Hello and question about the right canoe for 2 adults + 2 small kids

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So my wife and I really want to get a canoe this spring and I've been looking on Craigslist, but I'm not sure what size we're going to need. Our kids are 4 and 6 so they're still pretty small. They can sit in the hull and don't need seats (we'll get them some pads to sit on). We'll only be heading out for a couple of hours, at most for half a day, so we won't need to pack much other than ourselves. Can we get buy with something like a 15.5" Pelican, or do we need to be thinking more like a 17" We-no-nah? There's one of those on CL but it looks like it may have a bent rim and moss along the edge and they're asking $795 for it http://spokane.craigslist.org/spo/3610638315.html.

Thanks and looking forward to some advice!
 
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Hard to say with out knowing your intended usage. If you buy a canoe, buy a real canoe, not a Big Box store molded canoe with cup holders. You might be better off ocasionally renting a canoe till you learn what your preferences are. Also think about storing it. If it has to be stored outside in the weather your best bet is a aluminum canoe. Anything else will be destroyed by the sun in time. Dave
 
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Keep looking. With the damage to the Wenonah Spirit the bow slider is for sure jammed. The seller is quite optimistic about price. I had a similar boat for sale and wanted $400.

Gunwale bends are not always a bad thing..but that one is in a bad place. Plus you can't tell if the fabric is ripped or soft where the bend is. Can you get to see and touch the boat and dicker with the seller?

Uh the six year old is big enough to paddle. I would NOT go with a Pelican.. The structure is simply awful and the bow paddler jammed in an unstable position. You can store Rx and composites outdoors, but not those with wooden gunwales. Its better to have the boat off the ground in the long run. I have one poor gel coated aluminum railed Kevlar boat which is 20 years old and never been able to get inside.
 
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Hmmm...one of those great February questions. I guess I'd want to know if you have any experience in a canoe; you or your wife? What kind of water do you expect to be on? In my experience small kids keep on growing, and they do it surprisingly quickly. If both you and your wife can paddle reasonably well, maybe two canoes would serve you better in the long run. First off though I think Rippys advice about rental would be the way to go.
Now, remembering back to when our kids were little I'd get all fired up about some project we could all do together and my good hearted wife would go along for a while. Few wives or kids will stick to a thing if they get cold, wet or scared.
First: find who rents canoes in your area. What kind of canoes; listen to the guy but also look them up on-line and read the evaluations. I'd go with big, wide and stable. As far as deals on cragslist etc. I'd suggest you just don't know enough about your family afloat to make the right decision.
Go to the major canoe manufacturer web site and see what they describe as family canoes. That's why this is such a great question for February; you've got plenty of time to do research.
Have fun!!
Rob
 
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Hmmm...one of those great February questions. I guess I'd want to know if you have any experience in a canoe; you or your wife? What kind of water do you expect to be on? In my experience small kids keep on growing, and they do it surprisingly quickly. If both you and your wife can paddle reasonably well, maybe two canoes would serve you better in the long run. First off though I think Rippys advice about rental would be the way to go.
Now, remembering back to when our kids were little I'd get all fired up about some project we could all do together and my good hearted wife would go along for a while. Few wives or kids will stick to a thing if they get cold, wet or scared.
First: find who rents canoes in your area. What kind of canoes; listen to the guy but also look them up on-line and read the evaluations. I'd go with big, wide and stable. As far as deals on cragslist etc. I'd suggest you just don't know enough about your family afloat to make the right decision.
Go to the major canoe manufacturer web site and see what they describe as family canoes. That's why this is such a great question for February; you've got plenty of time to do research.
Have fun!!
Rob

Sorry... I guess I should have clarified that I have quite a bit of experience with canoeing. I used to duck hunt out of a small little Coleman. We'll only be on the lake or (extremely) lazy river as a family. My wife and I rented twice last year and it was a big plastic Coleman, but I didn't think to get a measurement on it. I agree that our 6-year-old could start getting into paddling and she's definitely the motivated type. We want a single canoe as it would be much easier to haul than two; later we're considering getting a couple of tandem kayaks once our kids can help out a little more.

Is there a general rule as to the length, or are they rated for a specific weight? I've seen a few 17-foot Grumman aluminum canoes that are a bit farther away that are going for $400-$500... those may be more of what we're looking for. I agree I have lots of time; that's why I'm starting in February :)
 
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Remembering WAY back when our kids were little. We had a 15 foot Grumman.. It did fine for day trips and we actually did BWCAW with it and our two and a half year old for a week!. When the kids got to be about ten and six we had to stop taking one kid as the other squawked and rented another canoe for occasional trips for the four of us in Algonquin and the Allagash.

So 16 foot would be fine. Buy for what you will do now..Life changes..later may not be what you expect. Archimedes was a great engineer and physicist and mathematician way back when. He showed that larger volume boats can handle more load. Usually a 16 foot boat will carry 500 lbs safely. So you can see you have some time and when your kids are teens..you will sink in the same boat.
 
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Unless you have deep pockets, used is the way to go. Lots of room is a luxury, too little is a curse. I'd say 16' to 17'. The kids would have room to lounge, snack, snooze, paddle, and grow; rather than being wedged in like last minute gear. The hull material would depend upon your budget; remember, this doesn't have to be the one and only boat you ever paddle. Renting is a great way to try out different models. I rented for years, and when I finally chose my favourite, the kids had grown up and moved out!! Take your time, and relax. Plans may change, but your family fun can be a constant. Good luck. Brad
 
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We started with a Grumman Aluminium in 72' and when the kids came along it worked out well for weekend trips in the ADKs, or up in Ontario for our annual 2 weeks on a lake there, swam with it, rode out big waves in swimming suits and pfd's, lots of fun.
I agree, look for a used name brand name, but skip the narrow fast ones at this stage imho. Keep the trips close and find something you feel comfortable in as far as stability goes when the kids jump in.
Canoes and family can be alot of fun.
 
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