Research Canoes in the Buyers' Guide!
Select Canoe to View in Buyers' Guide
A couple of things to keep in mind: It is very wide (it doesn't fit snugly onto my standard roof rack--Jeep Grand Cherokee) and the weight can be a challenge. Unless you are fairly strong or have experience lifting canoes it will be difficult for one person to lift on top of a vehicle. If you're looking for a good canoe that is very stable, this is a good choice for the money (under $400 new). If stability is less of an issue go for something thinner and lighter.
This newer version has a piece of material under the seat pedestal to help alleviate the rubbing thin under the seat. Looks like a good fix. I was able to load and unload this on our mini van by myself and carried it to and from the water. I wouldn't want to portage it more than a 1/4 mile but all in all I am very pleased and look forward to many enjoyable years on the water.
That being said it has many drawbacks. #1) The boat is a handful to get on top of my truck. Being extra wide and having the center seat instead of a center thwart means there is nothing to grab so you can't roll it towards you and lift it up. #2) When it is car (truck) topped the latch on the center cooler opens up and the cooler door bangs on the roof. Duct tape it shut before loading. #3) The dry storage in the center seat is anything but dry. Even in rain it will get wet. #4) The bottom warps in the sun (if stored outside) and when any wave/log/rock hits it. Wide and flat with no keel makes for a very flimsy bottom.
To correct this I am planning on getting rid of that awful center seat and installing a center thwart. I will then be able to grab it for car topping and the kids can sit on the floor or a small cooler which will work better than the one it came with. I am also toying with the idea of gluing a 1" x 2" keel INSIDE on the bottom of the boat to firm it up. It will add weight but removing the center seat will save some. Never tried this so if someone has an idea, send me an e-mail.
All of that being said I gave it a 7. Anything that floats and gets a family out enjoying the sport of paddling deserves at least a 5. This is not a bad boat by any means, the drawbacks can be easily fixed and there is no way you are going to beat the price. Just don't think that a $350.00 boat will be as good as a $1000.00 boat. But it gets close enough to give you plenty of bang for your buck. Whatever you get, get off your can an enjoy it. You and your kids will never regret it!
Summary: Not the best solo or tripper canoe but if you are looking for a family recreation boat or backwater fishing/birding platform it would be dificult to find a better deal.
100,000+ 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!