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Thread: New to Alaska and Canoeing

  1. #1
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    Default New to Alaska and Canoeing

    Good folks, I'm stationed up at Fairbanks, AK. I bought a used two may kayak (old towne twin otter) when I arrived. I have enjoyed it much on the Chena River out behind my house. I thinking about buying a canoe to allow me to get further out while carying more gear. Specifically, I'm looking for something to use mostly for camping (two people) and moose hunting (only one person in the canoe). I think most hunting/canoeing will be near the creeks and rivers near Fairbanks (Chena River, Chatanika River, Birch Creek, etc...). I'm renting a canoe next weekend with a friend and will condcut a three day hunting/camping float. I'm looking for some advice on a canoe that would fit the above bill. The only canoes I've seen in town are at Sportsman's Warehouse. They have an Old Towne Tripper (17' w/ approx 1500lb carrying capacity). This canoe is pricey, but seems to get great online reviews. For the folks with experience, do you think this canoe would be able to handle that much weight on the above mentioned rivers? I know the Chena is a pretty gentle river. I don't know about Birch Creek. Your thoughts are appreciated.
    b

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  3. #3

    Default Let Your Adventures Begin

    BlueDuck
    I was in your same position in 2000 and being strapped forcash I purchased an Old Towne Discovery 169 which has been a great canoe. I packed out a 35in moose down Pyle Driver, towed it to Minto and hunted ducks and had great times with the family. Even had it out in the sound when down at Ft Lewis. If I could do it all over again now I would get a square stern so I could mount a small mud motor on it. As far as Birch Creek I floated it in 2002 in a Cat and we saw a group of fellas from MN in old aluminum canoes. If I remember right one guy per boat with amoose or two. I only remember one set of rapids but nothing to serious, this was the first week of Sept. I think there is a thread on here somewhere about Birch and the guys at the BLM were very helpful when I was planning my trip.
    Good luck

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    Thanks for the feed back. The square transom sounds like a good idea. The two canoes listed on craig's list look pretty nice, but I'm not certain how much weight they can carry. The old town tripper is rated up to 1500 lbs, but that canoe costs right at $1500....yikes! I will keep looking. Thanks much for your feedback.

  5. #5

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    The tripper is a nice boat, I was looking at it before I bought my 169 but at that time it was too spendy for me also. I see canoes alot on Alaskalist and Craigslist just keep searching and you will get one. Oh dont forget to hit 907Bigboytoys also.

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    as with most things buying a canoe is a compromise. no one canoe can do all the tasks equally well. and, yes, there will be those will disagree with my comments here, and yes i admit every river around has been run by every possible type of canoe.

    that said, this forum is mostly dominated by freighter canoe people. (lots of exceptions, but if you read the threads you'll find most related to freighters.)

    people have used alum canoes in AK for 50+ years. very few new canoes sold, however, are alum. they have many disadvantages—they are noisy as heck, clang bang clank; they have a great ability to stop dead whenever they contact a rock, which can, depending on skill level, instantly put you in a bad situation; they can be damaged to the point of non-usability.

    square sterns are fine if you plan to use a motor. they are DOGS to paddle. and, again, depending on your skill level and the rivers you run, can make your trip tougher.

    quality plastic boats are quiet, slide like butter over most rocks/trees/etc., and are pretty much indestructable--after getting the thing unwrapped from the rock it may look like crap, but it will get you down the river.

    double ended canoes are FAR more responsive to a paddle than a square stern.

    if i was going to be a *boater*, ie, run on outboard, on rivers deep enough for that, i'd think about a square stern. for paddling i would never buy a square stern. and, likewise, for paddling, i would never, under any circumstances buy an alum canoe.

    of the rivers you mention, only the chena "reliably" has enough water to run a motor in. the lower end of chatinika is plenty deep enough most of the time, the upper end, near fairbanks does not. birch creek is in much the same catagory. i've been down birch when we had to drag our canoes for a couple days before we had enough water to float without having to get out every 100'.

    one thing to keep in mind, if you buy a quality boat, like an old town, or a mad river, or a bell, or a wenowah, etc. and you take care of it, you will be able to sell that boat for not less (at least) than 50% of what you paid for it. (in fact, my kevlar mad river explorer is worth more than what i paid for it 20 years ago.) so, if you spend $1,500, get 5 years of use and resell it for $750 that's pretty cheap entertainment.

    in fairbanks, beaver sports also sells canoes. rei in anchorage sells mad river.

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    don't discount the alumman canoes an yes they are a little noisy compaired to the plastic type , an yes if you do take care of your canoe it will be saleable with out loosing to much money it all depends on your pocket book an what type of water you are going to run , how long of a trip you are going on , just remenber a moose an 2 reople , camp gear will over loat most 17 FT canoe's [very little free board left ] in fact it will over load the
    19 FT grumman if you leave the bone in [50 + inch ]

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    Square stern canoes are not all created equal. When you have current pushing your canoe, the Esquif Cargo and the Clipper Mac Sport 18 are VERY responsive to a paddle. Neither has a keel, and both have a somewhat rounded bottom. I paddled mine right up on a cow caribou, only to discover a nice bull within stalking distance, my young boy shot his first caribou a few weeks ago.

    With that said, Royalex is no longer a material I prefer, nor trust. Fiberglass with real epoxy resin is much more resistant to rock damage. The royalex Esquif Cargo only survived one hunt where I go, I was missing my freighter canoe the whole time. Two big cracks on the inside near the stern. Royalex aint as tough as they make it out to be, but then again, I'm hard on canoes and fiberglass/epoxy is the only thing that will survive my trips. The outer layer held up, the the structural layer cracked and delaminated from the other layers of plastics. It can be fixed, but I'm not impressed. Still a great boat, I just need to warn others that IF you run it hard with weight on rocky/gravel rivers, you better reinforce the stern.

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    NUCK.jpg. Mainer you always put a skid plate on Royalex, especially under the stern.
    ****ed picture won't work..

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    Even three feet from the stern, big crack, leaking water. It'll need a skid plate now! I even recommend glassing the inside to give it some rigidity like what you did to your canoe.......but go ALL THE WAY TO THE STERN WITH IT. That would stop rocks from flexing the material to such an extent that it cracks. Darn good boat, man will they haul a load! Still missed my freighter though, I wouldn't have had to make two trips and would've saved a ton of gas.

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    I skid plated both ends and did 4 ply on the inside with a box on the inside tokeep stuff from sliding around. I gotta agree the Cargo is not stiff enough but mine is now. You shouldn't have to do this to a canoe that's called a "Cargo"....but then with the mods it flies with the 9.9 Merc.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    been 24 hrs. No customer service response thus far from either the dealer or Esquif. It feels like a slap in the face when you've spent this type of money and convinced so many other people to by Esquif square sterns....... then they don't even give you the courtesy to respond. I will NEVER treat people like this because it's such an insult. I've ran other canoes on the same creeks in far more shallow years before this one, the material was defective, overheated during the mold building process trying to hurry boats out the door.

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    Attachment 63427 Attachment 63427hey even reenforce the old stand buy on the bottom hope it comes out

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    feeling much better, I've been contacted. disregard.

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    Blueduck, not sure if you are still looking but I am in anchorage and looking to get rid of my tripper. If interested send me an email.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canoe View Post
    square sterns are fine if you plan to use a motor. they are DOGS to paddle. and, again, depending on your skill level and the rivers you run, can make your trip tougher.

    quality plastic boats are quiet, slide like butter over most rocks/trees/etc., and are pretty much indestructable--after getting the thing unwrapped from the rock it may look like crap, but it will get you down the river.
    Square sterns aren't all created equal. When you eliminate keels, they are less of a dog to paddle. When you have current pushing you along, they paddle just fine. Yes they may be slower, but it's not a deal killer. We need to stop viewing how a canoe paddles from a flat/calm water perspective. You should see some of my old pictures (1930's) of large freighters in Canada being paddled through challenging whitewater.

    The idea that plastic canoes are indestructible is only a theory that's repeated to an extent that it soon becomes the norm. Crosslink 3 which is two extremely thick layers of polyethylene and one inner layer of rigid polyethtylene rigid foam core, is about the toughest canoe i've ever found. It's abrasion resistance, impact resistance is top notch. The crosslink 3 doesn't get brittle in cold either. The negatives, is that nothing can be glued to it with much success, and it's a bit more flexible as opposed to Royalex.

    Add some cold weather, and frequent impacts with rocks, Royalex will fail. It will fail quickly if not drastically reinforced. Simply hitting ice off it will result in a shearing crack clear through all the layers (ask christancanoe). Royalex is better served in canoes with smaller dimensions. It works better on large/beamy canoes when you reinforce it. The constant flex is the only thing that needs to be tamed, it then becomes more resistant to cracks. Don't get me wrong, I love royalex, but it's not indestructible like what's commonly parroted.

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    even when you use the 19 Ft alum, grumman loaded you can get stress cracks over time [ check middle seat rivits on top of seat ] an it is cold an noisy, rocks can bend it , but it will take a lot of beating just the same on the rocks , 19 FT is geat on small streams but when you hit large water
    the HB type will out preform the Grumman [ larger load higher sides ] just remember when useing larger canoes the more water you have to move to cause the canoe to move , there is no free lunch on a canoe / boat it depends on what you want to do with it ,
    SID

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    In it something is. Many thanks for the information. You have appeared are right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emaxia View Post
    In it something is. Many thanks for the information. You have appeared are right.
    Is it talk like Yoda day?

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    To talk like Yoda, this day is not.

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