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Thread: Canoe length

  1. #1
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    Default Canoe length

    Ok just want some opions looking at canoes not sure what length to get ,this will be used for fishing on small lakes a ride down the river two people at the most , maybe a hunt or two . thanks

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  3. #2
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    I'm not the most experienced with canoeing but I've tried a few different canoes. I think the shape is probably more important than the length. Mine is 16 foot with a flat bottom and flared sides which make it very stable. I've sat in the front of a friend's canoe that was very narrow with high sides for tripping and I was very uncomfortable trying to balance while paddling.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by overtheir View Post
    Ok just want some opions looking at canoes not sure what length to get ,this will be used for fishing on small lakes a ride down the river two people at the most , maybe a hunt or two . thanks
    I've opwned 3 canoes in my life used as you describe. The worst was a 12' fiberglass used for marsh hunting. It was ok for very short usage,but,not the most stable. The best I ever had was 14' canvas covered cedar strip. I used it for big game in backwoods northern lakes and rivers. Even when loaded with gear or meat quaters,it cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. I stored it in the backyard on a saw horse from where it grew legs one weekend when we were away. The new Kevlar type are almost indestructible save punctures if rocks are really sharp. 14' would be the shortest I'd ever use being the lightest and most versatile,but,they aren't cheap..
    It's better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.

  5. #4
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    Paddled and wrecked near every type of canoe there is and currently own 2. Worked as a canoe ranger for the MNR in the early/mid 80s and paddled literally 1000s of miles. If you are not tripping with it and/or portaging much than weight is not that important. Hull design is likely more important than length with the only caveat being it needs to have a large enough payload to meet your needs. As far as essentially indestructible goes you can't beat a royalex plastic hull actually. Tougher than kevlar or fiberglass but heavy. Ease of repair in the field goes to fiberglass. Roll of duct tape and silicon works in a pinch if damage isn't too bad and you have time for the silicon to cure.

    Regarding stability there is initial and final stability to be considered. Too much to write about and no sense re-inventing the wheel so you can read all about it here:

    https://paddling.com/learn/canoe-hull-shape-defined

    The reason i have 2 is that one is for soloing and the other is for tandem. The solo is a 16.5 foot Bluewater Saugeen with a small keel and a symetrical hull design. It has a payload of almost 900 lbs and i have used it for most everything. I have owned that canoe for 32 years and it seen a lot of hard use but it is as seaworthy as the day i bought it. Stability on this one is a good balance between initial and final. Hull is Kevlar and it weighs 52 lbs - back when i bought it, it was about as good as it gets. Better boats on the market now.

    Second one that i own is mostly for tandem use but i do solo with it when conditions are right. It is an H20 17.5 foot Boundary with an asymetrical hull design with no keel. Very fast. 1100 lb payload. Low initial stability and high final stability - not a canoe for beginners. Hull is Epoxy Pro Kevlar and boat weighs 38 lbs.

    Something a lot of people don't pay enough attention to is paddle fit and design. I use a carbon fiber bent shaft paddle that seriously cuts the work in half when tripping or composite wood bent shaft for more mundane stuff. Ten years ago I went on a canoe trip with my one of my sons high school class and i took my Saugeen and solo'd while everyone else was tandem. No problem keeping up and in fact for fun at the end of the trip the old man challenged all of the tandem paddlers to a race and i beat them all. Those 17 year olds just couldn't get their heads around it. Form, a good boat and an exceptional paddle carried the day.

    Heading out with the Saugeen to set bear baits:



    Heading out with the Boundary to set bear baits:



    225lb bear in the Boundary:



    175lb bear in the Saugeen:

    Last edited by Species8472; November 19th, 2022 at 02:29 AM.
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  6. #5
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    If you’re not experienced with canoes I would suggest a Coleman canoe. Very stable and very tough and can take more weight than you can put in, you just don’t want to portage. As I recall our 15 foot canoe is 80 pounds and too much to portage by myself these days.
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  7. #6
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    My vote is for Prospector shape
    Prospector 17′ SP3 little heavy
    but when you hit the rocks you are safe.


    Quote Originally Posted by overtheir View Post
    Ok just want some opions looking at canoes not sure what length to get ,this will be used for fishing on small lakes a ride down the river two people at the most , maybe a hunt or two . thanks
    Last edited by alfoldivandor; December 28th, 2022 at 08:13 AM. Reason: Picture posting not working

  8. #7
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    Generally speaking, shorter canoes are more maneuverable and longer canoes are faster. Other factors like hull shape, rocker (the curvature of the hull from bow to stern), and paddler ability also affect these metrics. A hull designed to be highly maneuverable with lots of rocker is desirable on a river to make tighter turns and get around rocks or rapids, but is typically a pig on the lake because the bow swings off track with each forward stroke. A hull designed to be fast is typically asymmetrical with minimal rocker and low ends to prevent drag, but is a liability on a tight/fast river because you can't turn quickly and get soaked.

    Prospector-style canoes have been favoured for decades because they are jacks of all trades, masters of none. A 16' Prospector can haul a significant cargo load, while getting around rocks/staying dry on the river and not being too slow on the lake. If you're only going to have one canoe, and you want it to do a bit of everything (including possibly solo paddling), a 16' Prospector is it. If you're on the larger side, anticipate carrying a heavy load, or do more lake paddling, go 17'. If you plan on swinging it around in a duck marsh, or doing more solo paddling without a load, go 15'.

    Ultralight Kevlar is expensive and relatively brittle, but wonderful when portaging. Royalite/T-Formex/other plastics are a lifesaver when you wrap around a rock in moving water, or are very hard on gear, but are tough to carry long distances. Wood/canvas is lovely, but a bit of a commitment. I'd avoid fibreglass unless cost is the biggest factor in your purchase. Good luck!
    Last edited by Juan Almonte; November 20th, 2022 at 10:15 PM.

  9. #8
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    I have tried many sizes from 14ft solo to 17ft touring. The 14 ft did not have nearly the load capacity for two people (or one person and a deer), the 17 was too heavy for me to carry solo, and cumbersome in a small stream, but had more than enough capacity for two hunters, gear, and a deer. I now use a 16, its small enough to carry solo but big enough to take two hunters, gear, and a deer on flat water, once in a while it may require a second trip to collect something that would not fit (ie ladder stands) but that is not common.
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  10. #9
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    Thanks for the info guys I think Ill look for a 16 foot and a wide body if I can find one used in good shape

  11. #10
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    You could add a side floaters you can increase stability (If you going with a dog ...)
    and load capacity. I increased mine by 100-150 kg



    Quote Originally Posted by overtheir View Post
    Thanks for the info guys I think Ill look for a 16 foot and a wide body if I can find one used in good shape
    Last edited by alfoldivandor; December 28th, 2022 at 08:26 AM.

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