Submitted: 06-24-2003 by JCM
I own a Coleman RAM-XX 17. It was purchased specifically for solo camping and fishing trips along Mississippi's streams of various types. I have had the opportunity to canoe many streams in other brands of canoes and I have not found one that can beat the Coleman overall. Yes, there are prettier canoes, some a little lighter and all more expensive. This canoe is 100% functional, tough as they come and safe. Some call it slow but that's really relative to an individual's strength. Mine seems pretty fast. I have never considered the canoe slow. The plastic hull is rigid with properly installed keel tubes and thwarts. The bottom will flex over rocks and logs that would either jam or flip a stiff-bottomed canoe instantly. When swamped the canoe still floats high. The longer canoe steers well and is stable, thanks in part to a substantial keel that runs the length of the hull. Sit in the front seat and face the stern whenever solo. If you add fifty lbs. of weight in the bow, it becomes even more stable and flat. The boat tracks exceptionally straight across open water in a crosswind. It handles rapids just fine. It's a kick to have at the beach and will handle moderate waves well. There is nothing more disturbing to fish or wildlife than the loud clunking and scraping of metal or fiberglass associated with other canoes. The Coleman makes no sound. The polymer material of the hull slides well over the ground making portages easy and there is no resulting chipping, gouging or any damage to the underside of the vessel. The only complaint I have is that the seats are a tad high and if you sit on a cushion you are asking for a dip of the sudden kind. If you want an indestructible craft that is safe, stable and silent and can take all manner of abuse, get this canoe.