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Name: Puddface

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I posted a glowing review of Mohawk paddles a few months ago [2015-09-08] but apparently Mohawk has changed the type of plastic they now use. Our first pair of Mohawk single blade paddles were awesome and stood up to years of use and abuse on rocky whitewater over 25 years of use. Unfortunately we lost one earlier this year and bought a replacement from Mohawk. I noticed immediately that the new plastic was not as rigid as our originals but dismissed that as no big deal. I even thought it might be an advantage when paddling. Regardless, we only used the new paddle one time because when we tried to go the second time we were stunned to discover that the paddle blade was actually broken! It must have been stepped on or damaged during the shuttle but for the life of me I can't imagine what happened. All I know is that I had put the first pair of paddles through hell for a long, long time with no problem.

Clearly, the new Mohawks are less durable than the old. Having said that, they probably aren't any worse than the Carlisle's or other popular brands. Still kicking myself for losing that original Mohawk (even though I'm not the one who lost it).

I've been paddling seriously (tandem mostly) for about 30 years. My first paddles were cheap wooden things that I quickly replaced with a pair of Mohawk 8" blade paddles. These paddles are a tremendous value (about $20 each) but even more amazing than the price is their durability! Most of my paddling has been on whitewater, often on shallow creeks where your paddle hits rock. On occasion, I've had to use my paddle to push the canoe away from surface rocks.

In short, I have not gone easy on these paddles, and they still perform like new. I love the T-grip which is ideal for hooking onto wayward gear and especially painters. Mohawk paddles are comfortable to use, and best of all I like their feel. I recently lost my wife's original paddle and quickly bought a new Mohawk. I was pleased to see that the design and quality has not changed.

The Old Town Tripper is the perfect all around canoe. It's built for wilderness camping and with its 1300 pound capacity it can handle all the gear you would ever dream of taking along. Its sharp entry line makes it reasonable fast and easy to paddle. Being a large boat it is very stable and perfect for beginners. The shallow arch hull design gives it excellent secondary stability, (meaning you remain very stable even when leaned on its side.) It has moderate rocker, which together with the shallow arch design make it a surprisingly good boat for whitewater.

I bought mine new in 1987, and have paddled it extensively on Class II-III stuff, and on a small handful of Class IV rapids too. Its hull is made of Royalex which makes it extremely durable. Believe me, I've hit a LOT of big rocks including one memorable collision on Devil's Jump on the Big South Fork. That left a little scar, but that's it.

For a long boat, it turns well. Credit that again to the moderate rocker, plus the fact that it has no keel. (Unless you plan on paddling nothing but lakes, I would not own a boat with a keel. Just don't do it.)

The only negatives I would note are that it is heavy to portage (about 85 pounds) but that's to be expected of a high volume 17 foot long boat with a 15" depth. That depth can also work against you on a windy lake. Learn to treat the wind as you would current, and it becomes much less of an issue.

In summary, the Old Town Tripper is just a great all around boat. I've owned many boats but my Tripper has always been our favorite. I've literally paddled it on hundreds of trips and probably over 2,000 miles. She still looks good for her age, but more importantly she still performs like new.

This is an addendum to the review I posted 10 years ago.
I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I actually love my Tripper more today than when I first wrote about her. This year mark's her 25th anniversary and she's still in great shape. I don't paddle much Class III stuff anymore, but still run Class II several times a year and take her canoe camping too. The front skid plate needs replacing, but after 25 years, approximately 200 trips, and nearly 2,000 miles I won't complain about a little maintenance.

There's really only two things you need to know about the Tripper - first, when I bought it my canoeing mentor chastised me saying it was too long and too hard to turn. That was in 1987 before he'd ever paddled it. Now that he has paddled it a few times he no longer says such things. Secondly, as an avid canoeing evangelist I have recruited more than a few people to the sport over the years. Many of my paddling friends fell in love with canoeing in the Tripper and I hear them comment all the time that they wish they had one.

I (along with all my other paddling friends) used to snicker at the sight of folks paddling a Coleman canoe. We would refer to them as "coolers", as in "Look out, here come a couple necks in a cooler." However, I learned to set aside my Royalex snobbery after actually paddling a cooler on the Emory Obed in January. This was many years ago when I was still learning to boat, and really shouldn't have been paddling Class III rapids - especially in a Coleman. But the darn thing actually impressed me - not with it's handling, but with it's strength. We broached it on a rock less than a mile from the Emory's confluence with the Obed and couldn't get it freed for quite a while. I am still amazed that it did not fold under a great deal of current for about an hour. Later my partner and I ran fast and hard straight into a jagged rock that I thought would rip into the bow; but it didn't. It only left a nasty dent that miraculously nearly disappeared within a week. I love my Old Town Tripper (royalex, 17' 2") but I have respect for the Coleman "cooler" canoes. Of course, I'd never own one though.