This awesome canoe is incredibly fast. It might give you goose bumps, if not from the Shock and awe, from the wind going by. This is the solo version of our Minnesota II. Long, lean, and quite deep, the Voyager has space and flotation for gear, with the efficiency to transport it well. A fine choice for lakes and open rivers, this hull addresses two salient issues:
A solo trip requires more than half as much gear, but with only half the power to propel it. While some other models can fit enough load, the Voyager hauls it farther with less effort. It makes longer and heavier solo trips practical.
Or, if a solo accompanies capable tandems on a trip, it usually must carry little gear, or it slows the pace. This hull makes the lone paddler an equal partner, hauling a fair share at a good rate.
To suit its mission, Dave Kruger has created our longest (17'6") and narrowest (271/2" at the water) solo hull. Significant tumblehome also promotes strong, comfortable strokes. These aspects and its shallow-arch hull give the Voyager better speed and glide than shorter or wider designs, especially when loaded.
Downsides? It certainly won't run slaloms, but slight rocker gives it proper agility for its purpose. The Voyager also prefers an adept paddler, or gear in the bilge to lower the center of gravity.
A specialized hull to be sure, you might also consider our Prism or Encounter. The first has more steadiness, the second more volume. Both are useful and popular for trips, but neither can match the Voyager's efficiency with a load.
This hull is also rewarding to paddle light for lake touring, aerobic conditioning, etc., but we suggest you buy it mainly for long escapes, where the Voyager's supreme capabilities will add the most to your satisfaction.
Canoes are available in several kinds of materials and with different construction methods:
Royalex is a very tough and durable but still a reasonably light weight plastic laminate. A 17 foot Royalex canoe will weigh about 64 pounds compared to 75-85 pounds for other plastic or aluminum.
Composite materials include Tufweave, a fiberglass and polyester hybrid that outperforms ordinary fiberglass types S or E. Kevlar is a an extremely tough material that is also very light weight. Graphite is even lighter than kevlar but not as abrasion resistant.
Flexcore construction uses several layers of either Tufweave or Kevlar with a specially designed hull reinforcement in the bottom of the canoe. This reinforcement is designed to be quite stiff to retain the design shape but able to flex rather than break on obstacles. This is a very tough construction method but not as tough as Royalex. It's advantages are lighter weight and better performance. It is easily repaired if you manage to damage it.
Ultra light construction uses fewer layers of specially reinforced Tufweave, kevlar and or graphite to build the lightest canoe that is still practical for everyday use in reasonably demanding conditions. It usually does not have a color applied to the hull unless you ask for it. The gel coat (color) adds about 5 pounds to the canoe. This is the stiffest construction method, resulting in the best performance. It is not a good choice for a steady diet of hitting rocks and gravel unless light weight is a very high priority for you. It is especially good for lake and large river trips where carrying the canoe is over portage routes is necessary. Some smaller people and those with less upper body strength appreciate the light weight in all circumstances. It is reasonably easy to repair in most cases.