What lightweight solo canoe would you buy....if you only had $2000?

So, a friend let me use their Swift Keewaydin for a short 3-day last year, and I would love to buy one. But, I only have 2K. If you were me, what would you choose? I am interested in a lightweight boat and going out for a few days camping / portaging. I like to kneel and use a single blade paddle. I’m about 180lbs, so a boat that can handle 300lbs would be probably the minimum.

There are so many options out there, but not a lot of used stuff near me (Northwest CT). Any ideas would be appreciated!

1 Like


You didn’t mention which Keewaydin solo you were paddling but given your weight and emphasis on canoe camping/tripping and wanting a canoe for kneeling (rather than a pack canoe) I’d consider a used Hemlock Peregrine. Dave Curtis has several available, one of them, #PR57, is $400 more than your budget but you’d be getting a well made, efficient, seaworthy solo tripping canoe that weighs just 35 lbs.

I have a Hemlock Kestrel (shorter version of the Peregrine) and it’s one of my favorites. I have another used solo I bought from Dave that’s 40 years old and still going strong. Hemlock, NY is a bit of a drive for you but I’ve driven six hours one way to buy canoes from Dave; it’s worth the drive. :slight_smile:


Lots of used options out there! So figure out the best boat for your use, then buy used :wink:. You should be able to find something really nice for $2k


I love my Magic and Swift Prospector 15.
They balance each other out nicely.
But for a good solo tripping rig I’d look for a used Magic.
The Prospector wants to turn and play when paddled solo.
The Magic wants to glide forward and does well in chop etc.

1 Like

I’m surprised that you say there is a lack of used solo canoes near you. Maybe your perception of “near” is different from mine. Solo canoes have long been popular in upstate New York and northern New England and used ones probably show up more regularly within a 4 hour drive of NW Connecticut than any other region of the country.

When I decided to get one 6 years ago I began watching Craigslist and Paddling.com listings for Pennsylvania (I’m in Pittsburgh), Ohio and New York and through that Spring I saw them come up frequently, mostly Curtis models, in the $800 to $1200 price range — there were even 2 in my own county. I eventually drove 300 miles to the Finger Lakes area to buy an older 32 pound Curtis Lady Bug in excellent shape for $900. I often drive from Pittsburgh to the Albany area (friends and family there) so it’s not a bad trip.

You might want to search for solo canoe rendezvous gatherings to get a chance to try a variety of multiple models, both new and used. There is one every June about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh where solo owners and several makers (including Dave Curtis) get together for the weekend at a nice private campground site with a small pond. Most participants will allow others to try out their personal boats and of course the vendors bring a range of demo models. When I’ve attended there were over 60 canoes at the event including several used boats that attendees had brought to sell. There may be a similar event closer to you, though making the 8 hour drive for the Western Pennsylvania rendezvous to spend the weekend might be a fruitful road trip for finding a canoe and you would meet some very nice folks.

Link to the PA solo canoe event:



Good reply.

The WPASCR event is a great place to see (and paddle) all sorts of solo canoes.

I’m in RI, so not far from you. I agree that you don’t see used solo boats for sale around here very often, and they go quickly when they are for sale. If you are patient you will find something, but it may take a while. A friend of mine whose hobby is buying and repairing canoes has picked up a few royalex and composite solo boats. A lot of times they go to friends before they even hit the market. I bought my white gold Wildfire from a friend without him ever posting it. I bought my royalex Outrage whitewater boat from a friend very shortly after it was posted because I knew she was selling it. It helps to have friends. :wink:

If you like to kneel and paddle with a single blade I recommend any of the 14’ river runners. You can still find old royalex boats like the Bell Wildfire/Yellowstone Solo, Mohawk Odyssey/Solo 14, Wenonah Argosy/Vagabond, or even the Novacraft Supernova. You can find the composite boats easy enough at Swift, Northstar, Hemlock.

I love my Wildfires - have both the royalex Yellowstone Solo and the White Gold Wildfire. Great for running rivers, OK for lake paddling, and you can load it up with a fair amount of gear.

End of the day if you are buying used, you’ll end up with what is available. You can always sell it if something better comes along later. Good luck.


Maybe look at the Stellar Dragonfly.
We use it when we have the dog and a drone.

1 Like

I’m not clear on why we paid much less over here (dead of winter, no VAT)

26 pounds

Set up some alerts and notifications on eBay and various sites when searching used.

I was worried about selling our new 2000k roof tent to get the other one with racks but we had ten people call us the first hour when we listed the ad. When they came to the house they told us they had notifications set up for the minute a used model was listed. This had to be a very specific small market, people that spend that much on a used roof tent.

Look around Marine bases because they are always buying gear and then moving overseas etc. often they have their own selling sites targeting incoming military.

1 Like

I had my Keewaydin 15 out yesterday.

If you want to live happily ever after, get in your car, drive to Hemlock, and buy the used Peregrine. It carries the same 320 pound load as a Kee15, has similar stability, and is more efficient. I owned a Peregrine at one time and hope to replace it one day. Your buddy with the Keewaydin will be jealous.

Hornbeck boats are the Best! Located in Olmsteadville, NY Made on location. The lightest canoe you will find. Made just for you.


Only 2.5 +/- hours from NW Ct. and they have a pond to demo boats.

Welcome to the site. Have you checked out the Esquif Echo. Light (45 pounds), indestructible T-formex, and with vinyl trim well within your budget. Has great lake tracking and speed, and an amazing river runner/touring boat - up to Cll. There is an great outfitter by the Battenkill River on the New York/Vermont border that can hook you up. Happy paddling in whatever boat you choose.

1 Like

Take a look at Slipstream.
They have a couple of 13 footers right around $2K. They are Kevlar/carbon, but there are other, more expensive option to reduce weight even further.
A friend has the 13’ Sport Duo and really likes it.

Thank you, all! Though not necessarily “new” to the greatest watercraft ever devised by humans, I am new to paddling.com. I appreciate all your advice - I’m in the market for that perfect used boat and have found a few. Thanks again - water people are always the best.

Go see Jon and Sue Warner at Collinsville Canoe and Kayak
They sometimes have used or leads on used canoes and also look at North American Canoe Trader on Facebook
I used to live in CT and found plenty of temptation

they are the best!!

The Esquif Adirondack would be worth a look as well. If memory serves they’re about 40 lbs and nearly indestructible. If I hadn’t bought a carbon H2O before I saw those I’d probably have gone that way.

You can certainly find a good used canoe to suit your needs and budget. Patience is required. I bought a 50 pound fiber canoe that was 15 foot model with rawhide seats. I am the 2nd owner. Beautiful for $1,200. Then I had it refurbished and would still be under $2,000. Good luck,

1 Like