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Prospector 17

by Trailhead

Reviews

Awesome canoe. I've owned it for 10 years and have paddled all…

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Awesome canoe. I've owned it for 10 years and have paddled all 3 territories and 4 northern prairie provinces with it. The best word to describe it is dependable. It moves great through the rapids and tracks decently on flat water.

Would I recommend this canoe for tripping? Without a doubt.

I've had my Trailhead 17' Prospector for 7 years now. It has…

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I've had my Trailhead 17' Prospector for 7 years now. It has been scraped, banged, bumped and basically abused during that time. It's taken me through 4 provinces and 3 territories. Apart from changing the kevlar skid plates, it's remained maintenance free. It's become like an old faithful friend that just keeps on giving. At 60 years old now, I think I will wear out before my Trailhead does!I would recommend this canoe to any tripper that wants a canoe they can rely on when the going gets tough. Paddle on!!

I bought my used 17' Trailhead Prospector from Churchill River Canoe Outfitters…

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I bought my used 17' Trailhead Prospector from Churchill River Canoe Outfitters 7 years ago. Tough, rugged, dependable... a workhorse is how I would describe this canoe. While tough, it also handles big water and is decent on flat water. If you are looking for a canoe to get you through some mean looking water, get this one.

I have had one for a couple of years and find it…

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I have had one for a couple of years and find it to be really well suited to mixed tripping. I'll try not to confuse the rating of this canoe with prospector canoes in general. Prospectors are all good at combined flat/moving water. None of them track well, and they all tend to be nice solo boats. I like Trailhead's design because it is deeper than the others and it is adequately stiff. This stiffness also holds its strong rocker, making it very responsive. I prefer this canoe to an Old Town tripper in whitewater and big waves. I suspect a tripper would be faster if paddled hard.

Compared to my Mad River explorer, there is no contest - the prospector is a better tripper. Compared to the XL Tripper, the prospector is more maneuverable and lighter, but both perform well on big lakes (I'd take the prospector and put a spray cover on it). Compared to the Nova Craft Prospector, the trailhead boat is a bit stiffer and deeper, but not quite as flat, so it has a bit less initial stability.

I give it a nine so I have room to credit any new boats. It is my favourite tripping boat right now, though.

I recently completed a 155km trip on the Paull & Churchill Rivers…

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I recently completed a 155km trip on the Paull & Churchill Rivers in northern Saskatchewan using a rented 17' Prospector in Royalex loaded with two paddlers and gear for 9 days. These rivers are basically sections of flatwater connected by rapids.

I found that the Prospector was hard to handle on the flatwater and open lakes where we had lots of side and quartering tail winds. It seemed that almost every stroke required a fair bit of correction on it in order to maintain a straight line. It really didn't matter how the canoe was trimmed fore to aft, it still wanted to turn in the wind. I thought it was just me for most of the trip, but then one of the others paddling a 16' version complained of the same problem.

In the whitewater, this canoe did handle quite well. My main point of reference is a fiberglass 17' Clipper Ranger which is much easier to track a straight line while still being capable in moving water. I rented the royalex canoe because the Paull River is shallow and rocky and it was very nice to have something that slid over the rocks so well without worry. I found the weight to be heavy (compared to fiberglass), but manageable over the long rough portages we encountered. In comparison to the other Royalex canoe I have paddled, the OT Tripper, I was much happier with the Trailhead Prospector.

In the end I was glad to have spent several days in this canoe under a variety of conditions because I now know that I should try a few other designs before I purchase a royalex tripping canoe.

I have owned a wood trimmed Prospector 17 for two years. It…

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I have owned a wood trimmed Prospector 17 for two years. It is an excellent white water tripping canoe in Royalex. The hull design is taken from the Chestnut Prospector. This is a big water wilderness tripping canoe, a bit narrower and a bit deeper than the old town tripper. It is heavy but handles very well in both flat an white water. Very nice hull design. Faster than you would expect. Trailhead is a Canadian company located in Ottawa. They do not sell these canoes in the U.S. A trip to Ottawa is well worth it. Also available in 16' and in kevlar layups.