Quick review: It's cheaper…
Quick review: It's cheaper than most ultralight canoes, handles very nicely, can be set up in many different configurations easily, can be paddled with single or double blade paddles, and is light enough to be transported by a single person with ease. Excellent for long solo trips, shorter 2 person trips, or casual paddling with a few smaller passengers (kids, dogs). You need to be more careful about rocks and other hazards, and setting up the seating can be a bit fiddly at times. But if you don't want to do lots of whitewater this is a versatile boat that makes it easy to get on the water often! Couple all this with good customer service, and I find it easy to highly recommend a Slipstream canoe!
Longer review: This is a very versatile boat! I went for a range of options that increase durability but add weight, and even with all of that plus a kneeling thwart it still weighs just over 30 lbs, meaning I can easily move it around by myself. After mostly traveling in boats that weigh 80 lbs or more, it's astonishing to me to be able to pull this canoe off my car, carry it around through the back yard on one shoulder, and maneuver it down into the basement by myself without straining -- all this means that I will use this canoe a lot!
I was worried about getting a shorter boat, but it has plenty of space for me and two kids plus food for a day trip, or even 2 parents with the kids in the middle for a quick paddle around a pond. It could hold gear for 2 on a longer camping trip. It can be paddled with kayak paddles or single blade canoe paddles -- even from the seating on the bottom of the boat. The low seating makes the boat very stable, which is reassuring to our little ones who are just getting used to the idea -- and to their parents as well. With the kneeling thwart and 2 chairs that can be placed in a number of configurations for solo or tandem use (plus we throw a thermarest pad in the bottom for the smallest passengers to sit on) it's really easy to keep the boat trim by just moving passengers around.
There is a bit of a tradeoff durability-wise -- you can't just load everybody up on the beach and then shove off as the boat needs to be floating before loading it, and rocks and other hazards need to be avoided more vigilantly than with canoes designed to take more of a beating. The modular seating can also be a bit fiddly to install each time (the clip in seats need to be removed for car top transport), but if I'm paddling solo on the kneeling thwart I can simply leave the seats behind and have an even lighter boat to move down to the water. What I gain for these tradeoffs is well worth it to me -- it's a boat that is light enough that it feels easy to use (which means it will get used a lot), short enough to fit in my basement (which means it will last longer and not take up space in our tiny backyard), and versatile enough to allow for quick changes between several seating set ups. It has turned out to be perfect for the ponds and calm rivers closest to us in the city of Boston -- I think it's just about the ideal family boat for us right now, as we can use it .
Stan at Slipstream was very helpful throughout the purchase process. Slipstream has several models and we discussed the kind of paddling I wanted to do before settling on this one. You can order a custom build with your options (they have many colors available, lots of seating and kneeling options, flotation, etc) with no obligation or down payment -- if you show up for a test paddle and don't like your custom boat you can just leave it behind and go find something else. They don't have many paddle options in stock at their storefront, so it might be good to sort that out on your own. They make a broad range of boat models, from Wee Lassies up through longer 16' plus boats, and even a wood duck kayak. If you are in the market for a composite canoe you should really check out Slipstream!
I recently purchased from…
I recently purchased from Slipstream Watercraft their Sportduo 13. It is a double paddle canoe in a hybrid combination of materials. Kevlar and carbonfiber. Very, very lightweight. Cherry gunnels and thwarts. Very high end. Tracks extremely well, fast and of course very lightweight (about 28 lbs). Not inexpensive, but if you are in the market for this type of Canoe I strongly recommend it.
The owners, Stan and Kathy, are very nice and helpful. The product is made to order in upstate NY. I have tried the other two Adirondack built boats using Kevlar and Carbonfiber (Placid boats and Peter Hornbeck) and I find Slipstream to be better quality, better pricing and much better customer service than Hornbeck, for sure.