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Thread: Advice for 1st canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Advice for 1st canoe

    I'm would like to get a canoe to get out with my kids and find some smaller lakes to fish. We moved to Eagle River in December and I sold my Harley yesterday to give myself more time to get out with the family and experience Alaska for the next few years. My kids are 7 and 9. I know no single canoe can do it all. An honest appraisal of what I'm looking for is a light canoe that I can get out, load, launch by myself (royalex?) with room for 1 or both kids. We were thinking about a larger canoe for the whole family, but I had shoulder surgery and need something light. Also, it might just be me alone, or with 1 kid a lot of times, so I would like something easy to paddle solo. I was looking at an Old Town Osprey Angler-14', 57 lbs, 1000 lb load range. Since it's mainly for fishing and paddling around and we won't be using it for long trips/overnight, I think it will be big enough. Any thoughts or advice from experienced canoe owners is greatly appreciated. Also, any advice on places to go within a couple hours of Eagle River would be appreciated also. Thanks.

    Eric

  2. #2
    RMK
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    Default Lots and lots of choices

    Eric,

    There are a lot of choices out there. It depends on how much you want to spend, and where you want to use it. You are right, that no one canoe will do it all, but it's possible to get one that's a compromise.

    If you want light weight. Try to stay 60 pounds and under. You can do that with Royalex. Kevlar is a lot lighter, but twice the price. Manufactures sometimes have different names for royalex, but it's basically the same.

    If you don't know the difference between initial stability, and secondary stability, you should read up on the two. One man's stable canoe, is another man's tippy canoe because they confuse the two types. That's why reviews on the same boat will vary so much.

    Try to learn about hull designs and shapes as well. This will impact the stability, and the speed and glide. Here is a link to a great canoe review site. I'll send you a P.M. with some fun beginner canoe trip with an hour of Eagle River.

    http://www.paddling.net/Reviews/Canoes.html

  3. #3
    RMK
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    Default typo

    I meant to say 70 pounds and under. Most Royalex 16-17 footers go from about 60 to 75 pounds.

    I have one canoe that's 85 and it's a challenge to put on a car solo. I had a 58 pound canoe that was a snap.

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    If your finances can swing it, I'd say get the lightest canoe you can afford i.e. Kevlar. We started with a pelican plastic canoe, and while it was cheap and got us on the water, the hull didn't hold it's shape (oil canned) which made it much harder to paddle, and for trips with portages, it was simply too heavy. There are amazing trail systems you can enjoy with a canoe that is light enough to portage 1/2 mile at a time.

    In addition to paddling local lakes, the Kenai Canoe trails and E Fork of the Moose river outside of Stirling have made for some of the best family trips we've taken in the state. The E fork of the Moose is really nice because you lanch the canoe right from the car, the first "portage" is just a beaver dam you drag the canoe over, the and the connection to the last lake is a long paddle through reeds.

    I'd say look at a 16-17' canoe for 3 to 4 people. The longer canoes are more efficient to paddle, and have a higher capacity for a given beam. A 14' is really a two person canoe.

  5. #5

    Default I would look

    hard at a 15-17 foot aluminum. I know it might be heavy but your kids are at an age where they would be using it too. I've seen kids out with the parent's canoe before (all right, it was me).
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by gooseafcrna View Post
    I'm would like to get a canoe to get out with my kids and find some smaller lakes to fish. We moved to Eagle River in December and I sold my Harley yesterday to give myself more time to get out with the family and experience Alaska for the next few years. My kids are 7 and 9. I know no single canoe can do it all. An honest appraisal of what I'm looking for is a light canoe that I can get out, load, launch by myself (royalex?) with room for 1 or both kids. We were thinking about a larger canoe for the whole family, but I had shoulder surgery and need something light. Also, it might just be me alone, or with 1 kid a lot of times, so I would like something easy to paddle solo. I was looking at an Old Town Osprey Angler-14', 57 lbs, 1000 lb load range. Since it's mainly for fishing and paddling around and we won't be using it for long trips/overnight, I think it will be big enough. Any thoughts or advice from experienced canoe owners is greatly appreciated. Also, any advice on places to go within a couple hours of Eagle River would be appreciated also. Thanks.

    Eric
    since your children are old enough to behave and instructed to keep movement to a minimum......a boat with a good balance of secondary and initial stability would do the trick. As a family......all in one canoe.....you'd be better off with something 17 ft. and larger. You also mentioned about your recent shoulder surgery too....so anything OVER a 17 ft. Royalex canoe might be a little burdensome. Since you're recreation will be relatively flat water......a narrow/high performance tripping canoe is not needed. I believe one of the most versatile canoes that will get you and your family on the water and best serve your shoulder.....would be the 17 ft. Old Town Tripper 172. It's a bit wider than my penobscot 174 and believe me.....you'll want that with a couple of young kids aboard. At 37 inches and 80 lbs., and 1,500 lbs. capacity.....it'll do the trick....and work well with your healing shoulder too. good luck.

    http://www.oldtowncanoe.com/canoes/e...ipper_172.html


  7. #7

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    Something different to think about would be an aluminum square stern. I know that the family started to have a lot more fun when I switched from a double ender to a kevlar square stern and outboard. Kids like to beach and explore areas and don't find the trip there particularly fun.

    For us, getting over the water a lot faster than paddling has made canoeing a lot better and we do it much more often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    Something different to think about would be an aluminum square stern. I know that the family started to have a lot more fun when I switched from a double ender to a kevlar square stern and outboard. Kids like to beach and explore areas and don't find the trip there particularly fun.

    For us, getting over the water a lot faster than paddling has made canoeing a lot better and we do it much more often.
    you are partially right there.........

    sometimes....it's good to have a multitude of canoes. I have the two 17 ft. square sterns, but still use my penobsot (royalex) to paddle lakes and rivers. we have some well established canoe trails up here and like metioned before.....are a blast! it's always good to start out with a double ender and go from there.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Just to note, many of our lakes are closed to use of power, and a double ender is much easier to paddle than a square stern. I appreciate a square stern freighter as a wonderful specialty boat for taking long fuel efficient runs on rivers, but I don't see them as the best for a general purpose canoe.

    I can't imagine kids not being able to stay attentive in a canoe. We started when our youngest was barely a year old, and our oldest not quite 6. The've been in a canoe for well over an hour paddling back to set up a camp, and never once did we here, are we there yet. They might be fighing over who gets to paddle, but that was it.

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    A real good contender for me is the Old Town Tripper. Yes it's a bit heavy but it is rock stable for kids and really really tough. For white ater it's a blast, it hauls a lot and can take a small motor on a side mount. Great classic gear.

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for the replies and suggestions. Mainer, I looked at a tripper ft. canoe this week at Sportsman's, but is it difficult to paddle a 17 ft. canoe with just me, or me and 1 kid? I guess I just don't want to get too much of a canoe to handle.

    Eric

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    Quote Originally Posted by gooseafcrna View Post
    Thanks everyone for the replies and suggestions. Mainer, I looked at a tripper ft. canoe this week at Sportsman's, but is it difficult to paddle a 17 ft. canoe with just me, or me and 1 kid? I guess I just don't want to get too much of a canoe to handle.

    Eric

    a 17 ft. canoe will paddle more efficiently than a 15 or 16 footer of equal build. this canoe will glide quite quick. a wide whiskey jack paddle will also help too. I flyfish in my penobscot and it's very quick and agile to get on top of a rising trout. but.....standing up in that thing has been quite comical.....if you were watching from shore. the tripper would have slightly less paddling efficiency but a great initial stability. believe me....the 17 footer is the standard....and in your case.....the way to go. 80lbs. is not too heavy either....especially for such a wide canoe. my penobscot is 65 lbs. but much narrower. My square stern 17.5 foot DS sports are 125 lbs.......but slightly difficult to load up on the truck. If the tripper is available.....its your best bet, Alaskacanoe (moderator) has some experience with many different Old Town's in his fleet.....I believe he may have something to add too. As mentioned before....a small side mount would be a dream on a tripper. The suzuki 2.5 fourstroke, or an older tohatsu 2-stroke 2.5 would be a fine set up for putt-putting around. I've spent a considerable amount of time fishing large lakes back home in a 20 ft. trippah. I did some custom work to his 20 footer and it scooted along just fine with a small motor on a side mount. anything over 29 lbs. or so.....is just to much heft and I don't recommend it if you ever get an outboard. A cooler on the left side (near the rear thwart) with the motor mount on the right side.......balances the canoe perfectly. Of course the configuration of the tiller handle will ultimately determine which side you mount the side mount. That 1,500 lbs capacity......now that is something!

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    I have soloed my 17 foot Tripper (paddled) many times. Heeled over and paddled amidships it isn't too bad. Not too fast but very sure.

  14. #14
    Member Sierra Dragon's Avatar
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    The Old Town Camper is a royalex 16' 60lb slightly smaller version of a Tripper with similar qualities.

    I can get mine on and off the mounting sling from the roof of my garage and on the SUV with no problems, I've taken it out with my 7 and 10 year old with no issues so far

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    I find the long canoes are only difficult if there is no weight in the front. If you are out all by your self it might be chalenging but if you have someone it front, even if they are not paddeling, it is ok. The problem comes when you are sitting in the back and there is no weight in the front. Then the front sticks up in the air and the canoe can be difficult to handle.

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    which is why it's important to place yourself in the middle of the canoe if going solo (even in a 14' canoe), just rear of center. i prefer to bring a foam pad and kneel on it just behind the midthwart. especially important to keep the bow down if the winds pick up.


    i also vouch for aluminum canoes though they in good shape they seem to be few and far between these days.

    with kids you are looking at 17' minimum I think to be comfortable and have better balance and smoother paddling. I don't think weight is all that important for a beginner canoe, but you are probably more likely to actually throw a light canoe up on the truck and get out on the water more.

  17. #17
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default My vote

    The 17 foot old town camper is a great boat,, they make it in 16 foot also.
    it has good initial stablility and paddles nicely.
    will carry over 1000 lbs and is light enough for one man to portage. about 59 lbs or so.
    The penobscott has good secondary stablility, but for kids, the extra 2 inches in width on the camper makes a big difference on how it feels when someone stands up in the thing.
    I cannot imagine Mainer standing and fishing in a penobscott,,, he must be a gymnast....
    I had a Wenonah fisherman canoe that I loved for standing and fishing, it was almost 40 inches wide, but only 14 feet long,, it was a great canoe, and we sold it last year after many seasons in our rental fleet.
    the Mad River Duck hunter series is also a great canoe with very similar stats as the Camper by Old town..
    it comes in royalex and weighs the same,,just under 60 lbs.
    the Old town canoes that are made using the polylink system are just to heavy for my liking,, the Discovery boats etc.. just to heavy.. they are better boats than a Coleman or pelican, but still heavy and not portagable.
    at least alone for any real distance..
    paddling alone or with one other child in the canoe is no problem with a 16 or 17 foot camper,, they are not tall in the water and I have no problems paddling in wind alone in these boats.. just move toward the center a bit and keep the bow in the water,, you be fine..
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  18. #18
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default New canoe for me..

    This season I am going to try a new line of canoes ,, at least new to me..
    I am taking purchase of a livery of new Scott canoes, I am getting 16 and 17 foot models of double enders. the Huron is name of the canoes, and like I said they come in both 16 and 17 footers, the stats seem to suggest they will be very good on both lake and river for all purpose paddling and portage, as they weigh in the 60 lb range. Royalex material..
    The scott canoe has great tradition and is the number one selling brand of canoe in Canada.
    We are excited to try these boats, and after we test them a bit in our business and with some paddling on my own, we hope to have them available for sale.
    the logistics of getting the canoes here are working out, and we should have canoes here around the 22nd of June.
    anyone interested in the boats can certainly stop by and take a test drive over at the lake near my place in sterling..
    If anyone is interested in the freighters, let me know.. I have limited space, but may be able to get one or two of them in the first load.
    thanks
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  19. #19

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    I agree with Max-- the Old Town Camper came to mind as a good option. The weight and capacity would probably fit you well.

    If you have an REI membership, you can do a demo of any of their canoes for $40/day. If you end up buying a canoe from them that season, they will apply all of that demo cost to your purchase. So, if you want to try out 3 canoes, for 3 days of rental/demo you will have a better idea which one you want and the $120 will apply towards your purchase of one of them.

    Unfortunately, they had not been stocking the Old Town Camper last year--one employee there said it surprised him, as it had been one of their more popular boats.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the great advice everybody. I sold my Harley last week, so I've decided to go with a 17' royalex model from Old Town. However, I'm not sure about the best way to haul that big of a canoe. I have a 2007 Tundra Crewmax truck with a bed that is only 5 feet long, so putting it in the bed is not an option. What do you guys think? I would like to find an easy way to load and unload the boat by myself. I have a tonneau cover on my truck, so I can't see getting rid of that for a camper top. Are there any stores around Anchorage that could help me out with this, or do I just need to figure out a way to rig it up? Thanks again for all of the great advice.

    Also, what accessories do I need to get with it to be ready to get the family out paddling and fishing?

    Goose

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