Considering Northstar Firebird pack

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I was wondering if someone here has experience with the Firebird as a pack canoe. It's not a configuration that any dealer near me would ever stock, so a dealer demo is pretty much out impossible; it would need to be a special order.
If anyone has paddled or owns one I would love to hear your impressions. I currently have a Rapidfire and have never paddled a canoe with symmetrical rocker like the Firebird. Thanks.
 
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It would be special order. I have had a FlashFIre ( which is essentially the FB) and currently have a WildFIre. I cannot imagine paddling it from a pack canoe position. The midships shear is too high for me.
I have several canoes with symmetrical rocker. They are wonderfully playful until the wind comes up in which case the only way they handle well is to be extremely stern loaded. If the bow is loaded at all they are hard to control in a stern quartering wind. I have to pile everything in the back of the Wild or Dragonfly in breezy conditions. Of course with a headwind a load up there is fine.
 

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I have no experience with any Northstar canoes, and don't even see the Firebird featured in a pack configuration on the company website, though it would be easy enough to replace the hung seat with a bottom seat.

My impression is similar to that of YC: It looks like a nice, short, symmetrical kneeling canoe akin to the Flashfire. I also think that at a 12.5" central depth it would be too deep for optimal pack canoe bottom seating unless one had a very long torso and arms or a very high bottom seat.

In any event, here are two videos that give some visual and performance info about the hull:


 
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It would be special order. I have had a FlashFIre ( which is essentially the FB) and currently have a WildFIre. I cannot imagine paddling it from a pack canoe position. The midships shear is too high for me.
I have several canoes with symmetrical rocker. They are wonderfully playful until the wind comes up in which case the only way they handle well is to be extremely stern loaded. If the bow is loaded at all they are hard to control in a stern quartering wind. I have to pile everything in the back of the Wild or Dragonfly in breezy conditions. Of course with a headwind a load up there is fine.
Yes, definitely special order. Thanks for the comments about how it would handle in the wind; I was guessing it might be a challenge. Good point about paddling position; I need to find out a bit more about their seat - not sure how high it is off the bottom from website pictures.
 
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I have no experience with any Northstar canoes, and don't even see the Firebird featured in a pack configuration on the company website, though it would be easy enough to replace the hung seat with a bottom seat.

My impression is similar to that of YC: It looks like a nice, short, symmetrical kneeling canoe akin to the Flashfire. I also think that at a 12.5" central depth it would be too deep for optimal pack canoe bottom seating unless one had a very long torso and arms or a very high bottom seat.

In any event, here are two videos that give some visual and performance info about the hull:


Right, they do not show the pack configuration but will build any of their solos that way. Spoke to a dealer who has sold a couple in this config, so I know there are a few out there. I've posted in a couple of FB groups, but haven't been able to track anyone down yet.
Thanks for the videos; I've seen them and they are about the "reviews" I've been able to find and are somewhat helpful.
I talked to some one at Nstar briefly and may call back to ask about the seat height. Both you and yellowcanoe brought that up and it's a really good point. In comparison the Rapidfire is 11.5", though I don't know how the seats compare.
This may somewhat come down to a leap of faith in the end. Not there yet.
And thanks for the help.
 
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I have a Firebird set up for kneeling and absolutely love it. Highly responsive and just plain fun to paddle. However... I don't think it would be very good as a pack. It has a fair bit of symmetric rocker which gives it the responsiveness. With a single blade you can keep the power close to the hull and apply finesse during the stroke to get it to do what you want (think freestyle paddling). With a double blade the power would be applied a bit further from the hull inducing a turn or at least a wiggle with every stroke. I am biased of course as I much prefer a single blade so your mileage may vary.

Tom B
 
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I have a Firebird set up for kneeling and absolutely love it. Highly responsive and just plain fun to paddle. However... I don't think it would be very good as a pack. It has a fair bit of symmetric rocker which gives it the responsiveness. With a single blade you can keep the power close to the hull and apply finesse during the stroke to get it to do what you want (think freestyle paddling). With a double blade the power would be applied a bit further from the hull inducing a turn or at least a wiggle with every stroke. I am biased of course as I much prefer a single blade so your mileage may vary.

Tom B
Good point. Tacking isn't the best way to get somewhere. However as a river boat that maneuverability might be acceptable.
 
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I test paddled a Firebird (kneeling with single blade) and I think it's a special
boat. Acceleration and cruising are exceptionally effortless. It's very maneuverable with predictable handling. The depth adds a sense of security to the relatively small boat (Swift sells a couple of pack boats with same 12.5 inch depth). Firebird might be an unusual choice for a pack boat but in my view it's a very cool hull design.
 
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I have a Firebird on order and am looking forward to its arrival next spring. I'll use it on my local creek and for some freestyle play. I'll kneel and use a single blade paddle. It will replace my Curtis Ladybug which is fiberglass and getting heavier every year. Glad to see some postings of owners who are happy with their boarts as I am buying without having paddled one.
 

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I have a Firebird on order and am looking forward to its arrival next spring. I'll use it on my local creek and for some freestyle play. I'll kneel and use a single blade paddle. It will replace my Curtis Ladybug which is fiberglass and getting heavier every year. Glad to see some postings of owners who are happy with their boarts as I am buying without having paddled one.

Welcome, Canoefred, for apparently your first post on the site! Don't wait six years for your second. Curtis Canoe single bladers are a valuable and diminishing resource, and Northstar single bladers are a newly growing resource, and we like to hear from all of them here.
 
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I have a Firebird on order and am looking forward to its arrival next spring. I'll use it on my local creek and for some freestyle play. I'll kneel and use a single blade paddle. It will replace my Curtis Ladybug which is fiberglass and getting heavier every year. Glad to see some postings of owners who are happy with their boarts as I am buying without having paddled one.
Congrats!
 
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Yeah, its’s going to be a long winter. I have a Hemlock Kestrel as well which I regard more as my tripper and a MR Malecite from 1980 for the wife and grandkids to join me sometimes. I guess that was my first post wasn’t it? Huh. It will be fun to compare the Firebird and the Ladybug.
 
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