of used canoes sitting around in the southeast. I strongly suspect that there are several potential candidates listed for sale in your neck of the woods as we speak.

Here are a couple of examples that might possibly meet some of your needs and get you started fairly cheaply: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/wat/boa/2217373358.html

or: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/sat/boa/2172979742.html

That Teton has gunwales that are far from true! It looks like it met with multiple accidents.

You can do better. Keep looking . There another Teton in SC. Its here on pnet classifieds.

You will undoubtedly be able to lay hands on any number of Pelicans but you will do better to buy a sturdier more well designed boat that was designed for paddling efficiency rather than shipping efficiency.

There is a near new MR Explorer in Greenville SC


I saw a near-new Pelican wrapped
around a snag in the Toccoa, in north Georgia.

ergo it must be FREE!
the bow station especially is problematic with those “craft”. Being so close to the stem there is no allowance for error in keeping your head in the boundaries of the boat should you need to manuever in any current.

A Grumman canoe is not a bad thing either. Though it fries eggs well and cooks 42 lobsters well( we did this by accident but were able to hoodwink New York City residents that the crustaceans were safe anyway), they are pretty durable, if you can endure the “SKREEK” as you hit every rock.

not sure if you were looking for one canoe to both solo and tandem, or two canoes. Most definitely, one solo and one tandem will be best. You can find Grummans and Old Town Discos pretty cheap - say you get one for 3 or 4 hundred dollars which is a price I often see, and you may find one cheaper. Then you could buy a dedicated solo canoe for 800 to a 1000 used. That would be best - otherwise, you have to buy a tandem, and just paddle that solo as well - which will you do the most of ? if mostly you will be going solo, then buying two boats is what I’d say is your best way to go. Price is inverse to weight - the cheapest boats are made of the heaviest plastic material such as the Disco, at around 90lbs for a 15 footer; Royalex is the mid-weight offereing, about 55 to 60 lbs for a 15 footer, and a Kevlar lightweight will weigh maybe 40 lbs. SOmething to consider if you have limitaitons on how much you can carry and lift to the top of your vehicle.

Bell Morningstar
What you’re saying fits the uses of this boat to a tee. At 6’4" you will have plenty of reach to solo this boat with center seat. The Morningstar can be bought with a center seat already installed. You should be able to find them in royalex for less than your budget.

Other suitable boats that I (6’2" and 270) have used solo and tandem on rivers would be a Mad River Explorer 15, and the Explorer 14TT (actually the same boat in polyethylene and only a couple inches less than 15’) and Wenonah Adirondack. The Explorer in Royalex and the Wenonah will be at the top end of your budget, the 14TT can be found new for about $750.

Hope that gives you a starting point. My pick of the 3 would be the Morningstar, but the others would work well also IMHO. WW

Good and bad
A few points:

Some say any canoe is better than no canoe. I say this too, except perhaps when dealing with Coleman/Pelican. They might be worth a couple hundred bucks, but if you get one make sure you don’t assume all canoes are that poor.

Grumman’s are legendary, predictable, and if bought used they don’t really depreciate.

I had a Mad River Guide, now called the Freedom Solo. It’s a fine solo for what you describe. Solos are a bit more tender at first, and take some getting used to. That was a very stable boat, though.

If you just want one to do both, I agree with kayakmedic who suggested a used Royalex boat. The Old Town Penobscot, Mad River Explorer, Novacraft Pal, Prospector, Tripper, Any Prospector from Wenonah, Bell, Evergreen, or Esquif.

Poly canoes are OK, in that they usually have decent designs and are really tough. They are heavy and can’t be repaired easily. If one is misshapen, avoid it - it’s life is over.

If you find a good deal on a fiberglass boat made by a well-respected canoe company, they can be good value. People like royalex because it doesn’t break, and it doesn’t sound bad. However, it does wear through eventually, so it really is not more abrasion resistant than other materials (it can take an impact like nothing else, though). Good fiberglass is also light and easy to fix.

Swift Mattawa
on Hemlock Canoe used list. Nice boat that can be used solo or tandem. Glass however so not as durable as Royalex Morningstar but easily repaired and nice paddling boat.

on Hemlocks site is Kevlar expedition I believe and is $1095.

How shallow and rocky? If considerable, you will probably not want a composite, pick a royalex.

Several other layups: Tuffweave(Wenonah)

– Last Updated: Feb-25-11 4:48 PM EST –

and White Gold(Bell). Haven't experienced WhiteGold and haven't paddled Tuffweave, but the latter I've seen/felt = is tough stuff!
Probably a little lighter than Royalex but much more efficient on the water I would think...fwiw.