Read reviews for the Prospector 17.5 by Souris River Canoes as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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I can't say I'm the expert…
I can't say I'm the expert canoeist, but we have been canoeing for 30 years and within this time and throughout Ontario I've had adventures with aluminum Grummans (indestructible work horse that almost killed my back), fiberglass Swifts and kevlar Wenonahs and Scotts.
For last 4 years we are the proud owners of Souris River Protector (We-means me, my wife and our 90 pound dog Petrus ). In my opinion nothing beats Souris's workmanship, stability-primary and secondary and overall quality of paddling.If you also add lack of gelcoat as a bonus of lesser weight you have the canoe for life. The only minor minus is(that's why I gave it 9 not 10), that is somewhat slower than comparable my friend's Scotts or Alchemist fully loaded. Otherwise we can highly recommend Souris to everybody looking for the great canoe.
We acquired this canoe used…
We acquired this canoe used and selected this manufacturer based on presentations i had seen at a camping trade show and recommendations from outfitters in Ely, Minnesota. It has performed as expected being very strong and stable even in rough water.
Just returned from a trip on…
Just returned from a trip on the Churchill River. My Prospector's performance was great! Prior to the trip the Epoxy/Kevlar was showing it's age.(lots of oxidization) I wiped on four coats of diluted exterior polyurethane, sanding in between. The finish came back as close to new as a six/seven year old canoe could.
Performance: Capacity is excellent. Loaded for two weeks plus our 100lb. Malamute the canoe handled and paddled very well. Initial stability is OK but secondary is great. This canoe handled large waves very easily with the bow coming up on top of a wave whether we were quartering,going headon or downwind. We have a sliding bow seat which makes trimming the boat easy.
We were able to backferry and sneak down beside standing waves without a worry. At 55lb portaging is a breeze.
I purchased a Souris River…
I purchased a Souris River Prospector 17.5' in duralite in 1998. We needed a canoe large enough to carry my wife and I and our boys who were 3 and 5 yrs. old at the time.We also wanted a canoe that would be easily portageable yet durable.Before buying this canoe I looked at Wenonah, Old Town, Mad River, and Alumnacraft canoes.I can't believe how happy we are with this canoe. Our Prospector is light weight yet durable,tracks straight and turns well, is stable (this was our 1st canoe purchase) and with 2 small kids moving around provided good primary and secondary stability. We fish from this canoe with ease. This canoe also solos well by removing the front thwart and sitting facing the back of the canoe in the front seat. I use a kid or 2 collapsable 1 gallon water jugs as ballast at the front end of the canoe(which would be the back of the canoe with 2 paddlers).When portaging the jugs can simply be emptied and then refilled at the end of the portage. I wouldn't paddle another canoe as this comes as close to an "all-around" canoe as I have ever seen!
The Souris River Prospector…
The Souris River Prospector 17.5 is perhaps the best canoe I've ever paddled! It has about 3.5" of rocker and handles much like a wood canoe as far as grace on the water is concerned. While caught in the wind on Basswood by Ely, MN, we needed to turn into the wind and I swung the bow around by myself in 2.5' whitecaps. My bow paddler (11-year-old son) didn't have quite the strength to turn sweep or draw in that situation. It also does not feel tippy in choppy water because of the round bottom. The waves pretty much slip right underneath. The Prospector has excellent secondary stability and might feel tippy to paddlers who have left the stable feel of flat-bottomed Grummans however. You also need to actually know paddling technique like a good J-Stroke and feathering. Overall, it tracks well, turns well, carries a big load and portages well. (mine is 44 lbs. in kevlar) The durability of the epoxy resin and flexible rib system is unbelievable. I accidentally dropped it on a round rock and it bounced with no damage other than a scratch. Other kevlar canoes that I've owned wouldn't do that. I'm very happy!