BWCA Three people in a 2-person canoe? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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jwettelrin89
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
06/22/2022 12:05PM  
We're going on a trip at the end of July and we have one person who's going to be a game time decision. I was curious if others have used the after market extra seats and did a BWCA trip with three adults in a 2-man canoe? We average about 180 lbs/person. The canoe I'm thinking about using is an Allagash 174 if we go this route.

Our other options would be to rent a 3-person canoe, rent a one man canoe and bring one of my Penobscots, or bring a Penobscot 16 and Penobscot 17 and put the strongest paddler alone in the 16.

I'm mainly interested in the three people in an Allagash option. The boat is a beast to portage, but once we're at the lake and fishing (we do a lot of fishing), nothing beats the comfort of the nice wide and stable Allagash.
 
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06/22/2022 12:29PM  
I recall several trips with three adults, similar and heavier in a 17-foot aluminum canoe. We arranged packs to create a middle (seat)and managed on weeklong Quetico trips. Speed on the lake was slow but we single portaged.
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(3910)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2022 12:29PM  
Rent a 3 person like a MNIII or Seneca or NW 18 and if they don't show up, it's still a nice efficient boat to paddle for 2
 
jeffw89
member (13)member
 
06/22/2022 12:46PM  
cyclones30: "Rent a 3 person like a MNIII or Seneca or NW 18 and if they don't show up, it's still a nice efficient boat to paddle for 2 "

I really don't want to have to use a kevilar if I don't have too. We're going to go down the horse river and I hate the stress of taking a kevilar through shallow rocky water. Also - in my limited experience with kevilar they are much less comfortable on the water. The tops of the gunwales are narrower and sharper so when you're fishing all day with your legs leaning on the gunwales they start to dig into your legs.

I could be wrong about kevilar canoes, I've only used a couple. They portaged great and moved fast, but comfort seemed to be a backseat priority. They're like the sports cars of canoes. Are the MNIII and Seneca wider and more comfortable?

That being said if it's not safe to stuff 3 of us into the allagash it might have to be kevilar. Thanks for the suggestions!
 
jwettelrin89
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
06/22/2022 01:04PM  
Sorry about the double account post. Logged into this account on both of my computers now. Problem should be fixed.
 
06/22/2022 04:23PM  
If you have the funds to rent a 3-person canoe you will be much happier. I did the 3 people in a 2-man a few years back and with packs and food we were just too overloaded and cramped. Can it be done? Sure. Will you like it, probably not.
 
cyclones30
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06/22/2022 05:55PM  
There are all shapes and sizes of KEVLAR canoes. If you want stable and wide then the Seneca is a good one...not a MNIII. SR Q18 or 18.5 is nice too. Typically the gunwales on the edge of the canoe are very similar or the same as the other materials....no difference in knee comfort. And kevlar is still a very tough material, those canoes are rented and taken daily down the horse river and any other part of the BWCA and come back just fine, minus a few scratches on the underside. (unless you wrap it around a tree shooting some falls or something)
 
jwettelrin89
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
06/22/2022 08:23PM  
cyclones30: "There are all shapes and sizes of KEVLAR canoes. If you want stable and wide then the Seneca is a good one...not a MNIII. SR Q18 or 18.5 is nice too. Typically the gunwales on the edge of the canoe are very similar or the same as the other materials....no difference in knee comfort. And kevlar is still a very tough material, those canoes are rented and taken daily down the horse river and any other part of the BWCA and come back just fine, minus a few scratches on the underside. (unless you wrap it around a tree shooting some falls or something) "

Ive been doing a bit of googling and it sounds like Kevlar isn't as brittle as I thought. Both times I rented a kevlar in the past the outfitteres scared me with how delicate they told me I needed to be. I think I'm going to try to get my hands on a seneca for the trip. As someone mentioned earlier it could really be a bummer to be cramped the whole trip and it's worth being a little more careful for that extra room.

Thanks for the input!
 
Lawnchair107
distinguished member (205)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/23/2022 07:29AM  
Ive been doing a bit of googling and it sounds like Kevlar isn't as brittle as I thought. Both times I rented a kevlar in the past the outfitteres scared me with how delicate they told me I needed to be. I think I'm going to try to get my hands on a seneca for the trip. As someone mentioned earlier it could really be a bummer to be cramped the whole trip and it's worth being a little more careful for that extra room.
Thanks for the input!"


Most outfitters will tell you this so you're aware of their boats. This is to be remindful of hitting rocks at portages, campsites, etc.
 
06/23/2022 09:39AM  
As stated, we managed. You will be happier with the three-person boat.
For Kevlar think scratching the finish versus gouging the Kevlar fiber. Scrapping over rocks is okay, but dragging over sharp rocks with a load might be too much.
 
caribouluvr
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06/23/2022 04:05PM  
As an option to consider, we've used this drop-in 3rd seat for years for our kids in our 2-person Kevlar canoe. It's plenty big for an adult and is rated up to 300lbs. At portages we just take it out and tuck it under the top flap of a portage pack.

I see it's doubled in price over the last few years. Maybe you could rent one from an outfitter or pick up a used one?
https://oldtowncanoe.johnsonoutdoors.com/accessories/seating-storage/snap-center-canoe-seat
 
06/24/2022 07:10AM  
I've done this before on a week long trip in a mnii and it worked OK. It was a bit cramped, but we could really cruise with 3 paddlers and portaging was pretty easy. Getting the trim right can be tricky though.
 
06/24/2022 07:33AM  
Agree with Cyclones30, the Seneca or Souris River Quetico 18.5 will give you a similar feel to what you are used to.

I took my old Souris River on many 3 person trips down or up the horse just fine.

T
 
schweady
distinguished member(7776)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/24/2022 01:28PM  
We've done it in the past - duffer sits in the bottom, or middle guy sits on a lawn chair and tries to help paddle, or tries sitting on some of the cargo, or third guy uses a kayak instead... all with disastrous results.

Since renting a true 3-man canoe -- Souris or Northstar -- for any trip with an odd number of guys, we've been as happy as we have always been on trips with everyone in tandems.
 
06/24/2022 08:04PM  
Been down the Horse River many times. Don't worry about using a Kevlar on that river. You'll be fine
 
bwcamjh
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
 
07/02/2022 09:46AM  
3 of us used a SR Quetico 18.5 on a trip into the Woodland Caribou. We rented. The canoe was outfitted with one of the Spring Creek seat/portage yokes. Worked great. If you can keep the third person off the bottom of the canoe or off packs they will be more comfortable.

We use and have one of those snap in center seats. Have only used it on day trips. Great when the kids were small, two could fit.
 
jwettelrin89
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
07/02/2022 10:48AM  
we bit the bullet and rented a northstar b19. Excited to try out a true 3 person canoe.

Looks like the back 2 seats are pretty close together. good thing im sitting in the back. Hope I dont end up smacking the guy in the middle when I change paddling sides!
 
07/02/2022 01:22PM  
jwettelrin89: "we bit the bullet and rented a northstar b19. Excited to try out a true 3 person canoe.


Looks like the back 2 seats are pretty close together. good thing im sitting in the back. Hope I dont end up smacking the guy in the middle when I change paddling sides!"


Have a great trip! Smacking the middle paddler is only appropriate if they catch a bigger fish than you!
 
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