Submitted: 04-03-2005 by clarion
From time to time people have raised the question of what boats are good for young children. I wanted to post my experience so far with kids in a solo plus so those considering a purchase may benefit.
I bought a Solo Plus for my 7 and 9 year old boys late last year (ok, it's for me too). I thought it would be a good tandem for them since it is quite narrow at the ends and has no rocker making it easier to keep straight. The first time we had it out, I was in the center seat and they were in the ends. I did most of the "driving." I thought it would be kind of tough to turn with no rocker and each of them on the ends. I was surprised that it turned fairly easily (all things considered).
Next outing, I let them paddle by themselves in a fairly small class one creek. This is the first time they have ever been in a canoe by themselves. For those who would gasp, I knew what they were in for since just did it a few days before. We only did a few miles but they did absolutely great in the Solo Plus. There were lots of turns and a few small rapids and constant innocuous strainers along the banks. I was surprised at how well the boat responded to their strokes. At their weight, the bow and stern both responded instantly to their little draws and prys. They never hit a thing and were able to keep a very good line. It was really cool to watch.
I would recommend the Solo Plus for anyone who wants to introduce youngsters to canoeing. Not to mention, you have a decent solo for yourself as well. I can't really comment much about its solo ability yet since I only paddled it that way around 4 miles so far and am not used to it yet. But for youngsters going tandem, I'm extremely pleased.