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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Canoe vs Kayak for Solo Trips     

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BigFlounder
member (49)member
 
02/03/2020 05:26PM  
I've only made one trip up to the BWCA and that was a solo trip I made two years ago. On that trip I took my Jackson Kayak Kilroy, a sit inside fishing kayak. I love the kayak but it is 65 pounds. I love the looks and tradition of a canoe (I bowhunt with a longbow and wood arrows for crying out loud) so have been thinking about getting rid of one of my kayaks and buying a canoe. I'm just curious of what the pros and cons would be to the fishing kayak I'm using now and a solo canoe.

On my one trip into the BWCA, portaging the Kilroy was hard but since I'm a base camper, fishing from it all week was great. The lawn chair style seat saves my bad back and it's stable enough to stand and fly fish from.

I'd like a lighter option like a good canoe, but am unsure what seat options are out there since my bad back will not allow me to sit without a backrest for long. And I'm not sure how stable a canoe would be compared to the kayak. But being lighter weight and able to haul more gear (the kayak has a max weight capacity of 350lbs) the canoe is appealing. Plus they're just cool looking.

I also wouldn't rule out a tandem canoe since I have grandchildren, the oldest of which will want to get out on the water in a year or two. Right now I could get a SUPER good deal on a new Kevlar Mad River Explorer 16 but it doesn't seem like a big weight advantage. 15 lbs is 15 lbs though I guess.

Anyway, just needing some input and guidance. I'd like to start making annual trips to the BWCA (going again this summer) so am wanting something a little more "BWCA friendly" I guess. Thanks in advance.

 
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02/03/2020 06:51PM  
There are real good options for a seat back in a canoe. Some solo's are built more for speed and not that easy to fish from. You would be able to use a Yak paddle but a considerably longer one in the range of 260cm.

A Northstar Northwind Solo sounds like it might be a good fit for you. A canoe allows you to wear a pack and comfortably portage the boat too. The yoke and pads usually just need clamping on over the seat area and away you go. I've never owned a kayak so can't comment anymore.
 
02/04/2020 08:28AM  
It appears your water shed issue is weight vs fishing/comfort. And the winner is the extra 15 pounds worth the fishing/comfort? While there are good backrest options the canoe center of gravity is higher and general design is not going to support standing to fish. Saying that I have watched paddlers stand and am amazed at their balance.
You may want to shed five pounds and spend some time at the gym either improving your balance or carrying capacity. My back issues are arthritis, but proper stretching and exercise has made a huge difference. Now the question is the ten pounds worth it?
If you intend to continue with limited portaging I would stay with what you have, but going deeper and longer portages you might want to shed any two pounds you can. And pick up that good deal and start local trips with the grand kids. No rules about only having one boat.
 
02/06/2020 03:53PM  
bhouse46: "It appears your water shed issue is weight vs fishing/comfort. And the winner is the extra 15 pounds worth the fishing/comfort? While there are good backrest options the canoe center of gravity is higher and general design is not going to support standing to fish. Saying that I have watched paddlers stand and am amazed at their balance.

You may want to shed five pounds and spend some time at the gym either improving your balance or carrying capacity. My back issues are arthritis, but proper stretching and exercise has made a huge difference. Now the question is the ten pounds worth it?

If you intend to continue with limited portaging I would stay with what you have, but going deeper and longer portages you might want to shed any two pounds you can. And pick up that good deal and start local trips with the grand kids. No rules about only having one boat."

How is shedding personal weight going to help the portage weight of a canoe? I think the OP was referencing to the weight of his kayak for portaging. There's many backrest seat option, even with a sliding solo bucket seat. Also consider a foot brace with a back rest for a bad back
 
02/06/2020 09:40PM  
Regarding the Mad River Explorer 16 Ultralight (aramid/kevlar) you mentioned, it weighs 45 pounds, according to the Mad River website. That's a decent weight for portaging. You'd be saving 20 pounds over your kayak. For soloing, you'd presumably want to paddle it backwards from the bow seat.

If you want to try fly fishing while standing in a canoe without outriggers, you are a braver man than I am.

There are plenty of add-on seats with backrest options out there. I agree with Blatz that adding a foot brace will help, too.
 
02/07/2020 07:29AM  
I apologize if the losing five pounds was mistaken. And true the five pounds in lift and carry is not the same as five pounds in the body. I do believe losing the five pounds properly will increase lift and carry capacity to at least a five pound improvement, although technically I do not have anything but personal experience to support that theory.
BigFounder's back issues are unclear, but he can paddle and pull a bow string so I suspect he is not in serious trouble. He likes to fish with his kayak and is thinking about the future with the grand kids and deeper trips. I like his thinking. His boat is made for fishing. A canoe is better for traveling and portaging. The weight is really not as big an issue as intended use. So while 15-20 pounds can make a difference, that difference is whether lifting and setting down are problematic or there is distance involved. Building up leg muscles and technique go a long way in lifting, especially if there are back issues and to prevent them. And if properly trimmed once up the load is not bad to carry....except a kayak. Not bad for a short portage, but the carry is a challenge with most kayaks, even for people with good backs and who are fit. BigFlounder has probably got that figured out. I think he wants to know if he should get this great deal on canoe.
So if he wants to go deeper this year, get the canoe and start outfitting with backrest and foot brace. If okay with a shorter trip focused on fishing this year get the canoe and start outfitting it for trips with the grand kids and if he likes it more, the BWCA. Never go wrong with more than one boat.
 
BigFlounder
member (49)member
 
02/10/2020 08:14AM  
bhouse46: "I apologize if the losing five pounds was mistaken "


bhouse46, no need to apologize. I certainly could stand to lose some weight. I'm 6' tall and weigh 240 lbs, most of that being a tire around my waist. I did lose 30 pounds last summer though but I've kind of come to a stand still on my weight. Seems there's a fine line between eating healthy enough/exercise to lose weight and being happy. HA! But yeah, no need to apologize as you weren't wrong, that's for sure. As for my bad back, I can still lift and such fine, but it's not as easy as it used to be. But my biggest problem is sitting too long without a backrest. No doubt some exercise would help with that too so will try some lower back strengthening exercises. Still, I'd like to shed some weight on my choice of boat. I'll keep my fishing kayak because I use it a lot around home and love duck hunting from it.

Thanks everyone for the input. The deal on the Kevlar MR Explorer would be simply trading some work for it. I'd be giving up some weekends, but would have a new canoe to play with and get my feet wet (hopefully not literally) using a canoe.
 
02/10/2020 09:04AM  
Aside from all the weight issues, it's just a lot easier to get packs and gear in and out of a canoe. Also, I think it's easier to portage a canoe.....even if weights are equal. They make some decent strap on seat/seat back combos that give pretty good support. I have a tricky lower back and love my seat back rest from Wenonah

 
02/10/2020 10:07AM  
Only addressing the fishing aspect packing and weight already covered.
I flyfish for northern pike in my Wenonah Advantage, have caught and released several 30-36 inch fish. Also like to use med heavy baitcasting for the same and have 44+ inch fish on my memory list.
fly casting Sylvania fishing's no trouble but catching with the camera, not so much! luck fall now and then!

My Advantage is probably the last to be considered a good fishing platform but I have no problem. Could be a bent mindset!
Stability is a changing metric and depends most on use and comfort with the gear!

butthead

PS: Need to mention the photo with a northern is in my then Moccasin solo now in Cowdocs stable. bh
 
billconner
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02/10/2020 12:05PM  
Maybe look at a pack canoe. Pack canoes I test paddled several last year at Paddlefest in May and found the Prospector 14 Pack a good fit (230 pounds, 6-1, intermediate paddler) Very stable, amazingly comfortable seat, worked fine with a yak paddle for me. They have a tandem I see now as well.

Placid Boat Works and Hornbeck also might be an easy yak to canoe transition.

(And should this be canoe vs. kayak vs. SUP? :) )
 
ashlandjack
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07/07/2020 09:35AM  
I have 2 Wenonah fisherman 14 footers. The Kevlar is 36 pounds. This is not a fast solo tripper. This is a great fishing and a stable boat and gets around great. I paddle it solo all the time but I am not in a hurry. I fly fish out of it and live on Lake Superior and am on it all the time. You should really paddle one. I would recommend the Kevlar for lakes it is stiffer the rolalex is fine for rocky rivers but oil cans badly.
 
ashlandjack
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07/08/2020 03:07PM  
If you like the kilroy you probably love a poke boat. 12 foot, weighs about 25 pound, will carry 400 pounds. I own one, it is my favorite boat, had a spray skirt made for it for bad weather and rough water, dry and warm. Here is one on craiglist, https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ram/boa/d/saint-paul-poke-boat-camo-version/7141230161.html My is a 199 something model. I use much smaller air bags.
 
gravelroad
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07/20/2020 02:49PM  
 
jcavenagh
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07/20/2020 03:38PM  
We want to see pics of the new boat....so pick up the deal. If you find you don't like it you can always sell it for a profit.
I have been intrigued with the pack boats for a couple years, but SWMBO has put the kibosh on another boat....for now. ;-)
 
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