Canadian Canoe Routes

Solo Canoe Considerations
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Author:  RWC [ March 3rd, 2015, 2:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Solo Canoe Considerations

Good Day,

I am considering purchasing a solo canoe. I am looking for something decent and affordable. Please let me know what your suggestions are.

Thank you,


Author:  Peter K. [ March 3rd, 2015, 4:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

A big question. You will get better answers if you can say a little about the kind of paddling you have in mind and maybe the cost ceiling you have. There are a couple of threads going already on this site discussing pack canoes and solos which means boats from 10 feet to 16 feet.

Author:  ezwater [ March 3rd, 2015, 6:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

And tell us what you mean by "decent" and "affordable".

Author:  GetOut [ March 4th, 2015, 8:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

Taking out any rapid-ridden river trips, but adding in that you might want to use the boat for tandem-day trips, I'd look for a canoe that has everything "mid-range": kevlar set-up for comfortable weight and good strength, 15ft length, symmetrical design. Nova Craft and Swift offer many design that you could fancy.

Alas, good in everything also means not the best in anything... Answers to the questions above will better target the ideal boat for you.

Author:  jedi jeffi [ March 4th, 2015, 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

I agree with Peter and ezwater, there is a ton of choices to consider.
Not to mention your available storage space at home and wether you want light weight or not.
Also what area you are in will help lets us know what is available locally.
Many areas have events where you can come try a boat for free.

Author:  Charlie Wilson [ March 4th, 2015, 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

A few Qs to narrow the field. How tall are you, what do you weigh and how much gear will you bring at maximum? Do you prefer to kneel, sit high as in a WeNoNah or sit low as in pack canoe? What paddle[s] do you prefer, straight blade, bent shaft or double blade? What water do you paddle, lakes, rivers, whitewater?

Most folks are happiest starting with a Solo Tripper, a general purpose category canoe, maybe ~15feet long, ~29" wide with differential rocker and a seat that allows kneeling. Canadian companies building same include Bluewater, 1, Clipper, 1, H2O, 1, Souris River, 1, and Swift, 4. There are more US builders, but the current dollar differential skews their prices. Paddling a modest sized tandem either backwards or from a kneeling thwart eliminates use of over half the solo canoeist's skill set.

Author:  Dan. [ March 4th, 2015, 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

You guys with all the questions....

The answer is simple.
1. Novacraft supernova or
2. Swift shearwater
If he/she was a whitewater techie that wanted a tareau we would know. If they wanted a double blade they would have asked for a kayak.
If it needed to double as a tandem they would have mentioned it. The abscense of detail means op doesnt even know the options. Hense, middle of the road do everything sort of ok, paddle in a straight line with 'normal' person technique.

Author:  RWC [ March 5th, 2015, 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

I would be using the canoe on smaller 3 – 10 day trips on mostly flat water. I may venture, once I get more experience to challenge small rapids, maybe class 1 or 2 depending on the situation but for the most part while on solo trips I’ll most likely portage around the rougher stuff. I also would like to take my kids, toddlers now, on small day trips as I am hoping to grow my own paddling partners. I have been looking at the other threads and while I would love to be able to purchase a new Bell Magic or a Wenonah those boats are beyond my means. Ideally something in the $1200 - $1500 range would be best, or at least easier to convince the Wife than something in the $2500 price range. I might just splurge and buy a Nova Craft Tripper and get used to it solo. If it helps I live in Winnipeg, yes I know, Winnipeg.......thoughts?

Author:  GetOut [ March 5th, 2015, 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

Do not overlook the end-of-season rental float sales for good buys! Find a few outfitters near your home and rent different boats over the summer to get a feel on stability, comfort, speed for your needs. You can then do an informed choice on a well-priced canoe and count points from the Missus.

Author:  canoeguitar [ March 5th, 2015, 10:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

@ RWC - I've got 3 Nova Craft Canoes. If you want a tandem that works well as a solo, it should be a symmetrical hull design, allowing you to turn it around and paddle from the bow seat facing the stern. The Tripper is NOT symmetrical, and therefore will not work well as a solo. Consider the Pal - a 16' narrow, shallow tandem that has a symmetrical hull design. It's what I use when paddling solo, and it works well as a second tandem on a family trip. I absolutely love my NC Pal, and have taken it on solos up to a month in length - a great boat.

That said, if you're planning on adding your kids to the trip roster, but don't anticipate owning multiple boats anytime soon, then I'd recommend getting a 16' Prospector. If I could only own one boat that would be it. While it doesn't excel at anything in particular, it will work as a solo canoe (a bit of technique required), and will also provide a decent capacity, stable and seaworthy canoe for your growing family. I'm on my second Nova Craft Prospector - I paddled the crap out of my first one for nearly 20 years, then sold it to a friend and it's still going strong.

Author:  ezwater [ March 6th, 2015, 11:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

When I set up a tandem for occasional solo paddling, I install a pedestal facing forward, just behind the center thwart, so that the issue of symmetry and sitting backwards does not arise.

Most of my canoes are asymmetrical, and neither backpaddling, nor sitting backwards on the bow seat, has ever proved at all troublesome, as long as the canoe is properly trimmed.

Author:  frozentripper [ March 6th, 2015, 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

From Rolf Kraiker's website, photo from his book Cradle to Canoe.... IIRC during the early days Rolf's method was to paddle a symmetrical Prospector (or Pal?) reversed with one small child sitting on the stern seat. With two kids and later on with one larger child up front, Rolf sat in the stern.


Author:  ezwater [ March 6th, 2015, 12:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

That's clever, but I prefer to paddle near the center of the canoe so as to minimize correction strokes. Cab forward paddling.

Author:  Charlie Wilson [ March 6th, 2015, 10:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

We've certainly been here before: at the dichotomy of solo paddling a tandem canoe or paddling a proper solo canoe. Nothing wrong with soloing a tandem. I prefer EZ's pedestal or a kneeling thwart tucked tight to the center thwart, but the paddler gives up a lot of the physical opportunities of a solo canoe. The Inside Circle, heeled Duffeks, Cross Duffeks, Cross Forwards, all those neat things are obviated by running backwards perched on bow seat's aft crossbar.

Author:  RWC [ March 13th, 2015, 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Solo Canoe Considerations

I am considering either a Wenonah Aurora or a NovaCraft Prospector 16........thoughts?

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