Canadian Canoe Group Test | Eat Sleep Kayak

Canadian Canoe Group Test


Posted by Elliott Davidson on January 7, 2017.

Canadian Canoe Group Test

Whether you’re thinking about replacing that old faithful boat, that’s seen one season to many or taking the plunge and purchasing your first canoe, the choice available to the recreational canoeist can be bewildering. To give you a better idea of what’s available we’ve put a dozen of the most popular boats on the market through the Paddler Test Team wringer and combined what we found with some useful buying tips and a little technical info to get you started on quest to find the right boat for you.

Venture Canoes Ranger 14

Length: 450cm
Width: 90cm
Weight: 32kg
Material: Triple layer CoreLite HD Polyethylene
Features: Tough PU gunwales, plastic or webbing seats as standard, moulded end deck incorporating comfortable carry handle and a wooden centre yolk
Price: from £649 (plastic seats)
Info: www.venturecanoes.com

The Paddle

The Ranger 14 is a great little boat and it provided a really stable platform with great secondary stability, which made it forgiving. Its short length made it very nimble and manoeuvrable and it would be a great boat for kids, or for someone looking for a solo boat that’s a little easier to store. For a short boat it still tracks well and would be right at home cruising up the local canal with the dog onboard. It’s construction is bomber, but it’s a little on the heavy side. Finishing is solid, but our test Ranger, as with the other Venture boats we tested, had wooden/webbing seats and the testers didn’t like the fact that they were fixed in with metal plates rather than wooden dowels as it prevents easy customization to get the seat spot on for you. The other niggle was raised screws on the gunwales, although this was a common problem among many of the boats tested.  Overall the Ranger is a fun, user-friendly, little boat and at the price certainly represents good value for money

Venture Canoes Prospector 15

Length: 464cm
Width: 91cm
Weight: 33kg
Material: Triple layer CoreLite HD Polyethylene
Features: Tough PU gunwales, plastic or webbing seats as standard, moulded end deck incorporating comfortable carry handle and a wooden centre yolk
Price: From £699 (plastic seats)
Info: www.venturecanoes.com

The Paddle

This was a popular boat with our testers who felt that it made a really nice solo boat. Its excellent initial stability and god secondary stability made it spot on for poling and for learning and perfecting new skills. As a tandem it paddled well, but we felt it really came in to its own as a solo. Forward speed was good and it would be a great boat for loading up and taking on multi-day trips.

As we’ve already mentioned with the Ranger we’d like to see the raided screws on the gunwales addressed and weight was leaning towards the hefty side, which could make car/trailer loading and portages a bit harder, but it’s a tough package and performs well so we were happy to live with that. At under £700 for the basic spec it provides a lot of performance and durability for the price.

Venture Canoes Prospector 16

Length: 508cm
Width: 91cm
Weight: 35kg
Material: Triple layer CoreLite HD Polyethylene
Features: Tough PU gunwales, plastic or webbing seats as standard, moulded end deck incorporating comfortable carry handle and a wooden centre yolk
Price: From £729 (plastic seats)
Info: Info: www.venturecanoes.com

The Paddle

Like its smaller brother the 16-foot version of Venture Canoes Prospector provides a very solid and confidence inspiring platform, making it ideal to learn skills, such as poling. The extra length gives it good versatility and our test team felt that it paddled well as both a solo and tandem. Its high gunwales made it a relatively dry boat and it performed well in wind. It shared the same niggles as the other Venture boats in the shape of weight and metal seat plates, but our test boat also had a degree of flex in the hull, which would certainly effect its speed and performance.

This would be a great choice for those looking for a versatile family boat that dad can have a bit of fun in paddling solo, but will still provide a stable ride when loaded with a paddling partner, kids etc.

Mad River Reflection 15

Length: 467cm
Width: 84cm
Weight: 26.5kg
Material: Royalex
Features: Gunwales in wood or IQ Systems, bow and stern cane seats, shaped ash carrying yoke and bow and stern carrying handles
Price: £1,150
Info: www.wwc.co.uk

The Paddle

The Reflection was originally one of Dagger Canoes’ most popular designs and had now been given a re-birth by Mad River by popular demand. It fits the gap for a light touring style boat in their range well. It can handle a bit of gear too, so it would make a good ‘multi-day’ boat and it had a very stable hull for poling. Our testers reckon that it would be OK on a bit of the rough stuff too. It paddled well and tracked great, but we found it a little sluggish in the turn. It was OK as a tandem, but our testers felt that it would make a better solo boat. Outfitting was good and there were some nice touches and attention to detail.

Mad River Explorer 16

Length: 488cm
Width: 84.5cm
Weight: 32.5
Material: Royalex
Features: Gunwales in wood or IQ Systems, bow and stern cane seats, shaped ash carrying yoke and bow and stern carrying handles
Price:
£1,200
Info: www.wwc.co.uk

The Paddle

The Explorer was popular with the test team from the off and they enjoyed paddling as a solo and as a tandem. It has great secondary stability making it excellent for learning and performing more advanced strokes and skills, and for inspiring confidence in the less experienced. It tracks very well indeed, but was still very manoeuvrable. This makes it a great first boat for beginners looking to learn their skills, but also for the more experienced enthusiast looking to push themselves and do more advanced moves and trips. Again the outfitting was good, but we did have an issue with the gunwales on our test boat, as they didn’t allow water to drain out easily when emptying the boat. Having said that we did like the seats and the rest of the outfitting was light, but tough.