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Posted: 7/18/2010 4:37:41 PM EST
I'm gonna get a canoe so I can teach my kids the basics of surviving on your own. I think the best way to learn these skills is by being out there where you can't just drive back and get something.

So, tell me what I need to look for in a canoe. Poly, fiberglass, aluminum? How long for a minimum? I have two young boys, ages 7 and 4. I know the wider the canoe the more stable it will be, but what should I watch out for?

I've found a Mad River 14 ft. canoe on craigslist with 3 jackets, oars, two seat backs that has only been used once for $550. Is that a pretty good deal? I kinda think it's a little short, but I'm no expert. All the canoes I've been in have been about 17 ft. long.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 4:53:42 PM EST
tag
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 4:58:58 PM EST
So is the other thread the real one...
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 5:01:43 PM EST
Not sure what you mean. They are the same.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 5:19:12 PM EST
Aluminum can be tough, but its cold, loud, and heavy. They are my least favorite. Poly isn't light but generally speaking, its near indestructible. Its good choice for a rough duty canoe. Fiberglass is difficult to pin down. The usual low cost, low quality chopper glass canoes are crap. They are slow, weak and heavy. A good laid glass canoe (visible cloth glass) can be a pleasure.

Wide does NOT mean stable. There are two kinds of stability in a canoe. Initial stability is how the canoe seems to feel with regards to tippiness at first. Secondary stability is how teh canoe responds to a lean as the canoe begins to lean farther and farther over. Many wide, flatter bottomed canoes SEEM to be stable. This is not necessary a good thing. Many of them have good initial stability (they seem stable) but very low secondary stability. In other words, and plain english, they seems stable as you lean them and do not feel particularly tippy, but once you get to e certain point they simply let go an roll over in a hurry. They give you a false sense of security that ends up rolling you over.

Many hinger grade canoes have somewhat low initial stability, and seem tippy. However, the farther over the go, the more secondary stability they have. They get BETTER as they go over. These do not seem so secure, so tehy encourage you to keep movement to a minimum, but when you make a mistake they don't roll you.

I would NOT personnally go for a 14 foot canoe. Especially if it wide it will paddle like a barge. Dad, two kids, and camp gear mean teh canoe will be overloaded, and it will be a beast to paddle. Look for a decent 16+ foot poly boat, of modest width. It'll take a good load but paddle somewhat easier.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 5:24:54 PM EST
Mad River makes (or at least used to make- haven't been canoe shopping in a while) canoes geared more toward rivers instead of lakes. You will get a canoe that turns easily, but does not track well in a straight line. You need to decide if you will be doing more river or open water paddling before picking a canoe. I have found that royalex is a good tradeoff between weight and durability.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 5:29:23 PM EST
This thing will be almost strictly a river canoe. It will be mostly shallow rivers also. We don't have a ton of rocks in our rivers, mostly gravel and mud bottoms, but we do have a lot of trees laying across most of them. I don't want something that's gonna leak all that easily.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 5:50:49 PM EST
Originally Posted By stutzcattle:
This thing will be almost strictly a river canoe. It will be mostly shallow rivers also. We don't have a ton of rocks in our rivers, mostly gravel and mud bottoms, but we do have a lot of trees laying across most of them. I don't want something that's gonna leak all that easily.


I would stay away from aluminium canoes then. I used to be HUGE into whitewater canoeing and kayaking. At one time I had 8 different boats.- down to 3 kayaks and a canoe now For durability, you cant beat the poly boats, but they weigh a ton. Royalex is a bit lighter, but still can take a beating. Fiberglass and kevlar are light, but I wouldn't bang them around on the rocks. I ended up keeping a royalex Wenonah Aurora canoe. It was the most multipurpose one I had. Tracks well on the lakes, and is still easy enough to take down some narrower rivers. It is about 16-17 feet long and weighs around 55 pounds. I've loaded it up for weekend camping trips without any problems, and it has enough room for my wife and I, 2 kids and a dog for shorter day trips.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 6:22:05 PM EST
Originally Posted By stutzcattle:
I'm gonna get a canoe so I can teach my kids the basics of surviving on your own. I think the best way to learn these skills is by being out there where you can't just drive back and get something.

So, tell me what I need to look for in a canoe. Poly, fiberglass, aluminum? How long for a minimum? I have two young boys, ages 7 and 4. I know the wider the canoe the more stable it will be, but what should I watch out for?

I've found a Mad River 14 ft. canoe on craigslist with 3 jackets, oars, two seat backs that has only been used once for $550. Is that a pretty good deal? I kinda think it's a little short, but I'm no expert. All the canoes I've been in have been about 17 ft. long.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


Does it have to be a canoe? Have you considered maybe a kyack? When I did that stuff I found I liked the stability of the kyack better. Having fallen out of a canoe and gotten totally wet, I appreciated the kyack much much more.

Link Posted: 7/18/2010 6:43:42 PM EST
Its been a long time since I have shopped for them, and I used to work at an outdoor shop that sold canoes and kayaks. I have always wanted a royalex canoe. I kick myself over and over that I didnt buy a Dagger canoe used, that was made of Royalex. They are light weight, and have a good payload. I'm pretty sure Old Town and Mad River makes canoes made of that material.

Again, it has been a long time since I looked into canoes. I still really want one, but dont have a way to use it often enough to justify the purchase. I sure wish I would have bought that Dagger though. They quit making canoes, and I haven't seen one since.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 7:52:23 AM EST
Well, I think we've got one found. We found a 17' Old town Discovery 174. I am going to look at it tonight, but they claim that it's in excellent condition and will take $450 for it. It's got one custom seat and a couple oars, but I'm not worried about much of that. I can add those things as I need them. I hope this is a good deal because we'll probably end up with it if it's what she says.

Cross posted in GD to get the traffic and stupid answers.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 11:02:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/19/2010 11:04:15 AM EST by cooper30]
Old Town Discoverys are tupperware canoes. You really have to try to hurt them. I literally wrapped a Discovery 169 around a rock in rapids in 2005. I'm still using it to this day. The only ill effects are scratches. It's the same canoe I used when my son was too young to walk on portages. I'd let him ride in the canoe while I dragged it across the various portages we encountered.

On Old Town models, 174=17'4". 169=16'9". 158=15'8".....and so on.

While pretty much indestructible, Discoverys are heavy. My 169 weighs 88lbs. That gets heavy really quick on a couple mile portage. My personal canoe is an Old Town Penobscot 16. It's 58 lbs. The Penobscots are made out of a less durable material...not bad, just not as tough as the Discoverys. That's where the weight savings comes from.

I guide canoe trips, and Old Town Discoverys are good for inexperienced people because they are so forgiving. I'd snap that 174 up for $450 for customers to use in a heartbeat.

With 2 boys, you certainly don't want any shorter than 16'. Your boys are only going to get bigger. If you end up doing any kind of trips where you bring gear...even a cooler for day trips, a shorter canoe is going to fill up quickly.

Good luck, and have fun.

If you really get into canoeing, check out Paddle to the Sea by Bill Mason. He explains a lot about canoeing basics and paddling basics.


Also...canoes use paddles, boats use oars.

eta: I'm kinda biased towards Old Town since they're made here in Maine.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 11:25:09 AM EST
aluminum is also very hot if in the sun. growing up i had one i kept on sawhorses in the back yard. i took it off to get it ready for a trip and it killed the grass it was so hot. mom wasn't too happy about that one...
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 11:30:38 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/19/2010 11:34:54 AM EST by stutzcattle]
Thanks for all the great info. We're heading up there to look at it here shortly, so I'll let you all know what happend.

I think this thing will be a great opportunity to get the boys out there and learning how to make fire, build shelter, find food, you name it. I also see it as being another option in any survival situation. The kids these days don't do nearly as much outdoor stuff as we did as kids. We didn't have any indoor options back in the 70's and early 80's, so we went outside because it was the most fun thing to do. Now they have video games, movies and the evil internet. We have to work to teach them the things we took for granted. It's only getting worse.

ETA: I really need to thank all you guys here in the SF's. I have been a daily lurker for about a year and haven't really posted. I have learned a ton from you guys and I really do appreciate it.

If I can be of any help to anyone, I'll do what I can. I'm a rancher and know a little about raising animals for food. I'm really not an expert on anything, but I have some pretty strongly held opininions. If anyone needs anything in south central/southeast Nebraska, I'll help if I can.

Thanks again.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 6:05:17 PM EST
We bought the discovery. There's nothing wrong with the canoe. Just a few scratches that shows that it's been used. The only thing I didn't like was that it had been stored outside under a tree for two years, but it didn't seem to affect the finish too much and I would imagine that it's fine.

If anyone has any ideas for seat backs I would be very interested. It has the molded seats, but it would be nice to be able to lean back. I have one that I bought at Scheel's, but it's not all that great.

We're taking it out tomorrow night, so we'll see if it floats. We'd probably better throw a BIG cooler with some weight in it to see how it handles things.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 6:26:48 PM EST
If you can change them out, you may find that cane seats are way more comfortable. Unless the molded seat is the exact mold of your butt. They aren't bad for a short time, but if you paddle for a few days on an extended trip, you will hate the discovery seat.

Back when I was going to buy a canoe (that I never got to buy) this was the backrest that I wanted to get. Crazy Creek
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 6:40:01 PM EST
Whatever you do don't get a 4-man ~18' fiberglass hull and expect you and your son to move it around. Those bishes are HEAVY.

IIRC $150-200 with four vests, and six paddles. It held a family of five (small kids) just fine when I was growing up. (At the size it was, it was more about weight limit rather than seating.)





In BSA, we had aluminum 2-man canoes to learn how to flip and get back into a canoe out on the water. Much easier to maneuver and use for smaller (14-17y/o, 80-150lb kids).
Link Posted: 7/20/2010 2:21:37 AM EST
If the one you got has the molded seats, it most likely has plastic gunwales. No worries about it sitting outside with those.

Congrats on the canoe!!!


Link Posted: 7/20/2010 7:37:28 PM EST
The Old Town is going to work out great. Took our kids and my wife out tonight with a small cooler and the thing worked great. It tracked great and was much easier to get around than I thought it would be. Another couple went with us that had a 14' Mad River they had just bought, and our big "old" canoe out performed their new boat.

Seems like a great way to spend a little time with the family and a fairly cheap way to do it. We've already got plans for this weekend(day trip) and an overnight trip for next month.

We bought the cheap seat backs, and they work pretty well. We only spent about 4 hrs. on it, but we didn't think about them unless someone brought it up. So, I guess they work good enough. I'd like to see it when it's loaded down with gear, but we had 430# in it and it seemed to do just fine.

Thanks again for all the help.
Link Posted: 7/21/2010 6:45:52 PM EST
Hope you guys have fun.

I went on a little rented canoe trip in E. GA last weekend and it was fun. I was in a Dagger 16' abs. Me, the dog, and the cooler. We were doing great until we came around a corner and another canoe had just flipped and I tried to avoid hitting a person. I leaned and the dog leaned, too much.

This is probably obvious but was just reinforced with me: tie up everything you don't want to float away. make sure the cooler has some kind of lock for the lid. (when mine flipped out, the lid came right open, crap). Always wear your pfd, esp in moving water and teach the kids some river safety.

Have fun!

nct
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