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PostPosted: August 12th, 2023, 1:54 pm 
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Joined: February 25th, 2011, 7:15 am
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Hi all,
I'd be grateful for thoughts on the Pocket Canyon and the Vertige X as solo WW tripping boats. I'm considering these as a replacement for my aging Nova Craft Supernova. I enjoy a boat that can work a rapid and carve. Possibly relevant information: I have a Canyon and love it as a tandem WW boat. I also paddle an Echoee and a Blackfly Condor.


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PostPosted: August 12th, 2023, 3:22 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
If you check the specs you will see the difference

The Pocket Canyon is wider and has less rocker than the Vertige X.

I don't own either but have paddled both (briefly), the Pocket Canyon is too big for me (5"8"/145lbs) for effective cross strokes, on the other hand you can pack a lot of gear in it. The greater rocker on the Vertige would make it better in big rapids but maybe not as good for the flats.

Personally I am using a Mohawk XL14 for tripping including trips of 4 - 6 weeks, it is more in line with the Vertige X specs for size but similar to the Pocket Canyon for rocker.

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PostPosted: August 12th, 2023, 4:11 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
swampwalker, what do you want the canoe for, what features or criteria are you looking for?

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PostPosted: August 12th, 2023, 5:27 pm 
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Thanks Recped, these are helpful details.

Brian, I'm looking for a performance river runner / ww tripping boat that can run up to class III. Not point-and-pray rapid running. Something that readily gets onto a carve and turns well enough to work ones way down a rapid, hitting eddies, sneaking behind boulders, etc. I'm about Recped's dimensions and frequently use cross strokes for acceleration and carving offside.

Needs capacity for up to 2 week trips. I would like to install a bench seat, so that I could sit normally to give the knees a rest on quiet sections.

Recped's MohawkXL14 sounds like a nice example of such a boat.

I'm fond of the SuperNova, it was my first WW boat, but it's slow and does not carve well. It's also a wet ride due to the lack of volume in the ends. I have paddled the SuperNova on a trip with a Pocket Canyon. The latter, paddled by a friend, was faster, drier, and did everything my boat did, but better. Curious to know more about the attributes of the VertigeX.


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PostPosted: August 12th, 2023, 6:09 pm 
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Joined: November 6th, 2009, 9:37 am
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Location: Kingston, ON
You could consider a Hemlock SRT. I think it checks all your boxes. But it is composite. You understand all the pros and cons that come with that. When I bought a Hemlock canoe 14 years ago I drove down to the Finger Lakes to give it a try. They have demo nights with all their boats. It's not that far for you. Something to consider.


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PostPosted: August 12th, 2023, 11:39 pm 
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Location: Mid-coast Maine
Have you considered setting up your Canyon for solo tripping? It's a fantastic boat for that purpose - handles very well in ww when paddled from just aft of center - and big enough to have a saddle and a bench seat and plenty of room for gear.

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PostPosted: August 13th, 2023, 7:53 am 
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Joined: October 16th, 2008, 9:20 am
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Location: Warkworth
My go to solo whitewater tripping boat is a Pocket Canyon. I used to also have a Mad River Caption but sold it sadly. The Caption has almost identical specs to the Vertige X. I found the Caption more “tipy”, a bit less room, and a bit of a pain on flats. But that said I loved the Caption…really excelled in the whitewater. I have been trying to decide between a Vertige X and Pocket Canyon for my next boat since my Pocket Canyon is nearing end of life. I will be going with a new Pocket Canyon. It’s a better all around whitewater tripper than the Caption/Vertige X.

Good luck!!

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PostPosted: August 13th, 2023, 7:57 am 
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I should have also mentioned I’m 5’8” and 220lbs and paddle with either a 40lb dog or 60lb dog. My trips vary from a few days to a few weeks. The Pocket Canyon can hold a lot of gear.

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PostPosted: August 15th, 2023, 10:36 am 
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I had a Vertige X and used it on a couple of one week WW trips. It was great loaded up in the Rapids, dry and maneuverable. On the other hand I found it a real dog in the flatwater. It had a bit too much rocker to contend with. I'm in a regular Vertige now which I overall like better, but it's a bit too small. My boat has a few trips left in it but I'll likely be getting a pocket canyon next. I've tried it a few times and while a bit bigger than I'd prefer it seems to be the best option that's readily available. I may try to narrow it a bit and move the seat to a more central position.


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PostPosted: August 15th, 2023, 4:32 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
You could contact Esquif and ask them.

I think the biggest difference might be in the pedigreed. The Pocket Canyon gets its shape from the Bluehole Sunbrust. Comparing to the Vertige X, it's probably faster and has a more traditional hull shape (shallow arch) and a more classic feel when solo paddling it. Might it have narrower ends? At 14'6" it a nice solo tripping canoe with a lot of capacity for gear and speed and could be outfitted a bit like a small tandem where you paddle it solo from an after of centre seat and thus portage from a fixed yoke.

Comparing the Vertige X to the Pocket Canyon, it's based on an old school ww solo canoe, that was easy and friendly to paddle--no edges. A bit slower, and usually a centre solo paddling position (saddle or seat).

I've paddled all three--Pocket Canyon, Vertige X and Vertige. It surprises me sometimes how light and nimble the Vertige (non X) can be while running ww, including boofing (without gear).

Addressing your statements.
Both would work for Class III.
Pocket Canyon might carve better but the Vertige is going to turn better. If loaded on a trip in Class III, "hitting eddies, sneaking behind boulders, etc." seems to be a bit much for any 14 foot or longer canoe (but that might depend on the size and volume of the rapid).
Both are big solo canoes if you "frequently use cross strokes for acceleration and carving offside"--doable but they are as wide of a 18'6" WW II Jensen.

Both have "capacity for up to 2 week trips" but the Pocket Canyon is the winner there. The Vertige X would mean packing light. You could "install a bench seat" in either. I've done the Grand Canyon is the Vertige with a saddle and the Vertige X with a saddle-bench combination.

Paraphasing you, the Pocket Canyon was faster, drier, and did everything my Supernova did, but better.
Sounds like you have your answer. The Pocket Canyon would make a nice capable wilderness/river tripping canoe. The Vertige X is probably a better 1 week WW river tripper.

And for up to Class III, composite might be worth a consideration as the Pocket Canyon and Vertige X are probably over 60 pounds outfitted.

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