REALISTIC Load Capability of the Blazer 16 After reading the other reviews for the Blazer 16, I wanted to update my review (7/10/19) to add clarification on the boat’s load carrying/camping ability. I have to disagree with some of the other reviewers on this point. The Blazer appeals to many new paddlers. For this group, I feel it’s important to be realistic about the boat's capabilities. For many, camping in a 15-16', overloaded boat, that handles poorly, is their only experience canoeing. It's no wonder they get turned off to the sport. The truth is few 16' canoes are made to handle much more than a weekend’s worth of gear for 2 adults- while maintaining good performance. Too much weight turns even the most nimble, graceful or performance oriented canoe into a frustrating barge. The Blazer is no exception. The canoe’s decline in popularity (and the rec. kayak’s rise) is due in part to this misinformation.
The Blazer 16 handles two adults and a conservative amount of gear for a weekend well. However, it does not carry a “typical” 4-7 day load WELL.
Can you make the Blazer 16 work with a heavy load? Sure you can (I have too)! If you aren’t covering a lot of miles or are on a laid back float trip it’s not a big issue. But is it good at it? Heck no. If you exert enough energy you can get a 3 ton tree trunk moving quickly through the water, and its momentum will keep it moving for quite a while. But that’s not “glide”, and it sure ain’t efficient.
It’s all about personal enjoyment (and safety to some extent). If you are happy with your setup, keep doing what works! If you aren’t happy or plan to log a lot of miles, try a longer boat. You’ll feel the difference.
None of this is a knock on the Blazer 16. Other similarly priced, 16 footers may have the volume to carry weight marginally better. However, with a conservative load, on calm water, it’s hard to beat the Blazer.
My wife and I dove into paddling a few years ago and Mohawk's Blazer 16, in fiberglass, was what got us started. Since then we’ve put our Blazer, named "Mona", in a variety of environments. It has been a great boat for learning basic skills and has proven tough enough to survive our many mistakes. Though we now desire more specialized boats, I doubt we'll sell it any time soon.
The Blazer 16 is a recreational tandem that can dabble in a lot of different paddling environments, but is best suited for day outings with minimal gear, on fairly calm waters. This is a great boat to keep at the lake or for day excursions on calm rivers. The shallow arched bottom helps it to paddle well, gives it good secondary stability, and decent glide for its width(36”) and length(16’). The fairly low side height(18/12.75/18”) handles wind decently and makes getting in and out easy (for both 2 and 4 legged creatures). The fiberglass layup is tough(don't ask how I know), and noticeably lighter and stiffer than poly boats of similar size. It also tracks well for a short recreational tandem, even solo from the bow seat.
If that sounds like what you’re seeking, or if your not real sure what kind of paddling you want to do, then the Blazer 16 will likely serve you well. However, no boat does everything exceptionally. If you will be primarily paddling fast moving rivers with rapids or if you know you want to do a lot of longer trips, requiring more gear, then there are better options.
The Blazer just doesn’t have the bow/stern volume or side depth needed for a dedicated rapid/river runner. Though our “Mona” has barreled through a few rapids, she rides wet and her moderately fine entry makes maneuvers in swift current laborious at times. Don’t get me wrong, she’s fine for the occasional jaunt down a class I-II laden river, especially for competent paddlers, but other boats can be more fun.
Extended tripping/camping is really the Blazer’s Achilles heel. She just wasn’t designed to carry much weight. Loaded with a small cooler, small backpack, 35lb Pup, and 2 medium/small sized adults she handles fine. However, add any more and the Blazer 16 becomes a turd! No joke.
Mohawk also made a Blazer 17. It's my opinion that the 17 footer is the better design. That extra foot and few inches enhances the boat’s good qualities, and makes it more capable for camping. The only practical downside is a little heavier boat on land (important consideration for some).
All in all, it’s a well built canoe, that can suit most recreational paddlers needs, at an affordable price. These boats are easy to find used and cheap in my area (AL). This design is still being manufactured. Visit Class Five Boats’ website to see specs or buy this and other Mohawk designs.
The Mohawk Blazer 16 is a very capable canoe. I am currently paddling a 20 year old Blazer 16' in fiberglass and it has been an excellent canoe for everything you would encounter here in Florida. Great for either solo or tandem and with a payload capacity of over 700 pounds it can carry everything you'll need for a week of camping. The original design is still being produced by Classfive Canoes if you are interested in purchasing a new model. Mohawk Canoes is still in business but they moved out of Florida and no longer make the Blazer line. I have a video on YouTube entitled "Canoeing and Kayaking with Alligators in Florida" (Channel; Canoeing The Edge Of The World) and the entire video was shot from a Mohawk Blazer. I cannot review it's performance in whitewater but if you're looking for a flat water boat the Blazer 16 foot in fiberglass won't disappoint.
I've had it on the lakes around my home many times over this summer and when it's in the water it's not the most stable canoe I've been in but it's far from tippy. It is efficient through the water as I expected which makes going to the islands on the lakes easy. I and my family have enjoyed camping on the islands some this year. This canoe handles carrying loads well too and was what we loaded most of the camping gear into when we camped.
My only complaint is that when it's loaded near its maximum capacity the tracking suffers some. This may just be this one but I did find it was harder for me to get it to track when it was loaded to around 550 to 600 pounds (three adults and camping gear for a week). The advantage was that when it got going it would "glide" for a very long time at that weight and maintained speed effortlessly if we paddled continuously. All in all I love this canoe enough to take it out solo from time to time. The only issue when it's that light is crosswinds but I've learned to expect that in any canoe.
I was there waiting when they were unloaded from the truck. Upon helping her move several glass canoes out of the way to get to mine, I was shocked as to how light my Kevlar was compared to the glass ones. It is rated at 44 lbs. Back then I could reach over, snatch it up over my head and walk off with it. That is a very impressive thing to do in front of others at the canoe launch, when the others are struggling with heavy aluminum logs and fiberglass barges!
Well its been 27 years and my Kevlar has been one heck of a canoe. My wife and I have paddles all over the 10,000 islands of Everglades, all over Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Now in my late 60's, I can't snatch it up over my head anymore, but this fantastic canoe still gets us where we wanna go. Sure it has taken some dings and we even cracked the chine on a boulder on the Elijay R. in north Ga. The damage was easily repaired with a gel coat kit and a patch. The factory guy told me how that would have been a disaster in a glass canoe, as the "crack" was only on the gel coat and the Kevlar fibers had refused to break.
Our Golden Retriever, Kaci has finally learned to sit still and she goes canoeing on the Elk River with us here in Northern Alabama.
In closing, we love our 16' Mohawk in Kevlar.
I bought new nylon webbed seats and moved the bow seat about 12 inches back. What a difference! Now it paddles great, and is much more stable when my girlfriend and I go fishing. At 55 lbs. it is easy to car top and it is pretty fast on the water. I'm very happy with this canoe after the seat move.