Hi from Montreal

Nov 27, 2013
Montreal, Canada

I'm very happy to have found this forum and learn from folks with same interests as myself. Here's a little of my background.

I've lived in Montreal all my life. I was an avid backpacker in my teens and twenties. When I bought a house in my mid-twenties, it was very close to Lake Saint-Louis which is part of the Saint-Lawrence seaway which passes south of Montreal. By chance one day, I bought a used fiberglass canoe for $250. It came with two paddles with aluminum shafts and plastic blades. My first outing onto the lake with the canoe was a scary experience as I had no idea how to canoe. There were one foot waves, but in a prospector type canoe, it felt tippy. I did not know that a little bit of wind could have so much effect on a canoe, and it kept pulling me farther and farther from shore. I was finally able to make it back by paddling hard from both sides (switch and hit?).

After that experience, I went out and bought myself Bill Mason's 'Path of the Paddle' and learned how to canoe. Well sort of, I'm still learning... That was 10 years ago. However, that 75 pound fiberglass canoe allowed me to discover the joys of canoe tripping. After a few canoe trips to Algonquin, I purchased a used Souris River Q17 from the local outfitter. I finally grew tired of dragging (begging) any friend to come on trips with me, and I've finally come to the realization that I need to purchase a solo canoe to fulfill my insatiable desire to canoe trip and go on longer trips that just the 3-4 nighter.

This past summer, I discovered the St-Regis canoe area. Up to now, I've only known the Adirondacks as a backpacker's playground. What a great surprise, as the ADK is much closer to Montreal than Algonquin and La Vérendrye, and best of all, its free! No reservations required either.

The Adirondacks allowed me to discover the pack canoes. So I am planning on purchasing one for the next paddling season. Not sure which one yet, but I love the Placid Boatworks, and I believe the Rapidfire is the best fit for me. It's light, and seems to have the optimal volume for my weight (200 lbs + 50 lbs dog) + gear/food for 5-10 nights. What do you folks think? I'm also biased because the few RFs I've seen are absolutely gorgeous, like works of art. I might shed a tear the first time I put a scratch in one, but that's all part of it.

I know that the RF should be paddled with a double blade, but I also plan on using a single blade. Should I go with the high seat in that case? I will never kneel (blew out the knee playing hockey).

So, I'm glad to be here and be with like-minded people. In my group of friends, I seem to be the only one that thinks a once a year canoe trip is not enough and paying $3000 for a canoe is crazy. Or having more than one canoe is pointless... Now I know that I am not alone, I think I've finally found my home.

Jun 12, 2012
Appleton, Maine
Hi Shan, Welcome, pretty neat story about getting started, I was surprised that you liked the ADK's, not surprised in a bad way, but glad you are taking advantage of that area to canoe. It's a great destination, and if you plan your trips right, you will have many areas to yourself or very few folks.
And you live really close. I bet alot of folks from Canada on this site live closer to the ADK's than I do in Connecticuit.
I know nothing of Rapidfires, although they have a good reputation and I here them mentioned alot by ADK paddlers.
Now about that Chestnut that's probably out hanging in your garage that came with the house....


Hi Shan, and welcome. Montreal seems well situated to reach some fine destinations for paddling, Ontario, Quebec, New York, and Maine. I hope your old hockey knees treat you well on the portages, and you put many miles on the new boat. Don’t be too hard on your friends though, they’re right, $3000 IS crazy $ to spend on a canoe! But, you know what? That money well spent, will take you places you’ve only dreamed of.
I say, keep on dreaming and keep on going.
Sep 2, 2011
Raymond, ME
Welcome Shando. As a RapidFire owner I might offer some anectdotal experience with varying seats. I have the stock low seat that is glued in. Its what most double bladers prefer. But it does pitch you back against the backband. I can single blade that way but for single blading prefer the high seat. It happens to drop over the low seat! And is secured by a shock cord system ( the holes you see in the seats on the Placid Boatworks site do have a purpose). The high seat has a different cant angle and does not pitch you back. When using the high seat my back doesn't even really contact the back band. This makes keeping your single blade stroke further forward easier. Single blade strokes that end further forward require less correcting and are thought to be more desirable.

My PA friend Joy uses the high seat too and would NEVER let a double blade into her RapidFire.
Sep 13, 2013
Long Island, NY

You certainly are not alone.

I have two friends that have Rapidfires. One, Waterspyder, is a member here. They both double blade but have different seating options in them. I've never paddled either but I know both Rapidfire owners love their canoes.

Here's a photo of them in the Adirondacks at Stony Creek.

AxtonLanding-15.jpg by Hansen.Dougie, on Flickr

Looking forward to seeing a photo of your new canoe when you get it.