BWCA Northstar Stealth Update? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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distinguished member (116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/23/2022 03:57PM  
Now that Northstar has had their Stealth layup out for a year I'm curious, what are the opinions of anyone who has bought one and tripped in it? Does it live up to your expectations? What's a real world report on the durability? Would you buy again in hindsight? Thanks!
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09/24/2022 01:46PM  
I could be wrong, but for 4-6 grand depending on options, I would imagine that no one is going to be critical after investing that much.
09/24/2022 08:46PM  
Hey Kermit…I am embarrassed to admit this but I got a NW 17 stealth this year but haven’t had it on the water.

My boys are in scouts and many of my weekends are taken up with non canoeing outdoor activities, I had a major surgery come up, then got an rare unrelated infection in my elbow (was actually from a mosquito) that put me out of commission for 3 weeks, got better, lead our scouts to summer camp, then got COVID, then the couple of opportunities I had to paddle it was blowing 20 mph…

My problems are not a big deal compared to many, just wasn’t conducive to canoeing this year like I had planned.

I probably can’t give ya an answer until next year.

distinguished member(1198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/28/2022 12:15PM  
I just picked up and took a short trip with a Stealth NW 18, and I love it. Frenchy is right, in that I'm not going to tell myself I hate it after dropping that wad, but I really do love it.

I took a 325 rod portage with a pretty good climb twice with it, and it was extremely easy to carry. I was able to take it with a pack, and it never really got bad. THis same portage and pack absolutely destroyed me last year. I didn't notice much of a difference on the water from my much loved Bell Northwoods. It was absolutely stable and plenty fast. We didn't have huge waves, so I can't speak to the dryness of it, but plenty of NW 18 owners are out there who can speak to the design.

I can't speak to the durability since its just the first trip, but when I talked to Northstar about it they made a great point: any repairs to the hull or gunwales are just composite repairs. The gunwales would be easy to fix for most types of damage, and patches are just patches. I figure I can have a dozen patches before I start to notice a difference in the weight.

In the end, I'm buying the ability to keep doing this longer and to keep taking it further into the wilderness. If I was younger and stronger, I probably wouldn't consider it. Unfortunately I'm getting older and weaker, so this buys me some years.

Totally worth it as far as I'm concerned. It does help that I'll have a Northwoods (blackgold with aluminum trim...coming soon so keep your eyes peeled!) to sell that will offset some of the cost.
09/28/2022 12:44PM  
Nice to hear amhacker22.

09/28/2022 01:01PM  
After a couple of trips with a carbon fiber hull (Savage River) I would say lay-up is noticeably stiffer and quieter. Only negative it's more brittle; don't drop it on a rock. Still as noted it's composite- repairs are simple.
09/28/2022 07:11PM  
Nick-Congrats on the sweet new ride! Glad you enjoyed it on your maiden voyage!!
10/10/2022 07:29AM  
Finally got my NW 17 stealth on the water…it paddled…just like a NW 17 :)

My most recent paddles besides this canoe were a Quetico 18.5 or NW 20…both loaded down with the entire family. I just say that because there was noticeably more glide and less effort…then again the canoe was unloaded and there was no wind so not really a fair comparison…anyways I think I’ll keep it :)

distinguished member(1198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/12/2022 11:59AM  
It's a beaut!
distinguished member (116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/13/2022 09:15AM  
Thanks all, especially Nick and Tim for sharing your experience and photos! Gorgeous!

I did call Northstar and had a great conversation with Bear about the Stealth boats. I was reassured to know it was built as a Boundary Waters layup and isn't quite as fragile as I feared. He emphasized you shouldn't be ramming a stealth boat into the landing, kept away from things like rebar, and that it's a wet foot lamination. But also that paddling over an unseen rock isn't going to do catastrophic damage and strand you.

A few quirks to the Stealth boats. They don't offer them with any sort of skid plates or with a sliding bow seat, but you can add a carbon foot brace.

As Nick mentioned and Bear reiterated, any repairs needed would be done with a fiberglass composite repair kit and would still be less weight than a Starlite boat. Though the vast majority of repairs they see, with any layup, have nothing to do with paddling.
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