If you want a canoe that will handle a month’s worth of supplies to head out on a wilderness adventure, this canoe is for you. In the Prospector 17’ you’ll find all the great characteristics that have made this canoe a paddling legend in places like the Yukon and Canadian Arctic. With lots of volume to keep you and your gear dry in whitewater or waves it still tracks well with good hull speed on flatwater. Our durable materials and classic Prospector lines make the P17 the ultimate wilderness extended tripping canoe. Shown in TuffStuff and Blue Steel.
Read and submit reviews for the Prospector 17.
I have had two of these Prospector 17's, one a lightweight ABS, the other a heavyweight ABS. I usually paddle solo, sometimes almost empty, sometimes on extended river trips fully loaded, and sometimes in Class 3-4 whitewater. I have also owned several Mad River canoes and a couple of Mohawk canoes.
I read some reviews from less than pleased Mad River Rendezvous owners who were happy when they moved into these Prospectors, so I went that way, too. Good move, for me.
Being an engineer, I always have a better idea. I mounted my own carbon fiber seats on aluminum tube thwarts, so I can reverse the front seat and paddle solo with a long, large-bladed custom made double paddle designed for a large canoe. It's energy-efficient and powerful (but most others who tried this paddle don't particularly like it).
My first Nova Craft Prospector replaced a Mad River 17' Rendezvous/Adventurer, and the difference was immediately apparent to me. That boat didn't paddle well fully loaded. It wouldn't "move out", It took more energy to cruise, to maintain speed, and it would ship water too easily. Strong quartering headwinds caused that boat to skid sideways excessively, so no matter how hard one paddled, it just would not move forward well in a quartering headwind - or at all in those conditions. Several times I had to "tack" to make headway. Not so with the Nova Craft.
I am not an expert on canoe design, but the Nova Craft Prospector hull design works better than any others I have owned or borrowed. I have paddled these Nova Crafts thousands of miles and used them in Class 3+ whitewater. They're keepers!
It takes less work to paddle these Prospectors fully loaded than other canoes I have owned and borrowed. I know several other Nova Craft Propector owners, and their response to their canoes is similar to mine. When I used other canoes, I kept an eye open for a better canoe.
My first Prospector had a manufacturing defect. I thought I would have a big hassle with the manufacturer, but no. He looked over my documentation then volunteered to replace the canoe forthright.
These canoes don't come cheap, but I feel I got significantly greater value with the Nova Craft Prospector than with any of the other canoes I have owned over the last 25 years or so.
This may be only a testimonial, but my experience with Nova Craft and their Prospector Canoes couldn't have been better. Maybe there are other canoes out there that perform a bit better, but I am unaware. Others are happy with their boats, too.
Nova Craft Prospector 17 is the canoe for all loads big or small but always yields "big" paddling fun!
In July of 2006 while canoeing on Bedivere Lake in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, we headed diagonally into oncoming waves with a chop of approximately one ft. After about 3 to 4 minutes into these waves, the wave action forced the bottom of the canoe to bulge upward midway between the front and rear seats. At the right and left extremities of the bulge the canoe hull fractured and water started entering the canoe.
This was a dangerous, shocking and frightening experience when your in the middle of a wilderness lake. We managed to get back to our base camp without sinking, where I was able to make some temporary field repairs with duct tape and other materials found in the field that allowed us to return to our point of entry.
I hope by relating my experience with a canoe manufactured by Nova Craft Canoes, future potential canoe buyers will be careful in the selection process!
The seats are laced with hiking boot material and are very comfortable. The yoke is sculpted and has a notch for your neck vertebrae which does make it more comfortable for portaging. The boat paddles well solo in the front seat facing rearward. It does well heeled over also if you prefer that paddling style.
It is not as responsive as a Prospector 16 with more rocker, but as I wanted a boat for river trips of a week in duration, this is the canoe for me. The boat is deep enough to handle whitewater, light enough to carry and the 1,200 lb. payload will let you bring the kitchen sink if so desired.
I bought mine in Royalite and had Kevlar skid plates installed at the factory. The boat will see many more years of use, but all in all, this is the best boat in my fleet of 4 canoes and 5 kayaks. I highly recommend it and the quality and craftsmanship put into the boat by NovaCraft are outstanding.