Canadian Canoe Routes

What canoe would you choose...
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Author:  Mollycollie [ November 23rd, 2021, 7:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

Hey Tom
If you can, test paddle a caribou s, it specs are much like the srt. Ive put a ton of miles on mine in the last couple years on remote rivers and can’t say enough good things about it and it’s layup. It really likes to be loaded down, it ate a 450 lbs load on one trip no problem and as far as efficiency goes, it holds its own, but comparing its specs to the srt , I’d say the srt would win in a drag race, but the caribou wins in the rapids. I keep up to the tandem paddled prospector styled boats no problem with a db. If you can get across the border to Winnipeg, there’s places to give them a go.
Hopefully you can overcome your reservations on composite solo boats, your screwed any which way on a remote trip no matter which hull you wrap, and any expedition layup Ive used will take any abuse short of that.

Author:  tom-o [ November 24th, 2021, 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

Mollycollie, thanks for passing along the caribou s recommendation. I'll check it out.
Du Nord, I'd love to hear more about your experience paddling the SRT.

Author:  tom-o [ November 24th, 2021, 3:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

Du Nord, anything from Harold Deal you'd like to pass along? (I saw on another thread that you had spoken to him--I was considering doing the same.) Maybe you can save us both some time :)

Author:  duNord [ November 24th, 2021, 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

tom-o wrote:
Du Nord, I'd love to hear more about your experience paddling the SRT.

I've paddled the SRT on quite a few rivers in Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan over the past two seasons. You can see videos of many of my trips on my YouTube channel:

Not all the trips were in the SRT, but the following videos feature the SRT: Manitowish/Trout, Namekagon, Flambeau, Brule, Ontonagon, Headwaters of the Wisconsin, Blackjack Creek, Kickapoo, Black, Flambeau Fall Colors, Sylvania, and Paint.

I've also shot videos including the SRT on the Deerskin and Middle and South Branches of the Ontonagon, but I haven't edited and published them yet.

Out of all these rivers, the only one I wouldn't do again with the SRT was the South Branch of the Ontonagon. There's a long rapids just before Victoria Reservoir that had a series of steep sandstone ledges where I did some pretty hard stern hits. No damage, but it sure made me cringe hitting the stern that hard.

There were also some rivers I did where I purposely didn't take the SRT because I knew there would be some rock bashing and shallow scrapy stretches.

tom-o wrote:
Du Nord, anything from Harold Deal you'd like to pass along? (I saw on another thread that you had spoken to him--I was considering doing the same.) Maybe you can save us both some time :)

I exchanged emails with Harold Deal. I was mainly concerned about the durability of Hemlock's "Premium +" layup on wilderness trips. Following is the text of Harold's response:

"Your interest in the SRT is appreciated and I’m glad you enjoy tripping.

The SRT (Solo River Tripper) is designed and meant to be used for river trips so the composite layups were developed and intended for its use. They are not flat-water layups. The gel-coat helps with abrasion. A composite lay-up transfers a better design definition in a hull than Royalex material and can offer higher performance and efficiency.

Durability of composite boats depends on the laminations. Fewer layers of the same materials means lighter weight but less durability, which is typical for flat-water paddling or racing both flat-water or whitewater. I have not had durability issues with my SRT since the 90’s and paddling it on streams or rivers up to class III in low to medium levels. I’ve also done race runs with the SRT on class III to see what its capabilities are. I’ve never had any negative issues from gently slipping over beaver dams, logs, frozen ice, or kissing river rocks (not slamming them). Have only had one small chip in the SRT over the years. The white gel-coat has been the best color for reducing the visibility of scratches. Penetrol can be wiped on other gel-coat colors to help reduce the visual effects of scratches. Gorilla tape can be used on the stems to help prevent chips from occurring on shallow rocky streams. Minor chips or cracks can be filled or repaired with resins like G/flex if that were to occur.

You seem to be experienced and aware of the durability as well as the heavier weight of ABS/Royalex and realize it is wise to treat a composite boat with more caution and respect in some conditions than many boaters treat an ABS/Royalex boat. Steeper gradients, more technical and rougher descents, gnarly rocks, higher flows, harder impacts all add up to more chance of experiencing hull chips, cracks, or other damage. Reading the water and executing good control at a slower pace is always helpful. When the water level is down so low that the boat does not float it is usually time to get out and walk the boat, be it composite or ABS. That can often be avoided by reading the flow and picking a better channel to run with a tad more water. I ran a class II-III creek a few days ago in a composite Shaman with no water being released that had been scheduled. Precision paddling the narrow channelized flows at a slow pace between and around all the rocks and boulders resulted in a few more scratches but no cracks to the hull, and another fun day.

I’ve been a composite guy for decades. I use them on wilderness trips. I started paddling a family birchbark canoe (still have it) and then aluminum in the 50’s and 60’s. In the 70’s I went straight to Kevlar composite boats for performance and lighter weight when they came onto a small market. The Royalex boats did not appeal to me when they were introduced but I understand some of the reasons they became popular I only paddled ABS/Royalex after I licensed the Shaman 12 to Mohawk I added that for whitewater play-boating on more technical creeks and ledges or running shallow falls. I’ve actually sliced & delaminated the outer layer of a Royalex whitewater hull due to too much boofing of boulders. I paddle the skin-coat composite Hemlock Shamans in both recreational-layups and race-layups. My Shaman weights vary from 26 lbs outfitted for the race version up to about 53 lbs for the Royalex Shaman. I use all of them on whitewater rivers and creeks. I’ve paddled the Grand Canyon in my composite Shaman and an earlier composite design built by Curtis that I conceived, specked and was deeply involved with. I've also built and paddled wood-strippers during the development of new designs and have owned or paddled wood/canvas canoes. I’ve even paddled a log-canoe in Honduras.

FYI: The shoulders below the gunwales were my original concepts and specs introduced for the first time in a new solo-canoe model built by Dave Curtis in the early 80’s. That obviously is a feature that has become very common in canoe designs today.

Everyone has different experiences and interests. There are some photos on the Hemlock site of the SRT in use. Hope the SRT becomes the tripping boat for you and you enjoy it. Wish we were closer so I could let you try my SRT.

Harold Deal"

Author:  tom-o [ November 29th, 2021, 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

Thanks! The above info is very helpful.

Author:  tom-o [ November 29th, 2021, 12:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

Du Nord, I enjoyed your youtube videos!

Author:  littleredcanoe [ November 29th, 2021, 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

Harold needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The original designer of the precursor of the SRT was Dave Yost and he designed the Dragon Fly. Quibbles over unpaid or paid royalties resulted in Harolds modification of the DragonFly to the SRT .

It is interesting to see them together at the same canoe symposia which DOES happen

Author:  tom-o [ December 3rd, 2021, 9:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What canoe would you choose...

Interesting backstory. I bet Harold's logged more miles in the SRT than just about anyone....

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