Comments from Wenonah Paddlers
To read comments on a specific model, please choose from the links below:
"After years of borrowing or renting canoes my wife got me a Spirit II Kevlar® canoe for Christmas! What a canoe! It's the difference between night and day compared to others I've paddled. It's well designed and the craftsmanship is superb! It's light enough that my wife can put it on the car by herself. Thanks for the great canoe!"
"Recently, I purchased a Wenonah Spirit II in Royalex. I just wanted to say that this hull's performance is as advertised, and maybe a little more. I've owned other manufacturers' "plastic sandwich" and Royalex boats. None of the others can compare with the glide, workmanship, and overall design attributes that the Wenonah possesses."
"The Aurora is one very seaworthy canoe. I recently took it fishing with a friend who weighs a little over 300 pounds. I weigh 210 so with gear we were pretty heavily loaded. The Aurora handled our considerable load with aplomb and did so while moving fairly quickly when we decided to cross the lake. We never felt the least bit jittery even in some heavy wakes from passing motor boats. This boat's ability to heel over and be paddled solo, Canadian style is what surprised me the most. It really does turn on a dime if you're kneeling behind center. I would recommend this boat for someone who wants a do-it-all canoe. It's very stable in chop even with heavy loads, has lots of capacity for gear, and can be paddled solo. If you want a big boat that maneuvers well. Kind of an SUV among canoes. All in all this is a very utilitarian, comfortable canoe."
"We feel the Aurora is an excellent all-around boat, and perfect for the kind of canoeing we like to do, particularly in Florida's beautiful, exciting rivers and our own New Jersey winding, pristine rivers. Besides, the uncoated Kevlar material looks really cool with the sun shining through it, and we loved all the compliments we kept receiving from other canoeists. It was also great not to suffer any pain while loading the boat onto our car roof because it's so light and easy to lift."
"Love it! I use my Adirondack in lakes and smaller rivers here in Alaska. It also paddles great as a solo. The light weight makes it easy to load on my Jeep roof rack. It has great initial stability as well as secondary. I can fly cast standing up in this one which says something about how well balanced it is. I've owned two other canoes and this one by far has been the most useful. Don't know if I'll ever have to buy another canoe! At 16' and about 36 lbs. in Kevlar, the Adirondack is a great little boat for portaging into ponds and lakes and cartopping. It is surprisingly seaworthy and handles well in a variety of conditions. After twelve years of aluminum rentals and a lot of research, I invested in a Royalex Adirondack. What a difference. I now realize that, although I have paddled before, I have never been canoeing until now. I made two trips to the Adirondacks and numerous trips to small and mid-sized streams, and was truly amazed each time. The Adirondack handles like a dream, whether paddling solo or tandem. It is steady, responsive, and fast. I swear that with two strong paddlers, it will pull a skier. Thanks for a quality product that has provided so much enjoyment."
"I bought [the Fisherman] so that my wife and I could go for the occaisonal tandem outing and I could go fishing solo on small lakes. It has exceptional initial stability -- I can step right into it off a dock without grabbing the gunwales. I put a center seat in it and use a kayak paddle for fishing. It actually tracks fairly well for such a wide boat (39 inch beam) and if you don't need to go fast, it paddles quite nicely. It is an excellent compromise if you want to both fish and pleasure paddle at a leisurely pace. If you are interested in a roomy, comfortable canoe for small lakes and streams you probably can't beat this -- especially considering the solo capabilities. Our Royalex version only weighs 57 pounds and it paddles like a dream for the intended purposes. It's not fast, but it is very manueverable and easy to live with. "
"Have taken my new Wenonah Heron to the Oswegatchie River in the Adirondacks, and on a solo trip to Algonquin Park in Canada, amongst other, short trips. On the twisty, turny Oswegatchie River, the Heron was a joy to paddle with my daughter. Other folks we ran into on the trip commented on the fact that we were handling the many turns much more easily than a longer canoe. Excellent secondary stability -- I can stand up in it on calm water, and can easily crawl all about the canoe in the middle of the lake, if I'm by myself and need something from the bow. On the solo trip to Algonquin, I removed the stern seat, turned the canoe around, and paddled from the bow seat, as recommended by Wenonah. Obviously, this boat is not a great solo canoe, but it did work quite well for me. The Heron's tracking as a solo canoe is somewhat limited. The canoe felt very seaworthy when the wind came up on one larger lake, and I never felt in danger of capsizing. I have abused the heck out of it already -- lots of scratches in the Royalex, but the Heron seems to be sturdily built. Though [Royalex is] heavy for portaging, it's a great boat for someone like myself who needs a tandem, but sometimes wants to solo, and doesn't have the money for Kevlar.
Wenonah Canoes are the best!
Much better than all the rest
We have a Heron - Burgundy Heaven
And now we paddle with zest.
The gunwhales are wooden
the choice was a good 'un,
we lovingly coat them with oil.
This makes them resilient
and we think - look brilliant.
It is not too much of a toil!
The Kevlar is light
on the car a delight
we go off whenever we're able
We feel so free
on river and sea
'Cause we feel so fomfortably stable!
The trouble you took
to make our canoe look
the way that it does - well done!
So thank you to you (The seats are great too)
And now we are off to have fun!
I just purchased a Kingfisher (Royalex) and so far I love it. It is a high-quality canoe with all the right features for me. I am an avid fly fisherman so I was searching for something that I could stand up in and cast. This canoe performed beautifully! The first time I stood I was amazed at the stability. I had an excitable dog with me but it didn't matter -- the boat was rock solid. If you are looking for a quality canoe and a solid platform for sporting type activities I would highly recommend this canoe."
I am getting a tremendous amount of pleasure in owning the Escape. Some people walk, some jog, some ride their bike for exercise. I prefer to paddle. My friends that I paddle with are all taken with the boat. It rewards you so well for your paddling efforts. We average five to six miles per hour for up to three hours. This is not a boat that is sitting around."
We own the Escape in a standard Kevlar layup, 50 lbs. is perfect for a single person to carry. Our needs -- My wife and I have a 3 year old, we live in Pennsylvania where we use the boat for touring local lakes, rivers and trips in protected coastal estuaries along the east coast. We are more accustomed to kayaks but since our daughter arrived we wanted a boat to carry 3 in variety of conditions and NOT a 20 ft, 80 lb. monster kayak with child in mid storage portal. This boat has served our unusual needs extremely well! A canoe design for the kayak couple with child or other visitor. The lively initial stability is a non-factor, even for our 3 year old. If you assume this craft is going to feel like a flatbottomed tank then maybe you would be uncomfortable? The secondary stability is fantastic! It is a very safe family boat. We test it all the time, we had it in very rough Delaware seas with white caps, taking waves at times from the side -- not a problem! The hull is so well designed that waves are a real treat and our daughter loves them, she asks for more! The depth of the bow is perfect, my wife claims on a number of trips if the bow was 1" lower she would be soaked! My wife and I both use a 210 Werner Corryvrecken glass paddle (which we also love), at a fast cadence we can really get this boat cruising! Prefer these over the bent shaft canoe paddles since we are more comfortable with kayak paddles due to our experience. Part of the reason why we bought the Escape is because it has plenty of swing room with narrow gunwales which is a real treat! Daddy can take it out solo sitting on a milk crate. It's narrow enough at the mid section to use a 210 paddle! The 17.5' length is acceptable for solo use and can steer with a lean. It's very fast, fun, and has nice glide. It is fast enough to push through the wind and can cut through waves when conditions get rough. This open craft is easy enough to jump in and out of when stopping to explore and collect shoreline goodies. For those families who want to get on the water with a child and cover some distance, the Escape is fun and functional! We love it! If you only had room to store a single boat for a wide range of use, this is the design! Well done Wenonah!"
"The Escape is one fast boat! Not only is it fast, when you let off on the power it keeps gliding. I had trouble getting used to the lack of initial stability when I first got it. Now, I do not notice it. What I had to come to realize is that it firms up as it rocks back and forth. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I could cross current lines and do eddy turns and peel-outs with no problem. It does not turn on a dime. You have to work at turning the Escape, and I find it responds better to ruddering than draw strokes. Wenonah describes the Escape as being a shorter version of the Minnesota II. While in some aspects that may seem correct, the boat is in all fairness in a class of it's own. But the smile on my face as I paddled it was pure Minnesota II, if in a smaller package. This boat lacks the extreme speed of the Minnesota II. Our GPS was reading 6.6 mph at a fast cruising pace, but when we slacked off, the boat was still running nice in the 5.5 - 6 mph range. This is a great touring speed, comfortable for all day paddling. The greatest assets to the Escape are not it's speed, but it's seaworthiness. The extreme flare in the bow should allow the boat to run much larger waves than we had it in (only mild chop), and the shorter length and increased maneuverability can also help with control in very rough blowing conditions. Here in Colorado, I am looking at this as a great general-purpose lake and river canoe. I would not hesitate putting it in some nice class II, yet I know it will also eat up the flats. If you are shopping for a nice general-purpose tandem, this boat belongs on your short list."
I was hoping for a new racing paddle for Christmas, but my wife got me a Minnesota II in Kevlar Ultra-light instead! I knew there was some reason I married her! This boat is a dream to paddle under any conditions of weather and water. I plan to enter it in the General Clinton race. The Minnesota II is a great boat in rough water on big lakes. It does not lose much performance with extra weight and will turn quickly with experienced paddlers. The tougher the conditions, the more experienced paddlers will appreciate this wonderfully designed boat. I've had my Minnesota II for about six years now, and I can definitely say that it was the best money I have ever spent on outdoor equipment. I have the Kevlar Ultra-light, and it is a dream to portage in the BWCA. It easily holds four Duluth Packs, and will still go faster than anything else on the water. The stability is excellent, and it feels more stable with weight in it. It turns very well for such a long boat. If you are looking for a canoe for the BWCA, this is the only one you should consider."
"Champlain 18' Kevlar gelcoat version -- I was in turmoil deciding between the Minnesota II and the Champlain. I'm sure I made the right choice. It handled tight turns in upstream water better than my 16' Oldtown Penobscot and when we were paddling into 2 foot rollers it barely noticed them. It does catch wind when lightly loaded, just bring along the family dog for ballast, loads are not a problem. Tracking was good as well as fast and stable for fishing. Did I mention fast? Took the Champlain for a 14 day spin through the Quetico last summer. My Minnesota II came along as well. In careful head-to-head comparisons, the Champlain demonstrated slightly superior initial and secondary stability when loaded, greatly superior stability when empty, and significantly better turning responsiveness. The Minn II was slightly faster, though the difference was unnoticeable at loaded cruising speed. The Champlain is an extraordinary wilderness tripping craft -- without the sleekness of the Minn. II, perhaps, but with a rock-solid utility beyond compare. I have had a Champlain for the a couple of weeks and absolutely love it. It was purchased to be the family cruiser and it is at that. Plenty of room for 2 adults and two kids plus gear for an overnighter or two. The boat is very stable, tracks well and is fairly manuaverable for an 18' canoe. The ride is dry when wind and waves pick up. Our is in the Tuf-weave layup and seems fairly durable, though it is a bit on the heavy side, but it is 18' x 36" after all. Craftsmanship is excellent. Overall I am happy with the "minivan" of canoes. I highly recommend it if you need a large volume canoe. "
"I've had my Kevlar ultra-light Itasca for about a year now, and am very pleased with it. I have taken it on camping trips with a week's worth of gear and two paddlers over 200 pounds each on a large lake with wind driven waves. It performs flawlessly. I have taken it out on day paddles with my family of five (two adults, three children, one dog). I find the boat to have good speed and it turns nicely. If you're looking for a craft capable of large loads, with good speed and predictable manners, then the Itasca is for you."
"I've bought a Kevlar Ultra-light Itasca with sliding bucket seats. It looks a bit technical at first, but: this canoe is very light, stiff, stable, fast and comfortable. The moderate arched hull together with the sleek lines and the length make it fast. When unloaded and trimmed well, it feels like a cruiser and really glides. Initial stability is good, but secondary stability is fantastic. Paddling ergonomically is very good because of lots of tumblehome at the seats, so paddlers can move their paddle very close to them. When searching for an extra big and stable, but fast and light canoe, the Itasca is one of the most serious choices out there."
When I purchased my Rogue, the first few trips I took were in slow moving water, the Rogue preformed fine, and I was satisfied with my purchase. Then I tried it out in moving water (Elkhorn Creek in central Kentucky -- a class II-III run). It was there that the Rogue came alive. It has unbelievable maneuvering for a boat of this size, and an absolutely dry ride. I have since outfitted it with a saddle and flotation. I now leave my whitewater kayak at home. I'm still having trouble believing how well this boat can ferry and surf. Some of my friends smirk at the size of my Rogue... that is, until we hit the rough water. Cudos on a great design.
"I have had a Royalex Cascade for two years. This is a great boat. I have taken it down the Burnside River in the Canadian Arctic. It has enormous capacity, yet turns pretty well. Compared to an Old Town Tripper or Old Town Appalachian, the Wenonah Cascade is a faster boat. It gets its speed from the shallow arch hull design and a relatively narrow bow entry. I say relative, because it is not like a Wenonah Escape or Minnesota II, but it is much narrower in the bow at the bottom than the Old Towns. This narrowness in the bow at the bottom, gives the boat speed, and because it flares out at the top it will deflect waves. The flipside is that when the waves become large and steep, the bow may submerge. The Old Towns are slower, but they have more buoyancy in the bow. The fact that the bow may submerge under big waves is not much of an issue with spray covers and good closures on the skirts. Another feature about the Cascade is that the sides flare out continuously all the way to the gunwale. This gives the boat tremendous stability laterally. It takes something major to capsize it. If you are paddling a combination of lakes and rapids to Class III with big loads, this is the boat! The Royalex Cascade is an awesome river tripper. At 17'6" you have to work at tight turns, but she will run dry through large waves and has the capacity for a months worth of gear. We've used her on the Stikine as well as more local trips, and it's always a delight. The length gives her more speed than the shorter boats, and a fair amount of rocker still lets her turn. The Cascade is good through class III. If you're running more technical water, I'd suggest a playboat. But if you want something that can be dropped off in the middle of the NorthWest Territories, and which you will paddle for a month as you make your way back to civilization, the Cascade is hard to beat. "
"The Prospector 16 is great for family playing, learning traditional paddle strokes, river running and northern tripping. Beautiful hull design -- truly superior. Excellent handling down-stream. Excellent in the foam. Excellent handling solo or lightly loaded into C3 (get a spray cover to play in the rough stuff or to trip) and a fun but very buoyant playboat empty. Paddle it empty solo from the center with the rail in the water Bill Mason style, center her up and cross-sweep into an eddy or into shore with ease -- beautiful handling. Very seaworthy, surprisingly stable in a broach (again, very good hull design). This is the best handling US made tandem river/tripping canoe that I've paddled in 40 years. A joy to trip, to fish from, reasonably fast and good lookin' enough to take your lady out for a date."
"I took a four day solo trip in my Prism this past spring. The total load I was carrying was about 340 pounds. That included a 70 pound Chesapeake. I was really happy with the way she handled the wind and waves when loaded, and when empty in the evening while fishing. I was real happy with the speed I was able to maintain. I was most impressed with how she rode out waves. She is a sweet boat that paddles very well light and loaded. When I went on my trip I found that I did a lot more poking around off of my most direct route. The Prism paddles so easily that going off of the most direct path was not an issue. "
"I bought a Kevlar Ultra-light Prism after canoeing for years and looking for a solo for about a year. I use it both in flat water for exercise and in small to medium rivers. It is a pleasure to paddle in flat water, regardless of the waves, and down river it's fun to be the fastest boat in the group, getting to visit those at both ends of the group, but it really shines when you have to paddle up stream, it's so fast that it's scary. Sweeeeeeet boat. "
I liked my Royalex Vagabond so well that I invested in a graphite model, which weighs half as much. I do slow river/flatwater only, and have had it out maybe 6-7 times for 1-3 hours. The Vagabond continues to rank high in terms of stability, glide, speed, and handling. I use a double paddle almost all the time. I've been on a couple of group trips with other middle-plus-aged folks in sea kayaks. No problem keeping up with them and my boat is far easier to move on land."
The Voyager is a rocket! It gets me to the next portage too quickly! The Voyager does exactly what We.no.nah says it will. It tracks well, is very fast, is very seaworthy, and will haul a lot of gear. I've had 330 lbs. in mine and still covered miles at a very good pace. Love my Voyager!!!"
"I picked up my new canoe a couple of weeks ago, and I have been really impressed with it. I bought it for trips on the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River (relatively big open water in spots), and for trips where I'd have to haul water along with the rest of my gear. I was looking for something that was seaworthy, fast, and tracked well. Dave Kruger hit it right on the money with this design! I've had it out on the Chesapeake Bay a couple of times. It handled the conditions easily (15 knot wind, some mixed chop, some 2' waves with sharp crests spaced 4-5' apart.) I took it out on one of the local reservoirs to get an idea of how fast it really is compared to other canoes I've owned. Holy mackerel! I never would have believed that a canoe could move that fast. I got to my planned turnaround spot and felt like I had just gotten started. Also, I think your website is one of the best, if not the best, of all the canoe companies, and your catalog is superb. The educational part of the catalog is really helpful, and I really like the comparison charts. I passed my most recent catalog along to a co-worker who is looking for a boat, and hope she finds it as useful as I have. Love your boats, and love your company. Thanks!"
"I've owned an Encounter for six weeks and find its performance is exceptional in every way. Its straight-ahead speed and capabilities in wind and waves are its greatest assets."
"An awesome river boat, the Rendezvous excels in current. It handles almost any runnable whitewater out there, and gets you to the next drops quickly. If you want to do rivers, this is the boat. I've used mine on about a dozen trips to NW Ontario, covering lakes and rivers, loaded, under extreme conditions. There's no better solo for extremely rough conditions. If I could have only one solo, this is it. Most people thought I was crazy to choose a Royalex Rendezvous for a 2400 mile paddle down the Mississippi, but your "whitewater" canoe turned out to be just the seaworthy river boat I was looking for. Enormous wakes and ocean-worthy swells tested my boat daily, yet not once did water make its way over the gunwales. And on those calm stretches where I needed it to ignore the skeptics and track, all I had to do was load my gear at the ends and it performed like a playful little cruiser. The Rendezvous is not just a whitewater boat -- it's a great all-around canoe that can handle anything and everything on the river."
"This little boat is quick. The Argosy is not a beginner boat. It takes a few paddles to get used to the narrow waterline. The advantage to a 27 inch waterline is in speed and secondary stability. Two strokes and you are off, and it is easy to maintain a good pace mile after mile. Whats more, a skilled paddler can make the rails skim the water on the Argosy and not go over! Although not a whitewater play-boat, it has enough rocker and volume to negotiate Cleass II rapids. The flared hull gives the paddler confidence when crossing eddy lines. In the bow 2 1/4 inches of rocker helps with turns. The Argosy is a good choice for solo tripping where it is desirable to have a boat that will handle moderate rapids, but not be a drag on long flatwater sections."
I bought a Solo Plus for my 7 and 9 year old boys late last year (ok, it's for me too). I thought it would be a good tandem for them since it is quite narrow at the ends and has no rocker making it easier to keep straight. The first time we had it out, I was in the center seat and they were in the ends. I did most of the "driving." I thought it would be kind of tough to turn with no rocker and each of them on the ends. I was surprised that it turned fairly easily. Next outing, I let them paddle by themselves in a fairly small class one creek. This is the first time they have ever been in a canoe by themselves. We only did a few miles but they did absolutely great in the Solo Plus. There were lots of turns and a few small rapids and constant innocuous strainers along the banks. I was surprised at how well the boat responded to their strokes. At their weight, the bow and stern both responded instantly to their little draws and prys. They never hit a thing and were able to keep a very good line. It was really cool to watch. I would recommend the Solo Plus for anyone who wants to introduce youngsters to canoeing. Not to mention, you have a good solo for yourself as well. "
"I wanted a stable solo boat with a lot of capacity, and I like to go tandem occasionally. The Solo Plus turned out to be just the ticket. A compromise between tracking and maneuverability, it's a pleasure on open water, yet it can handle tight spaces and twisty rivers with ease. It responds nicely to any stroke I give it. A smooth operator: not fast, but moves right along; doesn't turn on a dime, but is quite responsive. The catalog is accurate: this is a competent solo that can go tandem in a pinch."
[The Minnasota 3] is every bit as nice as the Minnesota II. Our canoe of choice when BWCAW tripping with our 2 Labrador Retrievers and camping gear. This is the canoe you need when carrying extra weight. It will keep up with the Minnesota II's! Don't buy or rent this canoe thinking it will double as a solo boat, because of the seat in the middle. There is not enough weight to allow the boat to track. You will be blown all over the lake. Use it for its intended purpose (heavy loads, or 3 people) and you will love it!!!"
"One, two, three, SWITCH!" I called from the bow, and hardly felt a tremor as Caela and Dylan slid in unison to the opposite sides of their seats and continued paddling, barely missing a stroke. For the tenth time that day, paddling into a headwind on Kawnipi Lake in Canada's Quetico Park, I was silently grateful to the Minnesota 4 for so easily accommodating us and our needs. Spending 18 days in the wilderness with those you love most in the world is a thing of beauty in its own right, but spending that kind of time in a canoe that seems custom-made for you makes it even better. We started our family wilderness trips with the Minnesota 3, when our kids, now nine and eleven, were five and seven.. For a couple of years the Minn-3 worked beautifully; the kids could sit beside each other on the middle seat and paddle together. But three years ago, we knew we needed something larger; a seat for each of us, and a boat both wide and strong enough to accommodate the 400+ pounds of gear we take on a long trip. That's when Wenonah introduced us to the Minnesota 4. At first we were a little daunted; 23 feet of canoe? Even though it weighed in at a mere 64 pounds, it seemed impossibly long. But when we got it on the water, our skepticism vanished. The Minn. 4 is built for speed and, even with so much gear, we traveled faster than we ever had before. This boat sliced through the water as sleekly as a pike through the reeds. Space can be an issue in a canoe, and we were delighted at how well this one packed up. Our two large food packs fit easily on either side of the center thwart, with room for the large tent pack and the kids' four smaller packs nestled in beside them. We still had ample leg room, and Caela and Dylan didn't have to knock elbows with every stroke. Finessing the "switch," when their tired arms needed to paddle on the other side, took only a few rocky starts before it was perfected. Now we just had to test it out on a portage, and we'd be sold. After 55 days of wilderness travel in a Minn. 4 over the last three years, one thing has become clear: this canoe will go anywhere. We've taken it down winding rivers, across beaver dams, along portages made narrow by young saplings, and even, one cruel day, down a creek that petered out into muskeg. (I won't tell you that turning around a 23-foot canoe in a swamp is fun, but it can be done!) Enormously stable on the water when loaded, it is responsive both in the bow and stern, and also to a firm J-stroke in the wind. All in all, for a family of four, the Minn-4 is definitely the way to go. On Day 18 this year, as we unloaded for the final time, my husband flipped the Minn. 4 over his head and set off along the last portage. I walked behind him, my food pack featherlight, and smiled at the image in front of me. Dr. Canoehead. It had been another great adventure."
"I have been to the BWCAW in Minnesota many times. Each time, we used a traditional aluminum canoe to get us from Moose Lake to Knife Lake. It takes six portages to get to our destination. Needless to say, after using one of your canoes it was literally a night and day difference. Thank you for such a great product!"
"I build cedar strip canoes for fun, but love paddling Wenonah canoes because of the way they cut through the water. You make a top quality canoe, that I am proud to display on top of my truck."