BWCA I'd welcome input/opinions on a solo canoe to fit my use Boundary Waters Group Forum: Solo Tripping
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      I'd welcome input/opinions on a solo canoe to fit my use     

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09/07/2022 03:30PM  
I'm considering a solo canoe, but I'd prefer some input so I take an informed action.

Intended use would be for a yearly short (3-5) days solo BWCA trip, but honestly most of the use would be when I could steal an hour or two paddling a local lake before my family is up on the weekends. There is a lake local to me that I carry our family canoe (Bell Seliga) down to for an hour paddle of exercise/meditative time.

I ran up to Sawbill last weekend and rented a Prism for a day, I also tried out a Wilderness. I just wanted to see if I would enjoy the solo canoe experience, and after reading how tippy they can be, was nervous about stability. I loved that it wasn't as wide, how light it was, how much easier it is to control than the Seliga. Zero issue with stability.

The one thing I didn't like was that I was hoping that the wind would have less of a sail effect on it. It had the seat set back rather than the middle, but I did try filling up a dry sack with water and placing that in the front to counter it being off-trim. I really would like to minimize that effect of the wind.

I'm a hefty middle-aged guy with a family and a budget. My knees (too many years of soccer) will not tolerate kneeling for more than a short period. What used solo's should I be looking for?

Appreciate any input (or sell me yours!).

Tim
 
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duckcall
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09/08/2022 08:11AM  
I'm by no means an expert, but I have solo tripped with a Prism and with a Northwind Solo, and I am heading north in a few hours with my new to me NW Solo. This canoe is my retirement present to myself, so I'm definitely "middle aged" and could stand to lose a few pounds. The Solo just fit me better than the Prism, and I bought it from Canadian Waters in Ely. Dan is a great guy to work with.
 
09/08/2022 12:44PM  
You might try out a northstar magic. I have an older prism and just got a magic last fall, used from Rockwood. It tracks better than the prism, at least that's how it handles for me.
 
09/08/2022 02:07PM  
duckcall and dogwoodgirl,

I really appreciate those replies. The Magic and Northwind Solo are the two that my internet "research" keep turning up as the right answers to my question. Your response reinforces what I was thinking.

I believe that actual commentary from people that have had direct experience is more valuable than my online searches. An example would be that there is an older Bell CJ deluxe model that isn't far from me for sale, it looks to be in wonderful condition, but my searching for others reviews has results that share that it might not be a great fit. BUT, there might be somebody out there that has direct experience that could paint a better picture for me.

I'll keep my eyes peeled for a Magic or Northwind solo in the meantime.

Tim
 
OCDave
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09/09/2022 04:39PM  
Hey Tim,

I have been paddling a NorthStar Northwind Solo for about 4 years. At approximate 250 lbs + gear, I have not had much problem with wind that I haven't been able to overcome. I don't know whether this is attributable to the greater rocker or lower sheer height as compared to Prism but, I don't experience much "sail effect". My only issue with the Northwind Solo was the standard sitting drops for the seat made paddling painful at my hips. I swapped the sitting drops for the kneeling drops at no cost. Now that I sit a bit higher and can paddle much more comfortably for hours.

I have not seen many of the Northwind Solo available second-hand but if you're lucky enough to find one, I am certain it will make you happy.
 
SunrisePaddler
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09/10/2022 04:51PM  
I don’t have a ton of experience in solo canoes, but I’ve tripped with both a NW Magic and NW Solo. I enjoyed a lot about the Magic, but I fell in love with the Solo and was fortunate to pick up a used one off this board this summer. For me the Solo provides a bit more stability and space. I haven’t paddled either in any significant winds. I don’t recall having any “sail effect” issues in lighter winds.

Good luck with your search!
 
HayRiverDrifter
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09/13/2022 08:33PM  
I own a Prism and a Vagabond. In general, I have found Wenonah canoes more stable than Bell or Northstar. Ted Bell likes a bit less initial stability.

Paddle as many canoes as you can. Whatever you choose, you will get used to the canoe that you have. If you take good care of the canoe and wet foot on all landings, the canoe will always be worth as much if not more than you paid and you can always sell it and buy something different, or just keep the first boat you buy and get another one. I don't know anyone guilty of that :-)

You will love having a solo.
 
09/14/2022 04:29PM  
Something with fairly low sides and some tumblehome do better in wind than straight or flare sided. Wilderness and to some extent a Prism have straight and minimal tumblehome as do Phoenix Northwind. Magic is pretty good but I think the Advantage is better in the wind as would a Savage River Blackwater. Another option is a canoe cover from CCS.

butthead
 
Paddle4Hike
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09/18/2022 05:26PM  
Troska
This site is a fantastic resource for information and perspective. You have started on a great research path.

I have been paddling tandems both with a partner and solo for more than 40 years. I recently purchased(about 7 yrs ago) a solo for my once a year BWCA trip and solo paddling at home. It has been a transition to solo canoes, but a worthwhile one.

I currently paddle a Bell Yellowstone Solo and enjoy it for day paddles and BW tripping. Well, I would enjoy it more if it was lighter for the BW trips :) Mine is Royalex. It is versatile enough to handle the once a year and any moving water adventures throughout the year.

Whatever you choose, I support your basic concept that having a solo for use in those “daily” opportunities is a great idea!

Good luck, and enjoy the search.
 
09/19/2022 04:36PM  
Thank you all for the input.

I had been making inquiries with the outfitters that I could find that sell their used boats, and kept striking out on available Magics or Northwind Solo's.

I responded to an older Craiglist ad for Pioneer Midwest's spring canoe sale, just on the off chance they could point me in the direction of a used boat.

Unfortunately, they didn't have a line on a used boat, but they DID have a new in-stock Northwind solo, WITH wood trim, that they would make me a fantastic deal on. My budget was blown out of the water (pun intentional), but this seems to be a great fit.

The team there was great. We took it for a test paddle before I handed over any money, they gave me some tips, I didn't capsize and the canoe was exactly what I was looking for. If you are in the East Metro, you may see me out at dawn tomorrow.

Now to get some local practice in, as my next opportunity to sneak a few days off and get away is a month out. Along with the practice, I'll start searching out plans to make a removable portage yoke.

If anyone else is still looking, they did have another NW Solo with aluminum trim, a Trillium in Starlite, and I think a B17?

Again - thanks for the thoughts.

Tim
 
09/19/2022 09:33PM  
Congrats!!
 
Kermit
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09/22/2022 08:40AM  
Congrats! I just did my first solo BWCA trip in my NW Solo and absolutely loved it. Such a wonderful boat. Perfect amount of cargo room. Excellent primary and secondary stability. Tracks beautifully. If you're on FaceBook join our Northstar Northwind Solo User Group!

 
10/06/2022 08:25PM  
I just wanted to follow up the post to wrap up the story. Some work trips were changed by Hurricane Ian, so instead I got to head up north and take a 4 day solo that ended last weekend out of Sawbill. My first solo, and first time paddling the canoe loaded.

I can't say enough good things. Enjoyed the solo trip much more than I thought I would, and the canoe was terrific. I have some work to do figuring out how to trim properly, and more work to do trying to do a J stroke with my bent paddle. But learning and practice are fun, so that is a positive.

Looking forward to the next time I can get up there, I've got some technique work to do, some fitness work to do, and a couple gear items to work out.

Tim
 
10/08/2022 05:17PM  
The seat being back was your issue. In a head wind you want the seat forward of middle
 
10/15/2022 10:09AM  
Troska: "I just wanted to follow up the post to wrap up the story. Some work trips were changed by Hurricane Ian, so instead I got to head up north and take a 4 day solo that ended last weekend out of Sawbill. My first solo, and first time paddling the canoe loaded.


I can't say enough good things. Enjoyed the solo trip much more than I thought I would, and the canoe was terrific. I have some work to do figuring out how to trim properly, and more work to do trying to do a J stroke with my bent paddle. But learning and practice are fun, so that is a positive.


Looking forward to the next time I can get up there, I've got some technique work to do, some fitness work to do, and a couple gear items to work out.


Tim"


Skip the j-stroke. It's just ruddering by another name. Also if you are paddling a true solo with a center position it's not very effective. Hit and switch. With proper technique you should be able to get 6-10 strokes/side in a boat like the northwind solo, prism or magic.
 
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