It is currently December 6th, 2019, 6:03 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 7:54 am 
Offline

Joined: June 20th, 2019, 3:14 am
Posts: 1
Hi Everyone

I'm very new to canoeing, actually went out on the Wye last week for the first time with my family (two boys 8 and 5) and my wife, and despite the weather we all loved it.

I've rowed and completed a kayak course many years ago so I know how to make a boat go forward, turn and backward but I intend to get some coaching over the next few weeks/months. I live in Kent and the Medway and Bewl Water are close by.

So I've been thinking about buying a canoe, thought that might be a relatively straight forward task - until I started doing a bit of research. Never, ever thought the choice would be so wide - how do you choose? I'm sure I'm not the only one in this position.

I would like to: paddle on rivers, lakes and when I get a bit more experienced take my family on longer trips and maybe even try a bit of white water. Oh yes and I'd like to paddle solo, too. Think that covers everything.

I've looked at Nova craft and Old Town - but I would really appreciate any advice from those in the know.

Many thanks in advance.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 8:56 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 842
I wrote this article last year and had it vetted by folks in this forum - it might be helpful in your decision making process

http://www.prospector16.com/p/canoe-101.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 9:45 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: July 9th, 2003, 11:48 am
Posts: 1485
Location: Back to Winnipeg
With a 5- and 8-yr old, you're in interesting position. To get 4 of you in boat with gear, you'd likely want a big boat (18' range). For day trips, when not all 4 go, or for solo, you'd be better off with a smaller boat (14-16') range. And soon the kids will be able paddle more themselves!

A solution you'll always see on this forum to a question like yours: you need more boats!

As my family grew, we sold our 16' pre-kids boat and moved up to a 17'9" (like a big Prospector or Tripper model). Now that my kids are 8- and 10-yrs, they take up more space and they want to paddle, so we added a 2nd little 14' tandem (like a small Prospector or a Bob Special). Also, the kids will have more fun learning to paddle by themselves in the 14'er, because for them playing around in an 18' canoe is a little out of scale. Two boats was our solution. For day tripping and solo, I'll use the 14'.

For model, the usual answer to your "do everything" canoe is almost always a Prospector design. Can't go wrong with that! But there are other models too. My big canoe is a Hellman, can't even remember the model name, Slocan I think, it's a great Prospector-like hull, but you wouldn't find it if you only look at boats actually named "Prospector", and you may not know the manufacturer depending on where you live and how many canoeists you know. Similarly I just saw a Wenonah Spirit II for sale locally, I didn't remember much about it and have never seen one, but based on the description, it would be a great all purpose canoe as well.

Most respected manufactures (Old Town, Nova Craft, Esquif, Wenonah, Clipper, Souris River, Hellman, etc.) generally provide good, reliable descriptions of what their boats are designed for, so don't be limited by the model name, do a bit of research.

Personally, I tend to shop used because as needs change at this stage of life canoes may come and go. And if you get a decent price you can probably resell for what you got it for. Our 2 canoes, with some outfitting and accessories, cost me $1,600 combined, compared to $3,000+ for a good new canoe.

This weekend we're going on a trip with another family. We will be taking our big canoe and our 14' canoe, so our kids will sit in the seats and paddle (hopefully!). The other family (kids 9 and 6) will going all 4 in a big 18'6" canoe. I'll let you know if I have any pros & cons to share.

Pat.

_________________
Learning to paddle is like learning a language:
It's easy to learn the basics, but will you be understood in a strong wind?


Last edited by yarnellboat on June 25th, 2019, 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 5:02 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 842
First of all I'd cross Old Towne off your list completely - not sure why they have such a great reputation but they don't seem to make anything but plastic canoes. I guess they would be a good choice for both moving and flat water except that they weigh a tonne - so fine as long as you don't want to portage.

Not many people these days would take the same boat for white water and flat water. White water boats need to be capable of being slammed against a rock without destroying the boat, and flatwater normally people go for light weight for the portages.

My first canoe is a Nova Craft Prospector 16 in Royalex (buying today would be T-Formex). Royalex / T-Formex is the material of choice for white water, however I've done no white water in this canoe. I've had it on tonnes of flatwater trips and it performs extremely well there - only problem is it is on the heavy side at 65 lbs. Not bad for 500 meters or so but I would not want to portage it much longer.

Maybe the ideal material these days for a compromise flat / moving water is the basalt-innegra layups like "Tuff Stuff" that Nova Craft makes. It can be slammed off rocks but is about 10 lbs lighter than the same boat in Royalex. So not really light, but not really heavy either.

As for fitting all 4 of you - a 17 foot would be fine at their current ages. I've actually taken me and my 3 boys in my P16 but it was only about a km paddle - no way we could have done it on a longer trip. We were VERY full! As they grow to teens they'll be looking for their own boats.

Last summer I had the family out on a back country trip with 2 x P16 and 1 x kayak for the 7 of us. In one canoe me, my 8 year old and 3 year old, in the other my wife and one of the teenagers and the 1 year old, the other teenager in the kayak. At this point both of my teens are good paddlers who can stern well and solo well - so we are in a good situation we just need more canoes :-)

I think we could have done the same trip with 2 x 17 footers no problem.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 6:17 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: March 26th, 2013, 9:27 pm
Posts: 434
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Start with an Esquif Prospecteur 17 and do your pros and cons from there. It's heavy but I'm not a big guy at all and I have no problem carrying my 17' Nova Craft prospector which is about 85lbs. My first year with it I portaged 8km over three days. Portaging isn't all strength, the more you refine your technique, the easier it gets. If you're not okay with the weight of a T-Formex boat then I'd go for something like a Souris River Prospector.

A prospector is a good place to start because it would still be a great boat even if you only ever lake tripped. It tracks well, is good in wind, carries a heavy load, etc. Throw a set of end (air) bags and knee pads in it and you've got yourself a good boat to go take a moving water course.

Are you new to backcountry travel or do you have a hiking background? Smaller gear is very expensive on top of a canoe.

I'm not a big fan of Tuff Stuff. A good fibreglass canoe is a good option too; I think Clipper still makes them. Like Pat said, watch for used boats. You might be able to get a used fibreglass Clipper, Souris River, etc for very cheap or a Royalex boat.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 6:20 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2513
Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
I'll throw in my thoughts, which might run contrary to some. The Old Town canoes in poly are heavy, but they are also very hardy. I owned a 16'9" Discovery for many years, and it got me through many very serious trips. The two best things about them is the cheap price and the durability. If you are not going to portage much, a canoe like the OT Disco is a very large thing as well, could work for your purposes.

I am not overly impressed with the Nova Craft tuff stuff layup. I have one in regular tuff stuff and access to one in expedition layup. The 16 foot regular layup tuff stuff prospector is advertised at 50 pounds, but I am not sure about that. The expedition 17 foot prospector is advertised at 65 pounds, but I believe it is much heavier, certainly feels very heavy when I hoist it up, and I'm used to heavy canoes. They advertise it as a replacement for royalex, but it really isn't. It's a composite canoe, and the regular layup seems fairly flimsy to me, plus the price is no where near what royalex canoes used to be.

It sounds to me like a "little white water" is an after thought for you. Any canoe can be a whitewater canoe if you don't hit rocks. I have run cedar strip canoes for many years through rapids up to class 3 and have always made it home. If you think the run is too much for your skill set, don't do it.

In the end, the choice is often dictated by budget and the canoes available. I'm guessing from the rivers and lakes you have named that you live in England? What kinds of canoes are available? Is there a second hand market at all?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 24th, 2019, 6:31 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 842
Nova Craft P16 Tuff Stuff advertises 55lbs not 50

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5041-404/ ... inum-Canoe

But that's a quibble of course :-)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 6:38 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2513
Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Interesting, when I bought it, it was advertised at 50. The 17 footer is still listed at 65 for the expedition layup. At my local shop in Thunder Bay, you can get an Esquif Prospecteur in T-Formex for 2350. It's listed at 65 pounds. The NC Prospector in basic tuff stuff is listed at 2880.00. If I was choosing, I know which way I would go. However, both those prices are inflated when you consider that the last five NC prospectors in royalex that I bought were 1799.

Wonder what canoe prices are like in England?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 7:11 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 25th, 2017, 3:02 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Guelph, Ontario
Just did a search on Canadians/Open Canoes available at Kent Canoes and other dealers. It was interesting to see the brands in the UK that I don't hear about in Canada, Hou, Venture, Enigma. I have heard people say good things about Silverbirtch's solo WW boats. Equally interesting to see what North American boats are available in the UK, Nova Craft, Wenonah, Old Town, Mad River, Pelican & Esquif.

That is a healthy list of manufacturers to choose from. There are lots of smaller manufacturers in North America that make good boats but that won't be available in the UK. Others have already provided some good input. I agree with the "change canoes as your needs change" view of things.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 7:41 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 842
Oddly enough I can't find a record of what I paid for my NC Royalex Lite P16 at MEC about 5 years ago now - but I'm quite sure it was in the $2300 to $2500 range plus tax. I'll keep digging ...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 8:20 am 
Offline

Joined: December 9th, 2012, 9:57 am
Posts: 346
Go and paddle a variety of makes and models. Then answer some questions. What will you be doing most of the time : Solo or family? WW or flat water? How many canoes can you commit to? How much $$ will you spend now, and later? Answers may change over time.
You and your family can easily grow into two 16' canoes, with you and your wife each paddling a son as tandems. One of these might also be soloed. These are well suited for day paddling but if you think you may canoe trip for a night or two or more then I'd prefer two 16.5's. Capacity is important. Gear has a funny way of growing along with family. You can still solo a 16 1/2 foot canoe. A canoe of Prospector-ish design can handle both WW and flat water. And I highly recommend shopping used. Over time you and your wife will learn what you like and what suits your tripping, and that can change also. If you don't portage much then the only carrying might be between vehicle and put-in/take-out, so weight might be less of an issue. I notice canoe carts are suitable and popular there, so one might be a consideration. Your choices now and in the future will be purely personal, so don't expect to please others with your decisions. Try out different canoes if you can to narrow down the field of possibilities. Test paddles with the family or rentals by the day or weekend.

(I enjoy paddling the UK vicariously/virtually through http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/forum.php)


Best of luck.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 8:46 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
Posts: 8937
Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Quote:
First of all I'd cross Old Towne off your list completely - not sure why they have such a great reputation but they don't seem to make anything but plastic canoes. I guess they would be a good choice for both moving and flat water except that they weigh a tonne - so fine as long as you don't want to portage.

Incorrect.. they make wood canvas canoes through Island Falls Canoe ; they have been in business over a hundred years and their canoes are well suited to rocky bony rivers. If plastic is derogatory so be in.. Kevlar is seldom found around here .. For a good reason.
If they are such crap it boggles my mind why we have so many around here that are over thirty years old.
Its true when RX ceased production they had little choice but to go with poly..
Old Town still reflects its heritage on the Penobscot River ( which in Old Town ME resesebles a meat shredder with its jagged rocks)

I think you will get better info on Song of the Paddle website in the UK as to who imports from the US and Canada and what designs are being done locally.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 11:48 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 842
Whoops I've obviously ruffled some feathers - sorry. I did not say they were 'crap' and I did say they would probably be good for the use-case at hand though if you are doing 90% flatwater (with portages) and 10% or less white water I'm not sure it is the smartest choice unless you really don't have a budget for anything else.

I know that the poly canoes are close to indestructible and that makes them very attractive for white water, but they are also extremely heavy which makes the really cumbersome for flatwater with portages.

And I also knew that they still "make" (outsource) cedar canoes.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 2:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1674
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Prospector16 wrote:
First of all I'd cross Old Towne off your list completely - not sure why they have such a great reputation but they don't seem to make anything but plastic canoes. I guess they would be a good choice for both moving and flat water except that they weigh a tonne - so fine as long as you don't want to portage.


P16, that is a bit harsh. Old Town made some well regarded Royalex canoes. I know OT no longer makes RX canoes, but back in the day they made some RX hulls that are still beloved.

The OT Penobscot 16, soloized that remains one of my favorite RX canoes.
The Penobscot 17 as a tandem tripper. OT briefly made a Penobscot 18 that went like lightening.
The Camper or Pathfinder as first family canoes for mom, day and kid(s).
The Appalachian as a tandem downriver canoe. Or the Cascade as a solo
The aptly named Tripper, or the 20’ XL Tripper for XL trips.
Even the oft scorned OT Pack; not really a “pack” canoe, but a 33lb solo sport canoe.

Old Town made some nice composite canoes from time to time. The 18.5’ Columbia, or the 17.5’ carbon fiber Koru.

Seriously, crossing off Old Town, especially if looking at used canoes, is a mistake.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Which canoe
PostPosted: June 25th, 2019, 3:17 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: July 9th, 2003, 11:48 am
Posts: 1485
Location: Back to Winnipeg
Ah, memories of my first ww solo canoe - a Royalex Old Town Otter. Appalachians were very good, very popular and would still hold their own against current models for moving water. I wish they still made Cascades.

Not that any of these would be useful to the original questions re: a 17-18' Prospector-type boat, but there certainly were/are some good Old Town canoes made in Royalex. Actually, an OT Tripper could be an answer for the original question.

While I personally wouldn't recommend an ABS Discovery 169 now, truth be told, it got me started as my first canoe, because it was affordable and available, so why not.

P.

_________________
Learning to paddle is like learning a language:
It's easy to learn the basics, but will you be understood in a strong wind?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group