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Reviews for Minnesota II Canoe by We-no-nah Canoe


Rated: 8.93/10 Based On: 29 Reviews

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09-07-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Minnesota II slices through the water at high speeds, is quite roomy for coolers and kids, and handles exceptionally well in wide open tough waters; extremely difficult to tip but possible if necessary to avoid entrance into dangerous back eddy... speaking from experience. A great canoe for the family.
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09-06-2014
Submitted by: jabSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought a We-no-nah Minnesota II about 5 years ago to use for racing USCA Standard Class. The Minnesota II is a fast and stable canoe that also makes a great tripping canoe. My canoe is a Kevlar haul that has held up very well and I have not had to make any repairs even with the occasional bump against rocks and logs over the years. I would highly recommend the Minnesota II to add to your fleet.
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05-08-2009
Submitted by: ldbSend Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     We have paddled the MinnII for ten years on 30 Boundary Water and Quetico trips. I object to the lack of free board when loaded over 600 pounds, with heavy paddlers there is not enough buoyancy in the ends, and there are stability issues when the waves are spaced with just the ends in the waves with not enough width be supported by water. When going with the wind waves from the rear or quartering from the rear suck the stability out of it. When fishing for small mouth or any time the rear paddler needs to angle the boat it gets very difficult to turn or pivot. The front seat paddler's sitting position is always in an unstable balance because the feat have no options, but to be on top of each other.

Good points: nothing goes into moderate wind and waves straight on or quartering with the tracking and speed of this boat. Even loaded with 650 pounds it is the fastest tripping canoe there is except for the original MinnII, I believe the new MinnIII's have more rocker than mine did. If you are big people you would be happier with the capacity of the MinnIII, but not the handling. They just don't put the rocks along the landings in the right places to get a 20 foot canoe to shore without rock damage. either canoe should wet footed and loaded only when floating, the thin enty lines put a lot of pounds per square inch on the ends and they get serious rock damage very easily.

Once on the Bayley bay beach there were 2.5' whitecaps coming in we found our MinnII took them sideways better than straight on, straight we got a lot of water over the gunnels. While all of MinnII folks were standing there watching the waves, two big Canadians with a 16' Chestnut Prospector came from the north. One was about 275 pounds the other 235pounds, with three number three Duluth packs. Heading for Lac Lacroi, with their life jackets still wrapped around the seats they headed straight in the Southwest gale and disappeared around the far west point, riding out the giant waves one at a time like they thought nothing of it. Which boat do you think was the fastest boat on the beach that day?

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02-23-2009
Submitted by: River RamblerSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     First my experience: I am a guide and have worked at a canoe shop going on 11 years and have had the opportunity to have full access to any boat that we carry (30+ Brands). I include this because you never know who is reviewing.

A previous review stated that the Min II is a specialized canoe and I agree with this statement to an extent. It is the fastest canoe in its class (C2 Stock) and any race picture will show these boats almost exclusively. It can be a little tight in the bow but given the speed of the boat, the Min II can carry a massive load and still perform faster than any other similar boat with the same weight.

If you want a boat that can travel a lot of distance in a single day but can also carry a heavy load? This is, in my opinion, the best boat on the market for two paddlers. If you want more bow space look to either a Bell Northwind or a Spirit II. They are a bit shorter and slower. Or go with the Min III they are longer and faster if you put a third or even fourth paddler in the boat with you.

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10-21-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I rate this boat a 9, instead of a 10 because of quality issues. Mine has a lot of porosity and a couple of small bubbles in the skin coat. As far as paddling, it is a 10. My wife and I have paddled ours loaded in the BWCA, and unloaded on big rivers and lakes near our home. It does it's intended purpose very well. That is, carries a load and goes from point A to point B quickly, and handles rough water beautifully. I don't understand the stability concerns expressed by some. I would rate this boat as very stable, especially when loaded correctly.
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09-22-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have owned the ultralight kevlar model for a year. It has proven to be everything that the manufacturer has claimed. It turns like a barge, but it was never intended to be nimble. It is light, fast, and handles strong wind and current with ease.

We recently entered a fund raising, six mile, canoe/kayak race in my area. We won our class easily and outrun everything else, except the purpose built racing kayaks, by a large margin. The people with mass produced sea kayaks could not believe their eyes.

This boat is perfect for the Tennessee River. It has spoiled me.

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09-20-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Let me start by saying that I am a kayaker first, then a canoe person - so that you know my bias right up front.
3 years ago, we started doing an annual week-long trip into the Boundary Waters. For the first 2 years, we were paddling and portaging an aluminum Grumman that I hated (other than the duct tape repair capabilities). Last year, we bought a used Kevlar MN II from an outfitter that was honest about what he liked and disliked about this boat.

Here's the deal - the front end is tight for the front paddler and extra leg room would be nice - but the boat is very fast and that front end is why. I personally like the fact that the gunnels are close and I can get a paddle in the water without stretching to the side. I paddle the front because I prefer it and my wife really doesn't like how tight it is. For us it works, for others, you may want to rent one to see before you buy.

The boat is stable! I don't know what people who are complaining about that in other reviews are comparing to. We paddle with a 50 pound dog that moves from side to side constantly and the boat barely moves. It's almost as stable as my kayaks in my opinion.

Both my wife and I can portage this boat easily. It is well balanced and super light. If you packed like a backpacker for week, you should be able to portage and pack in one trip. Since we have a boat that was a rental, we can see how it wears and the issues of abuse. There are a few patches and some slight flexing where the kevlar attaches at the gunnel. It doesn't affect performance, but I think if you want kevlar it's good to know how to do repairs. I don't care for the way that front seat slide lock works, although it has never shifted during paddling.

I really like this boat, but think that you should do an on-the-water comparison of others out there and find the one that fits what you want to do. There is no such thing as a perfect boat. I have modified every boat I have ever owned to meet my needs (9 so far)!

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08-28-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have been paddling this tuff weave model for 4 yrs and have had it in all varieties of conditions on lakes and slow rivers. Loaded, unloaded; 2,3 or 4 people; flat water, wind driven waves and boat wakes.

This canoe is very stable, very fast and inspires confidence under all reasonable conditions that one should be on the water in a canoe. Quartering waves cause a little wiggle, but the boat tracks true and stays on course easily. Only a little water has ever splashed over the side and this is a rare occasion.

Turning is not difficult with good communication between paddlers and even as intermediate paddlers we can spin the boat 360 around the mid point with ease. This canoe is very fast and once we kept up with a 10 hp pontoon boat in a mini "drag race". Unloaded, this boat is a dream to take out for day paddles.

This canoe is, IMHO, much more user-friendly than a Bell Northwoods we demo'ed alongside this canoe. The only point deduction is for a stern seat that tends to squeak and rock a little when really pushing the speed. When I'm in the stern I can lay backwards and my head rests on the gunwale endcap so I can go right to sleep.

Mr Jensen, where ever you are, you made me a believer in your designs after using this boat and I really want to try a Jensen solo. I highly recommend the Min II for lake and slow river travel.

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11-28-2006
Submitted by: George FatulaSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my kevlar "Minnesota II" for 20 years. This boat started its life as a downriver racer and was called the WW II when I bought mine. It is a great boat. It is fast and stable and very capable of downriver racing if the right people are paddling it. It was replaced by the WW X and then the WW XX. Its replacements were more easily kept dry and were more forgiving of careless encounters with eddies but the WW II is the fastest downriver boat I have ever paddled. I am glad to learn it survives as the Minnesota II. I may buy a new one for cruising. It glides beautifully.
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09-11-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I find the initial stability on the MN II objectionable. I've had one for years, but it is always the first canoe I lend - rather than having to use it myself. After a week on the water, my hips are worn out from having to swivel all the time because the canoe feels so tippy. Just not impressed.
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07-10-2006
Submitted by: Brent Messing
Rating: 10 of 10

     Absolutly love this canoe. It is by far the fastest canoe that I have paddled. I have been paddling my whole life and recently decided to test the speed on all of my canoes. The minn II came out first on the GPS at 7.9 mph in short sprints. This is insanely fast for any canoe. Love the speed and stability but with all of this you sacrafice a little manueverability. It isn't the fastest canoe in turning but with experienced paddlers working together it is a dream to paddle.
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06-15-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just got back from 5 days in the Boundary Waters with the used MN II I bought a month ago. It was a real dream to paddle, with my 135 lb son in the front and me (235 lbs) in the back, and about 100 lbs. of gear. It tracked straight and true through small waves and light to moderate winds, but was very easy to turn and spin when I needed to. We didn't have any high winds or waves, so can't comment on that. Its weight made it a very easy carry on portages; no really long ones but my 15-year-old son was able to carry it without difficulty up to 100 rods or more. VERY NICE BOAT -- I love it!
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08-16-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     Padled a MNII on BWCA lakes for a few days with my wife and our labrador retriever. My wife thought the bow space was way too tight and she is small - I would not consider it for a trip with two larger folks because of that poor leg space up front and the narrow width where they have placed the seat to make it tippier than is enjoyable with a larger less-experienced paddler. The stern seat was not roomy for a large, long-legged person and the foot brace placement was very uncomfortable. As another commenter mentioned, it's not a lovely boat in the wind - altho how many are if you paddle a big boat solo like I did to try it out with a stiff breeze. It did carry very nicely and tracked fairly well in a crosswind considering the bow paddler was very green. In summary I would rent it again, nor will I buy it when I replace my 10-year old royalex beasty.
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10-09-2003
Submitted by: SJR
Rating: 10 of 10

     We-no-nah's Minnesota II is perfectly suited for it's intended purpose of tripping on lakes. I own a Minnesota II in the Tuff-weave layup and have paddled it on day trips and in 2002 in Canada for a 7 day trip in LaVerendye Provencial Park. The Minnesota II carries a load well, tracks very straight, is fast and is very sea worthy. It actually tracks better with weight in it, than empty. My wife and I paddled it into waves 1 to 1-1/2 feet high and while no one can say that is easy, if we kept a steady pace we made reasonable headway. It also tracked well when loaded even when quartering into 1-1/2 waves. It isn't as easy to track empty as loaded because the bow is more suseptable to the wind. The Minnesota II isn't the perfect choice for an all around canoe, which to me should be a little less affected by wind (empty) and easier to turn, but if you want a canoe you can take tripping the Minnesota II would be hard to beat.
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08-18-2003
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Minnesota II is the perfect open water boat. It paddles best with two people and a well balanced load. Under those conditions, paddling effortlessly all day is not a problem. Very fast, and turns reasonably well for its size. I have carried my entire family and the dog in this boat...that's 4 kids, wife, plus the dog, and while it got a little tippy, paddled quite well. The only thing I noticed was that the wakes from passing boats came close to cresting the bow of the canoe, and I found myself wondering if a taller bow may have been a better choice. Nonetheless, that was the exception, not the rule, and you have to give and take on performance. My boat was the tuffweave layup and I might add that I felt it was as good as Kevlar, albeit a bit heavier. Overall, great canoe.
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02-03-2003
Submitted by: B.N.
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Minnesota II gives everything it promises. The low hull may need to be considered for paddlers over 200 lbs, but thats why wenonah produces canoes with a middle depth of 15" rather than the low 12.5 of the Minnesota II. Taking a trip to the quetico this past summer was breeze with this canoe. Even with the gel coating and a total weight of 56lbs, the canoe was a breeze to portage with, pack and all. The speed was exceptional. Having stopped for lunch we were passed by two canoers on 17 foot royalex canoes and, leaving half an hour later had passed them again within 20 minutes. The cornering can leave something to be desired but the seaworthiness of this canoe is nothing to be trifled with. We hit Lac La Croix (BIG lake) in a steady 30 knot head wind and still managed to make good time despite the wind and the waves. Overall and incredible craft that made for an incredible trip!!
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01-20-2003
Submitted by: Randy StaubSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I was hoping for a new racing paddle for Christmas, but my wife got me a Minn II in ultralight Kevlar instead! I knew there was some reason I married her! This boat is a dream to paddle under any conditions of weather and water. I plan to enter it in the General Clinton race in the spring.
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09-26-2002
Submitted by: J SuroSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just took delivery of a new Minnesotta II in graphite ultra light layup with ash and mahogany rails - 39 pounds. Tested the boat before buying it and it not only goes like a bat out of hell (6.8 mph on GPS), it turns extremely well for a boat this size. The woodwork is gorgeous but the lay up could be a little better for a boat in this price range.

Having owned other Wenonahs in Kevlar lay ups I can tell you this one is paper thin in some places and very strong and stiff in others. Durability is the question, but then again, you only live once, right?

Looking forward to putting it through its paces. Would rate it a 10 but for the lay up.

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09-11-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Minnesota II is a great boat in rough water on big lakes, which is it's intended use. It does not lose much performance with extra weight and will turn quickly with experienced paddlers. The tougher the conditions, the more experienced paddlers will appreciate this wonderfully designed boat.
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06-17-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     My new MINN II in ultra-light kevlar (approx. 42lbs.) is the flat water, tripper, portager's dream! Those of you who lower your ratings on this boat because it doesn't run rapids or turn well need to increase your knowledge of canoe design BEFORE purchasing. This boat has NO ROCKER, zero, nil, zilch. It is not meant to turn well. It's a fast tracker for open water. WeNoNah has other haulers designed with rocker meant for rapids, quick turning etc. When I guide tours to the Adirondacks for canoe/camping I use the MINN II and an 18ft. Sundowner, my first WeNoNah. Both good lake canoes. If the saleman sold you a MINN II on any other pretense, they are wrong. There is give and take with ALL canoe/kayak designs. You want speed, prepare to give up some stability and turnability and vice versa. Running whitewater with boulders, keep the Kevlar in the garage and use the Royalex. Finding the right boat for the situation is key. The MINN II is perfect for mine.
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05-09-2002
Submitted by: Scot TaylorSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I used my Minn.II on 4th lake in the Adirondacks. It performed amazingly,better than I had expected. I carried a heavy load and my 8 year old son, paddling in a stiff wind. It tracked well and was stable. It easily out performed my father's Penobscot 17 blowing it away on the open lake with a load. Mine is the tuff - weave layup. I am not 100% pleased with the fit and finish. The gunwale on one side is drawn in, disturbing the other wise beautiful lines of this awesome canoe.
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11-23-2001
Submitted by: Rod WallaceSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Deciding to buy a Minn II should not be done in haste. It is a specialty canoe that, in my opinion, does what it was designed to do very well. It is not simply a "bigger" all-round canoe. In deciding to buy this canoe, I really thought hard about whether on not I'd be inclined to use it on rivers with rapids and small streams, and decided that I would not allow myself to do so.

That being said, I have have used this canoe in a variety of situations such as Lake Superior on windy days with big swell with 2 kids who are inclined to lean over the edge, and have never felt safer nor in more control in any other canoe. It is stable, tracks well and goes fast....this performance comes at the expense of manouverability. As a person who also sea kayaks, it never ceases to amaze me that moving from the kayak to this canoe IS NOT like moving from driving a sports car to driving a bus.

I have the ultra-light kevlar model with wood trim. The kevlar portion of the construction is very good, the wood fit and finish is ok. I expected better woodwork. Dealing with Wenonah in making my buying decision was a pleasure and I found their catalog to be a helpful resource rather than simply pro-Wenonah propaganda.

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11-02-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 4 of 10

     The Minn. II is not what you would expect an 18'6" canoe to be. This canoe doesn't carry large paddlers and with heavey gear real well. The canoe looses a lot of performance when loaded to the 6 inch waterline, which is over 600 pounds. The other thing about this canoe is that it's not easy to turn. Both paddlers will need to no how to make a canoe move at times. The portage landings in the BWCA and Quetico aren't an easy task. It's poor stearing makes fishing a little difficult at times.

The good way to look at this canoe is that when loaded properly and with experienced paddlers this canoe really flies and getting it in the 43# model or 39# carbon model makes this boat a breeze to carry. What it all boils down to is that I think that canoes are suppose to be a versital watercraft and the Minn. II is a speciallized canoe.

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07-31-2001
Submitted by: D. A. M.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my MNII for about six years now, and I can definitely say that it was the best money I have ever spent on outdoor equipment. I have the Ultra-light Kev core, it is a dream to portage in the BWCA. It easily holds 4 duluth packs, and will still go faster than anything else on the water. The stability is excellent, but it definitely feels more stable with weight in it. It tracks very well for such a long boat, but you need to pay attention to weight distribution when it gets windy. If you are interested in purchasing a canoe for the BWCA, this is the only one that you should consider.
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11-24-2000
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have the tough weave version in ultralight foam core, which is no longer made. I love this boat, it holds a lot of gear, goes fast, and tracks very well (even in a quartering wind). In order to track though you have to pay attention to weight distribution. Too much weight in the front or back and you will think everyone singing the praises of the boat's ability to hold a line is on drugs. In case it is not standard, get the sliding bow seat to help with adjusting weight while underway.

The only weakness of the boat is when it is used for an unintended purpose, such as narrow twisty streams. She doesn't like to turn on a dime, though leaning and help from a good bow partner will get you by.

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07-06-2000
Submitted by: AlexSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Initially felt alittle unstable, but soon grew comfortable with it... At 18'6" it's a long boat and holds alot of gear... It'speed is impressive, and leaves a satisfying wake... Would not recommend this craft for the smaller streams, or narrow channels, as it's best suited for the open waters... (tried the white water with it, but won't again !!)
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11-23-1999
Submitted by: Jason SloanSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This canoe is a queen of the water! It holds a ton, handles like a dream (for an 18+ footer), and is plenty stable for all classes of paddler. When fully loaded, it will bear true even in a strong head wind. I wouldn't leave dry land without it.
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09-04-1998
Submitted by: LOKSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I think this canoe rates just about the highest on my list for Kevlar 2 person canoes. It is stable, light, great to fish out of, travels fast and at 18.5" it holds a lot of gear (including my 40# dog!)
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01-11-1998
Submitted by: Bill WelchSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is the premier tripping canoe! Fast, light, stable when loaded. This canoe experiences light intitial instability when empty, but due to the slight flair, is actually quite difficult to tip. When fully loaded, it tracks and handles like a dream. Wouldn't go canoe tripping without one!
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