What type of Hull

I’m going to be purchasing a canoe here in the next month. I have been searching websites and the big name stores for available models for comparison. My question is what type of Hull would be the best for what I’m doing while still being cost effective. I plan on doing some family outtings down the mississippi and cedar rivers in Iowa. And possibly some lake outtings for fishing.

As of now I have been eyeballing the pelican and old town lines which are a polymer based hull. Would this be efficient

Definitions of
family (number, age)

Outing (duration, gear taken)

Presence or absence of dog

Traffic and waves on the Mississippi ( I have no idea)

Any other ancillary activity…such as fishing and standing

Personally I find you get what you pay for and most big box stores sell hulls made for stacking and shipping, not paddling.

I think most Coleman canoes can be plain dangerous in some situations. Old Towns are a beefy but well respected design. They are designed for tough paddling use. They usually are not speedy however. I doubt that is a concern to you.

A nice Grumman actually can take you places but I worry if you have large wakes from boat traffic …they have a more abrupt turn of the bilge. That usually means all is well with a flat bottom until a wave tips the boat…then all is not well and in a hurry.

I see there is a nice OT Canadienne for sale here on P net. That is a classic design…from the heydays when OT often made beautiful and more speedy boats.

Hull Materials

– Last Updated: Mar-07-11 2:03 PM EST –

Check out the "Guidelines" section of this very website for a nice description of pros and cons of various materials. Beyond that, the biggest advantage of polyethylene hulls is their initial cost and the fact that they are extremely tough (though tough, unlike any other material they can't be repaired, at least for practical purposes). It doesn't sound like you need much toughness, so the only reason to choose poly is the price. Poly is also the heaviest hull material there is, but it seems like people don't appreciate how important weight is until after they've been paddling for a while. Most poly boats I've seen have become warped after a few years (or even during the first year), though some say the newer poly boats from Old Town don't warp nearly as readily as older versions.

The next step up in both quality and price, which includes a step down in weight is Royalex. Royalex is also very tough, but it won't warp in the sun like Poly tends to do. It is also repairable. As long as you are looking at Old Towns, check out their website to see what they offer in Royalex. Big-box stores won't sell you an Old Town made of Royalex even though Old Town makes several canoes from that material.

The best-paddling boats are fiberglass and/or Kevlar, which basically is a great choice if you won't be ramming rocks (though more can go into the decision than just that), but it costs much more. Used boats can be had for good prices though.

This is an enthusiast's website so you won't get a lot of recommendations for what's available at big-box stores, but if a poly boat suits you, whatever gets you on the water is better than nothing. If you choose Old Town or any of the other "good" canoe makers (not Pelican or Coleman, and not Rogue River), you will have a lot of choices in boat design as well. What style boat you get is probably more important than what it is made of, though every good canoe-maker offers some "basic" two-person canoes that would work great in your case.

hull types
For your stated usage the shape of the hull will be more important than the material. And the shape may dictate the material, due to weight and length restrictions.

You state you will paddling the Mississippi River, and lake fishing. Both are big water, with the potential for big waves and boat wakes. This requires a canoe with enough volume in the hull to have adequate freeboard with a load. Freeboard is the amount of the canoe hull sticking above the water. The load is the weight of everybody and everything you put into the canoe.

For a family in open water, fishing, i would not feel safe in anything shorter than 17’, and shallower than 13" in the center of the canoe and 20" at the bow and stern. And something around 36" wide.

One of the capacity measurements used by canoe manufacturers is the load with 6" of freeboard in the center of the canoe. This is ok in calm water, but a Pelican or Old Town sold in the big box retailers such as Gander Mountain or Dicks, will paddle very sluggishly with this rated load and will take on water from even minor boat wakes.

Let us know what comprises your family and what models of Pelican & Old Town you have looked at.

The website and catalogs from Wenonah Canoe are very helpful in choosing a canoe. Wenonah does a very good job of discussing canoe shapes and hull materials and how they effect the capacity and stability of a canoe.

Look for a specialty paddling shop in your area and visit it. They will be most helpful in choosing a canoe

I am also from Iowa and I believe you are looking at boats that are heavy to use. Do you have a very strong back? Both Old Town and Pelican are heavy plastic. The weight becomes a problem when dragging out of the river and loading onto your car.

I would consider a light composite boat that would be lighter, unless you are wanting something cheap.

thanks for the help

– Last Updated: Mar-08-11 3:44 PM EST –

The specific model I have had my eye on that I thought would suit my needs is a Pelican Potomac 14.6. When it comes to lugging weight I carry around 80 lbs on my shoulder almost daily. From what I'm told some of the places we are going to be have alot of stumps and possible tear situations. I don't really need it to be fast and the Lake that I would be at the most has no wake restrictions with a 10hp limit on motors. Hope this helps with my description of my needs lol

Ram-X® Hull: Multi-layer material known for its high impact resistance; ability to regain its initial shape after violent impacts; UV-protected exterior finish
Model: ABA14P109
Aluminum gunnels with protective sleeve
Bow and stern integrated carrying handles
Central built-in cooler seat
Drink holders
Two molded bench seats
Vertical rod holders
Length: 14'6"
Beam: 37"
Seats: 2
Weight: 86 lbs
Weight Capacity: 800 lbs

side note
We also have a sports store local that lets you test products such as canoes. I plan on testing some models before I actually purchase. I just want to really know what to look for so I’m not throwing away money. I think my gf would get mad if she got wet. You know from flipping a canoe.