I am 56 years old and I have been an active boater…
I am 56 years old and I have been an active boater for the past 35 years. And without a doubt my best investment in outdoor equipment has been my Clipper Canoe. She is now 30 plus years old and going strong which says a lot as some may classify me as a "certified" boat abuser. Life is short and worrying about scratches and various damage to your boat just detracts from the outdoor experience. Remember, just about anything can be repaired on a fiberglass boat with minimal skills.
I have been in many canoes over the years and still prefer the Clipper over all others and here is why.
* My Clipper is made of what seems to be indestructible fiberglass. The bow and stern has sustained the most damage from beaching but that is easily reinforced with fiberglass from time to time. The boat even sustained a folding of the front 1/3 as an untied bow line on the boat was not tied to the car. The car took off and ran over the line and folded the boat over the car rack. It snapped the gunnel but the fiberglass shell was "fine".
* The plastic tractor seats may look cheap as compared to the classic cane seats but they are so much more comfortable and durable. Also the seats are set below the gunnel making for better stability.
* My clipper came with foot braces that make for better stability. With these braces you feel more at one with the boat and are able to brace with more confidence as well as paddle with more power.
* At 16' my boat seems to have the right combination of width and length to ride up and over most heavy wind whipped waves without spearing through the waves.
* The weight of the Clipper is reasonable and I have always done the carrying of my boat myself as it just seems easier and I am not a big guy...5'6" tall.
* Carrying capacity is great. Surely I have over loaded this boat many times and it always performed like a trooper.
My Clipper has gone on rivers, lakes, surfing the waves in Santa Cruz, and even open water fishing in the Pacific Ocean. Sure, it does not look as pretty as when new but I am confident that my son will some day use this boat, when I am long gone, and tell stories, to his kids, about the adventures he and Grandpa had in the now faded Clipper canoe.
Again...best outdoor equipment buy I ever made!
I have owned the Tripper S in Kevlar for three years and…
I have owned the Tripper S in Kevlar for three years and paddle about 50d per year – a mixture of lakes and rivers with two circuits of Bowron Lakes (one solo, one tandem). I am a lifelong paddler (late 50s), and I have been in love with canoes before (cedar canvas prospector, Royalex Light prospector).
The Tripper S is a great canoe for me -- 90% of my paddling is solo. It is light, loads and portages easily. It is fast through the water, tracks well and handles waves. Somewhat slower turning is the compromise for tracking, so better for flat water than whitewater. Kneeling to paddle solo is a fantastically stable – pad your knees.
In tandem paddling, both paddlers should have experience or at least coordination. The Tripper S is not forgiving of a large, inexperienced and uncoordinated paddler. If all my paddling was tandem, I think I would still want my Tripper S. If all my paddling was tandem tripping, I would go for the Tripper.
So why 10/10? It seems like this canoe was custom built for me.
I was at first reluctant to offer a review because I am…
I was at first reluctant to offer a review because I am a beginning canoeist. But then I saw some reviews of interest giving new canoeist's first impressions. Besides, despite numerous reviews of Western's classic Tripper model, there was no review of the Tripper "S". Just be aware that this is not a comparison because I have virtually nothing to compare my boat to. The Tripper S is one foot shorter and slightly narrower than Western's classic Tripper. It is a combination (compromise?) solo/tandem. Besides two of Western's highly regarded bucket or tractor seats, it has a sloped kneeling thwart for solo paddling. This encourages, requires, the soloist to assume the traditional kneeling posture. Good for stability - I love that about it. Not so good for tired old knees - I've taken up canoeing at the end of my sixth decade. I found it difficult to get canoe information living in the heart of sea kayak country/waters (Vancouver Island, British Columbia). But I persisted and went to the source, Western's home location in Abbotsford, B.C. Having sold a sailboat because I could not raise a crew in my family, I still vacilated over solo vs. tandem canoe. The Tripper S offered the solution allowing me to get experience both ways. Canoeing has been great this first summer! In the first month I was probably on the water more times than I had been in two and half years of sailboat ownership. The Tripper S afforded a trauma-free start for a beginner guided only by several how-to books. It is reasonably stable solo or tandem. There is a feeling of sea-worthiness with reserve or ultimate stability. Stability degraded only slightly when carrying two large men and 60 or 70 lbs. of water bags for trim ballast with the heavier but less experienced paddler in the bow. Some camping gear in the bottom may have improved it. My boat is a clear kevlar ultra light, 48.5 lbs. Solo and unballasted it accelerates gratifyingly with each stroke. And, all important for the solo paddler, I can easily cartop it by myself. I find it maneuvers well enough to respond as I practice a variety of strokes. And yet it tracks well enough even light that solo cruising is not frustrating and cross winds are manageable. The aforementioned water ballast, distributed fore and aft, is a help if cross winds are anticipated. I love my boat and would rate it higher than an 8 except that it is, after all, trying to cover two bases at once. A dedicated solo would doubtless be narrower, easier to paddle, and probably higher performing whether a flat water or white water specialist. But the all-around aspect of the "S", its large competent feel, is a delight and is opening up a wonderful world of outdoor sport and exercise for me. Did I say I love my boat and the beautiful places it takes me?