Help me choose a canoe?

Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
8
Hi all,

I'm hoping to find and purchase a canoe sometime over the long winter. I have enough interests to know that the fist canoe I buy is unlikely to be the last one I buy or want. That said, here is some criteria:

* I plan on doing easy river trips. Being in Idaho, I have many options on this front. Maybe once I get some skills, I'll tackle some II+ or easier III's - but I'm not after the whitewater experience. I've spent a fair amount of time on the oars of rafts large and small. I'm also a novice whitewater kayaker (class III+ max).

* I'd like a canoe that can handle enough gear for an overnighter or even two. I don't need a ton of storage nor a boat that handles best with another 60 pounds in it.

* Ideally, it'd be pretty light. I doubt I'd want Kevlar as a newbie, but I don't want an anvil either.

* Ideally, it'd be used. Not absolutely necessary, but definitely favored.

* It should be a good learners canoe. When I learned to sea kayak, I did it on an advanced boat that had little primary stability. I nearly developed PTSD on the water because I thought I was going to go over all the time. And I did go over sometimes, mostly from seizing up in fear when it only seemed like it might.

* I'd like to spend under $1500. That should give me a lot of options. I'm also willing to travel 500 miles to pick it up so I won't be limited to sales in Boise only.

Hopefully that should be a good start. Whatcha think?

Thanks in advance!
Adam
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
3,339
Location
NW Iowa
I'll be back later with more but for starters what was the kayak you had issues with and did you ever get comfortable in it?

Alan
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
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1,133
Location
Minden, NV
afk,
If you are not interested "in the whitewater experience" stay away from Class III rapids in a canoe and even II+. They are not forgiving like a raft. If you seize up in fear, stay on the flat water and Class I.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
8
A couple of notes:

Yes, I am looking for a solo boat.

I can't remember the ocean kayak that I learned on. I eventually owned a Current Designs Solstice touring boat and paddled it under quite difficult conditions in the Bay Area, CA. I loved this boat, learned to roll it, and spent a fair bit of time in higher seas.

I do understand that canoeing will require a learning curve. I plan on learning on Class I water, of course. I'm just saying that I have a good deal of experience on moving water and have a good understanding of hydraulics, reading water, etc.

Ok... any ideas for boats to start looking for?

-Adam
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
Messages
453
Location
southwest Indiana
There is a "barely used" Mad River Freedom solo Royalex canoe for sale somewhere in Oregon you might consider: http://www.paddling.net/Classifieds/forSale.html?category=canoesell&state=OR

If you are looking to buy used, which is a good idea, rather than asking for advice on what specific make or model to buy, I would instead see what is actually available. Otherwise you are likely to be advised to look for dozens of different boat models that you will never find, within any reasonable time frame.

If you are hesitant to buy a composite boat then your options are going to be Royalex, polyethylene, aluminum, or possibly Twin-tex. The option of buying a new Royalex canoe will soon be gone, and is in fact probably already gone for some models. Actually, well-made, all cloth composite boats of an appropriate layup are considerably tougher than most people give them credit for, and I would not rule one out for your planned use. But $1500 is unlikely to buy you such a boat new these days.

I would dismiss aluminum and polyethylene. Polyethylene is going to be pretty heavy and an aluminum boat well-suited for solo use is going to be a rarity, and aluminum is also heavy.

So look around at what used composite and Royalex solo boats are available and then decide whether a particular boat will suit your purposes.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,387
Location
Raymond, ME
In the old days pre internet that's probably the way most of us got boats. Whatever floated by. With the Internet you might make a short list of boats you are on the lookout for and play ambush predator as one of the candidates floats by looking for adoptive owner.

I asked about size because it does not help to put a tiny person in a sizeable craft like a Freedom Solo nor a linebacker in an 11 foot Blackhawk. But there is a good bit of middle ground .

If center of gravity concerns you, that should be the least of the issues if you sit. Seats can be made low or high.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
8
Thanks for asking! I am 6 feet and 205. I would like to kneel and sit, ideally. As I said, I am willing to travel a few hundred miles to pick up a boat. At this moment I see lots of interesting boats within my price and travel range - I just don't know how to make sense of them,

Best,
Adam
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
8
And yes, I do have an Esquif dealer but I'm suspicious of inventory they have on hand.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
989
Adam - hi. I am very close to you and could let you try my Dagger Sojourn. Not for sale, but it may give you some idea of what to expect. Unfortunately, you and I live in an area that is not flush with used solo canoes, but you see one occasionally. There was a Wenonah Rendezvous on CraigsList a while back and a few months ago, a Mad River Slipper. A few years ago, I saw a Bell Merlin II go by (and missed it due to hesitation. :(

The Mad River Guide/Freedom Solo has been pretty popular around here. Must work pretty good on a lot of local rivers, 'cause no one seems to want to sell one. It's a good idea to watch CL in Bend. There seems to be more canoes there than here.

This isn't usually the best time to be looking. I don't know why - but I have seen more good canoes on CL here in late winter to early spring than in the fall. More in summer, but then the prices go up. But do start looking now. Just don't get discouraged if you don't see anything for a while.

In case you don't know, there is a paddlecraft "yard sale" every April at Idaho River Sports, where a lot of folks bring their used gear and boats. Sometimes IRS has a rental canoe or two in the mix. There are a couple Facebook pages for area canoeists - Idaho Canoe Club and Southwestern Idaho Paddlers. You might want to lurk there, since some boats get sold through those sites before ever getting on CL (like the kevlar Malecite I just snagged).

Unfortunately, used is going to be your best bet locally - as scarce as those are. Unless you want a true whitewater solo. IRS did stock the Wenonah Recon this year, but I don't recall them having much in the way of new milder solo canoes. They do have a Canak (on sale now) but I don't think that's a "learner", and it may not even fit your needs anyway. River and Adventure Toys in Twin Falls is a stocking Nova Craft dealer and may have something suitable. Worth a call anyway. As you probably know, the local dealers tend to stock a lot of kayaks and few canoes.

Backcountry Pursuit on Capitol blvd sometimes gets a solo canoe on consignment. They sold an Old Town H2Pro last spring. Again - never was on CL. Also check Play It Again Sports.

Good luck in your search. If I see anything I think will interest you, I'll post it here.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,387
Location
Raymond, ME
Thanks for asking! I am 6 feet and 205. I would like to kneel and sit, ideally. As I said, I am willing to travel a few hundred miles to pick up a boat. At this moment I see lots of interesting boats within my price and travel range - I just don't know how to make sense of them,

Best,
Adam



If you can consider that Freedom Solo.. its in your size range. Don't get too hung up on the decision. Likely whatever you choose you will do fine with. You might come to like something better later. Wenonahs ( aside from the Recon) tend to have a hull cross section shape that makes them "squirrely" in whitewater. From what you wrote originally that would not be to your liking at this time.

You will want to avoid Kevlar as it abrades badly on your Idaho rivers ( and any other rocky river!) If you can find a boat in Royalex or a Curtis or Colden DragonFly or a Millbrook boat those are good composites ( they are tough boats). Tuff weave by Wenonah might do fine but as I indicated Wenonahs are a little tricky in moving water aside from the Recon.
 
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