[All-Purpose Bargain] YUKON CLIPPER
"This is the top general-touring boat we tested," said one paddler, who gave the fiberglass Yukon his ultimate stamp of approval: He went out and bought one. The Yukon has plenty of cargo capacity for weeklong trips, yet it’s fast and easy to maneuver, and it’s quieter than most other boats because the sharply tapered bow and rounded bottom minimize friction and reduce the noise of bow splash. With a slight rocker (see "Canoes, Deconstructed"), this canoe is beginner-friendly, slipping gracefully in and out of eddies and proving stable even with a light load. Flotation chambers in both the bow and stern add buoyancy to ensure the Yukon rides high when fully loaded (900-pound capacity). The tractor-style seats are positioned low for good stability, but aren’t suited to kneeling (a necessity in rough conditions). Foam padding on the forward gunwales protects the bow paddler’s knees. In the stern, an adjustable foot brace increases stability for maneuvering from the sitting position. The Yukon is a tad heavy, but the price-to-performance is hard to beat. $1,225; 16′ 8"; 70 lbs. (866) 644-8111; westerncanoekayak.com.