I discovered Ranger canoe in early summer 2020 while searching for a standard factory-made economy canoe on-line to no avail. It seemed impossible at that time to find anything outdoors related even in the used market. After a little more research on custom canoes I came across Ranger in Ashland, NH, and got on the phone with Michael to discuss availability and options. Michael was very cordial taking time out of his busy shop schedule to discuss every aspect of the Otter canoe without pushing a sale. After some thought and more research on Ranger I called Michael the next day and placed an order-I am very happy I did. Michael advised me on what would be required to pick-up and transport the Ranger canoe on my sedan rooftop being adamant that he would not allow the canoe to be hauled off haphazardly. I agreed and searched for good quality roof racks and tie-downs. (that’s a whole nutha story)
The new roof racks arrived about the same time that Michael finished the new Otter build and once again, he was very helpful in every aspect of the purchase providing his humble expertise on transporting, use and care for this wonderful boat. A trip to beautiful Ashland on a fine sunny summer morning and the new canoe was ready to take delivery. Michael’s shop is amazing and the quality of craftsmanship superb. I arrived with the wrong tie-downs and Mike offered a set with full explanation about the method and ease of use. He also had a set of support brackets to enhance the stability of transporting the canoe which he didn’t push but which made perfect sense and so I added them to the sale and again, so very glad I did.
I have had a few basic plastic sporting store canoes over the years, but this Otter is a great leap above in design, materials, form-fit-&-function, on anything you can buy at the box store outfitters. The canoe’s 52 lb lightweight construction makes it feasible to load and unload solo and its well-crafted hull design makes it a breeze to paddle effortlessly on the lake. The balance point for solo carrying is right about shoulder bearing at the center crossbar. I use the canoe primarily for two-person fishing ponds and small lakes in New Hampshire and occasionally for nature photography to reach those difficult spots unavailable by foot. The canoe is very stable and quite easily maneuvered in calm and light to moderately chopped ponds and smaller lakes. I have not taken it out on larger lakes which I believe are best suited for motorboats and the like. The 5 ***** star review is well deserved and certainly earned. This is a high quality, hand crafted canoe designed with state-of-the-art materials for the utmost canoeing experience and longevity. And though nothing is perfect, I cannot think of any negative points to report at this time, save for the scratching on the front and rear hull points, but that is to be expected of any canoe landing on rocky or pebbly shores. One final thought; dealing with Michael was one of the best customer service experiences of all time ~ Great canoe, great service, great experience. ~Kevin G.