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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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      New guy here, opinions on which Wenonah to buy?     
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TitanBow
 
07/23/2020 05:42PM  
First off, new guy here so go easy on me! I would say I am probably considered a step above novice when it comes to canoes since I have owned one for years, usually the heaviest cheapest one I could find! I typically had used them for hunting trips, just to fish out of, and really just more general purpose use.

About 10 years ago, I picked up a Rogue River 14 ft. plastic boat off Craigslist and the family and I have had some great adventures in it. However, it is a BEAST. I think its listed at 98lbs. and with my wife and two kids, plus gear, I'm sure its about as efficient as paddling an old oak log!

Anyway, I've been priming my wife on buying a really nice, high end canoe, one that is lightweight and big enough for our needs, but also something I could potentially solo on deer hunts or just go out for an afternoon fishing trip.

She is ok with it, but now my dilemma is in choosing which canoe to buy. I think I've pretty much narrowed my search to the Wenonah Boundary Waters, but I really don't know if one of their other boats would be a better fit. The local dealer in Denver recommended the Wenonah 17 or the 18 ft. Champlain.

Again, being the novice that I am, I can read the differences, but I guess I don't have the real world experience to equate the (what seems to me) subtle differences between these models to what that means in the real world.

The primary "mission" of this thing will be family camping, fishing, and just paddling around the mountain lakes here in Colorado. However, I do plan on using it some to access some hunting areas and probably will want to do some solo fishing occasionally.

Anyone with experience with these different models have a recommendation?

 
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Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1578)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/23/2020 06:18PM  
I have a Boundary Waters and my brother has a 17. They are extremely similar. The Boundary Waters is the most stable canoe that I have been in. One big difference between the two is that in the BW the bow seat is set back almost a foot, eliminating the need for the front thwart and giving the bow paddler some very nice leg room. Without the front thwart you can also paddle it backwards as a solo. I can stand in the BW if I wanted. Some would find the BW slower to paddle, but I'm 300 lbs. + and I'm don't intend to enter a race with it. Loaded with 400 lbs. or 750 lbs. it's a smooth solid ride. Like I said, there isn't much of a difference between the BW and the 17, I think the rocker is also different. Between the two and what you intend to use it for, I would go with the BW. You should be able to find a 3 year old used one for around $1500 - $1600 in the fall, or a 1 year old used one for under $2000 in the fall from outfitters on the edge of the BWCA.
 
07/23/2020 09:09PM  
I have rented the Wenonah Boundary Waters canoe several times when tripping with my daughter and her two children ages 8 and 10. It accommodated all of us as well as our gear for 2-3 night trips. However, we do pack light in terms of gear. And it is a very stable boat, more so than my Wenonah Escape which my daughter finds too unstable.
 
07/23/2020 10:02PM  
Welcome to the forums!

Forget the Champlain for paddling solo. It is way too big for that. It would be fine as a boat for your whole family plus gear.

I'd agree with the previous advice that the BW is a good choice for your intended uses until your children grow to the point that you'll need a 2nd canoe.
 
07/24/2020 12:08AM  
Why a Wenonah? If I had the $$$ I’d go with a Northstar Northwind 16 (if you want to think about soloing it as well).
 
07/24/2020 01:00AM  
brux: "Why a Wenonah? If I had the $$$ I’d go with a Northstar Northwind 16 (if you want to think about soloing it as well)."

Love this canoe
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(633)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 06:47AM  
I have the BW model and it would serve your needs. I would also suggest a Northstar B16 if there will be a lot of solo use. You can solo a 17 foot canoe, but I don't find it enjoyable.
 
07/24/2020 09:22AM  
I have paddled many a Wenonah canoe and own an Escape myself. Paddling solo in a Wenonah tandem canoe is not the most enjoyable thing when the wind is blowing. They function well if you sit on your knees in the middle of the boat but the wind does have a tendency to push your stern or bow around A LOT. I do hear that the Northwind 16 is a great canoe for solo and tandem but I have not personally paddled one.
 
07/24/2020 11:26AM  
The best Wenonah canoe to buy would be a Northstar canoe instead ;)
 
ZaraSp00k
distinguished member(1483)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 12:09PM  
find a dealer that will let you try them out, if they don't, find another dealer

since you are new, realize that there are a lot of rabid Northstar people here, but having paddled with them and the owner, the canoe is over rated, not that it is a bad canoe, but its kinda like asking a group of Democrats if Obama was a good president

paddle them yourself, you are the best judge of what is right for you
 
07/24/2020 12:16PM  
Champlaign is a battleship of a boat...huge and stable...you'd not want to solo one. Boundary waters is a smaller version of it, still very stable. Definitely not the fastest of hulls but you're not going for speed/efficiency it sounds.

I'll 2nd or 3rd or whatever looking into northstar as another option. Their NW17 would be a nice option. The 16 is too but getting on the small side for a tandem and as the little one gets bigger you'll be running out of space in it I feel.
 
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3123)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/24/2020 10:35PM  
Just based in what you’ve said, i think the Wenonah Boundary Waters seems like an excellent fit for you.
 
MuskyMike
member (33)member
 
07/25/2020 07:34AM  
+1 for northstar canoes. Paddled dozens of rented and borrows wenonahs over the years. Just about every NS I’ve been in is superior in every way. I have a B17 in the IXP layup that I absolutely love.
 
printing
member (47)member
 
07/25/2020 11:28AM  
I'm with the Northstar folks here. The B17 and B16 look great, have paddled the B17 in ixp before and it felt huge compared to the NW17 we currently have.
 
Bulldogge62
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
07/26/2020 09:01AM  
Hands down the Champlain. I spent three weeks in one this past June and it’s my favorite tandem canoe. Much better than the “Boundary Waters” model that I rented for previous three years.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(633)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/26/2020 09:12AM  
Bulldogge62: "Hands down the Champlain
I spent 3 weeks in one this past June and it’s my favorite tandem canoe much better than the “boundary waters” model that I rented for previous 3 years "


"Anyway, I've been priming my wife on buying a really nice, high end canoe, one that is lightweight and big enough for our needs, but also something I could potentially solo on deer hunts or just go out for an afternoon fishing trip."

A Champlain would not in any way suit his needs as a solo canoe.
 
07/26/2020 07:22PM  
MidwestFirecraft: "Bulldogge62: "Hands down the Champlain
I spent 3 weeks in one this past June and it’s my favorite tandem canoe much better than the “boundary waters” model that I rented for previous 3 years "



"Anyway, I've been priming my wife on buying a really nice, high end canoe, one that is lightweight and big enough for our needs, but also something I could potentially solo on deer hunts or just go out for an afternoon fishing trip."


A Champlain would not in any way suit his needs as a solo canoe.
"

+1. The Champlain is a freighter of a canoe.
 
Model94
member (19)member
 
07/28/2020 09:58AM  
Most likely, your next canoe won't be your last canoe. The nice thing about going the used route is you can flip them with very little $$ loss. So, don't worry about getting it exactly right, any of the options you are considering will work nicely and you will be happy. After some time you may decide that some detail is not quite to your liking, and then find another that is more suitable. My first one was a coleman and i got a lot of use out of it. The next one was a nice 17' Rx sundowner. Loved it. The next one was a 16' souris river quetico. Love it more.
 
2AirIsHuman
member (22)member
 
08/24/2020 10:26PM  
Hello TitanBow. Hope you bought a canoe

If not, I have a 17 Wenonah in whatever they call the hybrid fiberglass/kevlar layup. Have had it for 4 years I think. I think you would like one too

I took the bow thwart out to facilitate solo paddling it backwards and usually throw around 50 pounds of ballast at the other end, either a scuba tank or a couple of dumbbells, which makes for a stable setup. (depending on what I'm doing I'll put a line and a float on them to facilitate retrieval in the event of a capsize) There's no keel so the wind will still blow it around. Have thought of moving the bow seat towards center a few inches to better accommodate solo paddling but haven't done it. Also paddle tandem with my kids. I like it.

The bow thwart isn't really necessary unless you're someplace where wrapping it around a rock in current is a genuine concern, between the seat and the yoke and the layup itself there's enough stiffness. I mostly run southern MN rivers without any real rapids and it's fine for that. If I were going to run a class 2 or class 3 I'd put in the thwart.

 
goetzc
member (41)member
 
08/25/2020 02:23PM  
2AirIsHuman: "and usually throw around 50 pounds of ballast at the other end, either a scuba tank or a couple of dumbbells, which makes for a stable setup. (depending on what I'm doing I'll put a line and a float on them to facilitate retrieval in the event of a capsize)
"


Off topic -
Just sharing you can accomplish the same ballast effect for far less effort/risk by using a large drybag filled with water. I use an old size large Coghlans "Dry Sack". Bonus is that it only weighs about 12oz empty and costs about $20 anywhere Coghlans camping gear is sold and it'll float if you do happen to capsize.
 
Brock63
member (18)member
 
08/31/2020 08:41AM  
If only doing lakes...I would think a Northstar Northwind 16 or 17 depending on weight you intend to carry MOST OF THE TIME... would be great. I had a Bell Northwind out of Royalex and absolutely loved it...other than the weight but was durable, tracked great.

This go around, I went with B16 IXP from Northstar...slightly wider, 2.5" rocker bow/stern, lower profile to help with wind. It is also a very good canoe and I absolutely love mine though only had it for a few days now.

I think the Northwind has more initial stability...but the B16 has great secondary stability and higher weight capacity.

Canoes are versatile so dont get too wrapped up on only one aspect...and even though it may be intended for one use...most (except the extremes) are very capable in other uses as well. The B16 is similar to a Prospector but has been "improved" some by Ted Bell on this expression.

I would give Northstar a call....and tell them your experience, water to paddle, expectations, intended uses short term, etc. I went in wanting to buy a Northwind again due to my past experience but they recommended the B16 with the slightly wider setup for packing loads and ability to paddle solo with loads... I spent an hour on the phone so dont worry about it at all. If you dont need the durability of IXP like I did...then would go with the Blacklight...still very tough but half the weight almost.

Good luck.
 
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