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Purchasing a "good" canoe

Lots of folks ask me for tips when purchasing their first canoe. The question is usually "BD, this trip has been awesome. I totally want to get into canoeing now. What is a good canoe to buy?"

Asking for recommendations on a "good canoe" is like asking a New Orleanian for a "good restaurant" What do you want to wear, what neighborhood, indoor or outdoor dining, table service or counter service, what type of food, how much do you want to spend, breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, quiet and private or boisterous, new or established? Oh man, we are blessed with great restaurants in New Orleans, but I digress. lol


For multi day down river trips one needs durability, stability and storage. I'm so lucky to have a fleet of Old Town brand, 17 ft Voyager canoes. The specific qualities of this canoe are perfect for long down river trips. They are strong, can take abuse, stay steady even when loaded, and can haul lots of gear. But those qualities are awful for racing, or white water, or day trips on a lake.


Each style of use has its own design. And folks can spend between a couple hundred for a used canoe on Craigslist to many thousands of dollars for a new speciality canoe. When guest ask me for a canoe recommendation, I try to determine how they will use the canoe.


Often folks want something to occasionally use on Bayou Saint John. Specifically for the Annual Bayou Boogaloo Festival. The truth is you first canoe can be any canoe. If you have limited experience the most important thing is to gain experience before making a big purchase. I recommend most folks just buy an affordable beater canoe from Craigslist. After using it a few months you will learn how it will handle different situations, and learn what your true needs are.


So really, just get yourself a canoe. any canoe you can find. Then use it. Find out what you like. Find out what you dislike. You will develop knowledge of your actual patterns of use and specific needs. After that you will know what to do.


As always if you have questions or ideas about the trips shoot me a message here w the contact form or on Instagram @bd_markey. And I AM always happy to give canoe recommendations and talk shop about features and qualities


Hope to see you on the river,



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