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We ran a little white water on the trips up to non-technical class II rapids. It is great in standing waves and rough water, but it doesn’t have enough rocker, like a Prospector, to tackle any technical river. If I start paddling more technical rivers, I’ll probably get myself a 17 ft. Royalex Prospector or something similar.
I had much trepidation buying a kevlar canoe instead of Royalex. I’m pleasantly surprised that the canoe can take quite a bit of abuse and not have much damage. A little epoxy and sanding will fix any scrapes. Being light, I can load the canoe myself on my pickup truck. A kevlar canoe is the only way to go when you don’t have to deal with many rock gardens.
An unloaded Champlain in the wind is just another name for a sailboat. It’s not a touring canoe unless you go with enough cargo, kids, dogs, etc. to weight it down. Loading makes it an entirely different canoe. I made splash covers for mine and that helps with the wind. Being so large and beamy, it is a very stable canoe, which you have to remind yourself that when switching to another canoe, or you’ll be doing some trout scouting when you do something that wouldn’t be wise on a less stable canoe. That I learned from personal experience in a very wet way.
A Champlain is big, like the crate they ship a Spirit II in, so if you don’t need a big tripping canoe, look somewhere else. However, if you want to take a ten day trip down the Green River in Utah where you have to carry twenty gallons of water, a fire pan, a porta-potty, a variety of food for ten days; the necessities for gracious living like a cooler of beer, a table and chairs, etc., then the Champlain can be just what the doctor ordered.