Your #1 source for kayaking and canoeing information.               FREE Newsletter!
my Profile
Product Reviews > Canoes > Nova Craft Canoe > Prospector 16 Add Your Review Now!

Reviews for Prospector 16 Canoe by Nova Craft Canoe


Rated: 9.23/10 Based On: 22 Reviews


Prospector 16 Canoe by Nova Craft Canoe

Length: 16' 0" - Width: 36.0" - Starting at: $1949.00
See More Details about this Canoe
Nova Craft Canoe Logo



09-02-2014
Submitted by: D.A.SSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Hands down, an excellent canoe. Tracks well, great stability, relatively light (Royalite material used). Paddled on river (class 1) and flatwater lakes and the canoe handled like a dream. I am in the market for a sturdy, stable, versatile canoe and this is at the top of my shopping list!
Submit your own review!

07-02-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased the Novacraft Prospector 16 in the heavier lay up royalex. My last canoe was an old Blue Hole Sunburst II, a gift from a friend, and I loved it. I honestly didn't want to canoe shop because I didn't think I could find something I liked as well. But I was preparing for an eight-day trip down the James River with my two boys, Michael, age 7 and Ashby, age 5. I needed to be able to haul a lot of gear for camping, toys for the kids, be able to lean way over for sunscreen and snacks, and to be able to pluck up a child and haul them over the edge of they got tired. A whitewater canoe was gonna work me over, big time.

I am a strictly solo paddler. I like having a strictly solo boat so people don't ask to ride with me. I like to stand and paddle, and I like to pole. I like to kneel and I like to sit back and slack off. But there is nothing more uncomfortable to me than to be headed into rapids in a boat I can't turn. I've taken out various angling and recreational boats by very reputable companies, and I have been miserable because I can't spin them on a dime when I needed to. I'd give up every other criteria in order to be able to turn because it just feels unsafe. After 8-day tripping for a long time in a whitewater boat, this was something I just can't compromise.

The Prospector performed better than I had hoped. It actually paddles better with a load, still feeling light and agile even with a weeks worth of gear, a kid and a childs kayak riding on top. Tight for but doable. I'm a 33 yo woman, moderately fit, and even after 12-14 hour days on the water, 21 mile paddles, I didn't feel worn out at the end of the day.

It tracks pretty well, And it steers beautifully. Initial and secondary stability were very comfortable for me, and it allowed me to stand up through rapids to check on the kids progress, shout directions, or just stand up and stretch my legs through long flat sections. Handled Class I-III rapids wonderfully, and was truly a joy to ride.

The craftsmanship is truly impressive. It is a beautiful canoe, and the laced seats are gorgeous and comfortable. It is very easy to portage, and the lighter weight really made a difference when loading this boat solo over my head. The extra wide yoke and spine notch make it extremely comfortable to carry, as I found myself needing to carry this boat up hill about 100 yards. It was surprisingly easy.

We handled a pretty serious thunderstorm on the river, and I felt quite confident in high winds. The high gunwales do catch a lot of wind, and it does blow around, but it makes for a dry ride and it's difficult to dip a rail and swamp this boat, a trade off I'm happy to make.

All around, it tracks great in the flats, heels over great to paddle in the Canadian style, smaller rapids were fun, hauls everything and makes an outstanding kid wrangler. The only downside was the price, the only reason I gave it a 9- but I feel confident I'll have this boat for 25 years, and sometimes in life, you get what you pay for. I couldn't be happier with this canoe and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something to do it all.

Submit your own review!

09-30-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Have owned the 16 foot Royalex Prospector for 12 years and used it on lakes, rivers, rapids and trips both tandem and solo. It has performed well in all situations but does not excel in any one. Loaded on lakes, it paddles well, heavy loaded in rapids, it takes is somewhat wet as it takes water in over the sides. It's stable yet responsive. It is a great canoe for anyone wanting to do everything but can have only one canoe.
Submit your own review!

09-10-2012
Submitted by: Robin RidingtonSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Just purchased the Prospector 16 and we are delighted. We carry the canoe on a Nordic Tug 32 in BC coastal waters. Hoisting it in place is easy with a boom & tackle. The Prospector is a handsome complement to the Nordie and is a dream to paddle. We still have a 17' Grumman but it's way to big and heavy to go on the boat. It's a fine canoe for longer trips but the Prospector is certainly more handsome and quiet. She paddles with grace and ease
Submit your own review!

04-10-2012
Submitted by: maxcontaxSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     The 16' Prospector model is fairly true to the original Bill Mason version, lacks 4" of rocker, but 2" is actually pretty good. Quite seaworthy, have loaded it to 850# with no issues. Laced seats allow solo paddling backwards (tractor seats don't). But bring a cushion for long trips. Fibreglass model is stiff, doesn't "oilcan" in chop or current. Not as fast as some but truly the SUV of the canoe world. Which is why I have one and why it's on my SUV.
Submit your own review!

10-19-2010
Submitted by: SimonSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My camp is a serious tripping camp(Our longest trip is 54 day seal river) we have about 80 nova crafts and they are the ones we take on our serious expositions none of them have failed us yet, these canoes are the ones everyone arm wrestles for to get
Submit your own review!

08-04-2010
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Been paddling and poling my NC 16' Prospector for about a year and a half now. This canoe was preceded (in my fleet) by an Old Town Camper, Wenonah Fisherman, and Old Town Penobscot. I've spent a lot of time on the water with the Prospector in that time - mostly on rivers and mostly poling. After having the Prospector a while, I sold the OT Camper. While the Camper was a better boat for extremely shallow water (better than anything, probably), the Prospector is much more versatile and shames the Camper with it's secondary stability. After a while longer, I sold the Fisherman - which I had thought I would never do. While the 14' Fisherman is more maneuverable, the Prospecter also had it beat everywhere else except extreme shallow water.

Other than the fact that I get a few more scratches on the bottom with the Prospector, it is faster and more stable than the OT Camper, as well as easier to solo. It is much faster and a more stable than the Fisherman, although more effected by the wind - and pretty much makes up for the lack of comparable maneuverability when leaned aggressively for tight turns (which is easy, due to the wonderful secondary stability of the Prospector).

Compared to the Old Town Penobscot, the NC Prospector gives up some speed and some tracking ease. The Prospector is a little better in secondary stability - but not much. It is more effected by wind than the Penobscot, since the Penobscot has a lower profile and very little rocker. But the Prospector is much drier in the rough, due to it's rocker, it's fuller stems, and higher profile - and easier to turn, also due to it's moderate rocker.

If I had to limit myself to one tandem canoe in the ~$1400 and under price range, it would be a tough decision between the Prospector and the Penobscot. The Penobscot is the better flat-water boat, but the Prospector is better for the rougher stuff. I consider them both to be among the better, if not the best, all-around Royalex canoes - with each leaning slightly to opposite ends of the spectrum but considerable overlapping in their range of suitability. Both boats can be poled easily (the Prospector, more easily climbs drops because of itís rocker), and both can be paddled solo with relative ease. Both are well-constructed and show little or no "oil-canning." Fortunately, I don't have to choose. I do believe that you can cover most general tandem canoe needs with these two boats - as long as you can stand the weight.

Weight is more of an issue here, since my Prospector is the "standard" (heavier) Royalex lay-up. Wouldn't have been my first choice if I was buying new at list price, but mine was left-over stock and I got a great deal on it. This heavier (74lbs) lay-up has shown to be really tough though. Although the bottom is now pretty much covered with surface scratches and a few small dings, it seems to be holding up to my rough treatment with no sign of any damage that might need attention. It as taken some practice - but I find that I can lift and carry the boat by myself pretty well, so long as I don't have to carry it far. The contoured Nova-Craft yoke really helps in that.

My wife and I are still "novice" paddlers, in my estimation. We haven't done anything bigger than higher class 1 tandem, so I can't speak to tandem whitewater performance. But we find the Prospector to be confidence-inspiring and easy to handle in tricky river current. We are learning tandem eddy-turns, peel-outs, back-ferries, and such with no real difficulty in this boat. I have done some cl2 water solo with paddle and with pole, and find it well-suited for that. This is now my primary poling canoe and will likely remain so until I replace it with a lighter composite. I'm not sure if we will go with a composite Prospector at this point, but that is highly likely.

I really like the Nova-Craft seats. They are comfortable and easy to maintain/repair - and they are quiet (no squeaking, as we've seen with the seats on several other caned or laced canoe seats). I also like the fact that Nova-Craft puts grab loops through "tug-eyes" on their boats. And the yoke gets not one, but two bolts on each end into the gunnels. Great construction. Built to last. Although I know it saves some weight - I would prefer not to have the simple individual seat drops, but would rather have "truss style" drops for added rigidity. The Nova-Craft seat drops are more substantial than those that came on my Old Town canoes though, being heavier rectangular stock rather than simple round dowels. Recently, I added a kneeling thwart in the place of the standard thwart ahead of the rear seat - and eventually, I will replace the stock seat drops with truss drops. So my Prospector might be a couple pounds heavier than stock, but I think it will be worth it.

So - if you plan to spend most of your time on moving rivers cl1+ to at least cl2 (and probably a bit higher) the NC Prospector is easily up to the task. Probably one of the best all-around tandem designs for moving and twisting water. Not so much for lakes and other big flat water, although competent there as well (especially with a load). I give this canoe a 9 - only because of the seat drops and because the Nova-Craft Blue Steel composite version should be every bit as good or better in every respect (except the higher price) - with less than 2/3 the weight.

Submit your own review!

10-25-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is a fabulous boat. I ordered mine in Royalite from Rutabaga.com and got it in 4 days via roadway express. I paddle it mostly solo and with camping gear and it has performed flawlessly. I paddle heeled over , Canadian Style and paddling off the right side all of the time. I have also owned the 17 ft Prospector but like the 16 ft better because it is as much fun solo as it is tandem. I am 60 and I paddled it 72 miles on the Bowron Lake Circuit in Canada. Lots of folks were amazed as I finished the circuit in 7 days. This boat did very well. I have paddled it on Lake Mead in high winds and 3 ft waves and it did just fine. I use a five gallon water bag as ballast if paddling without gear or a partner. Empty, the boat can be a handful in high winds. Use balast. I am sure this boat will be with me for many years.
Submit your own review!

06-29-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just purchased my prospector 16' r light a few weeks ago and I absolutely love this boat, I test paddled all different company's prospectors boats and this nova craft was the best it was the closest design to the original chestnut. I would recommend this boat to all paddler's novas to advanced it does it all. Cheers to Nova Craft for making such a great boat.
Submit your own review!

04-19-2006
Submitted by: WhyAyeManSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought my Nova Craft Prospector in May of 2005 and to this point, according to my log book have about 338 kilometers on her. I have paddled lots of other canoes but fell in love with this one. Simply put it is like the Jeep of the canoe world, agile, maneuverable, and able to go anywhere it is pointed. Like the 4X4 Jeep itís not a speed demon, but since when was canoeing about speed? Tandem it is a dream to paddle with a load of gear and it still has room for the dog to relax. Even fully loaded it remains responsive and sideslips with ease. Solo it becomes like ballet dancer turning on a dime with change to spare. You wouldnít expect that from a large canoe but with one good box stroke I can spin the nose around well past 180 degrees from where I started and with the second stroke can be powering in the opposite direction to what I was traveling two seconds ago. Leaned over hard and paddling Canadian style will bring much of the volume out of the water increasing ease of paddling and handling even more. The weight is not so much of an issue to me. At 85lbs it is about half my body weight but learning how to pick a canoe up solo properly and building that muscle memory is the important part. Without learning how to roll a canoe up onto your shoulders properly even lighter canoes are a pain to handle. Once you learn the proper technique the 85lbs seems to melt away, at least until at end of the first kilometer of portaging! Also the Nova Craft stock yoke is a deep dish made of ash and is quite comfortable unpadded in comparison to anything else I have seen. Some people do not like the rope carry handles on the ends, and I have to agree, but after the first week I stopped noticing them. I always carry my canoe solo on my shoulders, it is just so much easier to be self reliant, so I only use the end ropes to tie the nose and tail down when on the car. This canoe is tough too, and will take a beating and still work like a million bucks. I have seen older Nova Craft Prospectors that looked like they had been through a war or something, but they were still graceful and dignified on the lake, even after taking on the arduous white water. This may be the best all around canoe in the world today coming in three different lay ups to suit individual needs, and the company is very easy to deal with as well. They have returned my questions the same day they I e-mailed them and even sent me replacement decals free of charge when they came off on a trip. This combined with a lifetime guarantee on their product has won my loyalty.

I would rate this canoe a 9.5/10 as is and if I could afford a custom build, to add a few minor changes I would give it a full 10/10. If you can only afford one canoe and you want it to do everything and last a life time, buy the Nova Craft Prospector.

Submit your own review!

10-06-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased my Nova Craft Prospector 16 early this spring, in a new material called Blue Steel, which is a laminate consisting of Spectra cloth (which is stronger and lighter than Kevlar) Carbon Fibre and Kevlar, it is suppose to be about the toughest laminate on the market, (I'm yet to prove this) but has stood up very well. It's ridged and very responsive, great on rivers, and with the keel (optional) tracks well on lakes with very few correction strokes, great all round versatile canoe. And at 48lbs it's a joy to portage. I have yet to find a fault with it, it even looks great. I've been told by someone at a start of a trip, "this is the best looking canoe I have ever seen." What made the initial decision easy was the great, knowledgeable, friendly and helpful staff, with no pressure to buy, at the factory/showroom here in London Ontario -- Great service.
Submit your own review!

09-27-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have test-paddled this boat twice in looking for a new canoe to replace my Mad River Explorer 17 with something lighter, shorter and more maneuverable, and believe it is the one I will buy, due to its versatility and relative ease of use.

This boat strikes me as handling and tracking pretty well, but I was testing it solo, with no load on a windy day and a shallow lake, so I had to work to control it. I imagine it would be much easier to steer with a bow paddler and even a light load.

Nova Craft is probably the best Canadian canoe maker and is upping its profile in the US canoe market, and runs with Mad River and Wenonah. Nova Craft is already miles ahead of Old Town in its boats. Nova Craft has designed some good hulls, including the hi-tech Retro Chestnuts, Bob Special and Prospector, and makes a good fit and finish boat. The Royalex Lite is a nice compromise for those who want Royalex's durability but not its heavy weight.

I am a little confused whether the NC Prospector 16 in Royalex Lite weighs 59 lbs. or 64 lbs.? I have seen it advertised at both weights, and the seller whose boat I tested told me 64 lbs. I was able to handle the boat better than my 75-80 lb. Explorer 17, and to get it up over my head and onto a car, so even if it is 64 lbs., it is quite a bit lighter than the Explorer, which is made of full thickness, bomb-proof, Royalex.

Plus, my seller's boat had vinyl gunnels and skid plates, which he puts on all his boats, standard and which add a pound or two to the weight. I do not know if you need skid plates initially on a Royalex Lite boat, especially if you do not plan to drag over or run into a lot of rocks.

At any rate, I am going to buy one of these boats and highly recommend it for all uses on lakes and rivers, based on my two test-paddles.

Submit your own review!

07-28-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought a prospector 16 this spring,and have now taken lots of trips in it. It is royalex lite and weights 59 lbs. color is red. My wife and I love it. It is a delight to paddle and carry. Very nice looking boat also. We can load it up with lots of gear for camping or fishing and it only seems to get more stable. I also have paddled it solo(Bill Mason stile) and from the bow seat while fishing and it was great.We took it down a nice strech of white water and the boat stayed nice and dry inside.I have owned canoes for the past 30 years and so far I like this one the best. I bought it at Oak Orchard Canoe in Watersport N.Y. great place to buy a boat. I would have given it a 10,but I haven't owned it that long. Nova Craft,you have made the perfect canoe for me.
Submit your own review!

08-25-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     Dan, since outfitting a boat properly can really affect it's usefulness, would you mind sharing what you did to outfit your boat with the Mike Yee components?
Submit your own review!

08-22-2003
Submitted by: Dan
Rating: 10 of 10

     Best boat ever. I love my prospector. It is an excellent boat out of the factory, but for it to truly excell I moved the bow and stern seats 9" towards the center, there is still leg and gear room, but the tilt and stability are much better for the bow paddler. Also, moving the bow seat back means that when paddling solo you are much closer to the center so the tracking in wind is improved. With the minor modifications and Mike Yee outfitting it is the best all round tripping canoe on the market.
Submit your own review!

08-21-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had my Prospector 16 for about 1 year. I've been canoeing for about 1 year also. My prospector is a royalex, and weighs about 67 pounds. My wife and I have done flat water, and I solo in it and love it. It is very responsive to draws, prys, and tracks fine when soloing. It is a bit slow compared to other canoes I've been in, but the faster canoes I've been in don't manouver as well. We paddled the Henry's Fork of the Snake river this last weekend at Ashton Id. The water was moving fast, and was a class 1.4 or so, and our first time in fast water. We never felt any loss of control, and the canoe was so responsive I was surprised. When doing draws and prys the boat just did exactly what you asked. My wife was much dryer in the bow than the other two canoes. (A coleman and a Mad River Malicite) I love this boat, and would recommend it as a very good compromise boat. It does most things very well, which is hard to find in a canoe. It has good initial stability, and the secondary stability is great! I paddle solo with it heeled almost to the gunwales. Do yourself a favor and at least paddle one. I rated it an eight because I really haven't tried many other boats to compare it to.
Greg

Submit your own review!

08-06-2003
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought a used royal lite model and love this canoe. At 59 lbs it makes for a very versatile boat. I turns on a dime in white water and when tripping it tracks fine. My only complaint is it is a bit slow.
Submit your own review!

10-02-2001
Submitted by: MW
Rating: 10 of 10

     Prospector 16 Kevlar/Spectra with cherry trim. Great boat on flat and moving water. Light weight (52 lbs). Slips and ferrys with ease. Bow floats over waves easily. Sucks solo in the wind. Great all around tandem tripping boat.
Submit your own review!

05-25-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     OK, I own an Old Town Tripper XL, I also own a Bell Morning Star, real nice with wood trim and dark green inside and out. I now have had more than a few trips in my Nova Prospector and giving that they are all Royalex, and yes I have time in other boats, i.e. Spirit 2, Mohawk 17, Northwoods etc, if I could have only one boat, it would be this Nova Prospector.

No, it is not as quick and nimble as the Bell, nor will it haul 1500 lbs like the XL, but it will hold its own quite respectfully in all conditions. I have been solo and light playing at different angles to the wind and actually got it to sail up wind with it heeled over to the lee side. This boat does not let me down in any aspect.

The most surprising thing about it was how comfortable it was to portage. I have fun with the other boats, and enjoy each ones special purpose, but when I don't know what to expect, I take the prospector. I can't recommend it enough. Only downer is the stupid rope pulls in the bow and stern. The dealer in Cabin John, MD gave me the best deal.Have fun, be safe, go far, u can do with this boat.

Submit your own review!

02-06-2001
Submitted by: Dan GuestSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This boat is probably the closest your going to get to the perfect boat it tracks well even in wind but you have to kneel on the front thwart in big winds unless you have gear in it. Last summer I went on the black river and ran huge haystacks leges sous holes and rock-studded rapids for a joke. As long as you know what your doing. Turns on a dime. Great solo boat. I ran 3 and a half-foot stacks loaded down on a 7-day trip and sitting in the front and I didn't even get wet. If you do get one get a Royalex. I bought it used. I suggest you do the same, they're practically indestructible. Mine has 2-inch gouges in the side and you can't even see it from the inside. Nova craft makes it tougher where it needs to be. Don't get skid plates until you see white on the bow and stern and even then you don't need to. Great boat!
Submit your own review!

07-25-1999
Submitted by: John M. GlennieSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've had my 16' Prospector with the Kev/Cap layup for many years. I've enjoyed it in level 2-3 whitewater and on many wilderness trips up to 7 days. It has carried all of my gear, and with my added "Teal" yoke it is a pleasure to portage. I have since replaced the ash trim with vinyl gunwhales. Nova Craft oil the gunwhales now, but my varnished ones dryrotted. An excellent value. JMG aka. scout It's only drawback is when it's empty in the wind with the high bow, stern and rocker. With gear, it's much better.
Submit your own review!

03-18-1999
Submitted by: David AscheSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Classic Prospector lines done in Kevlar with Ash gunnwales and seats. Very comfortable portage yoke and the handling of the canoe is excelent. At 56 pounds the canoe is effortless to portage and manuver in tight places. I have had it for four years and have gone on many trips in both whitewater and lake tripping. The only thing I wish was a bit better would be the fit and finish of the wood work to the hull.
Submit your own review!

Don't Miss the Paddling.net Weekly Newsletter!
Free Newsletter120,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!














2-6 Day Kayaking Trips
San Juan Islands
Camping & Inns
www.crystalseas.com/KayakCamp

Follow us on:
Free Newsletter | About Us | Site Map | Advertising Info | Contact Us

Sweepstakes

©2014 Paddling.net Inc.