New to the canoe life

prairiestomountains

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May 5, 2017
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I'm just getting into canoeing, went a few times growing up and wanted to add some more outdoor adventures to my adult life so I thought I'd try to pick this up with a friend.
We've been looking at all sorts of canoes and even kayaks with the intent of doing everything from day trips to weekend trips on the lakes here.
If anybody could please give me some advice for what kinds of canoes would be best or even if you suggest kayaks over canoes that would be much appreciated! Currently looking at a 17' (not sure what kind) and a 13.5' Pelican. It's for flat water.
 
Are you thinking of camping on these weekend trips out of the boat? If so, expect a more spartan experience with a kayak and a more luxurious one with a canoe. I'm not a canoe tower but I've done some kayak touring and find it to be a bit more like backpacking in that you are constrained by volume in the boat.
 
If you are certain that you will only be on lakes, then make sure that the canoe has a keel.

We have a 17.5-foot Old Town Voyageur from way back (we bought it used). It holds a ton of gear; I moose hunt out of it for over a week at a time, to give you an idea. For weekend only trips, you could go a bit smaller, if you want, even with 2 of you.

Camping out of a canoe is an awesome way to go.

If you can, test paddle any canoe that you are considering buying. Lots of pretty canoes out there with fancy crap that'll tip at the slightest opportunity. If you haven't already, log a few hours on the internet reading about the different features, shapes, materials, etc and figure out what will be best for you.

And always wear your PFD.
 
Are you thinking of camping on these weekend trips out of the boat? If so, expect a more spartan experience with a kayak and a more luxurious one with a canoe. I'm not a canoe tower but I've done some kayak touring and find it to be a bit more like backpacking in that you are constrained by volume in the boat.
Yes camping is definitely in the plans! We aren't overly picky and it would just be a weekend excursion with very lightweight gear from backpacking and backcountry camping so I'm not sure if we'd necessarily need to utilize all the space of a canoe. I'm also partially concerned on carrying it between the two of us alongside our gear depending on size. Same goes for a kayak however.
 
For two, plus gear, I would stop looking at the 13.5’ Pelican. If the 13.5’ Pelican was a kayak, look very closely at the height of the deck. Often, Pelicans have very low decks, and there wouldn’t be a lot of space to put any camping gear. (Pelican plastic is usually not the best, but that’s just my opinion.) When packing camping gear in a kayak, you need to fuss with balancing the weight, front to back. When packing a 17’ canoe with camping gear, well, just make sure the stuff is inside and go—though, you can drag a mesh bag with drinks from the back, so they are cold when you are thirsty. The paddlers have to be compatible, but a canoe is fantastic as a camping vehicle. Along with room for your ultralight backpacking gear, there’s room for a tarp, your comfy camping chairs, an extra spoon or two, and a Dutch oven.
 
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