Friday, April 9, 2010

What to look for in a Used Canoe

When you're buying a used canoe there are a few things to think about.  I'll call them a short checklist and you should literally write each down and draw a box next to it.  When you see a canoe you may be interested in, go to your checklist and faithfully check off each box (if you can).  When you're finished, if all your boxes have been checked... this is likely the canoe for you.

Why?  Well, we all love a deal, but... and there's always a BUT!  If a person is selling off a canoe, they're either unhappy with it (usually they've already got the canoe they really want in mind) or they've had a change of circumstances and need money.  If they love paddling at all (even if they need money) they'll be unlikely to give up a favorite canoe.  So, it can't all be about the deal, all about the low price.  If you wouldn't buy the canoe if it wasn't such a good price, you probably shouldn't take the deal.

So, PRICE shouldn't be at the top of your list.  It should be on the list, but not at the top.  What makes up the list?  Condition, weight, age, history, price, manufacturer, materials and will this canoe do what you want?  These are all good questions.

Condition:  Does the boat have stress fractures or repaired patches or visible damage?  If so, were the repairs done professionally?  Do the repairs impair the performance of the boat in any way?
Weight:  Just because it is cheap doesn't make it any lighter.  Kevlar canoes don't get heavier as you age.
Age:  How old is the canoe, how was it stored?  Was it protected from U.V. rays or left out in the sun for year after year?
History:  How was the canoe used and on what type of water.  Did it ever run rapids?  Does it have experience in the Boundary Waters?
Price:  Are you getting a substantial amount off the normal retail price?  Is this a canoe you would be happy to pay full retail for if you could?
Manufacturer:  Who made this canoe?  Do they have a good name in the business?  Do they stand behind their products?  Can you get replacement parts if necessary?  Do you have a good source or relationship with a retailer/distributor of this type canoe?
Materials:  Is the canoe aluminum, plastic, wood canvas, fiberglass, royalex, carbon or kevlar?
Will this Canoe Do what you want?:  Where are you going to use it the most on rivers, on lakes, on trips or mostly for fishing?  Does the design of the canoe match your needs?

At Piragis we sell our complete rental fleet (over 120 canoes) at the end of each season.  We maintain them throughout the year and professionally do any repairs necessary.  At the end of the season, we go over each canoe with a fine tooth comb and recondition each one.  These have all experienced the wilderness travel of the Boundary Waters and Quetico.  They have many, many more years of life in them.  They are lightweight kevlar (we rent a few royalex canoes, too) and only used one season.  We've got many different models of canoe so that we can match them to your paddling needs.

When we take trade-ins we hold them to our high standards as well and if they need to be re-conditioned or repaired, we do that here ourselves.  We find out from the previous owners the "canoe-facts" so we can share them with you.

Here at Piragis Northwoods Company we've sold more used canoes and kayaks than anyone in the business since 1979.  We are top shelf dealers for Wenonah Canoe, Bell Canoe Works, Perception Kayaks, Current Design Kayaks and Wilderness System Kayaks as well as PacCanoes and Folding Kayaks.  Our sales staff and outfitting staff have the same high attention to detail and commitment to used craft as we do to brand new handmade canoes and kayaks!

Call Steve Schon at 1-800-223-6565 Today to talk used or new canoes and kayaks and we will get you the boat that best fits your needs!

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