Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Listening Point - General Discussion
      Solo Canoes
 community sponsor


Review Text

01/05/2010 07:37PM
I love this site. If there is a better place to ask something like this let me know. Paddled Prisms before and last year got a great deal on a kevlar Advantage. What do you other soloers paddle and how do you like them, compare them to others?
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
01/05/2010 08:18PM
My solo is a Bell Magic. I like t a lot. It's fun to paddle and easy to portage. It's one drawback is being a bit narrow. My big pack won't lay down flat if it's full. Next trip I'm going to try my regular back pack, since it's a lot narrower than my Granite Gear.
01/05/2010 09:07PM
I used to paddle an Advantage occasionally and found it tippier than a unicycle. It has a reputation for being a great tripper, and I imagine once you get some weight in it, it settles down and behaves. In any case, it's really fast, like a Sawyer Shockwave, and it tracks like it's on rails. The Prism is slower but will turn if you work at it (or heel it). Best bet is to paddle the Advantage empty and loaded and see how you like it.

For open water I prefer the Prism for its handling and stability.
For rivers I prefer the Mad River Independence.
Both boats handle well empty or loaded, are fairly seaworthy, and become more responsive when heeled.
01/05/2010 09:27PM
i can only compare the wenonah wilderness (rx) to a kev bell magic. sold the wilderness. i think the magic is the perfect solo.
01/05/2010 09:39PM
Advantage makes a nice tripper. Fast, straight tracking without excess freeboard to catch the wind. It feels tippy, especially when still but is very stable in motion. Doesn't like big waves from the beam. This boat flies when it needs to.
01/06/2010 06:56AM

I absolutely love my 1985 Sawyer FG Autumn Mist. It is a big boat that is very seaworthy and yet I found it reasonably manuverable. Its quite stable and dry in small drops. After 20+ years on the water, its getting a bit beat up and worn out.

Last year I got a deal on a used RX Wenonah Wilderness for a "beater" boat. I have found it to be a great Indiana river boat, handling and comfort are very good. It is not quite as seaworthy as the Autumn Mist, but the only time I see big waves and large bodies of water is typcially in the BW.

I am seriously considering having Superior Canoes build me a new Autumn Mist in kevlar as a tripping boat.

01/06/2010 11:47AM
I'm very similar to Winemaker! For the BWCA I have a Sawyer Autum Mist, although mine is a newer one ... 1990. :)

For around home I have a royalex wenonah Argosy. I like it a lot and want to try it out in the BWCA. I bet it will perform well.

I like shorter boats. The Autum Mist is 14' 10", the Argosy 14'6", and I used to paddle an Old Town Penobscott 15 at 15'. However I have owned and paddled a lot of other solos in the BWCA. From off the top of my head there was a wenonah Prism, wenonah Encounter, wenonah Sandpiper, Cedar Strip 38 Special, Cedar Strip Wee Lassie, and others that don't immediately come to mind. I have also paddled many others at demo days, etc. I have also paddled an Old Town Camper, Nova Craft Bob Special, and a Old Town Penobscott 16 on solo trips. The only ones I really didn't like were the Encounter and the Camper (as a solo).

I have never paddled an Advantage, but I, too, have heard it was pretty lively (ie tippy). I think that both the Prism and the Magic are great solos for the BWCA for most people.

01/06/2010 05:58PM
for big/flat water i use a we-no-nah prism. for rivers and streams i use a bell rockstar.
01/06/2010 06:47PM
I use a Wenonah Wilderness for BWCA. I like it a lot for tripping. Not as fast as the magic or some of the true flat water boats. I like a little rocker and the ability to ride out big waves and turn at will. I paddle a Dagger Ocoee on whitewater.
01/06/2010 08:11PM
Haven't heard anyone talking about Merlin/Merlin II. Any opinions?
01/06/2010 08:50PM
I've got a Merlin II and like it. It is the only solo I've spent any real time in so I can't really compare it to others. It seems like a good all around solo to me - tracks well and will move right along but can also be turned without too much effort. It did feel very tippy when I first got it but that pretty much went away after I got used to it.
Bill Tea  
01/06/2010 09:25PM
I have an Old Town Pack canoe and have a ball with it. It's relatively slow (very slow with a single paddle) and sort of waddles through the water with a yak paddle where the better boats glide, but I've run it into heavy winds and waters when loaded up and it's more than held its own. At 34 pounds and 12 feet it's a breeze to portage. I will try something better some day, but for the time being it gets me there and back a happy camper.
01/06/2010 09:40PM
for any true solo canoe, the first time you step in it you will freak out! that will all pass quickly after a short period of time.
Arkansas Man  
01/06/2010 09:44PM
My solo canoe is a Royalex Wenonah Wilderness for all uses, rivers, lakes, etc...

01/06/2010 10:39PM
I also paddle an Advantage. I took it on trips the past 2 years and it's a pretty good canoe in my book. I'm not a big guy, so it suits me well. Had it on some pretty rough seas on Argo last June.
01/06/2010 11:15PM
I use a Blackhawk Starship. It's not a very common boat. The company went out of business around 1994, the year mine was built. It weighs 43 lbs. and is fiberlass with wood trim. It has a V shaped hull so it's not very stable when its empty but is great with a load.

I just had the gunwales replaced and finished the wood myself. Didn't take it out at all last summer so I'm really looking forward to spring.

2007 at the Mudro Lake put in.
01/07/2010 03:43AM
Magic for me. Ditto what kanoes said about first timer solo.
01/07/2010 07:09AM

>I use a Blackhawk Starship.

Please tell your spouse that when you die, several of us would like to bid on that old classic canoe...


01/07/2010 07:15AM
Winemaker, that's good to hear. They are few and far between. I'm definitely sure I will never get rid of it and if willing, it will go to my son someday.

Is it possible for you to post some pics of it?

I've never paddled another solo except a Sawyer Autumn Mist that I had briefly in 1988 so I can't compare it to the newer boats.
01/07/2010 08:20AM
I paddle an Advantage in Kevlar and love it. It feels tippier than it actually is and after a while you will get used to that. As stated before, it is fast but with that is the trade off of maneuverability. She will catch the wind if unloaded or unbalanced load. She has made me a better paddler and I love her. My wife refers to her as “that B*#ch!”.

My “beater boat”, and first canoe is a Solo-plus in royalex. This boat is more rounded but definitely designed for flat water. It’s seaworthy and has tripping capacity. I’ve even used it for tripping tandem but that is pushing the limits of this boat. Unloaded and tandem this boat flies.

I’ve also paddled and old Bell version of the Solo-plus called the Fusion (I think). This canoe is more of a tandem that can be paddled solo, than a solo that can be paddled tandem. Not as fast as a solo plus but performs better as a loaded tandem.

The Prism is a fine flat water canoe as well. It’s more maneuverable than the Advantage but not nearly as fast.

I’ve never paddled a Magic but was curious of it before I went with the Advantage. I’m still intrigued by Savage River solo canoes…

moose plums  
01/07/2010 09:34AM
I own a Magic also. The thing I enjoy most about it is when I sit in it, paddle it, I really feel a part of it. I like the way it glides, and how responsive it is. It IMO is the perfect solo.
01/07/2010 10:13AM
I've had a few solo canoes and eventually settled on a Yellowstone. I had an older fiberglass Magic and that was a better tripping boat. Loved how fast that thing was. The Yellowstone is just better for the everyday paddling that I actually do more often than tripping. I'm also getting into freestyle canoeing more and more and the Yellowstone is a better boat for that. While I haven't tripped in it yet, I have tripped in a smaller Wenonah Sandpiper and that worked just fine for me so I imagine the Yellowstone will be fine as well. I think people usually get far more boat than they need, but in the end it's a personal preference and what you feel comfortable in.
01/07/2010 10:18AM
I've paddle the Old Town Penobscot 15, a Prism and now I own a Magic.

The P-15 is a great solo canoe. I think it is too bad they stopped making them. A kevlar version of this canoe could have been great. The hull is pretty stable in the water and turns well.

The Prism is fast and tracks straight, but is a real pain to turn. Especially with a quartering wind from behind. The pedestal yoke is junk.

The Magic I now own seems like an awesome canoe. I've only paddled it on local lakes and rivers so far and that's been with no packs. Can't wait to try her our this summer fully loaded in WCPP. Seems to track pretty straight and definitely turns easier than the Prism. The portage yoke by Bell is far superior to the Wenonah yoke.

01/08/2010 12:11PM
"Haven't heard anyone talking about Merlin/Merlin II. Any opinions?"

The Merlin and Merlin II are very different boats. The 38 Special I built and paddle is a scaled up Merlin. IMHO a nice tripping boat.

On paper the Bell Merlin II looked like a perfect tripping boat to me. Once I paddled it,however, I didn't like it. Just personal preference. That is why it is so important to paddle before you buy. Or you can do like I did -- just keep buying a new boat every year until you zero in on what you like. I use to get teased about having a new boat every year (sometimes more than one in a year).
01/08/2010 12:35PM
I use a tuff-weave Prism, love it..but it's the only solo I've owned or tried. When the time comes that it's to heavy and I have a little more ching in my pocket it will go to my son, and I will upgrade to kevlar.
01/10/2010 05:18AM
Graphite ultra light prism, wood trim.
01/10/2010 06:50AM
Homemade -

01/10/2010 08:38AM
Prism, my second one. Only complaint is wind from the stern can make life interesting.
bear bait  
01/10/2010 11:02AM
cool boat B!
i like how you weaved the strips at the ends. what design is it?

i built and use the freedom 15/3 solo designed by bear mt. boats.
01/10/2010 01:01PM
Wanna see a Prism scoot? Try this:
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next