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Cruiser Description

The Cruiser is a canoe brought to you by Sawyer Canoes. Read Cruiser 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!

Sawyer Canoes
Cruiser Reviews

Read reviews for the Cruiser by Sawyer 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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Wow, nice to read these…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/8/2022

Wow, nice to read these reviews. I bought my cruiser back in late 70’s or early 80’s from sawyer in oscoda. It was on sale cause they were starting to make the Kevlar boats. It’s one layer chopped and one laid layer. Little heavy, but great running boat. Was no prob carrying it back in my 30’s, now I’m 70. Back when I was a family man with wife, daughter and large dog it was great. Maybe little tippy so I fashioned an outrigger. With that I was able to stand or board a 90 pound dog. With that and a sears 1.75 hp motor I took it out in Lake Michigan. Lots on Ausable river and many lakes. It’s back home near Oscoda at my daughter and son-in-law’s A frame cottage. Great canoe.


Amazing canoe. Bought it new…

Submitted by: paddler1552563 on 6/11/2021

Amazing canoe. Bought it new in 1986 & still paddling it in 2021. Has bucket seats w sliding bow seat & a Teal yoke. Use bent shaft paddles & some good technique tracks like an arrow, very fast & turns on the dime. Won many canoe races & been a multi-level expeditions w my Cruiser. Was amazing when I bought it & still is today


Found an old Cruiser on…

Submitted by: Techammer on 8/13/2018

Found an old Cruiser on Craigslist. $300 and the guy even threw in a couple of nice Sawyer T-handle paddles. As advertised, the Cruiser is quick as a bunny and tracks like an arrow. It's a little more work to steer, of course, but a stern rudder or sweep does the trick every time. In Goldenglass, it's 66 lbs--not bad for an almost 18-foot boat--but the bike-wheeled loader i fashioned out of an old two-seat baby stroller makes moving it easy. My wife informs me that we're never selling it. I suppose that if someone offered to swap for the Kevlar version we might consider it, but until then this is a permanent member of the fleet.


Bought this boat back in…

Submitted by: anchorh on 9/5/2014
Bought this boat back in 1980. It still goes like a scalded cat, irrespective of load (and I have really loaded it). I cannot conceive of a better tripping canoe, except to do it in Kevlar for weight purposes (mine is glass). If you can find one, Buy It.

just got a used Cruiser in…

Submitted by: paddlepack on 8/20/2014
just got a used Cruiser in almost new condition, can't believe how easy the boat is to paddle, but the real surprise is how stable the boat is, a really fast boat that is not tippy at all, hope to enjoy my Cruiser for many years, a real keeper

My Cruiser is 35 years old.…

Submitted by: paddler235665 on 7/3/2014
My Cruiser is 35 years old. Has been in the Boundary Waters and Quetico many times. It is a joy to paddle, carries a load and is a reasonably easy portage. It does, however, have a low freeboard and will swamp too easily in rough water if you don't stay right with the waves. If you stay right, however, it will ride great. During an Everglades trip, it survived a small craft warning in the Gulf of Mexico, but it was being surfed by an experienced surfer. But, it's not a boat for beginners in rough water.

Several years ago I spotted…

Submitted by: Springlake on 8/22/2013
Several years ago I spotted an old fiberglass Sawyer Cruiser in the back lot of a boat (powerboats) shop. After seeing it there for several weeks, I approached the owner about buying it. It had been wrapped around a rock and was severely damaged, so he sold it to me for $50. I straightened the aluminum gunwales as best I could and spent another $100 on fiberglass and epoxy resin. It's not pretty, but man does it paddle!

I also own a Wenonah Jensen 18 in kevlar, a boat renowned for its speed, but the Cruiser feels faster. So much so that I picked the Cruiser to use in a small, local canoe race. My brother-in-law and I, who were both about 50 at the time, took first place, beating out a bunch of college-aged guys. Of course most of them were paddling assorted Royalex boats, but still....


I bought a new Sawyer Cruiser…

Submitted by: paddler234483 on 4/7/2012
I bought a new Sawyer Cruiser as a promotion with an outdoor clothing company back in '74. I did not know how great it was until I sold it and bought others. I bought it back. I use it and others I made of kevlar with it as a mold for trips with family and friends to the Quetico each year. It makes no sound or wake and can be paddled for hours. One stroke and it will out coast all others. Very stable. Best there ever was!!!!

I bought a slightly damaged…

Submitted by: paddler234439 on 2/22/2012
I bought a slightly damaged (shipping damage) Sawyer Canoe around 1965 from an outfitter who normally would have rented the unit. He thought the Sawyer may have been too light duty for rental... sold it new-but-damaged for $200. I posted the Sawyer people about the damage asking for a repair kit...they sent some factory scraps with hand written instructions how to use the materials. The "patch" was successful and never was a problem.

I am not sure the canoe was called a 'Cruiser' back was just big and very stable... weighed around 70 lbs...around 19 ft. long. I carried that canoe on a Volkswagen bug...very handy as the canoe could be easily handled by 2 people standing upright both ahead and behind the car at the same time. Used it for fishing, floating, lake cruising many years. It had molded seats that were very comfortable.

Only problem I ever had it was hard for one person to paddle as it was so long. Once took some boy scouts to a lake where they were to practice uprighting a turned-over canoe...the trip was a bust because they could not make the canoe overturn! Lost that canoe to an x-wife who only wanted it because she knew I would have kept it forever, if possible. She just left it out by the alley until somebody finally stole it. Hope they appreciated what a prize they got.


I bought a new cruiser in…

Submitted by: paddler234067 on 6/20/2011
I bought a new cruiser in 1982. Easily the fastest, quietest, and easiest to paddle canoe I've ever been in. Excellent secondary stability. Tracks better than all others with its asymmetrical design. Had no problems handling it by myself, even though it was nearly 18 feet long. I once got within a few feet of a muskrat because the only sound produced was by the few drops of water falling off my paddle. Sold it because of a 1500 mile move. Wish I still had it. Would like to buy another one to teach my 12-year-old son, but they are now $1750 which is too much for us. If you can find a used one and don't need a quick turning canoe for white water (for example) buy it, you will not regret it.

I bought my Sawyer Cruiser…

Submitted by: paddler232787 on 7/30/2008
I bought my Sawyer Cruiser after my first year of teaching in 1974. I just retired from teaching after 35 years and still have the Sawyer I bought so many years ago. I no longer take it to the boundary waters due to weight, but do take trips with it at our cabin in Rhinelander, Wis. What a wonderful canoe it has been.
Thanks Ted for introducing me to canoeing and Sawyer canoes.

My dad bought a fiberglass 17…

Submitted by: paddler232768 on 7/23/2008
My dad bought a fiberglass 17 foot Cruiser in the mid to late 70's.
As of 2008, it has seen a lot of use and has scars to prove it. We bought it from a real expert and it came highly touted as being fast and easy to paddle. I have not found it to be that tippy. My only problem with it is that it is a bit heavy, but it more than makes up for it by the way it paddles - effortless and fast. A couple of friends borrowed it for a very large but amateur race about 20 years ago. They took first place. Last weekend they borrowed it again for the same race. Same results even though they are pushing 50 now. I would buy another one if they still made them.

I own a Sawyer Cruiser…

Submitted by: canoe64 on 6/12/2007
I own a Sawyer Cruiser expedition Kevlar layup I purchased from the factory as a blem, no ID markings. I have paddled this boat most of Algonquin Park, The Albany River, Missinabi River, all of the Adirondack park, the General Clinton 70 miler and the Adirondack Classic 90 miler. This is the finest canoe I have ever paddled,it does everything right. They say one canoe can't do it all well this one comes pretty close.

the vaccuum packed divincell…

Submitted by: paddler231818 on 9/25/2006
the vaccuum packed divincell foam, with with a layer of carbon kevlar and "s" glass and kevlar are what make up an awesome Sawyer canoe, I made over 4000 chop boats at Sawyer and approx. hand layed 200 canoes at Sawyer. I worked there from 1988 to 1992, and proud to say it was an experience of a lifetime. Long live Sawyer, I just wish I would of made one for my self. Sawyer Laminator Matt Raymond

Have paddled a fiberglass…

Submitted by: paddler231227 on 8/2/2005
Have paddled a fiberglass Sawyer Cruiser for almost 30 years, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Yes, it's heavy. Yes, it wears on the portages. But does it fly! With the boat fully loaded, my 13-year-old son and I can outdistance two macho guys on a lake, every time. And it tracks true. You do need some technique to turn this baby -- best bet, bow paddler rudders, turning canoe away from the rudder. The canoe grabs some wind, and it can be a hassle to paddle near the eye of a strong wind, but if it's a lake you gotta canoe, this is your fly ride. Good luck finding one.

It was July 1996 when my wife…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/22/2003
It was July 1996 when my wife and I walk into Sawyer Canoe co. in Oscoda Mi. We were wanting a canoe bad. We hoped to get a used one and be on the Ausable river that day. We were told they didn't have any used or new canoe's just then because they were getting ready for a big rental. When he saw the bumbed out looks on our faces he said he did have a canoe in the back room. But it had some cosmetic blemishes. We went back to look and there sat a Cruiser Expedition Kevlar Canoe. 17"9' golden clear color. Now we wanted a Canoe REAL BAD. List price of the canoe in the 1996 Retail price guide was $1760.00 Add the sliding bow seat and there sat an $1810.00 canoe. This was way more than we had planned to spend when we left the house that morning. With the cosmetic blemishes considered he gave us a price considerably lower than list. I said I needed to speak with my financial advisor (wife) so we stepped outside. 30 seconds later we went back in to buy our first canoe. It has been one of, if not the best investment we have ever made. Can't compare it to others because the only other canoe's we'd been in were aluminum rentals. In the last 6 years we have spent countless hours on the Ausable River and shore line of Lake Huron. We have never tipped but I have had others in the bow and it can be a little tippy when empty until you get used to it. It's fast, smooth through the water and turns as well or better than I would expect for something this long. I have their 1996 retail price list and catolog.

The Cruiser is a sheer…

Submitted by: paddler230361 on 9/17/2003
The Cruiser is a sheer delight to paddle. Great for day-tripping or a weekend. It tracks really well but it is NOT a easy boat to turn as compared to others I have paddled. Also, because of the hard lines (below the water) on the bow and stern, which make it track so well, when used in moving water such as a stream, the water has greater purchase on the hull than other more rounded bow & sterned boats and this causes it to swing with the current more easily. It's tender on center and this causes inexperienced paddlers some anxiety. Also, in windy conditions, she will ship a little water where the bow lowers but only occasionally and not enough for concern. Fast and smooth...nothing paddles like a Sawyer Cruiser.

I've had my cruiser for nine…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/28/2003
I've had my cruiser for nine years, and nothing can touch it across the lake. It used to be advertised as a canoe that paddled effortlessly, this is true, compared to others that I have paddled. The slight flare does keep most waves out, and she tracks super straight. This canoe is a pleasure to paddle.

I would have to agree with…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/19/2003
I would have to agree with all the posts here. The Cruiser is an excellent canoe,fast yet easy to turn. However it wasn't Ralph Sawyer who designed the boat, it was Lynn Tuttle. Lynn used to hang out with Ralph Frese at the Chicagoland Canoe Base and admired Ralph's Canadian 17 that he designed. So he took the lines of the Canandian and lofted it out to 17'10" to make it a little faster and lowered the sides a bit to give it less of a windage profile but also making it less sea worthy in choppy seas. Lynn's primary interest was marathon racing and the Cruiser was and still is a great weekend racer. Altohugh Sawyer went out of business in the mid 90's the boat is now available from Swift Canoes. I spotted one at the Chicagoland Canoe Base over the weekend and it was very apparent to me that Swift is doing a great job of building this classic.

Love it! Swift, turns on the…

Submitted by: paddler230188 on 6/11/2003
Love it! Swift, turns on the dime and hold a great load! Love the bucket seats and the teal yoke on mine. Portaging with it is even "fun".

Have owned a Cruiser…

Submitted by: geodino on 3/6/2003
Have owned a Cruiser purchased in Madison, WI in 1985. First canoe purchase after building and paddling kayaks. Took it into the BWCA last two years. Looking for a Kevlar replacement (or sister boat, don't want to give up the red one). Just need a lighter model than the Goldenglass layup. It's great to read that other folks have the same great satisfaction with the Cruiser. Ultimate compliment: paddling along side of my experienced BWCA paddling friend on Knife Lake, he confessed the Cruiser was so much easier, faster and efficient. He had taken a borrowed Cruiser in the BWCA for 4 of the past 6 years. It continued to confirm my "Dumb luck" choice for a canoe in 1985. As the years accummulate on me and my Cruiser, I'm looking for a Kevlar version. Did Sawyer make a Kevlar version? Are they still our there? Anything else come close in performance?

My wife and I purchased our…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/18/2002
My wife and I purchased our Cruiser new in the early 80s at a Canoe show in Madison, WI. The salesman told us it was the Cadillac of canoes. We figured this would be the closest we would come to purchasing a Cadillac and loved canoeing so we made the investment.

I don't know if Cadillac is the correct analogy but this is the fastest and easiest canoe that I have ever paddled! We took a class from someone at the show on "power paddling" and put that technique to work. It gets up to speed quickly wether empty or full. It is always a pleasure to "pump wood" in this boat and glide through the water.

I also disagree that this boat "turns on a dime" though. Most of our paddling is flat water but recently we took a multi day trip down to the Current river in Missouri. The gravel and many turns really took its toll. A gel coat break the first day resulted in a leak that required a makeshift patch on the river. But overall the boat handled the load, rapids, and rough water well.

My only gripe is that the gel coat is so fragile. I guess that's the price you pay for speed. If I could find a boat that was nimble, fast and indestructible I would be in heaven. But I think Physics is against me.


I recently purchased a blue…

Submitted by: canoeracer on 6/1/2001
I recently purchased a blue Sawyer Cruiser. I bought it to use tripping, because it will carry a big load and paddles easily. It tracks good on big lakes and turns easily on narrow shallow streams. When my dad started racing in the late 1960's, the first boat he raced was a Sawyer Cruiser. I am very proud to own one of these collector canoes.

My dad is a expert canoe racer. When we went to New York to pick it up the man thought he would have to teach us to use the canoe. When we pulled up the man was surprised to see the Pro canoes on top of our van!


I am still using on a regular…

Submitted by: paddler229037 on 12/22/2000
I am still using on a regular basis an 18 year old fiberglass Cruiser on several of the most beautiful lakes in So. Illinois (Cedar Lake, Devils Kitchen, and Little Grassey). I now paddle alone and now use a Mohawk kayak paddle while sitting low in middle . . . works great, especially in windy conditions, and moves faster than when two are paddleing, although I can't quite keep up with the kayaks. A really great and quite stable boat.

About an hour ago, I bought…

Submitted by: paddler228609 on 5/14/2000
About an hour ago, I bought the Sawyer Cruiser for $125. I am here in Fairbanks, Alaska, and didn't know what I bought until I just read the articles above. It is an old canoe. It looks like a fine one. I also have an Old Town Ospry and it really skins up it's hide easily on the gravel and rocks here. I have to be so careful with it. I wanted this because it was so reasonable in price, and I think I ended getting a classic. Thanks for the imput which others have given. I am now excited waiting for the ice to melt on our favorite lakes near Fairbanks.

Having paddled an 18'Old Town…

Submitted by: paddler228453 on 2/13/2000
Having paddled an 18'Old Town for years while tripping and camping with the family, I received a call from my brother that he saw a canoe for sale. Turned out to be a Sawyer Cruiser 17'9" that the owner "found" hanging in a barn on some property he had just purchased. Almost fainted when I saw what he had (and in pristine condition) How did it get here from Oscoda,Mi.? .Took it out for a spin right then and there still covered with dust. It was late evening as the sun was setting here in Louisiana as I experienced for the first time what a well designed canoe is all about. Both of us had been missing out on the feel of traversing water and I'm not sure who was the happiest. I designed and installed a cane solo seat which I tilted lower in the front for paddling in a kneeling position. I do not hesitate to cross open areas and Lakes anymore. This hull is fast, low, and I must say designed to go in a straight line. Recently I joined a paddling club and a gentleman who owned a canoe sales and rental business caught up to me in a Kayak and expressed his utter amazement that the Sawyer was so fast. Its a great boat if you can still find one. I called the company about a year ago and was fortunate enough to catch one of the owners who was gracious enough to give me the history on the company and some insight on Ralph Sawyer(7 time world olympic champion) Sawyer stopped advertising in the buyers guides that I've collected the last 15 years, so good luck if your in the market. Not sure if there even still in business. He told me something I will never forget. He said, "Son, you better hold on to it, you got yourself a classic." Oh yes,It's fiberglass,aluminum gunwales, and molded tractor seats!

Agree emphatically with…

Submitted by: paddler228402 on 1/4/2000
Agree emphatically with following reviewers with one exception, I can't agree that it turns on a dime. I am on my second Cruiser. It will even paddle passably as a solo, by sitting on the middle thwart, and the lines are so pretty! My first was glass-and-alum.trim; my current is Kevlar and wood, and I think the wood, on this canoe, carries one's mind easily back to the Algonquin days. A warning that a new canoeist will not be happy with the wobbliness of the Cruiser when you first get in an empty one. Be patient, you'll adapt, and you won't mind after you feel how fast it goes, on relatively little effort.

The Sawyer Cruiser...this is…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/22/1999
The Sawyer Cruiser...this is what canoeing is all about. I bought my first Cruiser about 15 years ago, after paddling a borrowed one. This solidly built canoe has taken me, my wife and family throughout the Everglades on extended trips with heavy payloads or pleasant day trips. Another reviewer has mentioned its incredible tracking, and I agree. A person can paddle this canoe all day without becoming exhausted. It is a dry canoe...on the Everglade's Wilderness Waterway in open bays we have encountered 25 knot headwinds churning up rolling whitecaps. The Sawyer Cruiser glides through such seas with ease, and very little water comes aboard. Stability is excellent. We have also paddled the Delaware River in the Cruiser, and enjoyed it in the river environment. Most of all, it has been our family canoe. It has held my wife, myself, our 15 year old daughter and 4 year old son and gear for a 4 day trip. Now this did take some planning and packing, but once we got that figured out, the Cruiser took the load and we cruised. The only problem that I ever had as far as a quality issue is that after about 6 years, one of the plastic tractor style seats cracked. At the time, I called Sawyer, and they immediately sent me not one, but two replacement seats gratis. I have replaced some rivets that were corroded by the salt water, but I consider that normal wear and tear for a canoe this age. Canoes in the 'glades take a lot of abuse due to the oyster bars in some of the murky flats. It has been an easy matter to lay up some fiberglas mat and patch up the abrasions in the Goldenglas. Over the years I have bought two other Cruisers, and have taken novices canoeing in the Everglades using these canoes. This is a perfect boat to introduce a person to this activity with the least chance of equipment anxiety. They obviously kept it simple at Sawyer, and the Cruiser is art in the water. Incidentally, anyone planning a trip to South Florida and the Everglades who would like a little e-feedback on trails or trips, drop a line. This is one of the best places in the world for a canoe (in the cooler months, anyhow).

I have owned a cruiser for 15…

Submitted by: paddler228302 on 9/27/1999
I have owned a cruiser for 15 years. Paddled on numerous trips in Quetico, it is a pure joy to move through flat water. Its ease of paddling makes it a great boat to cover long distances without tiring out, even against the wind. Its one minor drawback (very minor to be sure) is the lack of flare in the fore. In heavy waves it will take on some water when loaded for an extended trip. This would never stop me from enjoying its benefits.

An astonishingly fast boat…

Submitted by: paddler228166 on 7/9/1999
An astonishingly fast boat for its length. Once brought up to speed it seems to glide forever. Turns on a dime yet tracks very well. At home in either lake or whitewater. I had a kevlar 18' 6" racer that I do not believe was any faster than this boat. The only complaint I have is it could be a little stiffer. Tremendous all round boat that certainly embraces its name of "cruiser" - although it remains a mainstay of the Sawyer market - it is still a best kept secret and deserves to be rated among the best cruising boats ever built.