Which canoe for tandem...newbs here.

We have been looking at canoes and it is confusing with all the choices. FYI: we rented a 16’ aluminum one with sit on seats (felt too high up) and it was very tippy…almost lost it and water was calm. Maybe just a factor of two novices? WOuld like suggestions for length, brands/models, and our budget says economy plastic hull(maybe get lucky on craigs or ebay for higher end). Our main use will be on lakes, slower rivers, and ocean bays. Many thanks and happy to find this site!

Check out Clipper (Western Canoe)
They have some very seaworthy boats.

they’re all good
just wait awhile before “ocean bays” canoeing. Tippiness is your being novices. Get that under control. Try kneeling. Look for used or demoes at any local dealers. Make sure you try picking up canoe before buying something too heavy to do something “spur of the moment” with. Doesn’t take long to become proficient and you’ll laugh at your neophyte days. You may want to invest in an airbag if you’re ocean paddling.

there are alot of factors
to look at, but hey, welcome to a fun and healthy way to blow some cash!

Now one thing you must be careful about is that you will be able to buy a boat that will last a life time. No you do not need to buy the best boat ever, but you may have a crappy one for twenty years. When I say ctappy, I mean to say that it is an inferior boat design made with heavy materials and that it is not giving you a peak proformance when you paddle.

Take your budget and shop around, then add alittle to your budget. It pays to buy the best tools you can afford, even if it means waiting a season to save. The boat will last a lifetime if you like it or not. Your Life jackets are there to SAVE YOUR LIFE. Your paddles become friends. So saving up to get nice things is a good idea. Even I will SOMEtimes sugest buying cheap to learn about what you really want, but I don’t think that it is a good idea for you (and I don’t normally say it when it is canoe purchases, it is more for rec. yaks)

check out a few web sites




I think those sites might help. They are chuck full of information. ask MANY questions on here, this site is CHUCK full of information. right now say out loud what your canoe (boat only) budget is. Now add 30%. Spend about $100 on paddles for the two of you. alot $100 for EACH of you for life jackets.

this is a very personal sport. everyone evolves in it and they choices are made from there. My non-paddling friends can’t believe the money and time I put into a canoe. then they see my little kayak and are amazed that I have the Chorme Girl stickers on the side (because I am CLASSY). My friends ask what the difference is between a $20 hardware store paddle and my $100 Turtle works Paddle http://www.turtlepaddle.com/site_content/canoe_paddles.php but what can yo tell them? they don’t feel the difference, even if they use it.

Well this is a lengthy response, so I will leave it alone. I am sure there are others that will give excelent and PRESCISE answers to your questions.


oh yea, love these guys too:




Some Guidelines…
…from my experience:

  1. Material: Royalex is very tough, quiet, repairable and doesn’t look too bad (if that is a concern). Wood gunwales and thwarts, cane seats etc. look nicely traditional, but do required some maintenance. Plastic and metal - less on all counts.

  2. Length: 15 to 17 footers are about “standard” for tandems; and CAN be soloed.

  3. Design: a shallow arch bottom (different from “rocker”) will feel rather tippy to novices but that design will not “flip you off” into the water as easily, quickly and suddenly as a flat bottomed canoe. You will learn to manage the tippy feeling.

  4. To repeat a previous poster: quality, properly fitted PFDs and paddles are worth the expense. WEAR YOUR PFD!!! ALWAYS!!!

  5. Brands: you can’t go wrong with those already suggested here.

    George in Cody

General touring
A good beginner tandem would be a general touring style canoe for the stability to build your confidence and the all purpose nature of this style canoe. I think a good canoe for you would be a used Wenonah Spirit II (17 feet) or Aurora (16 feet). Although 17 feet looks like a lot of boat on land - it doesn’t seem that big once you’re in it on the water. After you develop your skills you can then decide whether a more specialized canoe is right for you. On a low budget you are probably limited to used and royalex for a Wenonah. Craigs has a Spirit II listed out your way right now in SF.

Wow, thanks to all for a quick response. Wise information on the many aspects of canoe purchase. By budget, I mean not going the route of a Kevlar canoe used by a friend. I will read and research, try to “demo” ride if possible. Again, thank you.

has a nice selection that will fit your needs.Ive demo’d other brands but find these more to my liking.One of the Prospector’s would be my recomendation.

Try to find a good used boat,

– Last Updated: Oct-08-06 11:45 PM EST –

it should be a better option than a lower quality new one. It can take a while to find a good deal on a used boat, but they are out there. Me and my brother both bought used Blue Hole Prowlers (mine is an OCV and his is the OCA). Mine was $350 used and is a great boat and very versatile. For durability, Royalex is hard to beat.

Great used market
I second the suggestions of looking used, I targetted in on my first canoe this year, knew I wanted Royalex with vinyl gunwales and cane or nylon web seats, found new they were in the 1000-1200 range, used was 500-750. Picked up an OT Pathfinder for 600 came with 6 varied paddles, 6 throwable pfd pads and a yakima rack.

I looked long and hard at the Pelican Colorado before I found it and my dad picked up the Pelican to boat with us. Its heavy, the material is louder and the aluminum gunwales are a negative to me. The molded seats add weight and not comfort. We had big discussions over buying a cheapie for 200-400 or going for the used Royalex boat, now that I have gotten used to the ash yoke and manageable weight I wouldn’t go with anything but Royalex.