Spring is on its way and the ice is going to be breaking up showing you the way back to manhood. The wilderness. No more home renovations, antiquing, shopping malls, TV shows, and decorating the house with your wife. This is Man Season.
For some of you, Man Season will begin with the hunt for a new canoe. But what type of canoe do you buy? Well it depends on what you are doing with it. Canoes are designed in slightly different forms for different purposes; Whitewater, River travel, Lake Travel, Recreational and we can’t forget the ever popular BattleTank. There are also different materials used to build each one of these. This is the first thing we are going to take a look at. We’ll help you choose the right one for your needs.
Kevlar – This is the same material that bulletproof vests are made of.
This is a very strong fibrous material, similar to fiberglass, but stronger. However this material is not to be abused, it can still puncture or tear. We recommend this type of material for those who need a more rugged canoe, for way out-there tripping, but not for those who are going to kick the crap out of their boat. Kevlar is typically more expensive than fiberglass, but does provide a lighter weight option that will outperform regular fiberglass.
Fiberglass – Light weight for smooth sailing and easy portaging.
Newer fiberglass canoes are lightweight, durable materials that are great for most canoe trips. Fiberglass is very easy to work with making specific creases and bends possible giving most boats the streamlined, no water drag shape that lets them glide through the water easily compared to the other options. This is the most commonly sought after boat. It’s a great mix of cost and quality.
Royalex – Loves abuse, but heavy.
Essentially this is very durable plastic; Technically there are 3 layers. Vinyl for abrasion resistance, ABS Plastic for that “apocalyptic zombie – can’t be killed” type of resistance and finally Foam for buoyancy. This material is great for whitewater travel or heavy abuse types of people. This is a heavier material than fiberglass or Kevlar, but also takes more of a beating. Kick the crap out of it and it comes back for more.
Wood – Ahhhh the gentlemen’s canoe.
This type of canoe is very refined for those experienced at canoeing. Owning or paddling one of these is like a fine cherry brandy being sipped at a desk in the library of the east wing of your manor. They are heavy in weight and in price, but they last forever if you take care of them. This is the Rolls Royce of canoes. but we wouldn’t recommend them for ManCamping.
Aluminum – Scissors… that’s all we have to say.
There are not to many of these around anymore but they do pop up from time to time. They heavy and not nearly as streamlined for water travel due to the way they are made. Aluminum is much harder to work with for bends and curves than fibrous or plastic materials. Typically these canoes are inexpensive, but can’t take as much of a beating (They dent and that will slow you down in the water) All metal looks manly, but gets extremely hot to the touch in the sun, gets injured easily and we are willing to call them the K car of canoes. This is the scissors in the rock paper scissors of canoes… against rock… they will always lose if you know what I mean.
BTC (Battle Tank Canoe)- This is our favorite.
These canoes are usually fiberglass, or some other classified military grade material were not allowed to know about, and are found in the wild. These are the ultra heavy, old school canoes that you find at most people’s cottages. They are 30+ years old, hernia-inducingly heavy and are still around because they are almost indestructible. Car compactors would have a hard time with these babies! They also don’t have a manufacturer, or at least no sign of one anymore. They are inexpensive to pick up online or in your local buy and sell, and perfect for ManCamping. Buy one, repaint and use it. Simple, heavy-duty, and easy. We choose this one for most of our trips… it’s like the winter-beater car that won’t die! Soon we’ll actually show you how to get a BattleTank and get it ready for ManSeason, unless someone wants to give us a new one? (Swift Canoe? Old Town? anyone want to hook us up? No?) For this season, we’ll go with the Battle Tank 🙂
Check back with us and we’ll go through the different types (Recreational, Whitewater, flat-water, Recreational, and of course our BattleTank.