Submitted: 09-29-2008 by CP
Well, I have to say I dig this Colorado Penguin. I've been in a canoe since I was 12 on dang near every river in northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, and west Tennessee, though primarily in old school aluminum and wooden boats.
This boat for less that $300 is perfect for the 'average' user. No you aren't going to win any races, no it isn't some graphite/carbon super canoe, no it isn't even meant for white water. Up to about class II is as high as I would risk it, maybe a class III if the water's deep.
I've really enjoyed this little boat. A tad heavy, but all of my experience was with metal and wooden boats, so it wasn't much of a stretch. If you're out for speed, well, go buy a racing canoe, as this boats clearly designed for exactly what I like, to let the current carry me where it wants to go. I have to disagree with the folks who claim its nature unresponsive. Again, this isn't a kayak, but it took to turns as I needed them to, nothing fancy.
I took the wife out for the first time ever in a canoe on a river that worked out to be one of the hardest I've ever had to manage. We got through it fine, though she did make the comment, "You didn't tell me I was going to have to be in shape for this!" It was hard, and would have been in any boat, IF you could have even gotten through all the snarls and thickets in the water. I had no idea it was going to be like that, but we made it, in just slightly more time than we had planned, had a nice time and the one time we got wet was when we had to portage over trees in the middle of the river (it was bad, I mean really, but heck, we didn't fall in, we didn't dump, and we got the boat portaged just as easily as the folks in front of us in the Mad River rental). The flimsy/plastic hull made me nervous, but if you don't mind some scratches (as all boats get) you should be fine.
Great for the money, I really enjoy the boat. Key words are, "good buy for the money". IF you want to win races or hit the rapids regularly, save up. IF you just want a little paddler to take the family out camping or on a nice easy stroll, like say on the Buffalo, or the White, it's an inexpensive way to do so. Pays for itself after 4 trips (at $50 a rental boat around here). If you have the bucks for a Ferrari, buy the Ferrari, if you only have the bucks for the Bug, buy the Bug. Both are fun in their own right.