Width (in)
Weight (lb)

SpitFire Options

  • Ultralight

    18 lb
    Carbon Composite
  • XLT-Xpedition Lite

    21 lb
    Carbon Composite
  • Max 5 Camo

    24 lb

    SpitFire Description

    Settling into the seat and back band after the carry to St Regis Pond, you allow yourself a grin. "Just like Nessmuk, 125 years ago," except he was a 100 pounder. You're twice his size with a week's gear aboard. The little pack canoe, SpitFire, ran as seakindly as a cork across the blow on Upper St Regis, and toted across the seven carries like a shoulder bag, hiked up on one shoulder, the rail on your pack strap.

    Solo canoes designed for use with double-blade paddles were popular during the first blossom of recreational canoeing at the turn of the century. The double-blade paddler almost doubles the single-blade user's stroke-per-minute rate and increases speed. Double-blades allow smaller paddlers to keep up with, and even outrun, skilled single-blade users. Beginning paddlers can easily drive a canoe or kayak in a straight line with a double-blade paddle.

    SpitFire Specs and Features

    • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
    • Seating Configuration: Solo
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
    • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
    • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

    Learn More

    Placid Boatworks
    SpitFire Reviews

    Read reviews for the SpitFire by Placid Boatworks 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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    We purchased two Placid…

    Submitted by: ddhdesign on 7/9/2020
    We purchased two Placid Boatworks Spitfires a few years ago. Beautiful boats. Very lightweight, easy to paddle. We paddle on the Susquehanna River when it is high enough not to bounce over rocks, and also paddle the local Lakes. I paddle a lightweight Pungo 12 normally when river is low (also love that boat).

    Amazing boat!! I can go…

    Submitted by: paddler770261 on 5/4/2020
    Amazing boat!! I can go anywhere with this boat! I get compliments wherever I go! Amazing customer service from Joe!

    I love this boat! I have had…

    Submitted by: Adkpaddler13 on 5/3/2020
    I love this boat! I have had it for about 3 weeks now and have paddled it on 6 trips. This boat is maneuverable in tight streams and stable on windy open lakes. I’ve also pond hopped with it and the portages go by really quick because this boat is so light, the included pads help as well. Would definitely recommend.

    Have owned the Spitfire for…

    Submitted by: potslinger on 9/1/2015
    Have owned the Spitfire for all most 9 yrs now and I have enjoyed it did read all the reviews and NOBODY said any thing about breaking ICE on the rivers and great lakes. Yes, this fine craft has been out many a winter shore ice day I'm 6'2" 250 plus winter drysuit and gear I have been pushed out in the river by ice floats and still made it home with out the CG Thanks you some folks will know me for doing winter paddling as they all so have done some too in there Spit fire

    Thanks to Joe and team keep the fire burning see you next yr... I have all most rubbed the pond scum of thing I have bumped into and slid over and she still keeps me dry and happy

    Yes, I would buy Joe's boats
    10 out of 10


    I have owned my Spitfire for…

    Submitted by: divermike on 8/19/2015
    I have owned my Spitfire for 3 years, I have paddled it on the 2 of the great lakes, several rivers and many lakes in NY, Penn. and Michigan. I have also set 3 Guinness world records in my Spitfire.

    It has never let me down, and never left me feeling like I chose the wrong craft. I am 6'1" and 255 lbs, a big boy. I can carry a whole lot of gear with me, and it just keeps on truckin. In tough waters, it is very stable, in fact on group paddles I many times act as assistant guide and take alternate routes finding by ways that are off the main streams. I'm always pleased when people comment on what a nice craft I have, others have tried to copy the PB boats, but Joe and his team are the pinnacle! I wish I could buy 1 of every type he makes.


    Not a bad canoe for what it…

    Submitted by: Wyatt on 8/12/2015
    Not a bad canoe for what it is, tracks ok, light and handled pretty well. For a smaller person it might be just the ticket to pick up and go at a moment's notice, I gave it a "7" but if you are a smaller person try it out as the main complaint I have is that it was just too small for me.

    I am very happy with my…

    Submitted by: labombard on 9/4/2014
    I am very happy with my Spitfire. I paddle it for fun on lakes, ponds and slow rivers. I've used it for several canoe camping trips involving carrying 45 lbs of gear and upwards of 2 miles of portages. And it's a fishing machine! It paddles well; keeps a straight line; and I am comfortable in it in rough waters on big lakes. And it's tough!! I blast through beaver dams when I can!!

    Great boat, tracks well for…

    Submitted by: paddler235850 on 8/17/2014
    Great boat, tracks well for 12 feet of length. I added a rudder( home made) which facilitates paddling with a paddle ( not fond of kayak paddles). Paddled a Wenonah Advantage for many years, this boat is a concession to age....easier to lift. Love it.

    Weighing in at 20 pounds, my…

    Submitted by: sheelister on 7/12/2014
    Weighing in at 20 pounds, my Spitfire is my best boat so far! I have paddled dozens of solo canoes, but this is my fave. It carries all I need for an hour or a week. Since I am now in my 60s, I knew I wanted a boat I would be able to lift onto my SUV top well into my 80s!
    I can choose to vary the seat height and can use my wood Greenland kayak paddle or my regular canoe paddle.

    The Spitfire is by far and…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/12/2014
    The Spitfire is by far and away the best boat I've ever paddled. And so light! A couple of people watched me, all 5 ft of me, toss the 21 lb. boat onto my car... I overheard "you don't want to pick a fight with her". Of course they thought the boat weighed a traditional canoe weight and I was a tiny Goliath. Excellent!

    Thank you Placid Boatworks for well balanced, beautiful, delightful Spitfire. I can't stay off the water, I love paddling this boat-single bade or double. The boat performs equally well with either.


    It was with a leap of faith…

    Submitted by: gnatcatcher on 7/5/2014
    It was with a leap of faith that I ordered my SpitFire this past December, never having demoed one as well as being in the process of recovering from a stroke. But...having owned and/or paddled a Hemlock Nessmuk, Vermont Tupper, and a Wenonah Wee Lassie, I knew what I DIDN'T want in a pack canoe.

    At 21 pounds, the Spitfire is light enough for me to put on my car myself, just by grabbing the gunwales and lifting it over my head. Being a fairly short individual, I need a craft with adequate tumblehome to facilitate a more vertical paddle stroke. I also wanted a sturdy boat with a tough gel coat bottom, a nice thing to have here in Rocksylvania. Or is it Pennsrocks?

    I was looking for a responsive canoe, one that is easily turned, yet also has decent tracking.
    The Nessmuk was too small and I found it to be uncomfortable. While the Wee Lassie tracked well, it was too heavy at 29 pounds and awkward for me to handle off the water. The Tupper, too wide and heavy. So it came down to the Spitfire, and I have absolutely no regrets. It is comfortable, fast, responsive...an absolute joy to paddle. It is a beautiful boat, to boot.

    We have several kayaks in our fleet, but if I had to choose just one boat, it would be the Spitfire, hands down. It is my freedom. I am ecstatic.


    My husband bought it for me…

    Submitted by: paddler235664 on 7/3/2014
    My husband bought it for me as an anniversary gift. I love the fact that it only weighs 19 pounds. Even with serious back problems I can pick up the canoe which balances well and carry it to and from the water. Combined with my ultra light carbon paddle this canoe is so easy to paddle. It is strictly a flat water boat. I still have my sturdy kayak to travel through rocky areas and class one whitewater.
    All in all I am very happy with this canoe.

    The 12 ft SpitFire Placid…

    Submitted by: ddhdesign on 7/2/2014
    The 12 ft SpitFire Placid Boatworks canoe is a great boat. My husband and I both also paddle kayaks and this a nice lighter weight alternative. We do not take it when the river is low (Susquehanna River in northeastern PA) but very fun to paddle when we don't have to worry too much about dragging on rocks. (Plastic kayaks good for that.) It does not track quite as well as the 12 ft Pungo or 12 ft Carolina, but we paddled in a headwind and they did well. Great if you are camping with gear, though I would check about a cover for rain and sun screen. Seats surprising comfortable.

    I have had my Spitfire for a…

    Submitted by: paddler234463 on 3/20/2012
    I have had my Spitfire for a couple of good paddling years now. I sold 2 Dagger kayaks to get it after test driving one 3 years ago. I am 6-1" 250lbs and this boat has no problem handling my size or weight. I am planning a 4 day trip in it this year, and I will be adding another 75lbs, I have no concerns with this craft. The boat I bought is one of their "recycled" models, about 8 lbs heavier than normal, but the hull is thicker as a trade off. I am more than ecstatic about this craft, it is simply superb!

    I am a long time fan of the…

    Submitted by: otterberry on 8/14/2009
    I am a long time fan of the Spitfire, purchasing a first generation model several years ago and a vacuum bagged one more recently. I primarily used the boat as a day paddler for picnics and excursions, and found I could easily keep pace with most kayaks and canoes. I am an ex-racer and inefficient hulls drive me nuts, but this boat really moves well for a 12 footer.

    I recently loaded the boat for a camping trip and found it to be remarkably able to carry a load with ease. Between me and my packs, I put about 230 pounds in it, and it could have easily handled more. I also used it empty on a big lake with a following wind and had no trouble with weathercocking when I stowed a 10 pound daypack behind the seat.

    Best of all, I found the Placid Boatworks folks to be excellent people to work with. I am only about 5'3" and too short to get over the gunwales with the standard seat, so the folks at Placid Boatworks put in a slightly taller seat and it's been perfect. So I am about to buy a third generation model with composite thwarts and gunwales. See you on the water!


    Spitfire review: First of all, I need to qualify this review with my…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/8/2008
    Spitfire review:
    First of all, I need to qualify this review with my purpose for buying the spitfire. I plan to use this pack canoe primarily for fishing and wanted a lightweight, maneuverable boat that behaves predictably and so my review is in this context. Second of all, my personal thanks to all of the folks who reviewed this boat and the Rapidfire on Paddling.net. The reviews were invaluable to me in my research prior to buying this boat.

    I am an experienced sea kayaker and an avid kayak fisherman and the design of this “canoe” really appealed to me. The folks who described this as a kayak with out a top deck were right on. This boat handles much like any mid-sized, well made sea kayak, except it’s half the weight and with a beam of 24”, its primary and secondary stability is quite good. It’s not quite as stable as the raft of tug-boat fishing kayaks on the market that are 28 – 33” wide, but if you are at all experienced you will feel very comfortable in this boat, even in a moderate chop. I found it much more stable than most canoes I have been in and I am sold on the lower seating arrangement found in the Spitfire, RapidFire or for that matter, kayaks in general.

    Tracking: The boat tracks very well with a minimum of correction required, even in a quartering breeze. I was quite impressed with this as I had the boat out in 12 – 15 MPH wind the second time I had it out and it was really a joy to handle. While it tracks well, it is extremely maneuverable. A slight lean or a bit more power on one side of the stroke and this boat turns very quickly.

    Speed: It’s all relative. I own two 18ft, all-out sea kayaks and this boat can’t hang with them, but I also own a 15’ fishing kayak (Malibu Extreme) and quite frankly, the fishing kayak just got demoted for use by inexperienced friends. The Spitfire simply is far superior. It’s 1/3rd the weight, faster, with just as much storage and it looks a lot better to boot. I also own a QCC 400XL and the Spitfire paddles very much like this boat speed-wise, at 1/2 the weight and from all appearances, a bit sturdier construction. Bottom line: If I’m going to spend the whole day paddling or taking a multiple day trip, this isn’t the boat I would choose. If I’m going fishing or going to pack a boat between lakes, the spitfire is perfect. To be honest, based on this boat, if I could only own one boat, I would likely go for the RapidFire. The increased length would allow it to be much faster, while the weight is still so much better than a sea kayak or a traditional canoe.

    Weight. I could not believe this boat the first time I picked it up. I’m used to handling high end, composite kayaks and this boat at 23 lbs is just about ½ the weight of my 18’ kevlar sea kayak. This boat is perfect when you have to carry it any significant distance. Putting the boat on top of the car is a joy!

    Fit and Finish: This boat is very well made. The guys at Placid Boat works make a beautiful boat that is light weight but is quite rugged. I thought about buying one of the ultra-light pack canoes, but I decided on the Spitfire, because of its reputation for its durability. I am VERY happy with my decision. I have a good friend who is an expert kayaker who told me early on in my kayaking that when you buy a boat there are three factors: Strength, Weight and Price. You can choose 2. With the Spitfire, you get a very strong and light-weight boat that is beautiful, at a price commenserate with the craftsmanship.

    Customer Service: Wow. I didn’t have the pleasure of going to the factory in person, but boat my boat from Joe and Charlie after discussing it with them directly. These guys are great. There was a problem initially with the delivery plans for my boat, and Joe went way out of his way to make sure I had my boat for the weekend that I intended to first use it. In fact, given that the delivery service bailed on us, I had planned to drive up and pick up the boat, but Joe arranged to deliver the boat to me at the last minute. Awesome personal service. I really appreciated it. Given that I don’t know them and have never even met them face 2 face, I can only conclude that this is indicative to their focus on customers.

    Overall: I rate this boat a 10. For what it is trying to be, which is beautiful, well made, light-weight and strong, it does really, really well. Looking forward to many years of enjoyment.


    I purchased my Spitfire a…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/10/2008
    I purchased my Spitfire a little over 6 months ago and have paddled it over a dozen times in that period. Often when I read these reviews I wonder what the reviewer is comparing the boat in question to. Before purchasing the Spitfire I had paddled large tandem canoes and kayaks, solo kayaks, and Native Craft’s Ultimate 12 – a sort of SOT hybrid.

    My Spitfire has the cobra XLT gunwales and the higher contoured graphite seat and weighs in around 23 lbs. I paddle it with both a double paddle and a single stick. Recently I purchased a Wenonah Solo Plus and paddling the Solo Plus has given me new insight into the Spitfire.

    The Spitfire is a light maneuverable pack canoe with elegant lines and a high-end feel. The workmanship is excellent, the gel coat finish is uniform, the lay-up is smooth and even, and the material is of the highest quality. It has good secondary stability but primary stability is not great. Getting in and out of the boat is a bit dicey, even after months of practice, but once you sit down, put your feet on the foot pegs, and lock your knees against the gunwales you feel a great sense of control and connection to the elements. You engage with the water and waves in an immediate way, as if the hull is an extension of your skin.

    Tracking is typical of a boat this short and unless the trim is carefully adjusted the canoe weathercocks as soon as you stop paddling. I have paddled two short boats and find that both suffer from this problem. It isn’t until you reach 14 feet that tracking noticeably improves. Having said this, with a double blade the Spitfire is easy to keep on course and responds quickly to draws, pries, and sculls. Effective sculling is sometimes counter intuitive in this craft and I still need to work at improving my feel for how to direct the boat in this way.

    My Spitfire is perfect for poking along shorelines and is so light I can carry it on my shoulder for several hundred yards without a second thought. For longer carries, I put a piece of foam on my shoulder and head off. The light weight means I can effortlessly move the canoe on and off my vehicle and over beaver dams and log jams. Dock entry and dry land entry and exits are challenging. I have paddling boots and I highly recommend a pair to give you the freedom to set the boat in 6 inches of water before climbing in.

    The boat has good lines and design, but part of the trade off for small size and low weight is a fairly low top speed before the bow wake develops and you feel the drag that indicates a performance plateau. This is not a fast boat, but certainly the low mass makes acceleration from a standstill better than average.

    If you fish, this boat is worth considering because unlike SOT kayaks, it is ridiculously light and easy to carry around and the performance is better on average than the SOT kayaks I have paddled. You are not going to stand up in this boat, however, so forget punting or fishing from a standing position. I have fished with both a fly rod and a spin caster from this sitting position and like the feel and control. It’s easy to move around a lake and easy to reach gear between my feet. I also like it for photography. I leave my camera on a tripod at the lowest height and set it between my knees. I find it easy to alternate between paddling and taking pictures.

    The Spitfire is an excellent boat for recreational paddling, casual day and weekend tripping, fishing, and carrying to that obscure put-in you’ve had your eye on. It is perhaps the best all round pack canoe on the market and should win awards with the “go light” gang. It is not the obvious choice for long trips or white water. New paddlers will find it tippy at first, but after several hours on the water the return in immediate sensory appeal will compensate for the initial skittery sensations. The only competition for this boat would be one of the feather light boats that weigh in at less than twenty pounds. The extra strength and gel coat of this package is well worth the extra few pounds in my opinion.


    WOW! There's nothing this…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/8/2007
    WOW! There's nothing this boat doesn't do well. Carries and cartops easily, handles wind and waves nicely, turns on a dime, tracks amazingly well for such a short boat and seems to be bulletproof (no Kevlar pun intended). After doing the research and paddling many, I believe this is the finest "pack" canoe (essentially an open-topped kayak paddled with a double blade) on the planet. If you're not paddling huge water with 2+' waves (Placid's RapidFire is better for that), this boat does it all and does it very, very well. You can find a lighter boat, but most are fragile. The SpitFire is a great combination of rugged, good looking and svelte. You can also get fabric spray covers that attach to the topside, making the boat a "convertible kayak." Bravo Placid Boatworks for a great product!

    I've had my Spitfire a little…

    Submitted by: rancec on 4/16/2007
    I've had my Spitfire a little over a year. It's a great sole canoe for rivers and small lakes. It is fairly stable yet very fast and efficient for such a short boat. I am impressed by the boats durability, as I often paddle shallow rivers and steams where hitting rocks and sticks is common. So far the boat has held up extremely well. This boat though labeled a canoe is really a deckless kayak, you sit on the bottom and use a double bladed paddle. It tracks very well and likes a bit of lean to turn quickly. Of course the lightness makes it easy to carry if you like to paddle where a lot people don't go,especially nice for over 50 guys like me. Overall a versatile boat for smaller water and wilderness paddling where your not exposed to big open water.

    After reviewing as many canoe…

    Submitted by: otter8338 on 3/2/2007
    After reviewing as many canoe manufacturer's websites as I could find in my search for a small, light canoe, I settled on a Placid Boatworks SpitFire Pack Canoe at 12 ft.long and 22lbs. of carbon fiber and kevlar. The SpitFire is a "sit-on-the-bottom" canoe, with adjustable footpedals and backband, and molded carbon fiber seat which makes for a remarkably comfortable seating position, even for my chronic lower back problem. The David Yost designed canoe has brought new fun into my paddling after owning at least 20 canoes in my 50+ years of paddling. My SpitFire has a semi-transparent maroon gelcoat, cherry gunnels and a cream colored scuffcoat bottom and is every bit as beautiful as my two wood and canvas canoes. The SpitFire is fast and surprisingly quick to turn, in spite of my minimal double paddle skills, and it glides and glides. It can be lifted out of the water with one hand and shouldered in one easy movement. Since it is designed for use with a 230 cm. double paddle, wind is not the problem it is with a single paddle. I bought Adventure Technology's Xception SL Tour Carbon OS double paddle recommended by Charlie Wilson of Placid Boatworks and it is extremely light(26 oz.), dry and quiet. Think about it, a fast, quick, stable, superlight, and comfortable canoe that is also beautiful to look at. Do whatever you need to do to get one of these canoes.