Hello paddlers! I am looking for some advice, especially if you canoe with your kids.
I want to buy a canoe to take my kids paddling/fishing on mellow rivers and lakes. I am 30 years old, 6’2", 235lbs, and my girls are 3 and 5 years old. I recently moved to WA (Seattle area) from O’ahu. In Hawaii I had a 14’ tandem SOT kayak for about 7 years that I took my wife and oldest out on until we had our second, then I bought a sailboat that we had for about 4 years (I don’t like boat motors. Its the noise…). After that the kayak was solely used as spear-fishing platform. I have very limited canoe experience though, mostly from my teenage years and don’t remember if I have ever actually carried one by myself, but I will need to be able to with this one. My wife will not be accompanying us on our canoe trips. Ok, to my main question:
Do you absolutely recommend I buy a canoe with a yoke if I am going to be putting it in by myself, and just have my youngest sit on the deck in the middle, or will carrying the canoe overhead be possible and comfortable with a middle seat instead for about 100 yds. or so. I don’t expect to have to “portage” much farther than that to put in, at least not very often.
If the middle seat is OK, I am looking at buying this Mad River Journey 167: http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/sportsmans/Mad-River-Journey-167-Recreation-Canoe/productDetail/Canoes/prod999901365369/cat101212 It does have a thwart aft of the center seat, but it appears to be too far back from the CG to use as a yoke.
If not, then I’ll probably opt for an Old Town Discovery 158. I know these aren’t ultralight canoes, but I am not a scrawny guy, so configuration and posture are far more important to me than actual weight. I can still backpack several miles with a 70lb pack if properly loaded out, not that I particularly enjoy it anymore. I am clarifying this because I am probably not going to spend several hundred more dollars just to save 20-30lbs for a few yards a day, I primarily want to make sure the weight I do have isn’t going to be akward. Thank you in advance for any help deciding.