Hey there I have done similar stuff numerous times. I would 100% say two tandems. Don't hit any huge lakes and if there are any decent size ones only hit them early or late in the day when the wind is calm. Put the heavy bags up by them and you are perfect to go. You'll travel slow as that age doesn't paddle well but it will still be a great trip and not so packed. Four people in a canoe, no matter the size, is a lot and, personally, I feel takes away from the experience of truly bonding with one another. To be specific I am talking about two 17 foot tandem canoes.
I am also considering how far in we go. I am figuring a 10 year old will not contribute much for forward motion, and yes I have been considering the wind.
Also looking for two additional adults. Two adults with a 10 year old in the center is a good option.
Considering crocodile or maybe big moose. That will give the kids some paddling and a bit of portaging.
Thanks for the input.
One possible problem with renting a tandem and taking your Champlain: the Champlain is a big boat for a 10-year-old to handle even with an adult.
I have not taken a child that young on a canoe trip, but I've seen a family with children in that age range. The father was in the stern of one tandem with a boy in the bow who was barely paddling. Ditto for the mother in the stern of the 2nd tandem. They were OK with the wind behind them, but how would they do paddling into the wind?
Rent a Minnesota-4 or what Sedges suggested? You could try alternating the boys in the bow while the adults could alternate in the stern and the 2nd seat.
Rent two 17-foot tandems that would be easier to handle than the Champlain?
I can't see two 10-year-olds and an adult handling a heavily-loaded Champlain in the wind.
I would go with 2 tandems. The kids would get some good practice for future adventures.
Find a Northwind 20 to rent. 4 seats. learn a good voyageur song. En roulant ma boule roulant!
That said if you are going to want to go your own way for some father and son fishing two tandems would be better.
I'd go with an other tandem, and make sure to trip the boats correctly, adding some gear weight up front to make up for the light paddler and the heavier adult in the back.
I think you have to decide these two father and son pairs can handle a tandem. That would be nice but never a certainty in that 10-12 range.
You could look at a SR Q18 or MN III or other three person canoe. Quicker portages.
It will be a great trip I'm sure.
I would go with another tandem more room and the boys will get a feel for actually paddling the canoe. It seems either way you're portaging two boats. Four people and gear in 1 canoe would be a lot to me.
I have a trip in three weeks with my 10 year old grandson, another father and his 10 year old son. I am trying to decide what boats to take. I have a Champlain and a Prism. I am thinking of putting one adult and the two boys in the Champlain and the other adult in the prism. Both boys are around 80 or 90 lbs. I don't think all four of us will fit in the Champlain. We could also rent another tandem.
Any thoughts of suggestions?