Submitted: 07-14-2003 by M Webster
I recently purchased both a Pelican Explorer and Old Town Discovery 160, to have canoes at either end of a lake near where we live.
Another poster named "cc" commented on a serious issue related to the Pelican's Explorer's construction and the removal of the keelson. I have seen firsthand an older Pelican Explorer like this, the boat was terribly warped. However, Pelican has now adopted the aluminum keelson design that Coleman has always used. Essentially, the Explorer is almost the same boat as the higher priced Pelican Colorado and Coleman Journey, but sold through Dick's Sporting Goods and maybe others. It's a 15 1/2' canoe with 37" beam. It feels very stable, and while the polyethylene construction makes for a heavy canoe, it paddles and tracks reasonably well. I have taken three children out paddling in this canoe and we felt save. The canoe has a capacity of 800 lb.
Pelican/Coleman canoes serve a valuable purpose in the market for a low-end canoe. Make sure you install your keelson correctly. Mohawk has pictures of beat-up polyethylene canoes from Walmart linked from their web site, but such problems are due to not installing the aluminum keelson. With the keelson properly installed, and the boat properly cared for, such a boat will last for years, as strated by the success of Coleman's canoes. (Pelican has purchased all Coleman's canoe manufacturing and moved it from Texas to Canada. A Coleman canoe is now a Pelican canoe.) I can walk by dozens of canoes on T-racks at the lake where we paddle, and while some of the old Coleman's look terrible, the same holds true for other canoes that have not been cared for, especially aluminum and fiberglass canoes. But there are old Coleman's that are still in great shape after many years of use.
If you can afford it, buy something else. But as a starter canoe, a Pelican Ram-X canoe will get you on the water, and be virtually indestructible provided you take reasonable care of your boat.