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WTB: Family style canoe (OT Camper, Penobscot, etc?) in Royalex

A lot of Royalex (no longer made) canoes were used in whitewater because Royalex can flex and slide over river rocks and spring back to life after being wrapped/pinned, perhaps at the cost of some creases.

You are not going to be paddling whitewater, so you might want to search for canoes that have only been used on lakes, such as fiberglass or other composite canoes. They are much, much less likely to be damaged, although really old ones with wooden gunwales may have rot. There's also nothing wrong with looking for a 17' aluminum canoe that is in good shape. Many of us started in aluminum canoes, which are pretty inexpensive on the used market and almost invincible unless bashed in whitewater.

I say "started" because your kids will grow up faster than you can imagine, and then they will want and have more fun in their own solo boats. And so may you. No one canoe can do everything, much less for all time and for all waters.
I agree with Glenn. I think a 17 ft aluminum canoe would meet your needs well. They're extremely durable and readily available.

The canoes you're looking at, Campers, Trippers and the Blue Hole OCA are similar in shape to most aluminum canoes.

Bonus, if you don't have indoor storage aluminum is wonderful because it doesn't rot or degrade in the sunshine.
 
How repairable does this look? The rest of the hull looks pretty good - some damage to the very end of the bow and stern, but should be able to patch those.
 

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How repairable does this look? The rest of the hull looks pretty good - some damage to the very end of the bow and stern, but should be able to patch those.
The wear on the ends is commonly covered with skid plates. If you search there's a couple threads that describe it well. I'd encourage you to price materials, they're not super expensive but they're not cheap either.

My concern is that one looks pretty crooked. It could be a lousy cell phone photo, but it doesn't look good. If it's just the gunwales then replacement or skilled bending might work. But if the hull is bent up it's pretty sorry starting point.
 
Agree with @MrPoling. The wear on the ends is common, but the bent gunnels are concerning. The price would need to be very low. You are looking at most likely replacing the gunnels, recaning or webbing the seats and probably skid plates.
I picked up a Penobscot 17 a few months ago as a project. It would make a great family canoe.
 
Is this near by? This big discovery will seat kids and absorb plenty of abuse. Only needs thwarts. (I wouldn't trouble with a yoke on a Discovery)


Then this aluminum:
 
Is this near by? This big discovery will seat kids and absorb plenty of abuse. Only needs thwarts. (I wouldn't trouble with a yoke on a Discovery)


Then this aluminum:
So I actually have a guy that's planning to sell me this tripper - seems very knowledgeable and has been super honest with me on it. He's replaced all the seats, the yoke, and putting a third seat in place of the thwart in. He's tested the royalex and says it isn't crackling or brittle - still flexes like it should. I'm very excited to pick this up probably next weekend. I was still considering the Penobscot because it's so cheap, but this would be my primary while I potentially fixed up the Penobscot.

However, do you guys see anything concerning in this tripper? Everything I've read and researched seems to check out good, other than seeing it in person

 
So I actually have a guy that's planning to sell me this tripper - seems very knowledgeable and has been super honest with me on it. He's replaced all the seats, the yoke, and putting a third seat in place of the thwart in. He's tested the royalex and says it isn't crackling or brittle - still flexes like it should. I'm very excited to pick this up probably next weekend. I was still considering the Penobscot because it's so cheap, but this would be my primary while I potentially fixed up the Penobscot.

However, do you guys see anything concerning in this tripper? Everything I've read and researched seems to check out good, other than seeing it in person

I have a Tripper of similar vintage. There is concern with the white gunnels becoming brittle with sun exposure. Make sure to check them out. My canoe has seen a lot of sun and the gunnels are fine.
The Tripper is a great stable family canoe.
 
I have a Tripper of similar vintage. There is concern with the white gunnels becoming brittle with sun exposure. Make sure to check them out. My canoe has seen a lot of sun and the gunnels are fine.
The Tripper is a great stable family canoe.
He actually commented that those white ones are known to get brittle and crack but these seemed good still. Hah.
 
So I actually have a guy that's planning to sell me this tripper - seems very knowledgeable and has been super honest with me on it. He's replaced all the seats, the yoke, and putting a third seat in place of the thwart in. He's tested the royalex and says it isn't crackling or brittle - still flexes like it should. I'm very excited to pick this up probably next weekend. I was still considering the Penobscot because it's so cheap, but this would be my primary while I potentially fixed up the Penobscot.

However, do you guys see anything concerning in this tripper? Everything I've read and researched seems to check out good, other than seeing it in person

That is a nice looking canoe. Old school too. Good luck, hope it works out.
 
I was starting to wonder if bent gunnels is a Texas thing. I don't think I've seen so many wavy line canoes for sale like that. That one should serve you well. Nice find, by far the best choice out of the choices you've shown.
 
That Tripper looks great, and that Penobscot should pop back into shape with a set of new gunnels. I have no experience with factory aluminum gunnels (except removing them), but a nice set of wood gunnels will fix that canoe up nice.
Actually, if it was me, I’d replace those gunnels on the tripper too. An Old Town Tripper with wood gunnels is a beautiful thing.

Here’s a couple of Mad River canoes that lead a rough life with a college fleet. Both had aluminum gunnels as bad as that Penobscot, and you can see the crease’s in the hull. New wood gunnels and webbing to the old cane seats brought them back to life.

DSC01702_Original.jpeg
 
He actually commented that those white ones are known to get brittle and crack but these seemed good still. Hah.
Those are the newer tan gunwales, along with the cane instead of rotomolded seats. The white gunwales were from the 1970s I believe. I think the gunwales have aluminum inserts as well, but not sure. Year of manufacture will be the last two digits of the serial number--may be a 2000 or later model
 
The most important thing about this discussion is the safety of your kids. They need to know how to swim, how to wear a PFD and how to behave in a canoe. I have had undisciplined kids jump off the gunwale and capsize my canoes. They need to be taught how to behave in one. Don't kid yourself that canoes don't capsize.

For a kids boat I like a Tripper or anything that has some length, beam and depth. That means tripping boats, not some 14 foot sawed off big box store boat. 36 inch beam at least. 14 inches deep at least, and 16 1/2 feet at least.
 
Those are the newer tan gunwales, along with the cane instead of rotomolded seats. The white gunwales were from the 1970s I believe. I think the gunwales have aluminum inserts as well, but not sure. Year of manufacture will be the last two digits of the serial number--may be a 2000 or later model
It had the molded seats in it, originally - he replaced all the seats for me. If I can find the serial number, I'll post it when I pick it up :).
 
Picked up my 1980 Old Town Tripper today. Cleaned it up with some magic erasers and soapy water and gave it a coat of 303. Inside hasn't been cleaned up yet, but all the inside seats are new. Came with a couple paddles, and he threw in a nice Sawyer kids paddle for my oldest daughter.

What's the best way to preserve the wood paddles? Is it like axe handles, where the poly coat is best sanded off and a few coats of oil applied?

 
Picked up my 1980 Old Town Tripper today. Cleaned it up with some magic erasers and soapy water and gave it a coat of 303.

Congrats! The canoe looks sharp!

What's the best way to preserve the wood paddles? Is it like axe handles, where the poly coat is best sanded off and a few coats of oil applied?

Varnish will protect the paddle just fine (though if it’s nicked you may want to touch it up), so no reason to sand it off and apply oil unless you prefer the look/feel of an oil finish.
 
Congrats! The canoe looks sharp!



Varnish will protect the paddle just fine (though if it’s nicked you may want to touch it up), so no reason to sand it off and apply oil unless you prefer the look/feel of an oil finish.
Thanks! I'm excited to get it out and go try the limits (so I know how and where it can handle).

The varnish just tends to get rougher, I thought. It was always recommended to sand axe handles since rubbing while chopping would give you blisters pretty quick. Wondered if anyone else thought the same on canoe paddles :)
 
The varnish just tends to get rougher, I thought. It was always recommended to sand axe handles since rubbing while chopping would give you blisters pretty quick. Wondered if anyone else thought the same on canoe paddles :)

I’ve heard folks say that a paddle finished with varnish is more likely to give you blisters than one finished with oil, but varnish is lower-maintenance! I usually wear gloves when paddling to protect myself from blisters, and my one oiled paddle is pretty different from my varnished paddles, so I don’t have an opinion in that area myself. Maybe give the paddles a try as they are, and if they give you issues then try refinishing one with oil and see if you like it better?
 
Nice. I had the exact Tripper purchased new Spring 1983 and used extensively for 23 years. It was still going strong when I sold it because I grew too old and weak to carry it.
 
Nice. I had the exact Tripper purchased new Spring 1983 and used extensively for 23 years. It was still going strong when I sold it because I grew too old and weak to carry it.
Yes, I can understand that. I can carry it by myself right now, but hopefully I'll have family around to help carry this beast and I won't need to carry it by myself haha.

I do need to replace the decks soon... Those are getting brittle in places and beginning to break
 
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