Monday, April 11, 2011

Outdoor Gear Review; Wenonah Adirondack 16' Canoe

Length: 16' (487.68 cm)
Gunwale Width: 35" (88.9 cm)
Maximum Width: 36" (91.44 cm)
Waterline Width: 34.75" (88.265 cm)
Bow Depth: 19.5" (49.53 cm)
Center Depth: 13.5" (34.29 cm)
Stern Depth: 16.5" (41.91 cm)
Rocker: Minimal

This is our first Canoe. We acquired it from California Canoe & Kayak at Jack London Sq. in Oakland. Keith Miller - the owner of California Canoe and Kayak is a great guy and was trying to offload this one and a couple of others that were previously sold to the Save The Bay Foundation. Essentially he rented it to us for a pittance and said if I like it I can keep it for $300. Since it was in pretty good condition we took him up on it.

The Adirondack is designed as a medium volume "performance tripping" boat. The boat is light on initial stability particularly unladen which lends to its efficiency and glide. Secondary stability is quite good though and very confidence inspiring. The boat tracks well and glides easily yet it remains relatively agile with two paddlers. I had no trouble handling the boat myself on my first solo experience and first river experience on my 7day Green river trip. The boat will turn well from the middle, and ferrys easily as well. However, with it's minimal rocker and unflared stems it is by no means a whitewater boat. In class I or flat moving water though it is very capable.

The boat will easily swallow a long weekends worth of gear for two for somewhat luxurious camping. If one were to pack lighter than we usually do it would be fine for at least a week long trip. Loaded as such it is very stable and still maintains generous freeboard and rides dry in up to 2' following wind swell.

As a solo-boat it's tricky. I weigh 220lbs and with the boat unloaded it is just a sail in any kind of wind. You go 2' sideways for every 1' forward. In contrast, when loaded for my 1 week trip on the Green River in Utah I had no trouble in the considerable afternoon desert winds. Though the boat did ship a little water in a 1-2" head-on wind chop. I found the boat manageable, but unpleasant in those conditions and was able to brace the boat when encountering the occasional broach wave refracted off the canyon walls.

Ours is the Tuff-Weave Flex Core layup which weighs in at 54lbs. I have no trouble tossing it up on my shoulders to carry it or getting onto the roof of the car.


  1. I also own an Adirondack and found the best way for me to paddle solo is to place 2 or 3 full 5-gallon camp shower bladders in the bow in order to "stick" the bow below the waterline. Once done, the wind doesn't seem to affect it much. My first canoe also and I love it for efficient paddling on the lakes here in the mid section of the U.S. I also get a lot of comments from others on the water about how great she looks.

  2. We bought an Adirondack from California Canoe and Kayak in 1988. We still own and use it all the time. Just gave it a fiberglass restoration and need to do a few gel coat repairs. The rocky shores of our Oregon mountain lakes test it but it has held up well over the years.