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Name: mr_canoehead

Most Recent Reviews

Inexpensive, Light, Tough - you can only pick two! Novacraft went for cheap and tough and the outfitter series is all of that. This canoe is a workhorse, and nearly as heavy! I really like the design, and if you plan on dragging your canoe for miles and hitting every rock you can find, the poly material might be best. For non-outfitters with even a bit of skill, I think other materials offer much better performance. Tuff-Stuff looks to be nearly as rugged at almost half the weight and with better paddling properties . . . and it is repairable. A used Royalex prospector may be found that will again be better. SP3 is adequate, but why settle for adequate when you may have to be portaging this thing for decades!

I bought an old used one last year and have taken it out for a few weeks in total. It is very fast, stable, and responds nicely to edging (though still takes its time to turn). It rolls like a champ, has plenty of volume and nicely sized hatches for packing. I used to think VCP hatches were the way to go, but having used the very easy and adaptable neoprene/hard cover combo on this boat my mind is changing. They are dry, and easy to put on and take off even in the cold. I also used to believe skegs were the only option for "serious" kayaks, but really like how well I can brace on the gas-pedal style rudder pedals. The Seaward rudder system is also very durable. I found I never really needed the rudder but did use it occasionally for a more relaxing ride in strong side wind/waves. The boat sits low and in strong chop I was getting quite a bit of water over my deck, so a good skirt is a must. All the little details make for a great boat - I'm a big fan of Seaward now!

I owned one of these for a while, and highly recommend it for some people. It is stable, and holds more stuff than most reasonable people would take on a canoe trip of any length. It is tough enough, and it is light. I prefer canoes that are a bit more "lively", so personally I prefer something with a bit of rocker for general tripping, or faster for lake tripping, but if you view the canoe as a means to an end, and just want a no-fuss way to haul your family and your stuff, this is an excellent canoe. Also great if you have a dog, or kids, or both, or just like stability and capacity.

I just got my second Greenland style paddle from Joe (sold the first years ago when I sold a kayak...regretted it and bought another). His workmanship is very good, and being quite an accomplished kayaker himself he really understands all the little details that make the difference between a "good enough" paddle and one you will want to use all day. Of course every one is custom and sized just right, but the blade shapes are easy to grip, the dihedral creates great lift with no flutter, and the shaft is ovalized which eliminates hand fatigue. It is lighter than my fiberglass Lendal, and nicely finished with oil which gives it a very soft feel.

This canoe is heavy, and no two weigh the same in my experience. The actual length is 15.5', not the 16 one might expect. The poly is very tough for abrasion, and can handle most impacts really well too, but it isn't as flexible as Royalex/T-Formex/ABS laminates, so if wrapped it will likely be destroyed . . . which brings us to repair which is tricky with the polyethylene boats. The design is quite good for moderate whitewater and the material is stiff enough to perform OK on the flats. In sum if you want to learn whitewater or otherwise bash your boat and you cannot afford a better boat this one is serviceable. That said, Royalex/T-Formex are superior in every way but price, so for most people would be a better value. Once you have learned to avoid most of the rocks, a tuff-stuff expedition laminate is another great choice that will be much lighter and paddle better.

This paddle is just superb. I have several aquabound paddles and their quality/value are always really good, but this Whiskey Carbon is a noticeable step-up from the less expensive alternatives. Whether it is worth the money is of course a personal decision, but I decided to give it a try and am glad I did. I suspect the fibeglass version would perform similarly, with only a tiny weight penalty (plus they look great). I've used several other high-end paddles (Mostly Werner, Lendal, Nimbus) and I would say the Aquabound is every bit as good. Obviously the blades on these things are not as tough as nylon blades, but the difference in stiffness, catch, and swing weight are worth it if you use your paddle for paddling and not as a rock hammer. I expect this one will outlive me barring any foolishness on my part.

I have 2 of the all neoprene models (one fitted, one adjustable) and they are first-rate. My previous sprayskirt leaked, so I ordered one from Brooks and was well pleased with the service, price, and product. Compared to the Seals extreme tour that I had, the Brooks one seems to be thicker and with a much more rugged rand and fabric finish. I expect it will last a very long time. I also have cockpit covers from Brooks and they, too, are excellent.

I bought an old rental Bell Magic and have used it for day paddles around the cabin, on a few short trips, and once with two people in a race. It continues to impress with its ability to shed waves despite being quite narrow and low. I've mounted my seat a bit higher than stock for kneeling, which makes it feel a bit tender when sitting if the water is choppy, but the stability is quite good for such a fast/narrow solo canoe. I really like the design and the workmanship is of course very good as well. Not my favourite canoe because I prefer a bit more rocker and versatility, but in its class (fast lake solos) I'd say it is among the best.

Northwater products are universally well-conceived, well-constructed, and made with the best materials. This tow line system is no exception. There are less expensive products or even homemade contraptions that could also work, but if you want the best and want the reassurance that all the "bugs" will have been worked out Northwater is the way to go. Most of the guides and instructors I have met on the West coast use Northwater gear. Minor details like the no-snag stainless carabiner, perfect burrito wrap stuffing method, and the ability to easily shorten the lead are really appreciated. I bought this as a rescue aid, but have found a few other ways to use it on trips (towing my own boat though shallow marsh, connecting to the boat while swimming). Not cheap, but well worth it, in my opinion.

This is currently my favourite vest. It is well made with nice features, but I like it because it fits so well.