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bgreen82

canoe material?

12 posts in this topic

was wondering if anyone knew much about canoes and the different materials, and which kinds i should look at. will be used 95% for fishing so stability is key. want it to be light enough for me and the wife to take off the top of the SUV "easily". and durability is also important, as it will hopefully be used for bwca for years to come. was thinking about trying to find a lighter weight aluminum. any help would be appreciated.

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What kinda price range are we talking here?

Being a broke @$$ graduate student, i have a 350 dollar 17.5' Pelican job made out some kind of plastic called "Ram-X". Had it for a year, rammed it ashore a good 25-30 times, it's a little scuffed up but not too bad. It's still got plenty more years left in it. It's got a wide body and is pretty stable. I use it for fishing 99% of the time. It's light enough the GF and I can easily put it on the roof rack (I have done it by myself before too).

If I had the $$$, I would go with an Old Town Penobscot. It's made out of some kind of plastic called "Royalex" (I just looked at the OT website) I have an old buddy from back in MO who had one, that thing has ran down fast streams hundreds of times, scraping the bottom, banging into rocks and trees, T-boning other canoes, being T-boned by other canoes, etc. for years. Needless to say, it's not the prettiest canoe anymore, but it isn't even close to retirement. You pretty much have to try to tip it. But I guess you get what you pay for, they go for $1200 new. I wanna say it's got at least a 1000lb capacity, which would be great for the BWCA.

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You'll find a lot more specific canoe info in the canoes forum. Its up in the hobbies seciton.

What you want for lightweight will depend on your physical ability of course. I have 2 canoes. One is of the Ram-X material and it weighs 80+lbs. I now have a new kevlar boat that weighs about 43lbs. The difference is amazing.

Most aluminums are going to weigh in the upper 60's to more than 70lbs. Not bad but cheap and easy to find.

RamX and Royalex are both plastics, but the royalex is lighter and somewhat stronger. I would say its more rigid. My RamX is 12yrs old and never had a problem. Its just a little softer material.

Getting off the car is not that hard if you do it together. I would say you should try different boats to see what kind of styles you like. I would say look for at least a 16 footer made of plastic or lightweight aluminum. That should be a good beginner boat. They will be durable and provide a good platform for fishing since they are just designed to be a bit more stable. Narrower boats are faster, but they can be more tippy, not always great for fishing in.

Of course the best way is to test out a few. REI and I think midwest mountaineering have boat demos where you can test boats on the water.

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Yeah, based on what you've described, I would recommend the Penobscot made with Royalex. They're in the mid-range for weight, no problem for two people to get off an SUV, & not as heavy as the aluminum monsters (at least the old ones I remember!) on the shoulders during portaging. They're also very durable - if you're looking for BWCA use they bounce off of rocks in both rivers & lakes handily. grin.gif

More research is probably in order too. The Penobscot 16 I have has different degrees of initial & secondary stability. The "initial" is the immediate feel - the thing feels tippy when empty, but the "secondary" is what it actually takes to dump it. I've never dumped mine in 10 years as the secondary stability on the Old Towns is very good. You can stand up in them if you happen to toss a bait into a shoreline tree out of reach (or so I hear...).

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I have a Guide 3 by old town it is very stable and light. Use it for puddle jumping and takes the abuse well.

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For canoe country camping in the BWCA or Quetico, you probably want to avoid royalex or fiberglass canoes due to the weight 70+ pounds. However, if you plan on shooting rapids and river canoeing they are a reasonable option.

Of the lightweight canoes that you see in the BWCA are Bells, Wenonah, and my personal choice Souris River. Bells are beautiful and light, but that beauty (wood trim, etc) comes with a price. Wenonahs are a slimmer canoe, built for speed therefore sacrificing some of the stability that you are seeking. Just make sure you check out these brands, which are often not at the local stores.

To get an idea of others opinions, take a look at the canoes that outfitters supply in the BWCA... there are very few Old Towns, etc.

Just my 2 cents.

( Note from Admin. Please read forum policy before posting again, Thank-You )

Karl

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Point of fact: my Royalex-hull Penobscot 16 is 58 lbs. not 70 plus!

The Souris River canoes sure are purty though. They'll be on the top of my list when I get older & various body parts begin to give out & I need something lighter. I've been fondling them annually at the Spring Sportshow in Minneapolis for years...

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There's lots of options, depending on your budget, etc. You might want to stop by Midwest Mountaineering in Mpls., in fact they have their spring expo coming up. If you go before the sale they will probably give you the expo price. I did that with a kayak I bought a few years ago. They also have occasional boat demos on Lake Nokomis, where you can paddle several different products. REI is a good resource in the cities, too if you are shopping around.

I've had an aluminum Grummann Eagle 17' for about 20 years, which I have never had a problem with. Very durable. But the older I get, the heavier it is. If you can afford a Kevlar model you wouldn't be disappointed, especially if you want to do BWCA trips with portages of any distance.

( Note from Admin, Please read forum policy before posting again, Thank-You )

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Maximum12- Sorry about the 70+ weight statement. I was mostly shooting from the hip and thinking of 17+ canoe lengths. I just wanted to make sure that anyone thinking of a new canoe with thoughts of annual trips to the BWCA knew of a few brands to read up on before making a purchase.

Also, I forgot to mention that many of the outfitters in Ely or along the Gunflint Trail sell used canoes with some likely still available this spring.

[Note from admin: Edited. Please read forum policy before posting again. Thank you.]

Best of Luck- I'm looking forward to getting my Quetico 17 (a blem I saved a good chunk of change on..) into the BWCA in mid-May.

Karl

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KJC no problem, just didn't want him to be scared away from another possibility - I'd be alarmed at 70 plus lbs! My paddling companion has a Penobscot 17 & it's 65 lbs, so it's significantly heavier even a foot longer (& part of the reason I bought a 16' Penobscot).

I'm envious of your Quetico 17 - I don't generally lust after equipment but...I'll make an exception in this case. We'll be going into the BWCA in May as well, perhaps over Memorial Day - can't wait!

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Quote:

You can stand up in them if you happen to toss a bait into a shoreline tree out of reach (or so I hear...).


Yep you sure can.

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Check out the Boudary Waters model by Wenonah. It is very similar to the Souris Quetico 17. I bought one last year. Wenonah says it has "rock solid stabilty with good glide" and they are right. If you dont want to shell out the bucks for the KEv ultra light, check out the flex core - its reasonable.

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