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Thread: Newbie question about canoes

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    Default Newbie question about canoes

    A little background on my experience with them.. As a teenager we would go onto some lakes, paddle around and try to roll them, which was pretty fun at the time. As an adult (higher center of gravity) I had one roll me on a lake with temps in the high 20's and ~15mph winds, I sank like a rock and lucky to be alive....

    That being said I have been looking for something that is stable, very stable, light enough to haul around myself and big enough for two people w/camping gear for a few nights. Any advice on quality PFD is also appreciated.

    My use will be camping, fishing and maybe hunting depending on the load capabilities.

    Inflatables are not out of the question (I know even less about them) but figured they would get easily torn or get a hole from a fishhook when I'm in the middle of a lake. Feel free to educate me

    I have the rest of winter to save for this thing and don't mind waiting a little longer to save a more to get whatever works best for me...

    So what are your thoughts??? Questions for me??

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    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    I'm not a canoe expert, but a couple of questions come to mind.
    - Strictly paddling, or any desire or need for small outboard?
    - Strictly flat water, or will there be any sort of current?
    - Max load for 90% of use activity?

    Answers to these should help others to make more insightful recommendations.

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    Check out Wenonah canoes. They have a good online catalog intended to help you answer what canoe is right for me? Under their tandem canoe sport and leisure class the 16 foot Kingfisher is perhaps close to what you are looking for. Wenonah is only one of a number of good canoe builders. When you go for stability a wide canoe is often the answer. Anything over 36Ē is likely trading speed for stability. In general duck hunting and fishing canoes are most like what you are describing. As others have said the use of motor may steer you toward square stern canoes.

    If you are canoeing and need more stability the kneeling paddle position shifts your cg lower. If all else fails try setting on the floor. You canít paddle very well down there but the ďoh no iím about to capsizeĒ feeling often goes away. As for PFDís, there is a category called high float. Ask for that at a good whitewater shop and you may end up with a jacket that has about 25% more flotation. Thatís not a bad option for big people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChugiakTinkerer View Post
    I'm not a canoe expert, but a couple of questions come to mind.
    - Strictly paddling, or any desire or need for small outboard?
    - Strictly flat water, or will there be any sort of current?
    - Max load for 90% of use activity?

    Answers to these should help others to make more insightful recommendations.
    Thanks

    Paddling is fine but the option for a motor later on is nice option
    flat or moving water but mostly flat
    not too sure what you're asking here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by upstreamV View Post
    Check out Wenonah canoes. They have a good online catalog intended to help you answer what canoe is right for me? Under their tandem canoe sport and leisure class the 16 foot Kingfisher is perhaps close to what you are looking for. Wenonah is only one of a number of good canoe builders. When you go for stability a wide canoe is often the answer. Anything over 36Ē is likely trading speed for stability. In general duck hunting and fishing canoes are most like what your describing. As others have said the use of motor may steer you toward square stern canoes.

    If you are canoeing and need more stability the kneeling paddle position shifts your cg lower. If all else fails try setting on the floor. You canít paddle very well down there but the ďoh no iím about to capsizeĒ feeling often goes away. As for PFDís, there is a category called high float. Ask for that at a good whitewater shop and you may end up with a jacket that has about 25% more flotation. Thatís not a bad option for big people.

    Thanks, I'll check them out

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    If you are planning to canoe on lakes only, an aluminum canoe would be less expensive. If you plan to go down the Swanson River you will want a plastic canoe. They slide over the rocks easier and are quieter.
    Have you considered kayaks at all?
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    If you are planning to canoe on lakes only, an aluminum canoe would be less expensive. If you plan to go down the Swanson River you will want a plastic canoe. They slide over the rocks easier and are quieter.
    Have you considered kayaks at all?
    I dont know anything about kayaks other than they are very low in the water and they dont look like they can hold much, but I never look into them. What do you have in mind?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chez View Post
    ...
    not too sure what you're asking here?
    How much weigh (people or gear) do you want to haul? Two people sized like my sister weigh less than one of me. If you put a weight number to the load you expect to haul you'll have a better sense of which canoes are a good fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upstreamV View Post
    Check out Wenonah canoes. They have a good online catalog intended to help you answer what canoe is right for me? Under their tandem canoe sport and leisure class the 16 foot Kingfisher is perhaps close to what you are looking for. Wenonah is only one of a number of good canoe builders. When you go for stability a wide canoe is often the answer. Anything over 36Ē is likely trading speed for stability. In general duck hunting and fishing canoes are most like what you are describing. As others have said the use of motor may steer you toward square stern canoes.

    If you are canoeing and need more stability the kneeling paddle position shifts your cg lower. If all else fails try setting on the floor. You canít paddle very well down there but the ďoh no iím about to capsizeĒ feeling often goes away. As for PFDís, there is a category called high float. Ask for that at a good whitewater shop and you may end up with a jacket that has about 25% more flotation. Thatís not a bad option for big people.
    +1....I was in Wilderness Way in Slowdotna not too long ago, they had a Wenonah Southfork on display I was drooling over...price similar to models at Sportsman's next door but a much nicer canoe IMO.....
    "Ė Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chez View Post
    I dont know anything about kayaks other than they are very low in the water and they dont look like they can hold much, but I never look into them. What do you have in mind?
    Kayaks come in all sizes and styles. I have a couple of fishing kayaks. They are 12' in length and very stable. Can't tell you the weight they can haul, but I'm thinking it's over 300 pounds. I also have a sea kayak with a rudder for steering. It is 14' and is rated for a little more weight. I'm not interested in any of the super short white water kayaks, but have seen people use them.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChugiakTinkerer View Post
    How much weigh (people or gear) do you want to haul? Two people sized like my sister weigh less than one of me. If you put a weight number to the load you expect to haul you'll have a better sense of which canoes are a good fit.

    Figure ~400lbs with two people plus camping gear, ~200lbs??

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    My thoughts are from long ago, so things will be different now. We used Old Town Trippers where I worked and I thought they were just what we needed for our personal canoe. When we were ready to buy a canoe a local shop had a "try day" and we tried a Mad River Explorer. Wonderful canoe and we special ordered one with wood trim and an extra twart (?) so I can paddle solo. Some one did a float hunt (posted on this site) and used the Explorer canoes, 2 guys each with his own canoe. Sounded like a great trip.

    You might check out the canoe rental places near you and do some checking out. They feel a lot different when your butt is in the seat and the canoe is in the water. (liquid water, not the frozen kind)

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    For canoes you have three axes to optimize: weight, mission, and cost. For mission you can insert any of your desired parameters such as stability, maneuverability, cargo capacity, etc. You can optimize for two aspects, which will make the third sub-optimal. There's a saying in construction, "Good, cheap, or fast. Pick two."

    The last canoe I bought was a Mad River that was affordable and I could portage it myself. It's not suitable for some of what I wanted to do, so I compromised on my mission capability to meet my other two priorities.

    One thing to keep in mind is that many canoes have a symmetrical hull front to back. If paddling tandem you sit in the aft seat and your partner sits in the fore seat. If paddling solo, you're usually better off turning the boat around and paddling from the fore seat. You can do that with the bench seating. For the molded seats I would look for a feature to quickly change the orientation so that you can paddle solo from a position closer to the center.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChugiakTinkerer View Post
    For canoes you have three axes to optimize: weight, mission, and cost. For mission you can insert any of your desired parameters such as stability, maneuverability, cargo capacity, etc. You can optimize for two aspects, which will make the third sub-optimal. There's a saying in construction, "Good, cheap, or fast. Pick two."

    The last canoe I bought was a Mad River that was affordable and I could portage it myself. It's not suitable for some of what I wanted to do, so I compromised on my mission capability to meet my other two priorities.

    One thing to keep in mind is that many canoes have a symmetrical hull front to back. If paddling tandem you sit in the aft seat and your partner sits in the fore seat. If paddling solo, you're usually better off turning the boat around and paddling from the fore seat. You can do that with the bench seating. For the molded seats I would look for a feature to quickly change the orientation so that you can paddle solo from a position closer to the center.
    Stability and cargo capacity are my two priorities

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChugiakTinkerer View Post
    There's a saying in construction, "Good, cheap, or fast. Pick two."
    Ha. I like to tell people, "Hey, we're not cheap, but at least we're slow"....
    "Ė Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    It's all a compromise. You could go with stable and weight capacity and choose a Grumman Sport Boat but it really isn't practical to paddle. A fat Coleman Scanoe is basically the same. The narrower the canoe the easier it is to paddle in general. A fairly narrow round bottom canoe with a lot of tumblehome has little initial stability but quite a bit of final stability. That means it rocks easily but doesn't tip all the way over easily. It takes some getting used to but might be what you are looking for.

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    Iíve had good luck with my old town guide 149. 900# capacity. Fished often with me, wife, two kids and the dog. It was tight once they became middle schoolers. At 75#, it was probably the largest that I could reasonably handle and portage by myself.
    "Happiness is a warm gun - bang bang, shoot shoot!"
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    What about those after market outriggers, are they a gimmick or worth the money? Would something like that help me with stability?

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    Outriggers would make you very stable. Especially if you put one on each side. But they are going to really slow you down. Sounds like you need to try out some different canoes.

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    Where can I try them out without buying them?

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