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It paddles solo well (front seat reversed), is pretty quick and very hardy and stable. On the downside it is really heavy and with its tumbledown gunwhales a bugger to handle and drain out of water. Car topping needs a bit of care or it will try and escape your grip. I'm 188cm and 97kg and the rear seat is too tight without a pad to lift you. It makes my Grumman 1550 seem very light.
Mine is red and came with strap in bags that are useful. I recommend it if you can get it at a fair price and don't mind the weight. It's a tough canoe.
Other than that, it is a stable boat that is greasy. Cargo rating nearly 1k. Solo is great in swift water going upstream with a kayak paddle. Durable and worth the money if a used one is located.
I needed something < $600 and found this canoe very lightly used for $500. Was looking for an OT 158 or 169 but couldn't find one in my price range.
Have only had this one on flat water as a test run and so far I'm very pleased. I am 6'3" and 245 lbs. The rear seat, as others have mentioned, is tiny - my back end barely squeezes in and I wonder what a 3 day trip will be like. I do have plenty of leg room and can paddle easily even with someone int he middle seat. The canoe is kind of heavy, but no heavier than the Coleman I'm used to toting around. All-in-all, I really like the speed, tracking,and stability. Maneuvering is yet to be seen, but so far, on the lake, it seemed to do just fine for the Missouri and Arkansas streams I float.
I will drill drain holes, too. One more thing to note is that the curved gunwales reduce the interior width considerably.
It is also, in my opinion, indestructible! I believe the rolled in gunwales are perfect... we nearly tipped the canoe when we high centered a rock, but the rolled in design kept the water from pouring in too fast and we were able to shift our weight and keep it upright! Yes... the rolled in sides hold the water in when trying to dump out... I was surprised to hear so many people would drill holes in the darn canoe instead of invest 20 dollars on a good kayak pump which is what I did... I can empty the boat in 2 minutes!
Yeah... it is heavy, but I work out regularly and don't mind heavy lifting. If you want a light canoe don't buy this one! Love the canoe and would buy another one but don't think I'll ever have to because this one will last a good long time!
I will admit that the boat was a fun water toy. We have put the boat through hell and back and it has come out a champ. The boat is cheap and tough. I would only recommend the boat to persons just getting into canoing.
It is great for kids to play with. But the lack of refinement forces me to give it a low score.
The canoe proved well behaved and manageable on a Class I and II day trip with kids. Stable, well tracking, and comfortable, etc. Even a little "oil canning" of the bottom didn't make it seem slow. The flexible plastic construction that gives the craft its durability is to blame, but the effect cannot be escaped without going for more expensive materials.
I then spent two days on a Class I through V river. There I initiated it with plenty of scratches, gouges. We flipped it, bashed it into rocks, drug it through brush and over rocky ledges for hours. Through out, the hull held up quite well. The controllability of the boat in whitewater was fine, and we kept it upright in large waves even without the secondary stability of a rounder bottom.
Although a comfort advantage on flat water, I knew the shortfalls of a low gunwale in rougher water. When nosing down into foam off of shelves, we would take on water and would have to stop and bail or dump.
This brings me to the other major problem with the craft, which I also saw before purchasing it: the large inner lip of the gunwale. The 3" lip makes flipping a swamped Ojibway out of the water almost impossible without superhuman strength, and with only one provided 1/2" drain hole, it takes a ridiculously impractical amount of time to let all the water out. Before even getting on the water, I used a 1/2" spade bit to drill an additional hole in both the prow and stern, and every 18" down each side. Even with the added drain holes, the lipped gunwale was almost dangerous to deal with in moving water. I will go back and add at least another 1/2" hole every 6" down the sides, and a couple more in the ends of the boat. I noticed no weakening, flexing, or stress on the gunwale after the water time, and although a good period of time would be needed to fully examine this, I expect no ill effects on the strength of the gunwale.
All in all, the Ojibway is a fun, cheap, tough, great all-around canoe. It's not for purists (fast on flat water, good for white water), but it's great for kids and general recreation.
I really like the earth tone color I bought it in.
With a few drain holes and float bags, it can be good for a thrill on up to Class III water. I may even make a skirt for it, just for a giggle. I got a few comments from others on the river that day, fully outfitted in their expensive kayaks and banana shaped canoes, but we all had a blast.
*I must say that I'm young, skinny, and strong, so the rear seat doesn't hurt my backside, the boat doesn't seem that heavy to me, and less skilled canoeists might have turned it over more than we did... Know your abilities before you take any boat into moving water.
Buy this boat if you're on a budget, and enjoy.
We had it on a 6 hour trip through the Okeefenokee this spring and it was maneuverable through tight places. Speed has never been a factor with us because we aren't trying to go far or fast. The biggest downside is loading it on top of the pickup truck by myself. It weighs about 85 lbs and has a tendency to want to roll over and right itself when you have it half way on. We solved that problem with a trailer. It is not easy to carry. I didn't really want to drill holes in it to make a yoke but a cart works well. The plastic construction is tough. We've done some shallow rocky rivers and scraped along with only cosmetic damage.
If you are looking for a family beater canoe that is stable and tough, cleans up easy, and is comfortable then consider this boat. We bought it at a year-end closeout for under $500 and have been very pleased.
That fact that it also paddles well and is a canoe we can lend to anybody who wants to do anything with it -- did I say seemingly indestructible? -- is an added bonus.
It does have some "heavy" downsides, like weight, for instance. The book weight says 84 lbs. but after a day on the water it may as well be 250 lbs.
Over time, the plastic seats will sag, which does make them more comfortable, but in a light rain last month we found ourselves sitting in puddles of water. A series of 1/4-inch holes drilled in the seats fixed this chilling problem.
The drain plug looked fragile, which proved to be a valid concern as it no longer exists. But life is easier not worrying about breaking it and the drain hole now serves as an excellent place to attach a stern line.
Others have wondered if the drain hole might be too small. On a recent group journey on a slow-moving river, the rookies we lent the boat to surprised us by being the first to capsize our Ojibway and it took seemingly forever to get all the water out. On the positive side, by the time the water was all drained out they had stopped arguing about who was at fault before they resumed paddling!
The great unknown will be emptying the water from her the first time I turn her over. The molded top/sides make her strong, but will hold water when draining the boat. The front drain plug is small, as expected, but will take a while to drain out. As you know a boat full of water is very heavy.
Am I glad I bought this one. YES. Would I buy it again. YES. Am I satisfied with the value for the investment. YES. Any regrets. Not sure. Kind of wish I had a Kayak for solo trips. But then I could only go on trips with other people who have a Kayaks, when I don't want to be alone. None of my friends have Kayaks. So I think I bought the right boat.
Old Town quality for the price of a Coleman. Who could argue with that? This is not one of those cheap, floppy plastic fantastics, as the PolyLink material is 3/8-inch thick at the inner rails.
As to its performance, the best I can say is that the Ojibway is a Discovery 158 hull with a kayak-styled top and I find myself in general agreement with the Disco 158 comments found elsewhere on this site.
I will add that after six outings (five tandem, one solo), I have not been disappointed as this appears to be an excellent general purpose canoe.
The canoe purist in me says to give it a 6, as it does nothing extremely well. However, since I've found that I now use it more than any of my other canoes I'm tempted to give it a 7, but since my total outlay at L.L. Bean was only $512, I'm giving it a 9!
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