I own the fiberglass layup of this boat bought it last season and spent due to the fact that most of the time I could not convince my family to come canoeing with me in my tripper which tended to be a little hard to handle on my own especially in a wind. I spent the summer doing solo back country trips with it logged just over 600km of paddling and portages according to the gps most of it lake travel.
It's certainly a gear hauler and prefers a full load especially in the wind tracks well and and the speed is good turning however seems to be a small issue leaning it certainly helps but secondary stability feels a little loose especially in the wind and waves definitely not a white water boat but handles Class 2 without feeling like a loose canon. took me a while to get used to the hull shape for packing soft sided packs work much better than barrels in this boat. the tripper seems to be almost designed to hall 5 gallon pails and barrels, not so much with the solitude.
The layup, at first I thought felt a little flimsy and have always hated the ribs in the clipper's fiberglass layup but after a year of use and a few (well maybe more than a few) hard knocks and undeserved abuse the hull has stood up exceptionally well.I really enjoy this canoe but have lost it to my wife I am afraid. I let her use it once and now can't get it back. It is the fiberglass version at 52 pounds but feels lighter.
The tractor seat is comfortable an adjustable and the canoe handles very well in waves and wind. Lots of volume for gear and makes a fantastic tripper. I find that it tracks outstandingly well and is very fast. It's easy to keep up with tandem canoes. It turns well, but it wouldn't be a good choice for a designated whitewater fun boat.
Good all round boat. Stuffed with 200 pounds of gear and my own 250+ pounds it handles well and is a very good tripper for non-technical tripsThought I would update my review of the Solitude as I now have three years of use in all kinds of water; lakes, rivers and streams. I have spent over 100 days paddling this canoe. I have come to really appreciate the versatility of this canoe. It is fast enough that I use it to go upstream in a large river and maneuverable enough that I can catch eddies. Initially the secondary stability felt tender to me, but as I get more experienced that is no longer a concern. In fact I now paddle most of the time with the seat at the highest level, which is 11 inches off the bottom. In fact my butt is almost level with the gunwhale. The solitude I have is the ultralight kevlar version and is starting to show some wear on the hull but that is to be expected as I have maneuvered through some very rocky rivers. Not what I would recommend for the boat, but so far only the outer S glass has been scraped with nothing coming through to the kevlar.
I still would prefer a slightly narrower distance at the gunwhales for more efficient paddling. I am almost 100% bent shaft user and sit and switch. Also use a two bladed paddle (220cm) when going upriver. The boat will fly. The seat also slides and this is a great feature when handling wind and wave action. I do find the seat slides much too easily, maybe because I use a lot of leg push when I paddle. I have purchased clamps that I put on the slide rail, they are easy to adjust and prevent the seat from moving back further than I want while paddling.
All in all a real good canoe. Great for day trips and playing around, Great for fishing as it is very stable and I find that since I have become a much better paddler that I have no problem keeping up with my friends in 14-15 foot kayaks.