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Reviews for Vagabond Canoe by We-no-nah Canoe


Rated: 8.77/10 Based On: 30 Reviews

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08-21-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased a slightly used Royalex version of the We-no-nah Vagabond primarily for flat water and so far have been very pleased with it. This is the canoe I'll use to get into swamps this coming deer season, going about 7 miles round-trip each hunting day.

It has a shallow draft and is relatively fast when using a two-bladed paddle. The factory foot rest was useful in maintaining control and achieving faster speeds when using the kayak paddle. I find it a little more challenging to paddle straight with a single-bladed paddle but perhaps my technique needs some work. No matter which style of paddle used, the Vagabaond is much easier to paddle solo than is my old tandem canoe. Perhaps it's because I'm sitting lower in the Vagabond and donít have as far to reach over the gunwale.

I'm 5'10", weighing 250 lbs, and had no problems with stability, even when using a 30lb trolling motor. Switching to a longer motor cable allowed me to place the battery as far forward as possible which helped with weight distribution. The motor was mounted a couple of feet behind the seat which made for slow turning while under way. However, max hull speed was easily obtained when moving in a straight line. I didn't have the GPS that day but my estimate was at least 4 mph.

My Vagabond weighs 43 lbs per the bathroom scales and thus is easy to load / unload from a SUV. I've used the Vagabond to fish from on local lakes where I had a couple hundred yards portage downhill to launch. Over one shoulder and overhead are both of the carry techniques used. The canoe was easy to tote for that short distance but I would add a temporary yoke if ever planning to do longer portages.

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07-29-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     After 4 years my Wen Vag Kevlar Ultra Light 30# solo is my #1 paddlecraft for touring coastal rivers and creeks. A long Greenland Paddle keeps me up with the average yakker in open water and a single blade handles narrow deep cover creeks. The adjustable tractor seat is very comfortable and allows trim adjustments for changing load and wind conditions. Use her to teach both basic yak and noeing. 30# weight is a dream to cartop and portage for this old dog.

Very maneuverable with the GP. Can spin like a top, yet tracks well. Only challenge is wind resistance over 15 kts. due higher freeboard than yaks. Good day tripper and weekender. Yes Kevlar scratches and fuzzes easy but I'm not into looks, and some hard knocks no problem.

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07-15-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I demoed this canoe (Royalex version) a while back along with several other solo canoes. This was one of my favorites. Really good choice for fishing,camping and hunting. Easy to handle in and out of the water. Good stability, speed for boats of this type.

My only gripe is the wood thwart behind the seat rubs against my back. That's easy to correct but you shouldn't have to. I don't see how they missed it during development. Certainly no excuse for not having corrected it by now. Otherwise a really nice canoe.

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04-21-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Vagabond is an excellent beginner solo boat. It functions basically as an open-hulled kayak, thus making it much lighter than a kayak of similar length. It is fast and tracks very well. Easy to transport, which makes it a good choice for people to use on local rivers and streams. Due to slim profile, initial stability is not the best, but I would not hesitate to take it on 1 or 2 day trips. Overall, I really enjoyed this boat.
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07-11-2012
Submitted by: sdtSend Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     After reading many of the reviews, I am beginning to wonder if we are really talking about the same canoe. I love the weight of the Vagabond, but when it comes to STABILITY, there is not. I read where people took a dog along -- I can barely keep it from capsizing when it is just me and calm water. It dumped my twice this weekend.

The thwart directly behind the seat hits me right in the back. If i try to get something out of a pack stored behind me, i have to pull up to shore or risk dumping again. It paddles well, carries well, is strong and well made, but i think it is unstable. TRY IT OUT BEFORE YOU BUY IT!! I had a 17/15/13 Coleman in years gone by. This is much better quality, and paddles much better, but I'll take the Coleman for stability.

I use the canoe for river fishing, and that is all. Maybe if i road the rapids or jumped damns it would like the Vagabond, but it will be on Craigs list soon.

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03-26-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought this canoe used recently so that I could do shorter solo trips with a minimum of fuss. My primary use will be scouting for ducks on lakes and rivers in MA in the spring & summer, and paddling to and from blinds during duck season. I have the kevlar UL layup which weighs less than 30 lbs. and makes getting it on/off the car and in/out of the water a breeze. This is critical - it is so light that it is very, very easy to handle alone.

I will use this canoe often for short trips (1 - 2 hours) just because it is so lightweight. When it warms up I plan on taking my 3.5 year old for short trips too and think that there will be ample space for her in front of the footbrace if I can get her to stay mostly still :) There is sufficient room for my duck hunting gear as well.

I took the canoe out for her first trip this morning and had a very nice time. I paddled upstream for 40 minutes and then back downstream to my starting point in 20. I used a kayak paddle with the seat in the low position. The canoe tracked well and was nice and maneuverable with very good stability. I honestly couldn't ask for anything more and look forward to many more outings.

I would recommend this canoe to anyone looking for a very light canoe with good tracking, stability and maneuverability.

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08-26-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought the Vagabond this year to replace my Necky Alsec kayak because I wanted a boat that my dog could ride in. The Vagabond was a good choice. I have yet to take it on an overnight trip but on the last day trip I had everything but the tent and sleeping bag (but I had the 43lb dog).

The boat handled great on 2-3 foot lake waves and 10mph winds. It is not a rocket but hauls me (and I am pretty big), the dog and lots of gear for a day or sparse weekend. I have the Tuf Weave Flex Core which is nice and light and easy to portage and car top. Great boat and I am glad that I bought it.

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09-27-2009
Submitted by: Cole
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've had a Royalex Vagabond for around five years. I'm 6' 190 pounds. I've put several hundred miles on it, most of it on slow rivers in Florida with some open water as well. The primary stability is very good, more than I prefer really. It seems the point where secondary stability kicks in is a little abrupt. I can stand up in it for a stretch but poling would take a bit of practice. Tracking is fair for such a short waterline but if you get lazy with your stroke, especially going upstream, you will be correcting frequently.

It isn't specialized or sexy but its light weight, ease of paddling and convenience when car-topping with other boats keeps my tandem (Bell Yellowstone, which I love poling and paddling solo as well) in the garage most of the time.I think it is an excellent beginner to intermediate canoe and I've learned a lot about paddling from it by the easy learning curve it provides.

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06-16-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     After a decent amount of research for a solo canoe I decided on the Vagabond. I paddled 8.5 miles with a 10 to 15 mph headwind a majority of the trip on my maiden voyage a couple of days ago. I found the boat to be everything I had hoped it would be, stable, maneuverable, tracks perfectly, and light, as well as good looking.

I am 5'11" and 190 lbs. and carried approx. 15 lbs of gear with me. Often times we buy things with a well known higher than average priced name/label and that is the majority of what we are paying for. Not We-no-nah, in my opinion. The craftsmanship, engineering, and beauty are very much evident in their products. Couldn't be happier.

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01-31-2008
Submitted by: George S SchmidtSend Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     I think this canoe was designed for a doubler paddle which I have never used since starting canoeing in 1939. I got this canoe as it was longer than my Mohawk Solo 14 and about the same width. I like to sit up high and have my seat in my Solo 14 bolted to the gunnel and love it for general use.

The Vagabond is very unstable even with the seat lowered. The low seat does not allow taking a decent stroke. I have had two canoes designed for racing in white water but none were as unstable as this! Try out before you buy.

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10-05-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I love my Vagabond. I own the royalex because I mainly use it in the Ozarks and the streams are shallow and rocky. It is maneuverable and a joy to paddle. I use it for fishing and camping as well as just floating. I also have sit on tops, other canoes and the Vagabond is a wonderful, responsive and versatile boat. I would highly recommend it.
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08-23-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My 13-year-old grandson used the Vag for the first time, and it went great. He's shorter than 5', but well-coordinated & adventuresome. Used the double paddle & sped all over the lake.
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07-31-2007
Submitted by: Bob Keyes
Rating: 9 of 10

     I cannot get enough of this little boat.
I use my canoes primarily for fishing and have found this canoe to be a joy to use for this purpose. I also own the Kingfisher in Kevlar and love it also.

However, after fishing from the Vagabond, I find myself craving the solo performance more and more, and rarely try to find a fishing partner for the tandem. My friends are highly annoyed. I suggest they buy a solo canoe and share the experience. The boat is a daytripper, and is perfect for that. It is highly maneuverable and quick. I carry a kayak paddle to cover water and the canoe paddle to maneuver the weed beds and shallows. I LOVE THIS BOAT!

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04-19-2007
Submitted by: Fabs
Rating: 3 of 10

     I didn't like this boat. Honestly. I really don't think I gave it fair chance. I am used to paddling an 80lb tandem boat by myself that has quite a bit more stability. This boat sat much lower in the water than I am used to & it didn't track like what I was used to. I did like that it was a very light boat.
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09-18-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     If you're looking for the PERFECT solo canoe, the Vagabond is it! I can't say enough about this amazing boat. Ideal for overnight trips with lots of gear, it's extremely stable, delightfully manuverable, rock sturdy, tracks perfectly, & light enough for portages. But still it's narrow enough that I use my double bladed kayak paddle. I'll never buy another canoe again!
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05-31-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I ordered a used Royalex Vagabond from a dealer over the web in April and finally got a chance to take it out on a small local lake this weekend for some paddling and fly fishing.This was my first ever outing on a solo canoe. I really enjoyed being able to get it on and off the car myself. I'm short, 5'7", and can comfortably sit (like having the footbrace!) or kneel. I have limited experience with other canoes as the only other boat I've paddled is my old 15' Coleman. Compared to that, the Vagabond is light as a feather, with great glide. My impression after this flatwater outing was that the boat has very good initial stability, it never felt tippy at all. Standing up to cast will have to wait for another day when I'm feeling more eager for a possible dip in the water, but I had a wonderful time casting for bass and sunnies along the shoreline. Looking forward to many more days on the lakes, ponds, and lazy rivers around here in Ohio.

P.S. Mine came with Kevlar skidplates. Nice for someone like me who tends to be a little rough on my paddling and fishing equipment.

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05-08-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     After 24 years of executing my solo paddling in nothing but tandem canoes, I broke down and purchased the Vagabond in a Royalex layup. Following several paddling trips on both the Snake and Columbia Rivers, this baby passes all tests. It's light, stable, manuverable with excellent glide. To further ensure my choice was right, I recently participated in a paddlefest where I was able to pilot several comparable hulls. The Vagabond proved to be far superior to the Bell Yellowstone Solo and Wildfire in both turning, glide and comfort. The Yellowstone Solo was so effected by the slight breeze and chop it was a distracting labor from the pleasures of canoeing. The Wildfire was only measurably better. In the same conditions and with high expectations, the Vagabond performed at the level that kept the satisfaction one receives from canoeing intact.
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04-20-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Received my royalex Vagabond for a Chistmas gift from my beautiful wife. Took a quick test paddle Christmas day and liked it. Finally got a chance to really test it out last weekend. Man, I love my Old Town Pack but this Vagabond is in a different class. Nine pounds heavier but paddles like a kayak for speed and handling, just with more room. Took 3 spinning rods and 2 fly rods with a milk crate to hold tackle box and cooler. Paddled about 5 miles and fished most of the day. Very comfortable for my 190lbs and 6'2" frame. Recommend this canoe highly and further recommend being extra nice to your better half and maybe next Christmas...
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04-12-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Wow!!! This boat is awesome. I want to start off by saying that I hadn't paddled a canoe since summer camp as a kid (A while back). I have been a sea kayaker for 7 years and recently trading in my 17' touring boat for this little guy.

I always thought of canoes to be relatively tippy and slow and highly effected by the wind. The vagabond is none of these things. It has great stability, both initial and secondary. I paddle it mostly in the Connecticut River which is very open and windy. This boat is great with a bent paddle in these conditions. I just paddle two to three times on one side and then switch. I was out in it last weekend and took over a kayaker and a coule in a tandem canoe. What a glide!!! The adjustable seat is great to. Raise it up or lower it down on the go depending on what you're doing.

Granted, all I have to compare this boat to is my old sea kayak but I would rather paddle this little guy any day of the week. As the summer gets rolling i will post again after the barges throw me some 5-7 foot wakes.

I know when I was reading these reviews trying to figure out which boat to buy a big thing was the size of the paddlers so I am 5'11'' and 225 lbs.

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06-20-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I liked my Royalex Vagabond so well that I invested in a graphite model, which weighs half as much. I do slow river/flatwater only, and have had it out maybe 6-7 times for 1-3 hours. The model continues to rank high in terms of stability, glide, speed, and handling. I use a double paddle almost all the time. I've been on a couple of group trips with other middle-plus-aged folks in sea kayaks. No problem keeping up with them and my boat is far easier to move on land. I plan to get spray covers to reduce windage.

I think my Voyager handles well in wind already, but my wife and daughter-in law sewed up some spray covers that really help. Ripstop nylon, velcro patches, open square cockpit in the middle.

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05-02-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Iím a very big fan of this canoe. I live near many small twisty streams and rivers in Southern WI and Northern IL. Thatís what this canoe is intended for. Itís very stable. I must add that most of my solo canoe experience is in C-1 racers and an Advantage so thatís going to make this canoe feel rock solid to me. I bought it in Royalex because much of my paddling will have shallow water. Itís still very light at 45lb. This canoe gets a 10 from me because it does what I intended it to do. If someone purchased this canoe with whitewater or flat water racing in mind, then their review rating would be much lower. I must add that I will be using it on a BW trip this summer. It will be lightly loaded though.
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04-12-2005
Submitted by: J E BradfieldSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     If you are looking for a lightweight single canoe for fishing and or weekend trips (2-3 nights) then definitely give this boat test paddle.

It is not intended for touring on long distance river trips, but is well suited for day/weekend camping trips. I have used my Vagabond both as a fishing boat (fly fishing/trolling for trout) and as a vehicle for paddle in campsites. It is lightweight, easy to car top, and feels nimble and responsive on the water. Not a speed demon, but very stable when loaded properly.

Wenonah got it right when they designed this boat. A good choice for those looking for a small lightweight canoe that is perfect for day trips and weekend camping trips. Those looking for a longer boat with more storage for extended trips should look elsewhere. I love this boat.

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11-28-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought the Vagabond this past summer after experience with a compromise tandem/solo, the Clipper Tripper S (16'6"X33"). The Vagabond is a much better solo boat. It is both more responsive and less susceptible to winds with its considerably lower profile as well as shorter length.

My only reservation is that the good tolerance for winds leads me into waves that make me nervous. I have experimented in shallows and find a distinct point of no-return in the righting moment. This is very unlike the rounder-bottomed Tipper S. It can be heeled well over and remain stable. I have wondered about the oil-canning of the bottom others have mentioned and I have noticed. I weigh 185 lbs. My boat is the more flexible Royalex (or is it Royalite?). I have wondered if its 'shallow arch' bottom becomes shallower, flatter, with flex? Could this be reduced with a strut between the seat and an inside keel, a keelson?

I am impressed that at least one reviewer, heavier than I, has used his boat in white water. I too have purchased and will be installing float bags; mostly in hopes of improving self rescuing capability for the coastal waters I like to paddle here around Vancouver Island (British Columbia). I am 'bucking the trend' here by not paddling a sea kayak.

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07-19-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     This solo canoe tracks very straight, is quite fast for a Royalex hull and paddles easily. It is also very stable for such a light boat (42 pouds). With a foot brace it accelerates quickly with just a couple of paddle strokes. It is ideal for someone who wants to take it fishing or just paddling across a lake or around the shoreline to get close to nature. With a traditional paddle and the Indian stroke you can travel in virtual silence. This past weekend I came within 30 feet of a deer and came nearly that close to a couple of Cranes. Easy to cartop and carry, this is a great Solo Canoe for following that urge to just drop whatever you're doing and get out on the water.
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06-02-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had this little boat for a few weeks now. I purchased it in tuf-weave to run local rivers and be stiff on flat water. Thus far the rivers have been flooded out since I bought it so I am speaking simply on its flat water abliities.

This is my first solo canoe though I have been soloing in a tandem for a few years now. I was quite impressed by the canoe. I took it to a local lake and quickly found myself in 3 to 4 foot cabin cruiser wake. This was the second time I had paddled the canoe and was rather scared. However it bounced like a cork and I stayed dry. I even got hit by a serious wake directly on the side. I am not sure the Echo I have paddled for years would have done any better.

I am also a fisherman and find that it is nice and stable as a fishing platform. I even got the guts to stand up for a few casts. It is a rather short boat so it is not the fastest thing on the water but man it feels fast. One paddle stroke sends you off. I have been practicing hit and switch and it works well in this canoe.

This canoe is not a flat water trip boat or a whitewater canoe. What it is is a canoe that will work for everything I have though of. It does not track as straight as some canoe or turn as fast as some but it is exactly what i wanted... so far. i will post another review after it has been on the river a few times.

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04-12-2004
Submitted by: PeterSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We got the Royalex Vagabond about a year ago. It is a nice little canoe that tracks well enough and turns easy with the right stroke. Didn't take long and my 8 year old discovered it: He promised his classmates, he would learn how to paddle solo during the summer vacation. And he did. This canoe seems very well suited for kids! I used it on a few trips an small rivers and lakes. I would like it to run a bit dryer on choppy water, but it isn't a whitewater canoe and therefore it's fine as it is. Next time I would get the Kevlar version, though: easier for the kids to handle.......
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12-19-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     (limited to two 2-hour flatwater outings so far) This is my 3rd solo. Had an Old Town Pack, which I loved, but wanted more glide, so got a WNN Sandpiper. I liked it well, but I'm a clumsy oaf, and the Sndppr is a bit wobbly. On the basis of the other comments here, I ordered a Vagabond, and so far, it's what I wanted. It's got even more glide & speed than the Sandpiper, and is definitely more stable. I got a factory footbrace, which also adds a lot. Only negative so far is the weight, at 43 lbs I think, 10 more than Pack and 5 more than S'piper. No problem loading at home & offloading at the lake (pickup bed), but I could really feel the weight when I got home. Would not be a problem for someone younger & fitter, I'm sure. I'll add more when I've had more time in it, particularly on the twisty Class I river I like.
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07-08-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Overall this is a very good boat. It is not as quick as some but I have not had any trouble keeping up with other paddlers. The boat handles my size and weight (6'2",205lbs) plus gear without any problems. I have the Royalex which is very easy to load and carry. The factory seat is too low and needs to be adjusted for kneeling (I'm am a shoe size 10). The Vagabond handles well in Class I, a challenge in II, but in II+ it can be difficult and will take on water. I will be adding float bags to help with my class II+ river trips.
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06-17-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I spent nearly a year looking for THE boat to fit my needs. I found what I was looking for in the Vagabond. The Vagabond and I have a couple hundred river miles, 1 BWCA 5 day trip, 1 Superior National Forest 5 day trip, and many days exploring and fishing local lakes here in Minnesota. This boat is not suitable for heavy tripping and feels very sluggish when loaded with 5 days of gear, myself(175lb), and my dog Bubba (30lb+gear). It is suitable if you take the occasional trip and pack lightly. For my needs it tracks sufficiently well yet is very agile. It is not the fastest boat, but does have decent speed and some glide. I was really torn between the Vagabond, Wildfire, and the Merlin. I really liked the Vagabond compared to the Wildfire for its added stability(for fishing and bringing the dog). The Wildfire, however,is an awesome boat and I would certainly suggest you test paddle it. If I were to become more interested in camping and tripping I would have gone with the Merlin for addded capacity and length. But for my couple of trips per year, the price, and performance I am pleased with the Vagabond.
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06-16-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I wanted a light canoe that tracked well and had decent stability. I got it all in this boat. It weights 29lbs. and I have no problem putting it up on my blazer myself. I'm not the strongest middle-aged woman so this was a big selling point for me. I had this boat out yesterday in fresh winds and chop and it handled beautifully. The web seat stays cool and the foot braces really add to the stable feeling you get in this boat. If I needed a boat that could take more of a beating I would get the Royalex model.
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