Submitted: 09-12-2007 by lackge
Argosy Kevlar Ultralight by Wenonah
I purchased this 32-pound, 14'6" solo canoe expressly for a 5-day river trip on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. I needed a boat that would transport my 160-pound self, all my camping gear, food, several gallons of water and still have room for a PETT toilet as well as a 3-gallon waste container for our group's use. It had to do this while still having enough buoyancy and maneuverability to run nontechnical Class I+ shoals and standing waves without swamping. The canoe had to be light enough to be carried unassisted by someone 67 years old. Fortunately, the Buffalo River was running at a "Goldilocks level" and thus was deep enough so there were very few collisions with rocks. The Argosy Ultralight proved to be ideal for this trip.
Even fairly heavily loaded it was quite fast, tracked well, turned easily, was stable, and yet rode up over the waves and provided a very dry ride. At one point in the trip big standing waves swamped one of our boats, a heavily loaded Old Town Cascade, but my canoe took on less than a gallon of water in that same rapid. Any concerns about the durability of the Kevlar Argosy were ill-founded, since it emerged from the trip with only a few scratches but no damage.
I originally thought I would buy a Wenonah Vagabond, but when I demo'd both of them the same afternoon, the Argosy was clearly superior for my purposes. The Vagabond would not hauled enough freight and would have been too hard to turn.
OK, so the Argosy Ultralight would not be appropriate for big whitewater rivers, and it is not built for rock bashing, but it was very well suited for this particular trip. If you need a tougher material, Wenonah offers the Argosy in a variety of tougher materials; but, of course, they are heavier, and I wanted a very light boat. Wenonah is famous for elegant designs and excellent fit and finish--all of which are obvious in the Argosy that I bought.
Giving any boat a rating of 10 would imply perfection, so I don't think that any boat ever rates a 10; however, I give the Argosy Ultralight my highest rating, a 9.