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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Gear Forum :: First solo?
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12/11/2020 09:44AM
First I apologize for another help me choose my canoe question. But there is A LOT of knowledge and experience here so thank you. I’m looking for my first solo canoe. I’ve done a ton of research and I’ve paddled a prism and nw solo. I’m 5-10 usually around 220 short and stocky.

Now my needs:
1. My daughter is 5 and needs to come with she doesn’t paddle yet
2. Be able to do day trips on rivers with my daughter and BWCA solo trips
3. Also preform well empty on both river’s and lakes

I’m looking for your experiences with different canoes likes dislikes. I’ve consumed much information now I’m stuck. I’ve been trying to test paddle but life has gotten in the way so I would appreciate any of your opinions and experiences. Thank you
12/11/2020 03:00PM
I have a NW Solo, Blacklight w/wood trim. I paddle it empty most days of the summer.

To and from the lake, I typically just flip the canoe over my right shoulder with an inside grip on the gunwale. If I have a dog on a leash, I can manage this with both paddle and canoe in the right and dog on the left.

On the water, my dogs are frequently moving around, poking their noses over the endge ect. Still, the NW Solo is stable and manageable.

The point is, the NW Solo would be a great boat to take your 5 yo paddling. The Solo should accomadate her as a passener well beyond the age she'll start picking up a paddle for herself.

I now also have a Polaris but, before I got it I frequently carried my wife as passenger in the Solo around local lakes. Her weight made turning a bit more difficult but never felt like the safety of the canoe was compromised
12/12/2020 11:40AM
In your situation I think a true solo is the right call. Can't go wrong with a NS NW Solo, but the Prism has its fans too.
12/11/2020 02:47PM
I have had both my 3 and 6 year old in my NW Solo with me on big water (Snowbank) and done well. Then, a couple months later, I did the Border Route Challenge with the NW Solo alone and it handled rivers, big water, winds (including 20 mph crazy tailwinds on Gunflint where my GPS clocked me at 12 mph at some points) and all else with no problems. I also have a Northwind 17, so I chose my NW solo based on the positive experiences I’ve had with my NW17. I have never paddled any Wenonah solos, but I love my NW Solo and use it all of the time. My 9 year old son often tries to sneak off in it because even a kid can paddle it.

12/11/2020 07:01PM
I'd be curious to know your impressions of the NW Solo since you've paddled one. I owned one for a while and I agree with the others that it's a good choice. The Swift Keewaydin 15 is also a very versatile solo with plenty of capacity that works well on lakes and rivers. I had mine out today and like it a lot; I'm around 200 pounds and often take a 55-60 pound dog and the boat still feels lightly loaded...and it's also happy with a lighter load (no dog). Overall the Keewaydin 15 is similar to the NW Solo. Swift does offer the side pods that let you switch the seat from a high position for kneeling to a low position for sitting...nice feature.
12/12/2020 08:07AM
Sns no real rapids I live in SE MN all the rivers down here are pretty calm. I liked the NS solo probably better than the prism and it’s the one I’m favoring as of now. I’ve also looked at nova crafts prospector 15 tandem combo. Or putting a third seat in a NW 16 tandem. But I think a true solo would paddle much better or am I wrong. I’ve like the swift’s and probably my second choice.
12/12/2020 07:21PM
At the end of the day it's hard to tell someone else's preference. Seems best to get something you've paddled and liked. I've also had 2 Swift Shearwaters over the years and they are superb and stable load carriers that turn better than NW Solo and Kee15 (so a bit better for rivers) but they give up a little efficiency yet are still more efficient than any tandem. I had both a dog and a nine year old in mine and with a sliding seat there's a ton of room in front of you for a passenger since it's a 16'2" solo. Swift will still make one for you but it might be hard to find one to test paddle. I've also got a NS Polaris with a center seat for solo paddling and it's a surprisingly decent solo but not in the same league as a NW Solo or Kee15...if you want a tandem that solos well I'd recommend it as a top choice. I'm not a Wenonah fan but the Prism is a fine fit for your intended use especially if you only plan to sit. I'd rather be in a boat with some rocker like a NS Solo or Kee15 when the wind and waves pick up.
12/14/2020 08:07AM
Thanks folks I appreciate your help sometimes it’s nice to talk things out to come to a conclusion. I think I’ll Waite for a tandem till my daughter starts to paddle and just go with a true solo. The waiting is the hardest part.
12/14/2020 11:00AM
If you're getting a new solo. Jump on it now so you'll have it for the summer.
12/12/2020 07:42AM
Agreed with the others on the NS NW Solo. Would do everything in your list.

Except, maybe...need #3....rivers. Are we talking any real rapids? A few riffles are likely fine in that boat, but it's a lake boat, not a river boat.