|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – May 2008
Some of the country's best wilderness is accessible only by boat. To help you get there, our testers picked the top canoes in six key categories.
Got a month to spend in the Boundary Waters? The Champlain is your vessel; its 1,200-pound load capacity swallows coolers, camp chairs, and jumbo tents. The hull depth (22 inches at the bow) keeps gear dry even in chop. And thanks to the 18-foot length, sharp bow, and tapered shape, it was the fastest boat among all the models we tested. The adjustable bow seat allows paddlers to fine-tune weight distribution. And stability is unmatched: "You could paddle two toddlers and a nervous Lab in this boat!" gushed one tester. The tradeoff? Limited agility, especially in windy conditions, when the boat's high sides catch the breeze. The Kevlar version (tested) is light and tough, but pricey ($2,499). The Champlain is also available in Royalex ($1,399) and fiberglass ($1,679). 18'; 45 lbs. (507) 454-5430; wenonah.com.