Submitted: 03-18-2009 by jbf
I bought my Coleman canoe new in '97 and have logged 450 kms per year, mostly on the North Saskatchewan River, from the foot of the Rocky Mountains to my home in Edmonton, Alberta (class II & nearly III). As far as durability and load carrying are concerned, it is unbeatable - an excellent value for the money spent.
However when it comes to handling, it sucks - it took three or more strokes before it responded - a serious liability! So I fixed it - and here's how. The problem is that it has a keel and it's flat - what a person has to do is put some rocker into the boat - put some curve into the keel. You don't have to go over the top like I did and install a tube steel frame. Simply support the canoe at the stern and bow so it's completely off the ground and install a shim (3-4" advised) between the stay and keel pipe. The result is a canoe that turns easier and is less affected by cross channel currents.
I do a lot of river tripping and I'll gladly put my Coleman up against any craft on the market. The main thing is: Get on the water but do it safely - you won't be disappointed!