Prospector 17

by  Trailhead

Prospector 17 Description

The Prospector 17 is a canoe brought to you by Trailhead. Read Prospector 17 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!

Prospector 17 Reviews

Read reviews for the Prospector 17 by Trailhead 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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A tough canoe made for the…

Submitted by: jstefany on 7/27/2020
A tough canoe made for the wilderness. It moves gracefully in the rapids and can handle the large waves on a windy lake paddle. I would recommend this canoe to anyone who is interested in a tripping canoe.

I have owned a Trailhead…

Submitted by: jstefany on 5/3/2020
I have owned a Trailhead Prospector canoe for over 14 years. It's been on the Hudson's Bay, down level 3+ rapids and skimmed across calm glassy lakes. It has been used as a bridge, tent, windbreak, and umbrella! Although not the fastest canoe out there, it gets along well on flat water and is ready to respond when we need a ferry on a fast moving river. It's been wrapped, banged, dragged and is still strong and resilient. If you are looking for a faithful tripping canoe, I, without reservation, recommend the Trailhead Prospector.

Awesome canoe. Rugged,…

Submitted by: jstefany on 7/19/2019

Awesome canoe. Rugged, dependable, able to leap buildings in a single bound!!! Had my Prospector for over 10 years. On lakes, rivers, the ocean... dragged over ledges, slid down steep banks.... always comes up smiling. It's like an old friend. Love my canoe!!!


I have two Trailhead…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/31/2018

I have two Trailhead Prospector ABS canoes..... a 16 and 17'. They have been on trips in the Yukon, NWT and Nunavit. They both are workhorses and have "rescued" me from many precarious situations. They track well, handle great in big water but also can move gingerly in technical stuff. Both have been wrapped but they come up smiling and ready to go again. Would I recommend either of these canoes? In a heartbeat. Having traveled literally thousands of miles in these guys, they really do become your third partner. Thanks Trailhead for this product and the many wonderful memories I have of paddling these versatile canoes!!! Jack


Awesome canoe. I've owned it…

Submitted by: jstefany on 7/1/2015
Awesome canoe. I've owned it for 10 years and have paddled all 3 territories and 4 northern prairie provinces with it. The best word to describe it is dependable. It moves great through the rapids and tracks decently on flat water.

Would I recommend this canoe for tripping? Without a doubt.


I've had my Trailhead 17'…

Submitted by: jstefany on 7/2/2014
I've had my Trailhead 17' Prospector for 7 years now. It has been scraped, banged, bumped and basically abused during that time. It's taken me through 4 provinces and 3 territories. Apart from changing the kevlar skid plates, it's remained maintenance free. It's become like an old faithful friend that just keeps on giving. At 60 years old now, I think I will wear out before my Trailhead does!I would recommend this canoe to any tripper that wants a canoe they can rely on when the going gets tough. Paddle on!!

I bought my used 17'…

Submitted by: jstefany on 7/24/2013
I bought my used 17' Trailhead Prospector from Churchill River Canoe Outfitters 7 years ago. Tough, rugged, dependable... a workhorse is how I would describe this canoe. While tough, it also handles big water and is decent on flat water. If you are looking for a canoe to get you through some mean looking water, get this one.

I have had one for a couple…

Submitted by: mr_canoehead on 5/15/2006
I have had one for a couple of years and find it to be really well suited to mixed tripping. I'll try not to confuse the rating of this canoe with prospector canoes in general. Prospectors are all good at combined flat/moving water. None of them track well, and they all tend to be nice solo boats. I like Trailhead's design because it is deeper than the others and it is adequately stiff. This stiffness also holds its strong rocker, making it very responsive. I prefer this canoe to an Old Town tripper in whitewater and big waves. I suspect a tripper would be faster if paddled hard.

Compared to my Mad River explorer, there is no contest - the prospector is a better tripper. Compared to the XL Tripper, the prospector is more maneuverable and lighter, but both perform well on big lakes (I'd take the prospector and put a spray cover on it). Compared to the Nova Craft Prospector, the trailhead boat is a bit stiffer and deeper, but not quite as flat, so it has a bit less initial stability.

I give it a nine so I have room to credit any new boats. It is my favourite tripping boat right now, though.


I recently completed a 155km…

Submitted by: pawistik on 6/29/2004
I recently completed a 155km trip on the Paull & Churchill Rivers in northern Saskatchewan using a rented 17' Prospector in Royalex loaded with two paddlers and gear for 9 days. These rivers are basically sections of flatwater connected by rapids.

I found that the Prospector was hard to handle on the flatwater and open lakes where we had lots of side and quartering tail winds. It seemed that almost every stroke required a fair bit of correction on it in order to maintain a straight line. It really didn't matter how the canoe was trimmed fore to aft, it still wanted to turn in the wind. I thought it was just me for most of the trip, but then one of the others paddling a 16' version complained of the same problem.

In the whitewater, this canoe did handle quite well. My main point of reference is a fiberglass 17' Clipper Ranger which is much easier to track a straight line while still being capable in moving water. I rented the royalex canoe because the Paull River is shallow and rocky and it was very nice to have something that slid over the rocks so well without worry. I found the weight to be heavy (compared to fiberglass), but manageable over the long rough portages we encountered. In comparison to the other Royalex canoe I have paddled, the OT Tripper, I was much happier with the Trailhead Prospector.

In the end I was glad to have spent several days in this canoe under a variety of conditions because I now know that I should try a few other designs before I purchase a royalex tripping canoe.


I have owned a wood trimmed…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/20/2002
I have owned a wood trimmed Prospector 17 for two years. It is an excellent white water tripping canoe in Royalex. The hull design is taken from the Chestnut Prospector. This is a big water wilderness tripping canoe, a bit narrower and a bit deeper than the old town tripper. It is heavy but handles very well in both flat an white water. Very nice hull design. Faster than you would expect. Trailhead is a Canadian company located in Ottawa. They do not sell these canoes in the U.S. A trip to Ottawa is well worth it. Also available in 16' and in kevlar layups.

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