Boats - Choosing a Canoe or Kayak
The Trail's diversity of paddling trips means that there is no wrong answer to the question of "what boat should I use to paddle the Trail?" From placid flatwater, to wind whipped waves on exposed lakes, rolling swiftwater and whitewater of every size, the Trail offers the novice and experienced paddler a lifetime of paddling experiences and great variety to choose from.
Whether you are partial to the classic form and function of the canoe or prefer cutting edge kayak design, the boat you choose can help you enjoy your first-ever day on the water or your next multiday adventure. Ask a paddler an opinion on boat style, dimensions, weight, and even color and you will hear opinions of every sort. Do-it yourself or buy one off the shelf? Boats are constantly evolving to meet the needs of today's paddler and today's use, and that can be challenging when you are in the market for a boat.
To help, here are a few boats, matched to some of the conditions found on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail that caught our attention and which you might want to check out the next time you are at your local demo day or paddling shop. Before you consider that next purchase or build project, ask around, take advantage of a local outfitter or paddle shop and try a few on for size. There is no better way than that to cut through the many options today's paddler has to choose from.
Thanks to our friends at Old Town Canoe & Kayak, Wenonah Canoe, Hornbeck Boats and Lincoln Canoe & Kayak. For specs and more information on our profiled boats, please click on the logos to be redirected to the manufacturers' site.
Old Town - Penobscot Family
Named after the Native American tribe that has inhabited Old Town, Maine, since before recorded history — and from whom we've gained immeasurable boat-building knowledge — the Penobscot is an homage to their superb craftsmanship, sense of design and navigational skills. In FOUR styles to choose from: 16RX, 17RX, 164 and 174 these are the classic tripping and expedition boats of the Maine woods and beyond.
Hornbeck Boats - New Trick 14'
Adirondack boat builders for over 30 years, the New Tricks are a new design. Narrower, faster and more performance oriented. They also are user friendly, and will fit a wide range of people!
We use carbon fiber and Kevlar in our hulls exclusively because these are the lightest, strongest materials available. We build the entire hull at one time so all of the resin molecules can cross link at the same time, forming chemical and not mechanical bonds. We use no gel coat or skin coat. If something is purely cosmetic, you won’t find it on our boats. No cane or molded seats, no array of colors etc. As Leonardo da Vinci once said “Simplicity is the essence of sophistication”.
Lincoln Canoe & Kayak - Chebeague
The Chebeague was designed to offer a quick comfortable getaway for a broad range of paddlers. Its namesake is an island located in beautiful Casco Bay, Maine. Chebeague Island is a great place to visit or vacation, and may visitors enjoy its easy access. Despite its hull size, the Chebeague has features you'll find on some of the larger kayaks manufactured today. A roomy cockpit, bow and stern compartments, and a wicked light-weight, fast, stable hull design, make this kayak the perfect coastal cruiser.
Wenonah - Minnesota II
The Minnesota II is the flag ship of the Wenonah Canoe performance touring line and is known for being the most efficient, straight-tracking, tandem tripping canoe ever made. They're fast and seaworthy even when loaded with heavy gear, yet fun to paddle lightly loaded just for the thrill of it. This canoe revolutionized both portaging and long-distance paddling and has opened places like the Northern Forest Canoe Trail to many.