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singlebladecanoe
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02/16/2020 07:52PM
Toying with the idea of upgrading my current canoe from 42 pounds to something in the high 20's low 30's. Is shaving 12 pounds in canoe weight worth spending the money to upgrade for? I've already cut all my other gear weight. When is shaving weight no longer beneficial?
 
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02/16/2020 08:08PM
I don't think there's a single answer that fits everyone and every situation, but . . .

My experience is that no matter how much I "can" carry, it's easier to carry less. And 10 lbs. is a good bit less. It's also easier to pick up and put down, which is beneficial at awkward landings.
 
Northwoodsman
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02/16/2020 08:27PM
As long as the lighter canoe fits your needs as well as your current (size, carrying capacity, performance, stability, comfort, etc.) I would love to shave off 12 lbs.
 
cyclones30
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02/16/2020 08:36PM
If you're already in the 40s that's most Kevlar tandems. So you're looking for carbon? If you can, why not? 10 is a big number
 
MossBack
member (31)member
 
02/16/2020 08:49PM
Burt Rutan, speaking of lightweight aircraft component design, said if you throw it into the air, and it comes back down, it's too heavy. There is surely a comparison here.

My first solo was a Mad River Independence at 43 lbs. I treated myself to a 60th birthday present by buying a Northstar Magic at 32 lbs and was never happier.

MB
 
02/16/2020 09:56PM
I'm sure it's unintentional...but this is a loaded (& fun) question, bound to get almost as many different responses as respondents. It's a big deal to some, not to others and plenty of grey in-between.

If you want to get a peek into the rabbit-hole of gear weight, visit the ultralight backpacking sub on reddit. Counting grams!

For me, I will spend the money on lighter gear to lengthen the time before I have to spend the money on new knees.
 
bwcadan
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02/16/2020 10:38PM
I went from an aluminum 72 pound to a 50 pound kevlar to a 40 pound kevlar. All weights are close to mfg listed weights. Money well spent. Use it and sell later and the per cost trip is reduced. Got the cash, do it.
 
GearGuy
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02/17/2020 12:41AM
At some point lightweight and ultralight have to be differentiated in terms of weight and cost. A 3lb tent for $400 for 2 people used to be considered ultralight. Now a days an ultralight 2 person tent is 20 oz that costs $700. If you hate money like me, go for the "ultralight" option of your debate. If you like money, a 41lb canoe is by all rights still "ultralight" if you don't compare it to a 30 lb canoe.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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02/17/2020 06:59AM
Do you single portage? This would be the biggest reason I would consider getting a lighter canoe. My 37 lbs solo is easy to lift and carry. I have no problem carrying it for 150 rods and is more convenient than my swift pack boat at 24 lbs which requires a detachable yoke for that distance. When I try and carry a 70 lbs pack and the 37 lbs canoe, I can tell the difference. Other than that, I am perfectly happy with a 37 lbs solo canoe.
Like Gear Guy said, " If you like money, a 41lb canoe is by all rights still "ultralight" if you don't compare it to a 30 lb canoe."
 
HappyHuskies
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02/17/2020 07:27AM
I've never finished a portage and said, "Gee, I wish my boat/gear weighed more".

If it fits your budget and is durable enough for your use, I'd say yes, it's worth it.

 
Blatz
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02/17/2020 07:59AM
I assume you're thinking about a solo canoe if you want it in the high 20s. With that being said You'll want to look at Northstar Starlite (Kevlar) solos. The Blacklite (carbon) version are stiffer and a little tougher but slightly heavier. My Northwind Solo weighed just under 29lbs. Wenonah and Savage River also have some light solos
 
Blatz
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02/17/2020 08:09AM
cyclones30: "If you're already in the 40s that's most Kevlar tandems. So you're looking for carbon? If you can, why not? 10 is a big number " I don't think there's a 30 lbs tandem unless you get a Savage River Pro Boat racing canoe
 
A1t2o
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02/17/2020 08:12AM
Honestly I can't imagine it being worth the money. Full disclosure, I have a 67lb aluminum canoe that I am happy with. We double portage though and don't carry anything other than the canoe. I did have a Royalex canoe that weighed 82lbs before this so I do get losing 15lbs of canoe.

If you are looking at single portaging and this will make or break your ability to single portage, then I might consider it worth while. But if you are only doing this because it is "ultralight" then it starts to seem more like a status symbol and paying for convenience that you don't need. My criteria for situations like this is if it enables you to do anything you couldn't do before.
 
Tomcat
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02/17/2020 08:35AM
A1t2o: "
If you are looking at single portaging and this will make or break your ability to single portage, then I might consider it worth while. But if you are only doing this because it is "ultralight" then it starts to seem more like a status symbol and paying for convenience that you don't need. My criteria for situations like this is if it enables you to do anything you couldn't do before. "


+1
 
nooneuno
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02/17/2020 09:03AM
You also have to bear in mind advertised weights are not the same as actual weights:

My Penobscot 17 in royalex listed at 64 lbs. scales at 74

My Alumacraft quetico listed at 64 scales 64

2018 Wenonah Spirit 2 ultralight with white gel coat lists at 45 scales at 54
 
WHendrix
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02/17/2020 10:01AM
As one responder says, there are many different situations. For you it might not be justifiable (yet). You are almost 40 years younger than I am, and I am doing exactly what you asked about in your original post. I'll be 77 this year and have had rotator cuff surgery in both shoulders. My surgeon tells me I should not lift more than 30 lbs over my head. I'll be selling my Magic this year and getting a Northwind Solo. The Magic is the Whitegold layup and was listed as 42 lbs. I have added a sliding seat arrangement and foot braces which probably add another 2 lbs, so at 44 lbs it would be 16 lbs. more than the Northwind Sole. The cost is worth it to me as it will give me (hopefully) several more years of paddling.
 
straighthairedcurly
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02/17/2020 11:59AM
Personally I only think it is worth it if you have a physical reason to decrease the weight that much or you are trying to be able to single portage and that canoe will make the difference.

This summer we took our older Mad River which weighs around 57-60 lbs. and a Souris River that weighed significantly less. I had plenty of opportunity to carry both of these canoes during our bushwhack through the PMA. I really didn't have any issue carrying either. But the days of carrying my 80 lb. Old Town Tripper on anything longer than 60 rods are gone.

I decided to save a lot of money by purchasing a used 48 lb. solo canoe. I can lift and carry it without issue so for now it meets my needs. I will spend the big bucks when I physically need a lighter boat.

 
02/17/2020 12:17PM
nooneuno: "You also have to bear in mind advertised weights are not the same as actual weights"

This is a good point!

I think the really light boats are likely to be pretty true to spec; I had a Northwind solo in StarLight (Kevlar) that was one pound under spec. My Magic and Trillium are also both StarLight (Kevlar) within half a pound of spec.

But I have an older Wenonah royalex solo that's +9 pounds over spec - like 35% over!

 
02/17/2020 12:37PM
straighthairedcurly: "Personally I only think it is worth it if you have a physical reason to decrease the weight that much or you are trying to be able to single portage and that canoe will make the difference.


This summer we took our older Mad River which weighs around 57-60 lbs. and a Souris River that weighed significantly less. I had plenty of opportunity to carry both of these canoes during our bushwhack through the PMA. I really didn't have any issue carrying either. But the days of carrying my 80 lb. Old Town Tripper on anything longer than 60 rods are gone.


I decided to save a lot of money by purchasing a used 48 lb. solo canoe. I can lift and carry it without issue so for now it meets my needs. I will spend the big bucks when I physically need a lighter boat.


"


I would agree with this statement completely. It seems many people are interested in the latest, lightest gear available and the typical BW trip is something like 3-4 days.
 
HappyHuskies
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02/17/2020 12:48PM
"I would agree with this statement completely. It seems many people are interested in the latest, lightest gear available and the typical BW trip is something like 3-4 days."

If I was only going to paddle a boat 3-4 days a year I would look hard at renting instead. Yes, I no you won't get the lightest boat this way, but you can get reasonably light kevlar boats and won't have the cash outlay, need to store and license. Just a suggestion if the described scenario fits. Not sure if this describes the OP or not. The OP may take longer trips in the BW and/or paddle frequently in other places.

I have two Magics, a Pro and a Black Gold. Both are nice boats, but the Black Gold gets used infrequently because the 26 pound Pro is noticeably nicer to portage. I also live close to the BW and am able to paddle several times a month from spring to fall. I've owned this boat since 2002 and think it's been well worth what it cost. Whether it would have been worth it to someone else I can't say. That's a decision everyone has to make for themselves.
 
Blatz
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02/17/2020 03:02PM
There's also a performance factor with a lighter boat. If you paddle a lot it's noticeable. I think a lot of people who spend the money on quality light weight canoes, paddle more than just the BW. I live in Norther IL and we have great paddling rivers
 
TominMpls
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02/17/2020 04:56PM
Backpackers will spend hundreds of dollars to lose a few OUNCES in their packs. To "shave" 12 lbs is huge. It comes down to how much money you're willing to spend to lighten your portage.

Personally I went with a carbon-kevlar canoe, which is a little heavier than straight kevlar but also a bit more durable. I figured I could handle an extra 3 lbs for durability.
 
RetiredDave
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02/17/2020 06:05PM
Past my Prime Point of View:

Like others who have posted here, I started out in Boy Scouts in the early 60's carrying those heavy aluminum Grumman canoes. Now, as I close in on my 70th birthday, I am so thankful for an ultra-light solo canoe that I can actually pick up and put on my shoulders all by myself. If, at your current age, you are just fine with a 40-pounder, there is probably no need to spend any more money. But those feather-light sweethearts sure are nice!

Dave
 
singlebladecanoe
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02/17/2020 07:23PM
My canoe choice would be used for once a year 5-10 day BWCA trips. But was also thinking of it for using on our local hidden mountain lakes/ponds. I have a couple of heavy SOT fishing kayaks that we use in our rivers. But we have several mountain ponds and lakes with some of which are a 1 to 2 mile hike to get to and everyone that does fish these area's are bond to the shore. I've been thinking of getting a canoe back to those area's to get away from everyone else that likes to float our local rivers. It would also free me up from having to find someone to float the rivers with due to the need for shuttle partner.
My current canoe is a composite material solo and would be looking at another solo. Probably a Swift Prospector or Keewaydin but open to other options as well.

I'm very familure with Ultralight backpacking as I do that as well with my base pack weight less than 10 pounds (not including food and water). Getting my gear weight down has made it a lot easier on my already beat up knees and shoulders.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
02/17/2020 11:25PM
HappyHuskies: "I've never finished a portage and said, "Gee, I wish my boat/gear weighed more".

If it fits your budget and is durable enough for your use, I'd say yes, it's worth it. "

What Huskies said... spot on.
 
jillpine
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02/18/2020 08:01AM
You will not shed a single tear for a single shaved pound. It's a complete game changer that allows continuation of paddling far and frequently.
 
jillpine
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02/18/2020 08:08AM
As far as the law of diminishing returns for weight reduction, there would be three things holding me back: can't afford it. Won't be safe (not packing enough calories, no spare paddle etc), Won't function properly (cold weather, moving parts etc ). like Bell says, weight is the enemy.
 
02/18/2020 08:58AM
singlebladecanoe: "I'm very familure with Ultralight backpacking as I do that as well with my base pack weight less than 10 pounds (not including food and water)."

Ah - perfect.

This tells me all I need to know - buy the light canoe!

Sidebar - I think it would be fun & informative to have a sub-forum on ways to shave weight for those who find that important. There's a lot of UL crossover with tripping but there are plenty of areas, starting with the canoe, that don't translate...

For backpacking my baseweight is close to 12 pounds (down to ~20 degrees), but my baseweight for tripping is about 48 pounds. That's with the solo canoe & all gear (but minus food & water, as you point out).
 
WIMike
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02/18/2020 09:44AM
boonie: It's also easier to pick up and put down, which is beneficial at awkward landings. "

I'm not as experienced as most of the others here but what boonie said is a big issue for me. Getting the canoe up on my shoulders and back down are my critical points, especially when solo. That is when I'm most susceptible to injury. I currently use an OT Penobscot 16 that weighs about 8 lbs more than spec empty and I can manage just fine but it's getting tougher. If I tripped more frequently I would definitely get something lighter but I plan to rent when I can't manage the Penobscot any longer. I rented a Prism for a trip where my Penobscot was used by my son and DIL and I can tell you that if you buy you won't regret a lighter canoe. Good luck!
 
dex8425
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02/18/2020 04:26PM
Are you racing the voyageurs challenge and competitive overall?

Are you tripping more than 20 times/year?

Are you already ONLY single portaging? (would assume so)

Do you typically do more than 10 portages a day?

If the answer to all the above is yes, then yeah, I'd say it'd be worth it to drop ten pounds from your boat. My wife and I are runners and cyclists, so when we backpack, we count grams and pile on the miles. When we canoe trip, we usually do about 12-15 portages a day. That said, we only do 1-2 canoe trips a year, have a limited budget, so our boat is a wenonah sundowner from 1996 that weighs almost 70 pounds. It was $300 bucks, and I still can't justify dropping over a grand for a lighter canoe, because canoeing is like our fifth favorite hobby (we do more cycling, running, backpacking, and xc skiing) I have several really nice bikes, but I race them and spend about 400 hours a year training.
 
dex8425
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02/18/2020 04:35PM
I'll also add that cyclists will spend hundreds of dollars to lose grams off their bike. IMO that's stupid if said cyclist is overweight, doesn't race, doesn't ride fast, and especially stupid if said cyclist is not worth millions of dollars.

Same analogy works here. If you're super rich and just like canoeing, buy what makes you happy.
 
jillpine
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02/18/2020 04:49PM
Super-rich or reasonably frugal. Respectfully disagree with the criteria for buying a canoe under 30 pounds. This is kind of the same head scratching I do when people argue if a PLB is "worth it". Those of you saying it's not worth it, have you paddled and portaged a 25# boat? If you lined up my two burly sons and told them they could choose the SR Q17, the SR Q16 or the Trillium, there'd be a sprint to the trillium. So my experience is that UL isn't just for old farts and fartresses.
I regard $2500 to allow access to remote paddling to be a bargain of the century. If I drink my own coffee and make my own food, that saves about $10/day. Figure $50/week x 52 weeks and you can call Ted Bell and buy a beautiful craft.
 
Blatz
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02/18/2020 05:25PM
dex8425: "I'll also add that cyclists will spend hundreds of dollars to lose grams off their bike. IMO that's stupid if said cyclist is overweight, doesn't race, doesn't ride fast, and especially stupid if said cyclist is not worth millions of dollars.


Same analogy works here. If you're super rich and just like canoeing, buy what makes you happy. "
Although I do agree with the very high end cycling components and spending $1000 to save 1/2 pound is ridiculous unless you're a serious racer. The mid range components function very close to their high end brothers, they're just slightly heavier. With that being said if you ride 2 similar bikes with one being 2 or 3 pounds heavier, you will notice a big difference in handling. Same is true with canoes. Paddle a Wenonah Advantage in Tuffweave and then one in Kevlar you will notice a difference . I'm guess for most people that doesn't matter too much. Unless you do cyclocross you rarely are carrying your bike . But in the canoe tripping world portaging weight is a big deal.
 
02/18/2020 06:20PM
Yes
 
TominMpls
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02/18/2020 06:43PM
jillpine: "Super-rich or reasonably frugal. Respectfully disagree with the criteria for buying a canoe under 30 pounds. This is kind of the same head scratching I do when people argue if a PLB is "worth it". Those of you saying it's not worth it, have you paddled and portaged a 25# boat? If you lined up my two burly sons and told them they could chose the SRQ 17, the SRQ 16 or the Trillium, there'd be a sprint to the trillium. So my experience is that UL isn't just for old farts and fartresses.
I regard $2500 to allow access to remote paddling to be a bargain of the century. If I drink my own coffee and make my own food, that saves about $10/day. Figure $50/week x 52 weeks and you can call Ted Bell and buy a beautiful craft.
"


Agree! Also especially Boonie's point - when you're deep in the middle of wilderness at an awkward portage landing, swinging less weight over your head significantly reduces the risk of having to use that PLB.
 
02/18/2020 09:19PM
boonie: "I don't think there's a single answer that fits everyone and every situation, but . . .


My experience is that no matter how much I "can" carry, it's easier to carry less. And 10 lbs. is a good bit less. It's also easier to pick up and put down, which is beneficial at awkward landings. "


I agree with boonie's sentiments. I found it was a game changer to carry less weight.
 
carmike
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02/19/2020 12:10AM
I don't think the extra 10 lbs. is worth the money -- but that's not knowing your financial situation, age, hair color, portage style, fitness level, favorite color, horoscope, footwear preferences, marital status, or shoe size.

The vast majority of portages are not so long that the extra pain from 10 lbs. will make *that* much of a difference. Canoeing is not backpacking, thankfully. And if it's a long portage, you'll be suffering regardless of the reduced weight -- especially if you have a backpack on. And if you're double portaging, all the more reason the extra 10 won't matter that much.

Just my .02 .



 
ZaraSp00k
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02/19/2020 07:21AM
there is a huge difference between portaging my kevlar solo and my tuffweave solo which weighs about 12 pounds more

even 20 years ago :)

as for cost, 1000 divide by 20 is just 50 bucks a year
so a youngster will pay about 25 a year for it, while an old codger will pay 100 and be *&#@ glad to

then when you factor in that both situations you still have a boat after all those years, it's even less
 
muddyfeet
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02/19/2020 10:10AM
MossBack: "Burt Rutan, speaking of lightweight aircraft component design, said if you throw it into the air, and it comes back down, it's too heavy. There is surely a comparison here.
MB"


I love this.


 
02/19/2020 02:10PM
Sure does, if your buying anyway. Lightweight is as it is, and generally takes a bit more care. This applies to the whole concept.

butthead
 
02/19/2020 06:42PM
fill 2 milk jugs 3/4 full of water, tie a rope between them, hang it around your neck and do a 150 rod walk before you decide if 12 pounds off your shoulders is worth it.
At the right price, shaving weight is always worth it.
 
OCDave
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02/21/2020 01:34PM
singlebladecanoe: "Toying with the idea of upgrading my current canoe from 42 pounds to something in the high 20's low 30's. Is shaving 12 pounds in canoe weight worth spending the money to upgrade for? I've already cut all my other gear weight. When is shaving weight no longer beneficial?"

As you get older and hopefully wiser, lighter is always better. When you do eventually spring for the lighter canoe, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. You'l wonder; were there trips you didn't take because your canoe was too heavy? Did you cut a few 7 day trips short because the heavy canoe tired you out after 5 days? Are there lakes you did not visit because the extra weight discouraged you from the long, steep portage to that secluded spot?

Today your heavier canoe might not be limiting you but eventually it will. Replace it before it becomes a limiter on your adventures.
 
singlebladecanoe
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02/21/2020 03:15PM
OCDave: "singlebladecanoe: "Toying with the idea of upgrading my current canoe from 42 pounds to something in the high 20's low 30's. Is shaving 12 pounds in canoe weight worth spending the money to upgrade for? I've already cut all my other gear weight. When is shaving weight no longer beneficial?"

You'l wonder; were there trips you didn't take because your canoe was too heavy? Did you cut a few 7 day trips short because the heavy canoe tired you out after 5 days? Are there lakes you did not visit because the extra weight discouraged you from the long, steep portage to that secluded spot?
"


That is one of the reason's I am looking at going lighter on the canoe. Its a full 2 day drive to get to the boundary waters for me. But we have several mountain lakes in our area, but they are any-where's from a 1/2 mile to 2 mile hike in to get to them. I have never fished them because of this exact thing, I don't want to try and get my heavier canoe or barge of sit on top kayak in to these places. But a lighter canoe would allow for it.
 
02/21/2020 05:16PM
singlebladecanoe: "But a lighter canoe would allow for it."

One more thing - if you spend the money on a new (or better yet new-ish but used) Kevlar or Carbon canoe, they will hold their value very well. Spend 2000 on one with a couple years use, use it for a few years, sell it for 1800 if you've taken care of it. Or sell it sooner if you decide a different hull would better suit your needs...
 
nash52
 
02/24/2020 01:16AM
My Savage River / Marc Ornstein June Bug solo canoe weighs 10.5 lbs. A little under $4k with a custom layup. Yes, it's worth every penny.
 
02/24/2020 07:54AM
nash52: "My Savage River / Marc Ornstein June Bug solo canoe weighs 10.5 lbs. A little under $4k with a custom layup. Yes, it's worth every penny. "

Wow, that is cool. What aspects are customized (how'd you get the weight so low - that is 4lbs below spec for that canoe's lightest layup)?
 
nash52
 
02/24/2020 08:20AM
I told John Diller that I wanted him to build me the lightest 12.5 foot canoe in this quadrant of the universe. He said he built me the lightest 12.5 canoe ever made.
The layup listed on my invoice is "Light TeXtreme / Light Kevlar / Light Kevlar."
I opted for a fixed seat to save weight.
No yoke is needed for portages; I just carry it over a shoulder.
 
mags459
member (20)member
 
02/24/2020 10:38AM
There are a lot of good responses here. But I think the other thing to keep in mind is performance on the water. Yes you carry it but if it does not track straight (shorter boat), or handle waves well the energy you saved carrying it is paid for 10 fold on the water. I would say performance first and weight second. If just switching layups for your ultimate performing boat and you have the money go for it.
 
nash52
 
02/24/2020 11:06AM
mags459: "[T]he other thing to keep in mind is performance on the water. . . . if it does not track straight (shorter boat), or handle waves well the energy you saved carrying it is paid for 10 fold on the water. I would say performance first and weight second. . . . "

Yes, the boat must work for it's intended use. I canoe on small lakes in the summer, and the total weight of me and my gear is about 165 pounds. So my 12.5 foot canoe works great, because portages are so easy, and I'm not paddling great distances.
But I would still want the lightest practical layup for any canoe. The Savage River Blackwater is a solo 17 foot canoe that would be a great choice for a longer boat.
 
02/24/2020 11:58AM
nash52: "I told John Diller that I wanted him to build me the lightest 12.5 foot canoe in this quadrant of the universe. He said he built me the lightest 12.5 canoe ever made."

You have me now imagining a 16 pound SR Blackwater. And thinking about how many magic beans I might need to trade for such a creature...
 
EddyTurn
member (23)member
 
02/24/2020 02:03PM
Shaving 10lbs off a 60lbs boat could be done by using better design/materials. The same for a 40lbs canoe probably means that you are replacing it with a more fragile boat. It's a serious trade of, even in a lake country.
 
Blatz
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02/24/2020 03:16PM
EddyTurn: "Shaving 10lbs off a 60lbs boat could be done by using better design/materials. The same for a 40lbs canoe probably means that you are replacing it with a more fragile boat. It's a serious trade of, even in a lake country." I have to disagree. A canoe going from a 40 lbs to 30 lbs (probably a solo) means going from a Fiberglass layup to a Kevlar or Carbon lay up. It's a lighter fabric but not more fragile.
 
kona
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02/24/2020 03:57PM
For a ~14'+ boat, the difference between even 38lbs and 30lbs is dramatic, especially when swinging up to carry, and when negotiating wind. If you could get into the sub 30lb range, that would be something. Be sure to let us know what you end up with.
 
02/24/2020 04:55PM
timatkn: "Yes"

+1
 
singlebladecanoe
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02/24/2020 06:09PM
kona: "For a ~14'+ boat, the difference between even 38lbs and 30lbs is dramatic, especially when swinging up to carry, and when negotiating wind. If you could get into the sub 30lb range, that would be something. Be sure to let us know what you end up with."

Picking up a new 2020 Wenonah Advantage in carbon layup on Friday. Listed at 31 pounds at 16'6".
 
02/25/2020 02:31AM
Worth every penny. Enjoy! I agree that if your going to paddle a few days a year it’s probably not worth it. But having such a gem you’ll be more apt to paddle a lot more.
I got my dream canoe too late.
My smart alick remark would be oh boy I could tie 12 more pounds in it then.
 
HappyHuskies
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02/25/2020 06:47AM
singlebladecanoe: "kona: "For a ~14'+ boat, the difference between even 38lbs and 30lbs is dramatic, especially when swinging up to carry, and when negotiating wind. If you could get into the sub 30lb range, that would be something. Be sure to let us know what you end up with."


Picking up a new 2020 Wenonah Advantage in carbon layup on Friday. Listed at 31 pounds at 16'6". "


Congratulations! That's a very nice boat ... fast, durable, and light. Don't see how you could go wrong.
 
02/25/2020 06:41PM
singlebladecanoe: "kona: "For a ~14'+ boat, the difference between even 38lbs and 30lbs is dramatic, especially when swinging up to carry, and when negotiating wind. If you could get into the sub 30lb range, that would be something. Be sure to let us know what you end up with."


Picking up a new 2020 Wenonah Advantage in carbon layup on Friday. Listed at 31 pounds at 16'6". "


Nice!
 
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