Which Tandem Canoe ??

The wife and I have sold our single kayaks to purchase one canoe (she desires more “togetherness”). :slight_smile:

I’m 5’8", 185#; she is 5’4", 140#. We would be called more beginners than expert.

We will use for purely recreational and limited camping week-ends.

I want to keep my cost as low as possible (possible good used canoe), but do not want junk. So, I’m looking for excellent value.

I was quite keen on an Old Town Discovery 146K (used). However, my reading here has led me to believe that that is a bit short, plus the fact that seller wants $595 for a 19+ year old boat.

Any good suggestions for us??



Probablu used rubber
Dagger Reflection 16, Bell NorthWind 16.5, Old Town Penobscot 16 or 17, Mad River Explorer, and almost any ABS Wenonah will all fill the price bill.

Stay away from The Discovery series from OT unless your brother in law is a chiropractor.

Too expensive!

– Last Updated: Jul-31-09 6:44 PM EST –

You could do better than a 19 year old Disco for $600. BTW, as far as I know, there's no such thing as a Discovery 146. There's the Guide 147, but it weighs 74 lbs.! The shortest tandem Discovery is the 158, which weighs 80 lbs. Both of those boats are so heavy because they're made from polyethylene (Tupperware), not Royalex (Vinyl/ABS/foam core composite). As such, they shouldn't command so much cash.

I'd keep my eyes out for a Penobscot 16. Beginners sometimes find 'em "tippy", but the feeling doesn't last long and since you're coming from kayaks, it shouldn't be a problem. A Penobscot is a great "Do Everything" boat that does well on the lakes, in mild whitewater, tripping and there's plenty of 'em out there. Plus, a Penobscot 16 weighs 58 lbs., lighter and faster than either of the above mentioned boats.

Really, any 16 ft. Royalex recreational or tripping canoe would probably be fine. Don't discount good ol' Aluminum Grummans either; they're good boats, last forever and are commonly for sale in the paper and on Craig's List for dirt cheap.

Just remember, some people call tandem canoes "divorce boats". How prone are you to hollering, "No, your other left!"?


Wenonah Possibility
Have found a Wenonah Fisherman - 2004, Royalex .

It is only 14’and seller wants $700.

Is 14’ too short and is she asking a fair price?

Condition in pictures look pretty good with just some bottom memory scratches. Don’t want to make the drive if it is undersized and too high a price.



Not too small…
…if you won’t be packing a lot of heavy gear in the Fisherman. For $700 it should be in top shape. Speaking from experience, it will be on the slow side, compared to 16-footers like the Penobscot, but it’s an easy boat to paddle for it’s width. Very stable, reasonably light, vary maneuverable, catches the wind some but not quite as prone to weather-cocking as a longer canoe with the same load and similar sheer.

Play the waiting game.
Come Oct. lots of outfitters will have used boats they want to dump before winter. This can often be your best buy. They even come pre-dinged so you don’t have to hit every rock in the river to make them look cool.

What you descibe sounds like a Mad

– Last Updated: Jul-31-09 9:32 PM EST –

River Explorer.


These guys carry a lot of boats, have good demo sales, and are great to talk to, wherever you are:


They’re a bit small in stature and
weight for an Explorer. Might be hard for the bow paddler. Still, no reason not to demo.

general size
For general parameters, I’d suggest something around 16’ long, no more than 36" wide, and under 60 lbs.

Older (70’s) Grumman 6J, 16’, fiberglass for sale locally.

Worth a look or not??


Old Town Camper
would be another possibility.

Found Camper 16
for sale for $550

Pretty fair shape, eight years old, one owner, minor scratches but hardly used in past four years (owner says he began to kayak).

Looks pretty good to me…

What else should I be looking for beyond cosmetics and general condition? And does this price seem fair?



Camper is a good all around boat…probably one good choice for you.

I’d look for lightest boat you can find, and make sure you are comfy lifting it. If too heavy or awkward for you or you and your wife you may not use it.

There’s a used Malecite in the ads…a fine boat if you are near it.

Where Are You?

I see you are in Texas. I’m in San Antonio. I’ve got an OT Camper you could try out if you’re close.

Narrowing Choices
I think (unless something else comes along to confuse me)I have narrowed serious consideration down to:

Old Town Penobscot (16)

Old Town Camper (16)

Mad River Explorer, and perhaps

Bell Northwind (16.5)

Dealing with the Penobscot and Camper:

Unfortunately (having not test paddled), I do not find much difference between the Penobscot and the Camper. Specifications are nearly identical (a few inches here and there in width mainly). I know that the bow and stern shapes are different and perhaps there are significant other hull shape differences.

Usage will be lakes, moderate rivers, fishing, camping.

Mostly tandem, fishing mostly solo.

I’m testing a fellow message board member’s Camper today and looking at one for sale later in the week.

Help please…


Camper is a good cottage boat
The Penobscot has a different job…Its waterline length to width ratio is larger indicating its greater potential speed.

Sure you can camp with a Camper for a week (I did it for many years in the BWCA with a Grumman 15) but the Penobscot is going to be faster.

However a trip is not a trip. I really dont know what a US overnight paddling trip entails for most people.

The Camper is a fine poling boat.

boat weight
If you have to portage at all, then consider the weight. and how much weight can you lift over your head to load on your roof rack. a kevlar Explorer is an awesome & ideal tandem boat. it is just too wide to paddle solo. Sorry…what are you going to be doing in your tandem boat? If canoe camping is your thing, then this boat is ideal. handles all sorts of water well and has a huge payload. A bit of work with no payload in the wind, but you can improve your paddling skills to overcome that.

Camper Seems Good
Test paddled a fellow paddling.net member’s Camper yesterday afternoon. It seemed to suit us well.

There was no wind, but it seemed easy to paddle, tracked fairly well (we are new to canoes - with poor paddling skills), and we were able to put it back on top of the van with no difficulty (58 #).

We are not into speed as a high priority - the journey is the fun for us, not getting there (the old sailor in us). So for day trips, occasional camping, lakes, ponds, mild rivers, fly fishing - the Camper seems fine.

If something else comes along that looks good and is affordable, we’d surely consider. But for now, the search is on for an Old Town Camper. (Please holler if you see one for sale)


There was no wind,
no need to guess your direction,

when the wind doeth bloweth.

So goest you and camper.

Penobscot is much better, all around.

An aluminum will also work fine, and hold some

value for when you want something else in a year or two.