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Different Canoe Materials

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I'm looking to buy a canoe in the next month & am just starting to gather information on aluminum vs. plastic vs. kevlar. Anyone have any good resource sites or a particular store that I could get info from & carry all three types?

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I know that the Bell canoe works HSOforum talks a little about their Royalex(plastic), Kevlar, and Carbon fiber/composites. I have also been to the Alumacraft HSOforum to look at their canoes. But I don't know of a source that actually compares things like abrasion resistance/puncture resistance etc.

You could attend the Midwest Mountaineering Show in MPLS. in a couple of weeks. There will be quite a few dealers(not sure if any aluminum dealers), and there will be a canoe auction and there is usually a wide variety for sale including a few aluminum.

[This message has been edited by Nels (edited 04-09-2003).]

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I have a 16' Old Town Discovery that is made of something called Crosslink 3 and I've pounded it into sharp rocks at pretty good speed, even gone over small waterfalls and landed on boulders and jagged rocks, and it hardly has a scratch in it. Impressive stuff.

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It really depends on what you're using it for. Where do you plan to use it? Is portaging an issue? Boundary waters, or quiet rivers and lakes around home? How much can you spend? How many people will be with you, and how much gear will you put in it?

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Yeah, I'll most likely be going to the Midwest Mountaineering auction, although I didn't know there would be dealers there. That's good to know.

I'll use it mostly in the BWCA & Twin Cities lakes, so it'll be mostly low-impact lake use with a little river-running in the BWCA. I only go twice a year. Portaging I'm not concerned with, it doesn't seem like anything I'm looking at is over 65 - 70 pounds or so.

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Then the money you'd have to pay for kevlar really isn't worth it for you probably. I sure liked the Old Town Penobscot 17. They're around 60 pounds, and really paddled fast I thought. bit tippy though.

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Maximum -

I agree it does depend on how & where you wish to use the canoe. And what for.

I use mine to fish rivers in SE MN that are full of limestone and I own a River Ridge Custom Canoe for several reasons. They are very manuverable which is important in smaller rivers. They're set up to use with either a trolling motor or small gas motor which makes them much easier to fish from.
They're made of fiberglass and easy to repair
which is important because a canoe of any material will get ripped up in limestone streams.

If portaging isn't an issue, weight may not be that important so something in the 65-80 lb range would be fine providing you don't mind loading it alone on top of a car if you're alone and using a car to transport it. I use a pickup so don't need to lift it that far.

Generally lighter means more money.

If you're older I would pay attention to seat
comfort and what options are available to improve that. My canoe has standard upholstered boat seats and drinkholders and some other ammeneties that make it user friendly.

If primary use were for paddling I would recommend a double end over a square stern.

I would also make stability a priority. There is a huge difference in stability from one design to another. I've had 6 canoes and 2 were very unstable. The last 2 and my first one (aluminum double end) were very stable. One was a Coleman 17' double end - stability was okay, but not great manueverablity.

Hope that helps.

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Thanks for the info.

I'm leaning towards the Old Town Penobscot 17 for a couple of reasons - I'm familiar with it (my friend has one)& my wife can get a killer deal on one - but I've never liked the relative lack of stability. And I'd agree that seat comfort is a huge deal when you're on your derrier for hours at a time!

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Your right about the primary and secondary stability. The Penobscot has poor primary stabilty, so it feels like you could go over at any time. However, it's secondary stability is pretty good. Once you're in the thing for a while, you begin to trust it more, and don't notice the little twitches. Like I said before, I thought it really cut through the water nice, and you have enough room for boundary waters camping, it's relatively light for portages, and pretty durable too.

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Forgot to mention. I'd suggest getting the cane seats with the removable backrest. It's amazing how good that backrest feels.

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Keep in mind there are 2 kinds of stabilty in canoes. Primary & secondary. Flat bottoms have great primary but bad secondary. I have an old town discovery 174 (which is for sale BTW) and although it feels a little tippy, it take a lot to roll it. On the other hand the flat bottoms feel good, but make one wrong move and your upside down in a blink of an eye. Check out the wenonah.com for some great reading on the diffent hull shapes and why the shapes do what they do.

Have fun!! Jeff

Take a little advice too. Buy the LIGHTEST canoe you can afford, otherwise you'll be seling a heavy one and looking for a lighter one like I'm doing right now!!

[This message has been edited by MNice (edited 04-10-2003).]

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