I mentioned in a previous post that I have ordered a canoe. Apparently, it will be arriving at the store this Monday! It will be exciting to finally get to pick it up!
Unfortunately, there is no one canoe that is best at everything (flatwater to whitewater to tripping, etc.). Choosing the best canoe comes down to a bunch of trade-offs between factors like durability, cost, weight, stability, tracking, and cargo capacity.
So, what canoe did I end up ordering? And why did I pick the model that I did?
I ended up choosing a Nova Craft Prospector 17 canoe in fiberglass with aluminum gunnels. I had been serious about getting a Clipper Prospector 17 in fiberglass, but the Nova Craft comes in at a lower price point and comes with black anodized gunnels standard (an upgrade option on the Clipper version). Both brands seem to make good products. Both are Canadian built (Nova Craft in Ontario and Clipper in British Columbia). But with both brands seeming to produce good products and the fact that both brands make versions of the Prospector 17, price became a key deciding factor.
Why a Prospector 17? In general, prospectors are good tripping boats with lots of load carrying capacity. They have decent stability (important with a young family). They have moderate rocker (which makes them relatively maneuverable – an important quality on rivers). They have decent tracking characteristics (hopefully this means we won’t be fighting too much to keep the boat going straight on flat water). The Prospector 17 is a relatively long boat, which is good since we are a family of 4 people. If we go on a multi-day trip, we will need the ability to carry gear as well as all 4 of us. The 17-foot boat provides a lot of space and weight carrying capacity. When our kids are older, it might make sense to have two shorter boats. But for now, one larger boat seems to make the most sense for our family.
Why Fiberglass? Even though fiberglass is heavier than Kevlar, it is also significantly cheaper. Nova Craft has a build called TuffStuff. It is lighter than fiberglass and is supposed to be much more durable. But of course, these benefits come at a significant price increase. For what we will be doing, fiberglass should hold up okay. Plus, it is easy to repair if the boat does get damaged.
I ordered the Nova Craft Prospector 17 canoe through Mountain Equipment Co-operative (MEC). This Canadian chain of stores is much like (and actually inspired by) Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) in the USA.
So that is a bit of the lowdown on the canoe that I ordered. Stay posted for my thoughts on the boat once I take delivery and have some experience using it this summer.
If you have any questions about canoes or about the canoe that I chose, please ask away in the comment section below. I will try to respond to any of your questions in a timely manner.