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Sundowner Description

The Sundowner is a canoe brought to you by Wenonah Canoe, Inc.. Read Sundowner 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!

Sundowner Reviews


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Wenonah Canoe, Inc.
Sundowner Reviews

Read reviews for the Sundowner by Wenonah Canoe, Inc. 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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The 18' Sundowner is a fast,…

Submitted by: plaidpaddler on 8/10/2016

The 18' Sundowner is a fast, well rounded canoe. I have three now, in both Kevlar and Fiberglass. The hull layups are Cross-Rib in Kevlar, Cross-rib in fiberglass(1980) and Core-stiffened in fiberglass. They all paddle pretty much the same, the small differences in weight and construction have little effect on the performance.

The Sundowner is fast enough to keep pace with any tandem on a trip. It will not beat the Jensen 18 or Minnesota II in a race with even paddlers. It will easily pull away from any royalex hull or plastic canoe. On a trip this means lots less effort when traveling together with plastic hulls or composites from many manufacturers. The glide is the noticeable feature of this hull. Miss a stroke to grab a snack and it keeps going.

It is very seaworthy, takes waves from any direction without losing its composure. No need to turn bow into the wave unless its huge and breaking.
The turning is good, not WW quality, but closer to the Spirit than the Jensen.
Just a well rounded hull.


I love my Sundowner and have…

Submitted by: NACcharlie on 6/22/2016
I love my Sundowner and have had her for years. She is light, roomy, and can pack more gear than I want or need. The sundowner doesn't need to be loaded up but it helps it track. Without a keel, she can slipsail even with a strong paddler who knows all their strokes. The sundowner is great for 2 people and gear and can handle a young family of 5 with day gear and plenty of fishing gear and snacks. This is not a boat for the novice on large lakes and rivers.

I have had my Wenonah…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/12/2015
I have had my Wenonah Sundowner 18' for nearly 30 years. It is the Kevlar skin-coat version, and is light enough (<50#) that I can carry it myself using the optional portage thwart, which for me is a great feature. The tractor-style seats are very comfortable as is, and they are absolutely wonderful for extended paddling with the addition of the optional gel seat covers!

The canoe's built-in flotation makes it impossible to sink, and even very difficult to swamp (I've tried). It carries everything two people could want for very comfortable, extended camping trips with ease. It is very stable, even when loaded down, and the extremely efficient design makes the miles slide by quickly. It is not as quiet as canoes made of some other materials, when moving gear around, since it is Kevlar with aluminum gunwale, thwarts, seat hardware and rear foot brace, but to me the weight savings is more than worth it.

This canoe once had a 60' tall, 14" diameter pine tree fall on it during a severe storm while it was upside down in the woods, and while there were definitely some significant cracks, the Kevlar sprang right back to the original shape! The cracks in the vinylester resin didn't really even compromise the water-tight integrity or seaworthiness of the hull. Some fiberglass patching, mostly for cosmetics, and to cover up the roughness of the cracks, and the canoe was good to go again! For an 18' tandem canoe, the Sundowner is hard to beat!


replaced '72 16ft 78lb…

Submitted by: paddler236163 on 3/26/2015
replaced '72 16ft 78lb fiberglass canoe with a new 18 ft kevlar wood gunwales sundowner in '94. wife and i have paddled on many tidal rivers and bays around Delmarva. the wildlife we have seen has been extraordinary. My Wenonah Advantage in similar layup is right up there too. love those boats.

A fine canoe. However if you…

Submitted by: paddler236133 on 2/12/2015
A fine canoe. However if you live in Florida do not purchase one with wooden gunwales like I did!!!

I owned a We-no-nah Sundowner…

Submitted by: Shagnasty78 on 9/6/2014
I owned a We-no-nah Sundowner 18 with a Kevlar haul for about 12 years. I used it for racing USCA Standard class and the boat is very fast and easy to steer. It also makes a great tripping canoe that can haul a lot of gear and still perform well. I sold the boat 5 years ago to buy a Minnesota II and although the Minnesota is a great boat I still miss my old Sundowner. If your looking for a great handling canoe the Sundowner is a great buy.

I have a 1987 Sunny 18 that I…

Submitted by: Yetiman on 8/27/2007
I have a 1987 Sunny 18 that I purchased used from a friend at work. It was in absolutely perfect condition. He said he and his wife paddled it three times and she felt uneasy about the stability. They were paddling it empty and are relatively small lightweight people (for Wisconsinites).

For a couple years the boat sat pretty much unused as I have several solo canoes that get used a ton, but then a friend and I were going for a 4 day river trip on the Wisconsin river and decided there was no better tool in my fleet than the Sundowner. We started using it for day paddles and couldn't believe what a joy it was to paddle empty. It's a genuinely fast canoe !

I am used to backpack style camping, bringing minimal gear (what's a sleeping bag?) and generally did the same in a solo canoe or kayak. We decided we had room to do luxury camping in the Sundowner including real folding chairs, a small gas grill and so on. We had a pretty good load going and I was a little nervous about how much less freeboard we had, but the boat paddled great with that 'big car ride' and we made exceptional time.

We even ran into some submerged logs and it handled it with aplomb. We took in a quart of water on a big incident, but the Sunny was very easy to handle in tough times and came away without even a mark. This year we did a similar trip covering 90+ miles in four days at a time when the locals were saying it would be tough going with the low water levels. We packed light to stay high in the water and by staying in the current and off the sand bars we were fairly flying.

I have 9 canoes and kayaks, and while my Wenonah Advantage solo canoe is still the one I paddle the most, the Sundowner is my favorite boat of the fleet when a good bow paddler comes along. I would consider it better suited as a day paddler for average to larger size people than to big gear hauling tripping, but for a bit lighter weight paddlers or if you pack reasonably it makes a fine tripper as well.


I recently purchased my…

Submitted by: paddler231350 on 10/14/2005
I recently purchased my Sundowner 18 used, and I have taken it out several times on the large lake that I live around. It is the standard Tuf-weave version. Overall, I am very pleased with this canoe. I find that it handles very well in both smooth and choppy water, and I was surprised at how well it can be turned for such a long canoe while still having excellent straight line tracking characteristics. The initial and secondary stability are both very good, although it might seem a bit tippy to the total novice, and the paddling ease, speed and glide are much better than one will find in the average run of the mill canoe.

It also holds a lot of payload, and compared to the Old Town Tripper which I previously owned, it is certainly a heck of a lot more fun to paddle! Amazingly, I have found that it even handles well as solo canoe as long as you don't try to go too fast. It is certainly not the ideal solo boat, but it is usable. The weight of my particular canoe is about 65 pounds, and I have little trouble lifting it, although I would probably want to shave off 10 pounds or so if I had to portage it for any distance. All in all, I'll rate this canoe a 10 out of 10, not because it is perfect, but because it is very versatile and does so many things so well.


I purchased my Kevlar…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/2/2005
I purchased my Kevlar Sundowner used a few years ago. The previous owner indicated that his wife (and paddling partner) was freaked by the 'poor initial stability' of the canoe - so he was going back to an aluminum canoe. My experience with this craft however has been very good. We use it primarily for wilderness tripping on flatwater in the BWCAW and Quetico. Two adult paddlers and gear for 11 days fits easily into the canoe. It handles all weather and waves I've tossed at it and tracks well. It's fast, portageable and although it's probably 12 years old now shows no signs of ageing - apart from normal gel coat scratching that comes from this type of use. I've read earlier complaints about bow seat room....neither my 6' brother nor my 6'4" son have ever complained - so let me suggest that this is probably not really an issue. I like it and would recommend it to anyone seeking a tripping canoe. These are commonly available used at reasonable prices.

I purchased my 18' Sundowner…

Submitted by: jon2u2 on 12/5/2004
I purchased my 18' Sundowner in the Ultra-light lay-up back in July of 2001 and have paddled it in many conditions over the past 4 paddling seasons. This is an impeccable boat built by an even more impeccable company. Back when I first purchased this, I had been having a running e-mail conversation with someone at Wenonah on a used and much older model Wenonah canoe I was thinking about purchasing but could find no information on it. In the end I ended up finding and buying a new Sundowner at a great price. I happened to comment to my contact back at the factory that I thought the older models had a little better lay-up quality (cosmetic only). Mike at the factory called to offer me a brand new hand picked hull and to have it delivered right to my house. I really never expected such and extraordinary display of factory support to make a customer happy. My new boat was delivered in perfect condition, and my wife and I have enjoyed this magnificent boat ever since in many types of water conditions and it has always been a flawless performing boat. Very fast, only the kayakers in our club keep up with us, and that's when they're working at it. It tracks like it's on rails, easy to turn with the proper strokes, and stable in even very nasty and confused waters. It also holds a huge amount of gear. A very confident boat for most any flat water conditions you can put it in. Wenonah, thank you for going way beyond that which was required in the first place. Trying to find factory service like that these days is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

I am the proud owner of an…

Submitted by: Warren on 5/8/2001
I am the proud owner of an 18' Sundowner (kevlar). This canoe is without a doubt the most versatile canoe I have ever owned,( I've had eleven different ones). It is amazing in rough water, carries a good load with ease, and is a dream machine to paddle solo. I have yet to put my 2hp Gas engine on it because of the above reasons but I am really looking forward to trying out the antique sail kit I bought at a garage sale. This is one purchase I wish I would have made 20 years ago!

I have a 16 year old 18'…

Submitted by: paddler229063 on 1/22/2001
I have a 16 year old 18' Sundowner that I purchased used about 8 years ago. It was my first of several quality composite canoes. It is Tuf-weave construction and weighs about 70 lbs. . I have paddled it mostly tandem on flatwater rivers and bayous and large, shallow lakes. This is an excellent performing hull. It tracks great even in windy conditions with 2' waves coming from rear at 45 degrees yet it turns quite nicely and responds well to an outside lean. The shallow arch hull with no rocker has very good primary and secondary stability and is fast and efficient. I have never had a problem with speedboat or barge wakes or heavy chop. It has always been a very dry and safe canoe. I think this canoe would be an excellent choice for nearly any touring or tripping application short of heavy or technical whitewater. Of course a lighter kevlar layup would be much nicer to carry or lift. This is a very nice paddling canoe that I have been very satisfied with. Over the years when talking with other experienced canoeist I've never heard anything but good things about the 18' Sundowner. It is a classic.

I am not a fan of this canoe.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/17/2001
I am not a fan of this canoe. I bought a Sundowner 18' used in fiberglass/tuffweave. It is not dry in bigs waves (3') and turns very hard loaded. With a stern wind the boat (hate to call it a canoe) has a very narrow angle to keep it straight. Am considering a Bell Northwoods or a Kruger Sea Wind. I have owned over 30 canoes and kayaks and consider this one my "beater boat!" Would not recommend it for serious paddlers. Perhaps good for muskie fishing as it has good initial and secondary stability. It just is not efficient nor does it handle well.

I have an 18' fiberglass…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/23/2000
I have an 18' fiberglass Sundowner with PVC core stiffening that I've used for tripping for about 15 years. It has great stability, tracks well and can be packed with loads of gear. A real work horse for canoe tripping and camping. Wouldn't trade her for anything.

A wonderful tripping canoe.…

Submitted by: paddler228507 on 5/11/2000
A wonderful tripping canoe. Very fast and stable. Tracks extremely well and carries a butt-load of gear. I have the Tuff-weave (fiberglass) layup and am very satisfied. This is my second canoe. I highly recommend it as a cruiser or tripping canoe. It can easily be paddled all day long.

Just returned from quetico…

Submitted by: richard.m on 8/23/1999
Just returned from quetico and my first opportunity to use my 18' kevlar sundowner. the canoe is everything i expected. tracked great and carried a large load safely thru some big waves. a fine canoe.

The Sundowner was our first…

Submitted by: paddler228006 on 2/22/1999
The Sundowner was our first serious canoe. Since we bought it in "91" we have put well over a 1000 miles on it. I have used it in many type conditions and have loved every mile. We own three other canoes but the "Sundowner" is still our favorite. Built for speed and an excellent tripper. Sure there are newer models but overall the Sundowner is a great Canoe!

Our second canoe and our…

Submitted by: paddler227984 on 1/17/1999
Our second canoe and our last. Stable, tracks well, maneuverable, very light, and quick. A real pleasure to carry and to paddle.

The 18' kevlar Sundowner is…

Submitted by: paddler227942 on 10/1/1998
The 18' kevlar Sundowner is the work horse of our rental fleet here in the Adirondacks. The boat tracks well, is very stable, holds a significant amount of gear and is user friendly for all kinds of canoeists. Our clients also appreciate the weight at 40#s when it comes to the portages! We've been using the Sundowners for 15 years as rentals. They do the job!