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Submitted: 03-23-2004 by Scott
I gave this one a 9 instead of 10 because nothing is perfect.
But my Pelican Explorer DLX 'el 'cheapo from Dick's Sporting Goods (~$300) comes close. Its been years since I was in a canoe, and I didn't want to spend a fortune on something I might use a few times and abandon for my next hobby... but this canoe has made all the difference in getting out on the water. The model I bought had a built in "cooler" in the middle. I take the cooler top off, and use the elastic stretch bands to fasten on a portal stadium seat with a back rest on top of the cooler base. This puts my center of gravity a little lower than the two built in seats on each end, making the canoe even more stable. Its a little easier to paddle from the middle solo too. I sit cross legged or indian style - I don't like kneeling at all - and I can recline back a little. I can paddle and fish all day no problems. I I even felt safe enough to take my dog with me this weekend, and teach him how to sit and lay in the canoe. Even with him moving around at first - I was stable and have never tipped (knock on wood). I bought this last year - used it maybe 20 times, and have really been getting some use of out it this year. I was skeptical about the weight, but so far its not been a problem. I can load and unload it on my low to the ground 72 impala by myself very easily, and with a little more effort I can load it on my 97 dodge ram with 5in lift kit by dropping the tailgate and working it up onto the roof from the truck bed by myself. I've done a couple of overnight river camping trips, and loaded it down with tons of weight, and had no problems. As long as I step in and out on the middle metal keel bar thingy, it stable as can be.
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