Best Wilderness Canoe

Maria Garcia
• Saturday, 26 December, 2020
• 7 min read

Discover some of the best canoes of the year from Nova Craft, Sea Eagle, Old Town, Swift, Mad River and Menorah. Price: $3,095 swiftcanoe.com If you spend your backcountry adventures travelling light and fast, the Cruiser 14.8 provides the speed of a touring kayak with the volume of a solo canoe, allowing you to pack without worry and portage with ease.

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High-pressure drop stitch sides and floor form an incredibly rigid, stable and lightweight canoe that’s just 60 pounds. Affectionately known as the workhorse of the Canadian north, Nova Craft’s Prospector 16 feels most at home loaded with gear on a remote wilderness lake or river.

Price: $3,699 madrivercanoe.com Matching the most versatile hull design on the market with the quality and refinement it deserves, the new Explorer Carbon features resin infusion for a lightweight and durable construction, contoured cherry outfitting, and integrated carbon/armed gunwales. This hull is the solo version of the legendary Minnesota II’s incredibly efficient design; it’s straight tracking and capable of carrying two weeks’ gear.

Nova Craft’s Fox 14 is an ideal choice for solo paddlers looking for independent adventures on flat water lakes and lazy rivers. The Blue Steel layup (shown), is a combination of armed and carbon fibers, and offers incredible stiffness for efficient performance.

The Haida’s roominess and stability means it is an ideal canoe for families who want to enjoy some tripping with young children, whether for a weekend jaunt to a favorite park or a wilderness adventure. Nova Craft’s Outfitter Series canoes are reproductions of the iconic Prospector design rendered in a super tough three-layer polyethylene plastic called SP3.

The Prospector 15 SP3 is ideal for canoe liveries and rental shops since it will provide many years of faithful service at an attractive price. Rigid construction and classic design make this the SUV of the wilderness.

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Paddles well with two, although the Clippers pass us on flat water. Handles wonderful on running rivers, great on smooth water.

The Tuff Stuffs material I love because of its light weight and durability. If you are looking for a quality tandem canoe with moderate rocker and light weight, the Eagle might just be for you.

One advantage is the narrow gunnel width at the bow paddling station which is good for smaller paddlers. Background Dave Curtis has been building canoes for almost four decades.

Three inches of rocker makes this boat dance in whitewater when filled with air, and it still handles great when loaded. While it tracks beautifully with attention, it does want to turn.

It carries a lot of gear and handles well even in full load in the rapids and flat water. It also a joy to play solo in a calm evening.

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We have paddled her throughout long stretches of the Mississippi and its major tributaries, along the shores of Lake Michigan and Superior, in the salty waters of Washington's Budget Sound, and countless trips through the… Full review. Excellent tripping canoe for carrying heavy loads over long distances.

I owned an Old Town Tripper for over 20 years and paddled it over five thousand miles throughout the Rocky Mountain states, Minnesota, the Dakotas and throughout the Quantico and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. I can attest to its indestructibility as I have on more than one occasion bent it in half and twisted it 90 degrees in class 4 and 5 whitewater and lived to not only tell about it, but paddle out.

I bought it after Bob Cary recommended it back in the early 2000s. I purchased it used from Purges Outfitters in Fly, Minn., and have been thrilled ever since.

Although 18.5 feet long, it doesn’t wind vane like my old Minnesota II did and obviously much lighter and does oil can like the old Royal ex Old Town Tripper that I owned for decades. Good on flat lakes and easy to paddle, but will swamp easily due to the shallow rocker in large standing waves.

We rented the canoe and were very happy until we hit some rapids with very large standing waves. Please take our 3-minute survey, and give us feedback about your visit today.

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Mention the word “paddle” to most people, and you may get references to “being up the creek without one,” the movie Deliverance, or corporal punishment handed out at Catholic schools in their childhood. But when I hear the word “paddle,” it immediately conjures up indelible images from my favorite canoe trips around the world.

Amid gorgeous scenery, this 72-mile long, rectangular circuit of lakes and rivers is a great one for beginners. There aren’t either many portages, and you can rent wheels that attach to the bottom of your canoe and roll it down the trails, which include boardwalks along rough, boggy sections.

I’ll never forget watching it set on the ocean at one end, while seeing the silhouette of a cruise ship far off in the distance at the other. Alligator in Okefenokee National Park, photo by John Gear Referred to as “the swamp” by locals, Okefenokee National Park is another great place to see wildlife… as long as you don’t mind keeping company with alligators.

But gators aren’t the only wildlife you’ll likely see there: Black bears call the Okefenokee home, as do white-tail deer, ospreys, herons, woodpeckers, hawks, and sandhill cranes. Although you can paddle your own canoe or kayak through here– and many locals do– your best bet is to book an experienced outfitter to keep from getting lost.

The snorkeling and Scuba diving there is fantastic, with all kinds of cool coral and multitudes of exotic-looking fish, including reef squid and the occasional barracuda. Our base camp was near Placenta, a center of Garifunaculture, which features a conch-shell sidewalk and a bar/post office to visit before or after your kayak trip.

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While it is threatened by logging and other business interests, the Amazon still encompasses the world’s largest continuous cover of tropical rainforest. Still, we did see a caiman, several parrots, toucans, a harpy eagle and tracks of what looked like a jaguar along the muddy banks of the river.

The 5-day trip was led by Moi, chief of the Guarani, the indigenous people on whose land we camped each night as part of our journey. Boundary Waters, photo by Reid Priedhorsky via Creative Commons Located on the border of northeastern Minnesota and the southwest border of northwestern Ontario, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is considered the canoe mecca of North America.

Consisting of thousands of lakes, rivers, marshes and woodlands, and home to all the diverse wildlife that lives in the boreal forest, it has been on my bucket list for years. Hippos in Okaying Delta, photo by Susan Portnoy via TheInsatiableTraveler.com If you’re an avid paddler, but want to experience the wild adventure of an African safari, this canoe trip is the answer to your prayers.

The area is home to several highly endangered species, including cheetahs, white and black rhinos, and African wild dogs… which is probably why it’s a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also paddle on Ha Long Bay and visit Cambodia’s Angkor Was, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While there is plenty to do on a trip like this, you probably won’t run across any surfers playing “Ride of the Valkyries.” And you definitely don’t want to shoot any tigers. The Vienna Bridge in Lava’u, photo by Tauolunga via Creative Commons This is another kayak trip that’s been on my bucket list for a while now.

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Dreams of Lava’u‘s crystal clear waters, sparkling sand beaches and hidden marine caves, combined with the chance of seeing whales and dolphins while plying the warm South Pacific waters, tug at my spray skirt in an enticing manner. In addition to paddling, you can also enjoy various Kerala tours focused on bird watching, fishing, and other activities.

John Gear began a life-long love affair with outdoor adventure at Southern Ontario’s Camp Richildaca, and eventually developed a desire to help conserve our disappearing wilderness. Initially enrolled in forestry, his passion for media launched a career as a sports journalist in the Maritime, then Western Canada.

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