What is your all time Favorite Canoe

-- Last Updated: Apr-10-12 8:42 PM EST --

After pondering what canoe to get for a while Ive decided I need more information from the wise folks on here.

So, whats your favorite canoe for...

1. All around. "If you could only have 1 canoe" that is most versatile. good for everything.

2. Big lakes (long distances over open water, possibly large waves, heavy loads, a week of gear)

3. Casual recreational canoeing (slow rivers, small/medium lakes, day trips)

4. White water (maybe class 2 or 3? also decent on the flat stretches)

5. Other? if I forgot something pipe up.

Or feel free to rant about the most over or under rated qualities in a canoe, the most important characteristics, forgotten gems, or just chime in with your 2 cents.

Thanks in advance!

I’ll go first

– Last Updated: Apr-10-12 9:08 PM EST –

1) no way could I have just one canoe. If I was limited I'd take a Millbrook Coho, or if ABS, a Dagger Legend, maybe a Bell Chestnut Prospector.Maybe something else lol.
2)I like my Swift Dumoine. Good tandem, decent hauling, got some rocker and it's first 10' blew me and my kid away 12 years ago.Instant love.
3)I'd say my Dagger Reflection. Basicallly a pig, but tough royalex.
4)hard to answer this one. Cl3 and tracking just don't go together. I'd go with my Millbrook Flashback. It's so petite (27 pounds) it stays really dry, and a twitch of the blade will straighten it out. Really an early slaom design.
5)Poling canoe_Millbrook Souhegan. A Lamborgini of poling canoes imho. I got to pole the designers personal boat several times, and I'd get that extra layer of glass Ed used to get in his.
all around whitewater Dagger Encore. Tough s.o.b.,5-6" rocker, sweet secondary stability.

Overated...that silly keel thing for tracking. Cupholders. Twintex.

Yeah, I'm old school (cheap)

Swift Heron

– Last Updated: Apr-10-12 9:09 PM EST –

but it is so patched and the metal gunwales were replaced with wood that it is no longer quite the joy for portaging on solo canoe trips with several kilometers of portages on one day.

I bet no one else has one. A few were made in the early 90's. Probably only a few because it is round bottomed and ...er ..twitchy. The mold also had problems. Probably mold refurb costs vs attractiveness for entry level paddler (none) did not balance.

I think it is fast. CEW has theoretical figures that may differ.

Oh and its bubble sided. Heel with care.

One canoe for everything?
I’d get an Old Town Penobscot 16 in royalex and call it good.

Or maybe a Mad River Explorer.

I have it
My favorite all around canoe, and favorite of all time is my Kruger Sea Wind. Haven’t found anything it can’t handle yet, although I don’t do really rough whitewater. Carries a lot, comfortable, dry, and just a well thought out and well made design. I take mine everywhere, I sleep in it anchored or tied off to shore, I fish from it, and I can’t say enough good about it. I love that boat and when I finally pass from this earth I will probably be buried in it. (even though thats kind of a waste of a perfectly good boat) I love it that much.

Me favooite canoo,

– Last Updated: Apr-11-12 11:12 AM EST –

Wat kin ah' say.... me 1978 Old Town Tripper - 'Mukmukwum'. Wat canoo do ah' use de most.... Hippie Canoo an' Tyler too which be a Vermont built Mad River Guide.

But than agin' ah' sure do like me Chestnut Prospector, me MR Independence, me Old Town Cascade, an'... oh never mind!


Great Discussion Forum topic.

sorry librarian…
don’t worry it will sink soon anyway…

How is your personal card catalogue at tax time?


– Last Updated: Apr-11-12 6:58 AM EST –

I am a single paddle solo paddler. The most versitle solo boat for my use is my Swift Osprey in Expidition kevlar layup. I have kept mine longer than any other boat. I don't use it much as I have other boats I like more for specific uses,but none of them is as versitle as the Osprey. Big capicity,fast enough,turns well,tough,handles any moving water I want to padde in. Strangly,it is far from my "favorite". I have developed no fondness for it and havn't named it as I do most of my boats.It would be my one solo boat choice if so forced.

solo or tandem?
Canoes that can be used for “everything” generally excel at nothing.

For tandem canoes I guess my Kevlar Mad River Explorer is as good a choice as any. It isn’t fast or particularly nimble but it is tolerable, will carry a prodigious load, and is not too egregious to carry.

I agree with Turtle that the Swift Osprey is a quite outstanding compromise boat that can be used for flat water, rivers, and canoe camping.

my experience
All Around : Wenonah Echo Paddled that boat in class 2 WW and on BWCA trips on Basswood Lake…

Lake Boat: Wenonah Minn2 just about perfect for big loads and moving fast.

Casual River: Dagger Reflection 15 or Bell Yellowstone

River Boat Class 2/3 Wenonah Rougue tandem, Mad River Outrage Solo

General Purpose Solo Wenonah vagabond

Again, all the above are boats I have actually owned or paddled multiple times. I am sure there are many other good boats out there.

I tend to love the one I’m with
… and a good part of that is putting boats where they shine instead of trying to drive a squareish peg into a roundish hole

16’ Prospector
If I had to have only one this would be it. It would have two seats and a kneeling thwart for solo paddling. As others have pointed out, no single canoe really does it all, but this comes closer than anything else that I have owned and have solid experience with.

My second favorite, if I’m allowed two, would be the Blue Hole Prowler that I also owned for a while and regret selling. It was just a bit smaller and was easy to solo from the front seat turned around.


Solo has to be Wildfire
it just does everything I need. Tandem I guess would be Hemlock Eagle, not fast, but comfortable and nice looking.

Had a Curtis Nomad that was my go to until I supersized myself out of it.

River boat was an old Apple tandem set up as solo…can’t remember the model name.

For pure aesthetics it would have to be a Lotus Caper…sort of regretting selling that one.

Purely for the feel of nostalgia I love my 1920 OT 50# model set up as solo. HEAVY by today’s standards but you can’t duplicate the warm fuzzy feeling of old wood.

So, it’s like your “spouse”? };>)

C4 rules
It is so versatile for hauling many or much stuff. It is the boat of choice for the 90 miler and I hope to do the 90 in a c4 this sept.

I have limited experience
But I’ll chime in anyways. My do everything boat is a royalex Mad River Explorer. It does nothing exceptionally well, except maybe for canoe poling. But I can set it up solo or tandem, take it anywhere and into anything (and have), paddle it empty or with a week’s worth of gear.

But if I’m doing extended solo expedition paddling with gear through a variety of conditions, or paddling anywhere with big lakes, or doing any trip that involves any extended portaging, you’ll find me in my Hemlock Canoe Works SRT. And except for poling, so far this boat has excelled in everything from flat water to Class III rapids.



tandem or solo?

– Last Updated: Apr-11-12 2:09 PM EST –

1. I've been looking for a lighter weight replacement for my Old Town Tripper as my all-around tandem, but haven't found anything that would be quite as versatile. The tripper can handle both whitewater and flatwater (though it gets blown around in the wind on day trips without much load and can feel like paddling a barge). It is big and stable so it is good for taking beginners out and can carry one or two passengers too, so non-paddling friends can go along. It is a rugged canoe and can take a beating. Old Town advertises it as making whitewater an experience anyone can enjoy and that is a good description. Although I don't have much experience with different tandem canoes, I can't think of any canoe I'd rather have for paddling through rapids with an inexperienced partner.

For all-around solo I'd say a Mohawk Odyssey.

For the other questions I don't have enough experience with different tandems to choose a favorite, so I'll answer for my solo choices.

2. I'd take my Wenonah Voyager with a wind/spray cover, though I haven't tried other options under these conditions.

3. Flashfire. Hemlock Kestrel if the trip is longer distance and/or less maneuvering.

4. For mixed whitewater and flatwater, Mohawk Odyssey.

I’m A Fortunate Man

– Last Updated: Apr-11-12 3:31 PM EST –

I have found 3 that suit my needs exceedingly well.

1-Mad River Courier (Kevlar) for tripping solo. Paddles nicely, although; not as efficient a tripper as another of my favorites, the Sawyer Autumn Mist. But it will handle big winds, big waves, and big loads safely and efficiently. Lake or river, it handles both without problem. Very dependable secondary stability.

2-Dagger/Mad River Reflection 15. This one is my "Everyday" boat to mess around on Ozark streams every day. Dagger's royalex was "Bomber" and should last the rest of my life. Easy to maneuver, dependable stability, no slouch on paddling ease, low enough stems to not be a problem in the wind and no bad habits. Probably the nicest royalex boat I've paddled for me, and I've paddled a BUNCH.

3-Bell/Colden Starfire. Solo or tandem it's playful, easy paddling, can carry a big guy and a pasenger or two smaller paddlers. Predictable stability, catches eddies at will, I can "Think" what I want and this boat does it! Black gold layup seems very nice, but I will cringe with every scratch because i "Love this boat!

I have finally, after many years, finally found 3 boats that fill all my needs. No WW except class I and a rare Class II ledge for me, so I'm no help on WW boats. Sunny, Blue Belle, and Black Beauty are now in my barn awaiting their next adventure.

Hemlock SRT for solo paddling
I own lots of canoes and have had different favorites at different times.

Right now, I would and do choose my Hemlock SRT for all the situations set forth in the OP. You can read why in my review of the boat on this site.