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Wilderness 15'4

by We-no-nah Canoe, Inc.

Reviews

First, let me thank all you experienced reviewers and paddlers in the…

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First, let me thank all you experienced reviewers and paddlers in the past reviews. Although it can get overwhelming making the "right" choice when picking a canoe, I appreciate all your opinions and advice and finally bit the bullet on a Wilderness. At 65 years old I figured it was time to let go of my 85 pound 40 year old aluminum Michecraft (bless it's dented soul), and upgrade to some form of UL. Talking to ALOT of good folks and reps at the annual Canoecopia in Madison got me headed toward a Wenonah. Narrowing it down to the exact model was a challenge, but that's where the reviews really helped. Someone in a review mentioned how someday older guys like me would end up wondering why you didn't buy "smaller", so I reluctantly concluded that a Wilderness at 15'6" was a good compromise of speed, size, manuverability, etc.

I am way lucky to live within minutes of 3 rivers, Wisconsin, Kickapoo and Mississippi, so I do mostly back water and long river runs, with a few trips each season "up North" (BWCA, etc) I've had it out twice now, and am not disappointed! Just picking it up is a pure pleasure, the weight factor alone of an UL is going to give me a lot more years paddling as I do a lot of solo. Initially (for the first hour or so - as some people had noted, I was not happy with the "tippiness" feel, but seriously, it was all me, and that just disappeared as I settled in.

I don't get real technical about my paddling, but the biggest impression I have so far is that I'm in and have the kind of control I never had with a big monster canoe and that equals a lot more pleasurable paddling.

Conclusion of story (hindsight being 20:20).... Wish I'd bought this year's ago. Only initial deficit, is wishing seat was able to be adjusted "on the fly", but that's minor.

I was looking for a Royalex solo and after reading the reviews…

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I was looking for a Royalex solo and after reading the reviews and seeing what was still available out there, I picked the Wilderness. It would not have been my first choice if other boats had still been available, but I wanted a brand new Royalex boat and the Wilderness was the best of what I was finding and I'm glad i pulled the trigger. I can tell you that I took some advice from every review below.

At 6'4" and 240 the boat as it came from the factory was definitely running bow down, so the seat and rear thwart went back 5 inches. The adjustable aluminum seat mount is noisy and even at the lowest setting, I found the boat to be a little top heavy with me in it, so I reconfigured it and dropped the seat two additional inches AND it does not rattle anymore, thanks to a couple of wing nuts and nylon washers.

Now that all the remodeling is done, the boat is a pleasure to paddle. It tracks nicely, handles chop on a lake or light ww ok and it is faster than a lot of kayaks of the same length. It's not a work horse, so do not expect to pile it over the gunwales with gear, but I can take about 100 to 125 lbs of gear and not adversely affect the handling.

At 47 lbs, its definitely a breeze to get up on the roof of the car and if I ever had to portage (not likely) I'm sure that it would be very simple as it seems very balanced. This is probably the boat to have if you do a lot of extended tripping, but as an over night or extended day paddles, it's great If you are lucky enough to find one, I would not hesitate to buy it.

I replaced a 1987 Wenonah Jensen C1 with a Wenonah Wilderness.…

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I replaced a 1987 Wenonah Jensen C1 with a Wenonah Wilderness. The main reason was being able to fish, explore, and travel in a boat that would stay upright when it was stopped. I am a large person at 240# and an experienced canoeist. The Jensen was fast and I really liked it for that. But it did like to go straight.

The Wilderness has turned out to be perfect for me in every respect. It is comfortable to paddle, fast enough, turns nicely when heeled, has plenty of capacity, and is a stable platform for all my activities on the water. The seat is a little clunky, but it works well. I usually put my gear behind me in the boat to help trim it a little "bow light".
Great boat.

This is the idea solo canoe if you get it in Kevlar…

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This is the idea solo canoe if you get it in Kevlar. It works great in rivers stages up level 3. But is best on the lake. This canoe is very easy to paddle fully loaded for a week long trip or just a couple of hours at Town Lake, Austin, Texas.

This is my third year for my Royalex Wilderness, and generally, I…

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This is my third year for my Royalex Wilderness, and generally, I like it real well. I'm a late starter, having waited until my early 60's to buy the canoe that I'd put off for 30 years, so I use it all I can.

I do like the tough Royalex material in our rocky Missouri rivers, and the weight is manageable, though I'm starting to see the benefit of a lighter canoe.

My one complaint has been a lack of stability. While I've only actually flipped a couple or three times, I find that I've got very little leaning leeway, and have never gotten past the point of feeling like I have to be cautious.

I purchased a Royalex Wenonah Wilderness in June of 2010 as my…

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I purchased a Royalex Wenonah Wilderness in June of 2010 as my first dedicated solo. I wanted an easily transportable solo that would paddle efficiently on flat water and still accommodate occasional Class I-II, especially when burdened with a large paddler like myself (6'2" – 260lbs).

My Wilderness paddled horribly in its factory configuration, plowing a large bow wave and refusing to respond to anything less than the most exaggerated J-stroke. It weather-veined in the slightest breeze and had no appreciable glide. After a few measurements the seat placement was identified as the culprit. I moved the seat almost 4 inches further from to the bow and it became wonderful craft to paddle; great initial stability and secondary stability that encouraged sharp leaning turns.

It tracked well on flat-water and turned responsively, satisfying my every expectation, but also quickly gave birth to an appetite for increased speed. Don't get me wrong, the Wilderness glides, but on a 4-5 hour day trip it feels like a bit more work than perhaps it should.

Purists cover your ears. I have since purchased and installed new thwarts and a seat, all of which I reduced in length by 15% from stock seat and thwarts. The boat now has increased tumblehome, narrower waterline and gunwales, and it paddles and glides like a rocket. Rocker is all but gone so it tracks like it's on rails, but takes more effort to turn. Initial stability is diminished and I can only describe secondary stability as being different.

I can now brace and heel the boat over to the point of wetting a gunwale if I so desire, which I could not safely or confidently do at the stock width. I enjoyed the properly trimmed wilderness, but now I absolutely love my very, very fast, narrowed Wenonah Wilderness. Hope you enjoy your wilderness as much as I do mine, without having to use a saw.

I have the Wilderness in kevlar and as I am used to…

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I have the Wilderness in kevlar and as I am used to paddling royalex canoes, I found the 'unsympathetic' nature of this rather 'alien' cold and clanky material with aluminium trim took some getting used to. Now though I really love this boat for the weight - it is so easy to carry and even though I am a retired woman of 61, I have no trouble getting it up on top of my high top camper van on my own. This alone has got to override all other considerations and was the only reason I went for kevlar. I agree with the awful rattly seat and have now fixed it in one position so that's ok. The boat isn't that manoeuverable but then it is a trip boat after all and tracks well and fast.

I have been a little disappointed in the performance of the kevlar/gel coat however as I have found it has scratched extremely easily right through to the kevlar as the coating is very thin (to keep the weight down presumably). I have already had to repair it with epoxy and put patches on bow and stern which do not blend at all. However, it is a lovely looking boat, it gets lots of comments, and the colour blends very well with the reeds around my local waterways. It needs treating with UV coating otherwise the colour darkens over time, although I like the more mellow colour.

Good boat. Just bought Sept. 09. Have had 17 other…

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Good boat. Just bought Sept. 09. Have had 17 other canoes so can look back on some experience. Wanted a solo boat at a weight I could manhandle myself, in Royalex so as to take normal river abuse, and be comfortable in class II water. The Wilderness does all of these nicely and has a nice glide on flatwater. It is a little slow to respond in a current (won't turn on a dime like my Bell Yellowatone tandem) but the trade off is that it moves faster on flatwater with a double bladed paddle which is what I wanted. Can't have everything which is why I keep trying out new canoes.

I did have the outfitter pull out the metal seat brackets which are an abomination and put in conventional 31/2" drops. Took out the back thwart and set the front drop in the thwart hole, moving the seat back a good six to eight inches to get it away from dead center. reinstalled the rear thwart further back from the seat so it wouldn't press against my back which it did in its original position. The metal seat bracket arrangement is why I would only give the boat an 8 rating and Wenonah would do well to go back to a conventional wood drop system that a true canoer can easily adapt to personal preference. Good boat otherwise, very stable and a joy to lug around and throw up on top of a car.

I have the wilderness 15'4" from we-no-nah in royalex. The gang at…

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I have the wilderness 15'4" from we-no-nah in royalex.
The gang at we-no-nah have hit a home run with this one. great all around performance. If I had only one solo canoe (I have 3 now) this would be the one. Nice glide on flat water using the j stroke. maneuverable on the river with plenty of room for camping gear. I love this boat!!!

I bought one earlier this year in Royalex, 47lbs. This is a…

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I bought one earlier this year in Royalex, 47lbs. This is a new model for Wenonah. I'm large, 6'2" 250lbs, I traded a solo plus which is longer and heavier. The Wilderness paddles well with a single or double blade, turns much better with a 1 1/2" rocker and I can put it up on the car rack with ease. The only beef I have is Wenonah's adjustable seat, it's noisy and clanks. I also put tugeyes on it (as I do to all my canoes) to put the end ropes on. A good boat, a sports car compared to the solo plus.