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Juan Grande

What to look for in a used canoe?

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I'm in the market for a used canoe ($300-400 range) and was wondering if I could get some input on what to buy? I'd be using it on the Mississippi up by Monticello, mostly fishing for smallies. Would likely have two people max in the canoe at a time.

What size should I go with? Is 17 feet overkill for two people? Will aluminum or fiberglass be better for handling rocks? I won't do much portaging with it so weight isn't really an issue. Probably my two biggest needs are durability and stability.

Thanks for the help!

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I grew up with Alumacraft. My dad had one, and now I have one. We have a 17 foot canoe; I do not think that 17 foot is too much. It holds my wife and two kids quite comfortably. When my buddy and I go out and we are a bit more serious about paddling and fishing,the extra room is very nice. When I am alone I put some extra weight in the front and it tracks well. The canoe fits fine on my little Saturn four door, so that is not an issue. The aluminum takes the pounding of sliding over gravel and bumping in the rocks very well. The problem is finding a used Alumacraft - not too many used ones out there, and when I bought mine a couple years ago, it was the last year the company made them. When I was looking for a canoe I read through many of the old posts on this forum. There are a lot of people with really good experiences with other brands too. Like you say, one of the main issues is the weight, my dad's 17 footer (that he bought in the 70's) was 72 pounds before he downgraded to a 14 footer. Mine is 62 pounds and a bit of a burden if I am carrying a pack. Overall, I am happy with my experiences with the canoe

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I have 2 Old Town canoes and 2 Old Town kayaks and whatever they are made of is some tough shnizzle!

They are probably a mite heavier than aluminum but they are:quieter,won't dent,no rivets,and quieter.

I decided after seeing an unfortunate fellow lose his canoe trailer on I35 near Faribault. The aluminum canoes were bent up and destroyed with huge dents and creases plus punctures,but the Old Towns just and flexed and bounced and ended up with just major scuffing-nothing terminal.

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Alumacraft is still making 5 or 6 sizes of canoes. If you get a chance to get over to Whyoming MN check with the dealer there, I know sometimes they get the damaged ones that have dents that they sell at a pretty good discount, and all it takes is maybe a rubber hammer and the dent is gone.

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