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      First canoe new vs used     

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Rambo3489
member (16)member
 
10/12/2020 07:01PM  
Hello all,

I've been on the site gathering a whole lot of useful information as of late. I plan to make my first boundary waters trip after several years away from the area. I've always wanted to go, just never really have. This year I'm going all in. My high school buddy and I will be making the trip.

I am at a bit of a crossroads on what to do with the canoe. My original plan was to go to Canoecopia this year and land myself a discounted Northstar canoe. Not sure on if I want to go with a Northwind 16, 17, or the Polaris. I've found a few good deals on some used canoes online as well. None of which I really feel are my perfect canoe though.

As stated, my friend and I will be making a BW trip this coming year, and I have a feeling once I go once I will be making more trips up there in the future. I live within walking distance to the wolf river so I will hopefully be getting plenty of time on the water fishing and paddling around. My wife is showing interest in going out on the river here too. We also have a one year old daughter.

All of those factors make me want to buy a new canoe so I am able to get one that will check off all those boxes. But I can't help wondering if I would be better served with a used canoe? What do you guys think?
 
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andym
distinguished member(4987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/12/2020 07:20PM  
They sell new canoes? Huh. Didn’t know that. I guess all the used canoes I’ve bought had to start somewhere.

Truth in advertising: 1 of our 8 canoes was purchased new.

But yeah, if there is one boat that will do everything you want then get that boat either way. What is the Wolf River like? Will a good canoe for it also be a good BW tripper?
 
4keys
distinguished member(790)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/12/2020 07:36PM  
Have you tried paddling any of the 3 canoes you mentioned? Going for a test paddle might help you decide which one fits your needs best. Sometimes what looks good in pictures doesn't have that perfect feel. I'm not positive, but I think Rutabaga has test paddling again, tho I don't know if they carry the canoes you're looking at.

I would watch for that ideal used canoe, but if it doesn't show up by (insert date before your trip) then you have a decision to make : buy one that doesn't check all the boxes or buy new.

We have purchased both new and used canoes.
 
10/12/2020 08:05PM  
We just bought our first canoe ever in August. We bought new but after just one trip in it, I already have scratches and its no more sea worthy than a used one. In hindsight, to save a grand, I might have gone with the used one.
 
10/12/2020 08:12PM  
I have 8....all bought used. Just have to keep looking for the right canoe/deal to come along.
 
Rambo3489
member (16)member
 
10/12/2020 08:28PM  
Wow thanks for the quick replies guys.

The wolf river is somewhat of a lazy river. Lots of twists and turns. No real rapids that I know of. It’s one of the better fishing systems in Wisconsin. I would imagine a boat for the river would be a good tripper canoe as well.

Sounds to me like it’s kind of a grab bag for new vs used. There’s pros and cons either way. I do like the thought of buying used and saving some coin up front on a purchase. But landing that new perfect canoe has its allure too. What’s everyone’s canoe turnover rate? You guys keeping them for 5 years 10, 20? I suppose it would really depend on how much you like the canoe. It’d be a drag to buy new not like it and sell it at a loss. I do like the suggestion to paddle a few different ones and see what fits. I will call Rutabaga and see what they have available.
 
andym
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10/12/2020 08:49PM  
So far we’ve never sold one. I do have one solo and a tandem kayak that we might sell sometime.
 
10/12/2020 09:46PM  
I liked used. Piragis in Ely has an interesting business model. They rent canoes for one season then sell them in October for about $1000 off retail. I bought a Wenonah Champlain from them in 2012 and after 10+ BW/Q trips since that time it’s still in great shape.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
10/12/2020 09:50PM  
Hi Rambo... welcome to the board! We live in Appleton and take our motor boat to Fremont quite often during the summer and love the run up the Wolf. We also have paddled sections of the Wolf near Manawa and Shawano on occasion. Love that river.

Good luck with your canoe selection.
 
10/12/2020 09:59PM  
I think all the canoes you mention are excellent boats, but since you have not made your first trip to the BWCA yet, I’d lean toward buying used and spending the savings on critical gear improvements. Do you already have a really good tent, tarp, packs, sleeping bags, pads, stove and rain gear? For the savings of used vs new, you could score a lot of top notch stuff. Used canoes also don’t lose value that much, so you might be able to sell it in a couple years after you really figure out what you like for close to what you paid and then buy the boat of your dreams.

For me, between having a top canoe and mediocre gear vs a beat up but refurbished canoe and top notch gear - I’d choose the later.
 
Northwoodsman
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10/12/2020 10:14PM  
I spend a lot of money on top of the line canoe gear, camping gear, and tools. I wouldn't really consider a new canoe however. Piragis sells their used fleet after one year, most others after 3 years. Over the years I rented and paddled several models until I found the model for me. Two years ago I bought a 3 year old one from an outfitter that was in great condition for exactly half the cost of a new one. I took it home and lightly sanded it, put a fresh coat of spar varnish on it and it's as good as new. It took be 3-4 hours to refinish it. I figure that I could get two used ones, a solo and a tandem, for the price of one new one.
 
Heyfritty
senior member (71)senior membersenior member
 
10/12/2020 11:23PM  
Used for sure. With Kevlar in average condition(or better), you’ll always get most of your money back with no worries about buyer’s remorse. You can always buy new in the future. Besides, it seems most of us always have room for more than one. And Jaywalker is right on with the gear comment. If you’re optimistic about future trips you’ll be glad to have light, top of the line gear that makes your time on land much more enjoyable.

Fritty
 
pastorjsackett
distinguished member(1021)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2020 04:20AM  
My daughter and I just went in togetheron our first--a Northwind 17. Got it used from an outfitter, and stayed a night in the National Forest on the way back home. Super memorable trip and now we have a great canoe! We'll be refinishing it over the winter with help from our old pal Muddyfeet. Good luck!
 
4keys
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10/13/2020 06:24AM  
For your question about turnover rate - we still have our original alumnacraft that we bought 30 years ago. Over the years we've bought 3 others, have never sold one. They each have their uses, and it's nice to have extra for friends to use.
 
jfinn
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10/13/2020 08:21AM  
Rambo,

Used can be like new. I have 5 now, all used. 3 of the canoes I have purchased were 95%-100% brand new condition. As far as turnover, I have only sold one canoe (had it for 2 years) and my oldest and most used is 10 years for me (3 before me).

My suggestion is don't rush your decision. Test paddling with the load you will use it for is wise. Renting seems like a waste, but if it helps you in making the right choice for a 10-20 year boat, then it's a good idea.

Canoes are like most things in life; ones that are good at many things (spirit2 and so on) are not the best at any one thing. List your priorities/needs/wants in your boat and how important those things are. If fishing is #1, and you want the "best for fishing it will be a slower boat and vise versa. This is the reason many people end up with more than one boat if they paddle on different types of water or have different priorities on trips.

Good luck.
John
 
10/13/2020 08:21AM  
Most of the outfitters have sold out their fleet at this time, so getting a used one from them will be difficult. I'm a big fan of the Northwind 17. It's stable, Lighter than other canoes in it's class, reasonable speed, and the room in the bow area is very ample. Buying a used Kevlar in good shape now days will save some money, but not a ton. I would do the Canocopia discount and get exactly what you want. I would also contact the manufacturer a month ahead of Canoecopia and make sure they'll have your canoe and can have it ready for canoecopia. Canoe sales have gone through the roof this year.
 
WIMike
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10/13/2020 08:30AM  
I don't think you can go wrong with either new or used if you shop around and test paddle a few boats that you think fit your needs. In your situation as a first timer to canoe tripping (if I understood you correctly) I would suggest that another option is to rent one of the canoes you're thinking of buying and do a trip in it. It would be a great way to test paddle under actual trip conditions and you'd also get a real good idea if canoe tripping is for you. Sometimes a canoe trip sounds like a lot of fun but then the reality differs from the perception. Good luck in your decision.
 
10/13/2020 08:37AM  
Rambo, I'm another Wolf River junkie. I live in Wausau but my family has owned land and a cabin on the Wolf for around 75 years. We're a ways upstream from Jackfish, between Pickerel and Pearson. We use several, bottom beater knoos on the river from old fiberglass, aluminum, and ply boats. I keep my Sawyer kevlar knoo in Wausau for my BW tripping, and am working on a cedar strip solo for fun. Good luck on your quest and welcome to the board.
 
10/13/2020 09:35AM  
I'd borrow or rent near home to try some out first. Rent on your first trip too to try another brand or model you haven't. Then you'll know what you like and don't like for buying. Are you and the friend each going in solo or in as a tandem boat? Lots of Kevlar canoes out there....different shapes sizes speed stability capacity etc. What's most important to you out of those? Stability and willing to sacrifice a little speed? Vice versa? Efficiency in a big lake is very different than a tight twisty river too
 
10/13/2020 09:37AM  
Rambo,
I've bought two canoes both used because I couldn't afford new (the first was a MN IV, which I sold and then bought a used Seneca from MooseTrack just a few weeks ago). My primary goal while I'm in the BWCA is fishing and we base camp, so in some ways I'm not as concerned about how it paddles and all the tripping design info. I want something that gets me to my destination, is stable for fishing and fits my two kids and our gear. For what it's worth, I saved roughly $2,300 buying a six year old used canoe that is more than just reliable. And I know if/when I go to sell this one, I will more than recover what I paid for it. Best of all, my wife still loves me because I'm such a bargain shopper :^)
 
MooseTrack
distinguished member(595)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2020 09:44AM  
We still have a few used Wenonah Champlain's for sale. You can give us a call at 218 365 4106
 
Rambo3489
member (16)member
 
10/13/2020 12:17PM  
Wow thanks for all of the replies. Either the forum group is bigger than I thought, or its just really a great community here. Kind of cool to see people so close by and have experience on my local river.

I think I will wait it out and see if I cant land myself a used Northwind, or at least give myself time to paddle a few boats and see what I like. I have most of the gear I'll need for the trip. I enjoy wilderness camping. But that is a good point to save money on the canoe and put it into decent gear. Good gear is always in style.

Thanks for the info Moosetrack, however I think a Champlain is a bit bigger than I'd like.
 
eagle98mn
senior member (87)senior membersenior member
 
10/13/2020 01:08PM  
How much has the typical discount been at Canoecopia?
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2020 01:31PM  
I have canoes I've bought new and canoes I've bought used and I have zero regrets around any of them. Carl's Paddlin in Lone Rock sells Northstar boats and lets you test paddle, he's my favorite canoe dealer. Offhand I'd say that you can't go wrong with a NW16 or Polaris if your loads will be under 500 pounds (I have a Polaris). In my experience the NW17 (actually 17.5) is a huge boat that's best with over 500 pounds in it, I sold mine (mine was a Bell) because it was too big for my needs although it's certainly a fine boat.
 
10/13/2020 01:44PM  
Most of our canoes, like most of our cars, have been purchased used. No regrets--let someone else eat the quick depreciation on the new stuff...

TZ
 
OCDave
distinguished member(577)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2020 04:38PM  
I have 2 Northstar Canoes; a Northwind Solo and a Polaris. Both are the Blacklight layup. The Solo has wood trim the Polaris has the E6 trip. I bought both new but, did not have to compromise on what I wanted. I paddle both a few times a week. I'll keep both as long as I am paddling.

I am fortunate that I had the funds to splurge. Each purchase caused a wee bit of angst regarding the cost but, only until they were strapped to the top of my vehicle.

Conversely, we have a recreational Kayak. We even splurged for the Carbon/Fiberglass blend upgrade paddle. It has been paddled less than 10 times in 4 years. Had I bought used, I'd feel less guilt about that purchase.
 
Rambo3489
member (16)member
 
10/13/2020 05:53PM  
Just when I thought I had it all figured out in comes Dave to give me pause. I bet those are some purdy boats. I really do like the looks of a Northstar with Blacklite and wood trim. Which would be pretty difficult to come by used.

I'm heavily leaning towards a Northwind, I think supporting a smaller operation like that who's putting out that kind of quality is hard to pass up. I talked to Ted today and he gave me the recommendation of a Northwind 17 based on my information.

He actually said buying used from an outfitter is not typically a bad way to go. Especially for a first canoe. Which I thought was interesting, a canoe builder recommending I buy a used boat rather than trying to sell me a new one. Which is why I am favoring a Northstar, seems like just a genuinely great company over there.
 
10/13/2020 08:14PM  
Rambo3489: "Wow thanks for the quick replies guys.


The wolf river is somewhat of a lazy river. Lots of twists and turns. No real rapids that I know of. It’s one of the better fishing systems in Wisconsin. I would imagine a boat for the river would be a good tripper canoe as well.


Sounds to me like it’s kind of a grab bag for new vs used. There’s pros and cons either way. I do like the thought of buying used and saving some coin up front on a purchase. But landing that new perfect canoe has its allure too. What’s everyone’s canoe turnover rate? You guys keeping them for 5 years 10, 20? I suppose it would really depend on how much you like the canoe. It’d be a drag to buy new not like it and sell it at a loss. I do like the suggestion to paddle a few different ones and see what fits. I will call Rutabaga and see what they have available. "


We used to make the drive to the wolf river because of it’s famous whitewater, some of the best in the Midwest. These rapids would destroy a Kevlar canoe.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(1056)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/16/2020 09:37AM  
Clearwater Lodge is having their garage sale this weekend. Kevlars starting at $600.

I think their aluminums are only like $200. If they're the QT models that would be a steal for someone wanting an aluminum boat.
 
mmrocker13
senior member (78)senior membersenior member
 
11/13/2020 09:59AM  
plander: "I liked used. Piragis in Ely has an interesting business model. They rent canoes for one season then sell them in October for about $1000 off retail. I bought a Wenonah Champlain from them in 2012 and after 10+ BW/Q trips since that time it’s still in great shape. "

We also have a "reclaimed" piragis Wenonah. A Minnesota 2. We got it back in... oh... 2006? It's done probably 20 BWCA trips since then, and lots of other camping/cabin trips. We've patched and refinished it a few times ourselves since then, but it is still a-ok. (I personally hate the giant label on it, but DH refuses to let me cover it with stickers :D)

We toyed with the idea of selling it and getting a newer one, and could have gotten back basically everything we paid...but why? We're okay fixing any dings/dents/wear and tear...and it's a canoe. The technology isn't undergoing some crazy evolution :D

For me, canoes are like cars and bikes...I'm never buying one new--I'll let someone else take that big hit and drive/pedal/paddle it off the lot. I am more than happy to clean up after them and spend my extra cash on more toys :D
 
giddyup
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11/14/2020 10:50AM  
After buying four canoes (all different models) in the last five years, one new and four used, Ill probably never buy new again. I absolutely love the “character” of my greatly discounted outfitter canoes. They have seen more of the BW than I ever will and I’d love to know the stories they could tell. I got to try and keep three different lightweight models (solo, tandem, three seater) with the pre-owned canoes for less than the price of one new lightweight Kevlar canoe. And I’m not worried about “scratching them up” because someone has already done it for me. I think if and when I do decide to re-sell, I’ll get as much back as I paid for them, which isn’t the case with a new one. It will probably always be used for me.
 
preacherdave
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11/15/2020 09:16AM  
Let someone else put the first scratch on her. It will be less painful!
 
HayRiverDrifter
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11/17/2020 12:55PM  
Welcome to the board. I went on the canoe buying journey a number of years back. Some notes:
- New boat - pay more, get exactly what you want
- New boat - Factory second, harder to find the exact features you may want, can save some money. Hayward Outfitters sells Wenonah factory seconds
- Used boat from a private party who bought the boat new: it can be hard to find the exact boat you want but the boat will be in better shape than an outfitter boat and you can get a good price. Know what you want, look often, be ready to buy now, you may need to drive a ways to go get the boat ($1700 - $2300)
- Used boat from a private party who bought the boat used: really look the boat over for patches and repairs and if it's been recoated, it will weigh more than factory. If it has been well cared for, you can get some really good deals ($1000 - $1600)
- Used boat from an outfitter (1 - 3 years old): If the outfitter uses the model you want, it's easier to find the model you want. A 1 - 3 year old boat, short of major damage, will be a solid boat and most outfitter 'refresh' the boats with a coat of varnish (does not add weight) before they are sold ($1800 - $2200)
- Used boat from an outfitter (greater than 3 years old): these boats will be very used, will likely have patches, will likely have been recoated with epoxy which adds weight. I personally would avoid these older outfitter boats ($600 - $1600)

This is my canoe buying journey. The year is significant because prices took a big jump over the last few of years.

(2014 - fall) Drove to Crane Lake and bought two very used canoes:
- Winonah Minn II - in decent shape, needed a recoat $600
- Winonah Itasca - had a recoat that was flaking off and had delamination that I found later $800

I worked on the Itasca all winter scraping off the bad recoat and found some delamination. In the spring, I through in the towel, and decided I wanted to paddle and not work on canoes. I called Steve at Piragis, loaded up the two canoes and headed north. Lessons learned: do not buy a really used canoe from an outfitter

(2015 - spring) Piragis: Steve gave me $800 for the Minn II and $600 for the Itasca in trade for:
- Winonah Champlain - $1750 - used one year - still have this boat - large and stable

(2016) Spring Creek outfitters: Chuck sold me a:
- Royalex Winonah Vagabond - $650 - like new - this is my river boat - small and stable

(2017) Craigs list - amazing deal on a:
- Bell Yellowstone Kevlar - Like new - $1000 - Happened to see it minutes after he posted it. This boat was very lively and I did not feel comfortable in it

(2018) Piragis: Steve gave me $1700 for the Bell Yellowstone and I traded it in on a new:
- Winonah Prism - $2200 - new - This was just before a significant price increase - this is my tripping solo - also paddle it locally

(2019) Voyager North Outfitters - year end sale, bought a:
- Wenonah Boundary Waters - $600 - very used - had been recoated several times, had some delaminiation - sold the boat after that trip for $600

Good luck.
 
aholmgren
distinguished member(504)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/18/2020 09:53AM  
was your first car used or new?
 
Rambo3489
member (16)member
 
11/27/2020 04:56PM  
aholmgren: "was your first car used or new?"

Well said, Good point. I'm kind of out of time on the outfitter sales. Trying my luck on a private sale.

Thanks for the detailed reply RiverDrifter
 
11/30/2020 03:45PM  
Why buy new when slightly used will do?
Or in my case will used will do!
 
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