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2011 Best Canoes

4 Perfect Paddlers for your Cabin
By Berne Broudy
Published: January 20, 2011
Canoes have been used for work and recreation for millennia. In fact, the oldest canoes date to 8,000 B.C. Whether your cabin is on a lake or a river, a canoe is still the perfect craft for exploring the shoreline, tackling a crossing or going fishing – either solo or with the family.
Which canoe you choose depends on how many people you want to take along for the ride. Solo canoes can handle one person plus gear, and are sometimes paddled with a kayak paddle. Tandem and three-person canoes can range significantly in size, width and weight. Wider boats will be more stable, and longer boats will travel faster and hold more people and gear. And these days, many boats come with angling packages to make them fisherman-friendly.
Whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed endless enjoyment wherever you paddle. But here are four of our favorite 2011 models.

Berne Broudy has paddled on five continents and two oceans. In her spare time, she is a freelance writer and photographer.

Length: 17 feet | Width: 3 feet, 1 inch Weight: 60 pounds (standard composite), 55 pounds (Kevlar), 44 pounds (Kevlar ultralight) MSRP: $1,699, $2,349, $2,599 Website: www.wenonah.com
Photo by Wenonah Canoes

Wenonah 17

For Cabins: The updated 17 is stronger and lighter – no longer wood-strip like the original 1965 version, but made from a composite or Kevlar with the same classic lines. It’s great for everyday paddling, canoe camping, and getting out on the lake with the family.

Best Feature:  With the return to retro in all things fashion and outdoors, Wenonah returned to its original canoe design with this updated 17. The original 17 was the first canoe designed by Wenonah’s owner and founder Mike Cichanowski. In order to make an exact replica of that boat, Wenonah handcrafted a mold of the original canoe, which was recently inducted into the Winona County historical museum.

Accessories & Amenities: A classic boat requires classic details: silver aluminum trim, curved hung web seats and an ash yoke for comfortable portaging.

Length: 15 feet, 8 inches | Width: 2 feet, 9 1/4 inches Weight: 83 pounds | MSRP: $899 Website: www.madrivercanoe.com
Photo by Mad River Canoe
Mad River Journey 156

For Cabins: Versatile enough for almost any kind of water, this canoe was designed to be stable and seaworthy. Whether you’ll be paddling open flatwater; lazy, rocky rivers; or twisty shorelines, the Journey is responsive and stable. And it’s tough.

Best Feature: If low maintenance and long life are at the top of your list, the Journey meets both requirements. It’s a boat that new and experienced paddlers will both enjoy.  Equally, families and individuals will find the Journey is the perfect choice for a wide variety of on-water adventures.

Accessories & Amenities: The three-layer polyethylene and foam boat comes with vinyl gunwales, a portage yoke and a choice of web seats or more supportive rotomolded seats.

Length: 13 feet, 5 inches | Width: 2 feet, 5 inches Weight: 34 pounds | MSRP: $1,746 Website: www.allycanoes.com
Photo by Ally Canoes
614 ALLY

For Cabins:
Is space a premium at your place? The 614 Ally is a foldable, light solo canoe with a contoured seat that can be angled to suit your personal physiology. This extremely responsive boat is designed for speed and efficiency. You barely have to dip your paddle in the water and it turns, all while retaining good tracking. And because of its light weight, portaging – even solo – is a breeze.

Best Feature: Foldable canoes are flexible, so the 614 Ally is especially good at riding through choppy water and white caps if you happen to get stuck out in bad weather.

Accessories & Amenities: If storage space is an issue, just fold and pack this boat when you’re not using it. And though it’s very durable, if it’s ever damaged, both the skin and frame are easy to repair. Plus, it’s a boat you can take on the road, in the back of a compact car, or on a train, bus or plane.

Length: 14 feet, 6 inches | Width: 3 feet Weight: 79 pounds | MSRP: $579 Website: www.oldtowncanoe.com
Photo by Old Town Canoes
Old Town SARANAC 146 XT

For Cabins: Old Town streamlined this canoe and lowered the seat to keep its performance competitive with other higher priced models. Made from thermoformed polyethylene, it’s rugged. You can pull it up on a rocky shore without fear of damaging it, so it’s a great boat if you don’t have a dock.

Best Feature: The Saranac 146 XT comes with two contoured seats plus a bench seat-covered storage area perfect for a child’s seat and stowage when you’re not taking a long trip.

Accessories & Amenities: Fishermen rejoice: Bow and stern seats have rod holders and flush mounts for rod holders or anchor systems, cup holders and storage trays. Plus the boat has molded handles and paddle rests. Is fishing your true love? Then you’ll probably want to upgrade to the angler’s package for an extra hundred bucks.

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