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Phoenix Solo Canoe

Phoenix Solo Canoe Description

The Phoenix Solo Canoe is a canoe brought to you by Northstar Canoes. Read Phoenix Solo Canoe reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other canoe recommendations below or explore all canoes to find the perfect one for you!

Phoenix Solo Canoe Reviews

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Northstar Canoes
Phoenix Solo Canoe Reviews

Read reviews for the Phoenix Solo Canoe by Northstar Canoes as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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5

Really enjoying this canoe.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/4/2022

Really enjoying this canoe. Am I some die hard boundary waters canoeist? Not hardly. I started in canoes years ago, big touring models. As time passed I got into kayaking. I have two composite sea kayaks that I use a Greenland style paddle with. I wanted something to easily put in my local river and fish, check out the wildlife from and not have the difficulty of getting in and out of. Why not a canoe? So I started looking. Craigslist had plenty of big old beater heavy canoes. I quickly tuned into the new solo canoes. I wanted a lightweight model and was about to go with a T-formex when this one popped up. Little more than I wanted to put into one but way less than a new one. He had converted it into a pack canoe ( kayak style seat siliconed to the bottom ) but had all the factory seats and a kneeling mat. He was also trying to paddle with a double blade. I went back with a higher seat ( game changer ) and a shorter ottertail paddle and started to smile! I have read posts where people think of this canoe being truly symmetrical but it's built with two different halves. 19 inches height in the bow and 17 inches in the stern. And correct me if I'm wrong Carl Yost ( Ted Bell and David Yost are producing these canoes and Carl designed this one ) but my old eyes also detect and feel the slight difference in the shape bow versus stern. Yesterday I was fishing ahead of a strong front and when I was making my way back I was fighting 20 mph gusts. I had a stringer full of fish. If you want a fast canoe then get one designed to go fast. If you want a pack canoe that you can double blade well then get a smaller pack canoe. If you want a great little solo canoe that I feel paddes and will respond terriffic with a regular canoe paddle and has just all the right ingredients to go enjoy a pleasurable day but also the capacity to take a multi day trip and carry some gear then take a look at this one. Just checks a few boxes for me. I carry a small Swiss army knife in my pocket for a reason...Don't mess with the Swiss army they run with scissors!!! Good job Carl....

4

I'm well pleased with this…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/4/2022

I'm well pleased with this canoe. It's a true solo canoe not a pack canoe or a speedster but a "Swiss army knife" that can cover many bases. Light, responsive and stable with ample space. I really put it to the test last weekend fishing ahead of a front that was moving in and stayed out a little longer than I should have. 15 to 20 mph gusts coming back into the wind. I like to paddle canoes single blade ( I have sea kayaks that I use a Greenland style paddle ) and I feel this one is best sitting high or kneeling. I have the IPX because I would kill a thin one. It's still light and I like the stiffness versus a thicker T- formex ( Royalex replacement ) canoe but if you're worried about scratching your canoe up well think fiberglass to some degree. This one will show those scratches ( Hence the 4 stars ) I'm okay with that. Ted Bell and David Yost are producing these and I read where David's son Carl designed this one. Good job Carl!

4

I enjoyed reading Cliff…

Submitted by: TomL on 10/18/2018

I enjoyed reading Cliff Jacobson's thoughtful review. I'm not qualified to disagree with Cliff so I'll just share my experiences. I'm a little over six feet with long arms and around 180 and usually have a 55 pound dog so around 250 normal load. I use short straight shaft paddles like a straight Zav and do hit and switch for cruising power and often go for long upstream paddles on rivers with current from 1 to 4 mph. I've owned quite a few solos.

I basically agree with everything positive that Cliff said about the Phoenix. It's super comfy and stable and friendly with capable and predictable handling. Very nice capacity and very dry and safe feeling. The overall performance envelope is extremely similar to a Hemlock SRT in my view. It's versatile and one could argue worth getting just for the IXP lay-up.

I bought a Phoenix hoping it would be a "better Wildfire" for my uses, hopefully more efficient since it is longer with less rocker, while still retaining plenty of maneuverability since a Wildfire could give up some maneuverability and still turn on a dime.

I tend to push my boats and I think one can push a Phoenix faster than a Wildfire in a sprint. But it takes about ten times more muscle and you could not maintain it. Those full ends that make it buoyant in waves also push back on you if you drive the boat harder. If you drive a Wildfire really hard you eventually run out of rpm (but it's still easy) but if you drive a Phoenix really hard it will burn you up. My composite Yellowstone is for sure a notch more efficient for upstream paddling than a Wildfire or Phoenix. Phoenix would not be my choice for paddling with others in tandems.

I had a similar discussion with Dave Curtis about the SRT. He was saying that it would basically perform "mid pack" with other solos at normal cruise speeds of 3-4 mph and I said I think he's spot on at 3 mph but that 4 mph is a different story and after some more good discussion he agreed. I had a similar feeling for the Curtis Dragonfly.

For downriver paddling the Phoenix and SRT could be two of the best available and both are incredibly versatile too. They are also great fun to just play around with on quiet water. I sold my Phoenix and my SRT because for upstream and flatwater paddling I'd rather take out something else.

4

Excellent product for the…

Submitted by: paddler424828 on 4/10/2018

Excellent product for the canoe enthusiasts. Superb maneuverability and high quality equipment always.

5

Northstar Phoenix Solo Canoe

Submitted by: Cliff-Jacobson on 10/2/2017

NORTHSTAR PHOENIX SOLO CANOE
Review by Cliff Jacobson

The Phoenix is a slightly larger version of the no longer manufactured Bell Wildfire/Yellowstone solo canoes. Its extra volume (I judge about 15 percent) is carried more forward and aft than in these smaller, earlier boats. Performance in waves is impressive: unlike the aforementioned smaller canoes which tend to run wet through big waves, the Phoenix bucks quickly over them. Even with nearly 300 pounds in the belly, this boat runs dry in two foot high waves. Really! The Gunnel beam is a narrow 26 inches, same as the Wildfire/YS, so those who come from these narrow-waisted boats will quickly feel right at home. I weigh 132 pounds and when I first paddled the Phoenix, I thought was too large for me. But with a good load it's just right for my size. Empty, it responds instantly to your commands. Empty or loaded, the boat remains sporty, controllable and always fun-to-paddle.

I recently paddled the Phoenix 150 miles on the upper Missouri River. We encountered high winds, quick currents and some unexpected big waves. My total load, including my weight, was about 265 pounds* (no portages; we carried ice and went heavy). The boat barely drew three inches of water and it never lost its lively feel. I think it will easily accommodate 300 pounds without complaining. Like its predecessors, the Wildfire/YS, the Phoenix will pivot on a penny without the need for extensive leans. I rate the boat competent in high Class II where big waves and quick turns are the rule, even with 265 pounds aboard. Add a full spray cover and I'd trust her in low Class III.

Some have suggested that the Phoenix isn't fast. Well...I find it fast enough. In practical touring it keeps up just fine with similar but smaller cruising canoes like the Wildfire/YS, We-no-nah Argosy, Mad River Slipper and its ilk. Speed wise, it's not a We-no-nah Prism and it doesn't pretend to be. It's spade card is its "versatility--FreeStyle play on a quiet pond, Boundary Waters touring or long haul expedition whitewater. The Phoenix does it all, with grace, predictability and fun.

Layups: I wanted this boat for whitewater tripping so I chose the new IXP layup. At 42 pounds (on my scale) it weighs more than the other layups but it's much more substantial. Northstar claims it's as tough as Royalex. We'll see. Note: I selected wood trim knowing that it is heavier than aluminum. No matter: I gotta have "pretty"!

Wind: One look at the comparably high-sided Phoenix and you may think it will be a handful in wind. I found it wasn't. Paddled empty (but well), there is minimal concern. Add a light camping outfit and the boat cruises easily. There is no serious tendency to spin into the wind.

If you want a do-it-all solo cruiser that's at home in the BWCA and well beyond, the Phoenix is a great choice. It does everything well except go "real fast". But good paddlers shouldn't have any trouble keeping up with their friends in typical tandem canoes. Oh, did I mention that this canoe is absolutely gorgeous?

Important: Be sure to order the Phoenix with the HIGH seat drops. Sitting low, with your armpits in the gunnels--or kneeling beneath a dangerously low seat (foot entrapment!) discourages control and defies smiles. In moving water, you'll want to be on your knees in this boat. You simply can't ring out top performance sitting on a low-mounted seat.

*Northstar rates displacement at the 3-inch waterline at 260 pounds; 360 pounds at the 4-inch waterline. Recommended optimal load is 170 to 350 pounds. This canoe will carry a lot! Gracefully!

5

Phoenix Solo Canoe Review

Submitted by: cliffjacobson on 9/27/2017

The Phoenix is a slightly larger version of the no longer manufactured Bell Wildfire/Yellowstone solo canoes. Its extra volume (I judge about 15 percent) is carried more forward and aft than in these smaller, earlier boats. Performance in waves is impressive: unlike the aforementioned smaller canoes which tend to run wet through big waves, the Phoenix bucks quickly over them. Even with nearly 300 pounds in the belly, this boat runs dry in two foot high waves. Really! The Gunnel beam is a narrow 26 inches, same as the Wildfire/YS, so those who come from these narrow-waisted boats will quickly feel right at home. I weigh 132 pounds and when I first paddled the Phoenix, I thought it was too large for me. But with a good load it's just right for my size. Empty, it responds instantly to your commands. Empty or loaded, the boat remains sporty, controllable and always fun-to-paddle.

I recently paddled the Phoenix 150 miles on the upper Missouri River. We encountered high winds, quick currents and some unexpected big waves. My total load, including my weight, was about 265 pounds* (no portages; we carried ice and went heavy). The boat barely drew three inches of water and it never lost its lively feel. I think it will easily accommodate 300 pounds without complaining. Like its predecessors, the Wildfire/YS, the Phoenix will pivot on a penny without the need for extensive leans. I rate the boat competent in high Class II where big waves and quick turns are the rule, even with 265 pounds aboard. Add a full spray cover and I'd trust her in low Class III.

Some have suggested that the Phoenix isn't fast. Well...I find it fast enough. In practical touring it keeps up just fine with similar but smaller cruising canoes like the Wildfire/YS, We-no-nah Argosy, Mad River Slipper and its ilk. Speed wise, it's not a We-no-nah Prism and it doesn't pretend to be. It's spade card is its "versatility--FreeStyle play on a quiet pond,, Boundary Waters touring, or long-haul expedition whitewater. The Phoenix does it all, with grace, predictability and fun.

Layups: I wanted this boat for whitewater tripping so I chose the new IXP layup. At 42 pounds (on my scale) it weighs more than the other layups but it's much more substantial. Northstar claims it's as tough as Royalex. We'll see. Note: I selected wood trim knowing that it is heavier than aluminum. No matter: I gotta have "pretty"!

Wind: One look at the comparably high-sided Phoenix and you may think it will be a handful in wind. I found it wasn't. Paddled empty (but well), there is minimal concern. Add a light camping outfit and the boat cruises easily. There is no serious tendency to spin into the wind.

If you want a do-it-all solo cruiser that's at home in the BWCA and well beyond, the Phoenix is a great choice. It does everything well except go "real fast". But good paddlers shouldn't have any trouble keeping up with their friends in typical tandem canoes. Oh, did I mention that this canoe is absolutely gorgeous?

Important: Be sure to order the Phoenix with the HIGH seat drops. Sitting low, with your armpits in the gunnels--or kneeling beneath a dangerously low seat (foot entrapment!) discourages control and defies smiles. In moving water, you'll want to be on your knees in this boat. You simply can't ring out top performance sitting on a low-mounted seat.

*Northstar rates displacement at the 3-inch waterline at 260 pounds; 360 pounds at the 4-inch waterline. Recommended optimal load is 170 to 350 pounds. This canoe will carry a lot! Gracefully!

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