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distinguished member(7610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
01/20/2021 08:13AM  
I need a tougher solo for Adirondacks and New England which tend to involve rocky streams. I was looking at Esquiff's Echo but Swift's Prospector handled nice, and Northstar of course has options. Just interested in how hard you have hit a sharp rock with innegra and not done significant damage. Thanks.
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member (40)member
01/20/2021 08:24AM  
Posted this review of my B17 IXP in another older gear post. Hope it helps....

Just got out of the woods yesterday after the maiden voyage with my used but new to me Northstar B17 IXP. Spent a week going in through Mudro, Sandpit, Tin Can Mike, Horse & River, LBF, up to Friday Bay, and back. First impression, I LOVE THIS BOAT!!!

Tripped it along side a MN II. We double portage and base camp so both canoes were loaded to capacity with 700-800 lbs of guys and gear. Water was fairly high so we had no extra portages on the Horse river but hit countless rocks, dry foot portages, and drug it through the rapids in a few spots. The hull has dozens of new scratches but nothing through even the first layer of material.

It tracks straight, handles rough water like a dream, and was as fast as if not faster than my buddy's MN II. The three inches of bow and stern rocker were a bit concerning to me when I purchased it, but didn't make it hard to stay straight even in heavy cross winds. It proved to be quite the blessing on the curvy Horse river and through the narrower stretches of Crooked. Paddling it from the stern was a joy. Subtle J & C strokes turn it on a dime. My partner said the bow was one of the roomiest and most comfortable he's ever sat in. It handles just as well fishing and paddling empty. It doesn't have the initial stability of a flat bottom boat but the secondary stability is absolutely amazing. You'd probably fall out of this boat before it tipped over.

My only complaints are the cheap laminated "birds eye maple" plywood thwarts, and the weight. The front thwart broke when unloading it the first time so thankfully I was able to replace them both before taking it out. The weight isn't a huge deal, but at 64 pounds before adding seats and strapping in rods and spare paddle, it sure made "Heart Attack Hill" live up to it's name on the way out yesterday. It's a trade off though. My buddies MN II took far more damage than mine did and we were the Guinea Pig boat through all the tricky stretches. So they had the advantage of knowing where not to go when we hung up.

In summation, I'd highly recommend this boat and layup to anyone looking for a WW boat or something they don't have to worry about beating up a little. It certainly wasn't the boat I started out looking for. However, after finding a screaming deal on a barely used 2019 model, I did some research on the design. Everyone says a prospector is the "best do it all canoe" and after spending a week in it I can confidently say that this by far the best canoe I've paddled. I can't imagine an inshore situation that it couldn't handle save class IV & V WW
member (34)member
01/20/2021 10:09AM  
Brian from Wenonah here,

You'll find a detailed (although admittedly biased, because I wrote it) discussion of T-Formex and Royalex here:

T-Formex Canoes

We love T-Formex as a material for ultra-tough applications and are thrilled that a true replacement for Royalex is available again.

distinguished member(7610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
01/20/2021 06:31PM  
Thanks Mike and Brian.

Brian - am I correct so far the only Wenonah solo in t-formex is the Wilderness? And so far Wenonah doesn't have an innegra composite?

I realize that innegra may only save a pound or two for twice the price, but deal with that another day.
member (34)member
01/21/2021 07:29AM  
billconner: "Brian - am I correct so far the only Wenonah solo in t-formex is the Wilderness? And so far Wenonah doesn't have an innegra composite?"

Hi Bill,

This is correct. The Wilderness is the only true solo that we offer in T-Formex at this time. We do build the 15 Prospector in T-Formex as well and this can do the job as a solo depending on your paddling style.

We do use Innegra in our composite canoes but not in an attempt to build a boat for high-impact use. We prefer T-Formex for that application.

I don't want to clog up the forum with a sales pitch for Wenonah--don't think that would be appropriate. If you shoot me an email I'm happy to discuss design philosophy and construction.

Thanks everyone for the conversation,

distinguished member(7610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
01/21/2021 02:11PM  
Sorry there isn't an old fashioned Canoecopia this year. Maybe Rutabaga will have "chat rooms" for this kind of discussion with vendors.

Thank you!
member (34)member
01/21/2021 02:37PM  
I think that Rutabaga is working on a plan for a Virtual Canoecopia for this year. Keep an eye on their site for details.

distinguished member(1165)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/21/2021 08:12PM  
I have a Phoenix in IXP and have paddled down the San Juan River in Utah in a heavily loaded B17 IXP. on my San Juan trip one B17IXP was pinned against several rocks mid river in a class 2 rapid. The canoe was pinned hard for 10-15 minutes- you could see the hull being deformed by the pressure of the current forcing the canoe against multiple rocks. The canoe came loose as a Z drag was being set up. Several thwarts broke and the deformation allowed the canoe to come off the rocks. The canoe was emptied of water and then refilled with the all of the original load and was paddled down river to our next camp. At camp makeshift thwart was made to replace one that went missing. The canoe did not leak and did a number of class two and a class 3 rapid in the following 6 days. It has since had the gunnels replaced, as the other ones had some good bends in them. some work was done to pretty up the fold lines.
I have paddled my Pheonix IXP for several years now down and up bony rivers and across lakes and portages. I have missed seeing some rocks that gave some pretty good impacts to the hull. I had bought it intending to do a remote Canadian river solo. I hope that opportunity will be realized.
Does it show scratches- you bet, they have been earned. I feel the IXP hull will not let me down. I have no experience with t-formex.
distinguished member(7610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
01/22/2021 06:56AM  
Thanks Dan. I don't anticipate quite the abuse you encountered, but suggests this is a very viable option.

I need to do more research, without the in person Canoecopia. The weight, maintenance, and cost comparisons are not simple.
distinguished member (231)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/22/2021 09:55AM  
Call Bear regarding IXP. I went through the same discussion with him, wanting a canoe I could do both rocky rivers and keep the weight down. This is the most simple explanation for the NorthStar layups: SL = lakes. BL = occasional rapids. IXP = always rapids.

I also talked to Souris about their "whitewater" layup, and its just an extra layer of kevlar, which they were confident works very well.

I ended up with a Backlite northstar, but I don't think our applications and usage time are the same. I may hit a few northern MN rivers once a summer and the rest are lakes. Also wanted a fairly tough canoe to drag around duck hunting.
member (17)member
01/22/2021 05:34PM  
I bought a Swift packboat in expedition Kevlar in 2020. Last year didn't turn out as planned, and I actually took that to the Boundary Waters. The week before we left for the BWCA, I wanted to get it in the water to see how it paddled with my pack and gear. It was not the optimal conditions, but we were running out of time so we headed out to Lake Michigan and paddled up the Root River. On our way back it got very windy. My boat got tossed into the rocks at the launch. There were scratches, but no damage. I didn't purposely abuse my boat, but if you've got the time, check out some of Swift's videos. You can see them put their materials to the test.
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