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Reviews for Otter Canoe by Ranger Canoe

Rated: 9.32/10 Based On: 19 Reviews

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Submitted by: CRPSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I have been canoeing for 42 years together. During that time we have owned two canoes. The first was a "state-of-the-art, in 1972" 18 ft. Royalex that weighed in at 80lb. No keel, flat bottom and no hope of getting it across a lake in a breeze.

In 1998 we bought a new Ranger 16 (at 64lbs, also state-of-the-art in it's day). While they say there is no perfect canoe for all conditions, this Ranger comes about as close as you are going to get. It has traveled from coast to coast several times, been in the ocean, glacial lakes in upper Alberta, the Everglades, sounds of North Carolina, and countless rivers and streams in between. It always puts a smile on our faces.

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We bought a fiberglass Ranger Otter probably 15 years ago from someone who used only a few times. As soon as we got it on the water, we realized why - it did indeed creak. We tracked the problem to the varnished wooden thwarts and seat hangers working against the vinyl gunwales. We came up with a simple and effective fix: we unbolted the thwarts, inserted a piece of an old belt as a leather washer, and reassembled it. No problem after that. I wonder if this is less of a problem with the wood gunwales.

In virtually all other respects, we LOVE this boat and are thinking about moving up to the kevlar model. We've had it out on wide lakes with strong winds and 2-foot waves with no problem. Have also bounced off a few rocks in some riffles in light river rapids. In flat water it tracks like a dream.

After all the flat-bottom beasts of my youth, we also found it a little tippy at first, but quickly got the feel for it.
Great boat, great value.

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Submitted by: David C.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my ranger otter for 2 1/2 years. In that time I have gone Striper fishing in the mouth of the Merrimack, Duck hunting in Joppa, and lake fishing by my house and elsewhere. Mike made an all-around canoe that I can not be happier with. It's light, tracks well and is a dream for cresting wakes. Couldn't be more pleased.
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Submitted by: WintersucksSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am a quietwater paddler, I love fishing and the tranquility of just being on the water. I was looking for dollar value in a canoe that I could use on extended wilderness camping/fishing trips. I started looking for a canoe early in 2012. The Ranger Otter sparked my interest immediately. I shopped on the internet and visited some paddling shops, researching and comparing price and features of every canoe I could find. I kept coming back to the Ranger and decided to give Michael a call. He was very informative and helpful. After shopping for one year, I made one last vain attempt to give any other boat a chance.

I ordered my Otter in January of 2013, and had Michael install the optional middle seat as I paddle mostly alone. I took delivery in April 2013 and immediately put her in the water. My initial impression was very good, although I was only on a small pond. Shortly thereafter I packed up for an extended trip to the Turtle-Flambeau flowage in northern Wisconsin. I was there from the time that the ice was just going out (May 1st.) until August 1st. I camped and lived out of this canoe for three months, going to town to resupply every 10 days- 2 weeks. I had this canoe in every type of water from 3ft. heavily windswept waves to perfect glass (no whitewater- she's a lake canoe), and she performed wonderfully in every situation.

There is plenty of room for all my gear even though I always take a lot of bulky "luxury" gear that I really could do without. I think if pressed I could stay out for 1 month in this canoe and at 16ft., 34" beam, 52lbs., it is not a big boat. She almost effortlessly glides through the water,and with a tailwind you're really making time. With a quartering headwind you need only to hold your bearing, and she's easy as pie directly into the wind. The Otter is a dream to fish from and absolutely no problem to load alone. I had an absolutely awesome trip and highly recommend the Ranger Otter to anyone looking for a tripping canoe. I am going back in late September/October for some autumn fishing and class 1 river floating, and am really looking forward to getting her in the water again.

I could have spent a lot more money on a lot less boat and am absolutely in love with my Ranger Otter! Thank you Michael! Happy paddling to everyone!

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Submitted by: Lee LeavelleSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Our Ranger Canoe cuts through the water beautifully and seems to like it's nose into the wind. We paddle in California on lakes, rivers and sloughs, mainly flat water. sometimes in the evening on the return trip we are faced with afternoon winds. At the end of a trip this can make the trip so much work that it overshadows a great day on the water. Not so with our new Ranger Canoe. This boat plays into a headwind as if it likes it, making the whole day better. This boat also interacts with with wakes and waves in such a manner as to dissipate their energy much better than my old royalex Explorer. It does involve a minor learning curve if you are used to a flat bottom boat.

The only thing I will change is to tip the cane seat a little because I paddle mostly on my knees and the leading edge cuts into my rear end a little, Raising the back edge of the seat about 1 inch will most likely remedy that problem.

We love our new boat. Shipping from back east was no problem. the network of manufacturer to shipper, to delivery here in California was excellent. I met people who were helpful, kind and generous.
Thanks Michael O'Hara!

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Submitted by: DLSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased my second Ranger canoe. I left the first one behind when I moved across the country years ago and have long regretted it. These are good all around boats. I can't add much that hasn't been said in all the other reviews that rated it 9 or 10 out of 10.

I cant help myself. I need to comment about the review that rated it 3. That's bizarre. He couldn't hear his buddy 8' away over the creaking? Extremely tippy? I've been paddling with my 55# dog. She wasn't too crazy about it at first... We've managed to slip up to geese, mergansers, ducks, painted and snapping turtles. I've never heard a creak, or thought it was tippy. Ranger hasn't stayed in business nearly 50 years by building 3 star canoes. If you disregarded that review, as well as mine, it would get a rating of 9.66/10. That's pretty good.

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Submitted by: NLMSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased the Otter canoe by Ranger in the fall of last year. After using it several times I have found myself getting more comfortable with it. Because it does not have a keel it tends to rock a little more than my other canoe. However, now that I have acquainted myself more with this canoe I am more than pleased with the canoe and love its' functionality. the curved caned seats are extremely comfortable and I have added canoe backs to make it even more enjoyable. this canoe is well designed and well built. I'll be keeping this one for a very long time.
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Submitted by: KelSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We purchased a Ranger canoe in 2009. We have been very pleased with it. We use it for short trips on the local river and have used it for multi-day camping trips. We have had it out on relatively large lakes and small streams.

We have been quite happy with this purchase. The canoe has taken everything that we could throw at it. It does quite well with big loads (camping gear, two adults, and one child) and is an excellent canoe for our short, local excursions and fishing trips. It tracks quite well. It is fairly maneuverable, but it is a long boat so it is not going to win any slalom races. So far it has held up quite well, and the owner was very fair and nice to us!

Also, it is a beautiful boat. We still get comments on it, and it is still in great shape. I highly recommend this boat and this manufacturer.

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am so pleased with my Ranger, and especially with the re-fit that the owner, Michael O'Hara, did recently, that I felt I must post this review and recommend the Ranger canoe line most highly.

My Ranger is a 2004 model, 16' in fiberglass with Kevlar re-inforced bow and stern, slotted ash rails and woven cane suspended seats. I bought it used 2 seasons ago and fell in love with it this first time I put it in the water. It is a great all-around boat with a smooth, flattened-U hull, no keel ridge, 34 inch beam and very slight rocker that makes it very stable and comfortable in the water. I can lean it with gunwalls practically in the water and it will not tip. It is slightly asymmetrical and tracks best going forward. With my buddy with me in the bow, we can make that 55 pound boat fly through the water! Paddling it solo in the backward direction, it did well enough so I did not mind that approach. But on the current refit, I asked Micheal to put in a third seat in the solo position so I could send it the right way through the water. Now, she responds so beautifully going solo that my solo Wenonah Rendezvous will stay in the shed more than in the past.

I really want to comment here on the excellent, helpful, expert, friendly, and reasonable service Michael provided on the refit. He replaced the ash rails, re-cored the stern and bow stems, replaced the thwarts and original seats and added a third seat (all in gorgeous wood and cane). That's what I brought the canoe up to him to do. But he really went above and beyond in his labor and service. He compounded the hull himself by hand before fitting the new rails on, re-cored the ends as I said (a free, extra job), and applied many coats of the 303 anti-ultraviolet treatment. The result of the latter (in addition to the compounding) was that the faded red gelcoat lost its oxidized layer and returned to close to the original color. Michael performed a labor of love on my canoe, and for that I am very grateful. His work was worth every penny of his fair and reasonable price. The result is now I have practically a new canoe, and it is truly a beauty. Unlike in the past, it will now reside permanently in my garage and I look forward to many happy years on the water with it. Thank you, Michael!

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Ok so I just bought my first canoe in 12 years+, but have paddled my whole life up until then. I bought a Ranger Otter 16' epoly/kevlar canoe from its original owner. I have been to the Quetico 3 times and am looking to make my 4th trip this summer. After a lot of reading around, and missing out on 2 other similar boats, I lucked out and picked up the Ranger.

Growing up all we had where allumacraft beasts, used during all three trips to canada, my first when I was 13, since I have been in various rentals, and friends canoes of various models, and hands down the Ranger beats them all... 1st trip yesterday, with my buddy, and some fishing gear, seemed real tippy at first, and alls I thought was I made a mistake, then when you get used to it and the motion of her, man is she amazing! Cut through the water like a fish man, tracked great, and we even fished out of her no prob. At one point we both leaned right, and paddled right hard, and had her almost vertical with the water brushing the gunrails, and she still didn't tip!

So then I wrote a review today and was concerned about upkeep and some of the inner fibers seeming dry and rubbing off a bit, just a few, but that doesn't really belong here, and besides after getting wet the fibers on the inside are fine, and stuck back like glue, must of just been dry from not being in the water for a year.

I took her back out today solo, just after a storm front went through, we had tornado warnings so you know the kinda day I'm talking about, but I thought hell. lets really put her to the test.. So I took her out on Lake Normandy (Tennessee) with 1'+/- waves with small white caps, not another soul on the lake, and man did she shine! again, best canoe ever! cut cross wind, against the wind, back with the wind with straight broad side against the waves, I pushed her, and No oil canin, no wobble, it was gorgeous! I am hooked and a Ranger man for life! great boat... Can't wait for the trip this summer!
Rating 9 1/2 out of 10 because I haven't had her in rapids yet....

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Submitted by: JoeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have used this canoe for two years now and have been impressed with every aspect of it. I researched canoes a good deal, and had good knowledge of canoes in general before I bought the Ranger. The canoe was actually my second choice, at the time I was an REI employee working in the paddling/cycling area. I ordered a Mad River Explorer, but after waiting almost a year for them to send it to me I canceled my order.

The owner/builder of Ranger Canoes assured me I would be pleased with the design because its very similar to the Explorer. The Ranger paddles very nicely, maneuvers nimbly, and is a great looking boat. The bow of the canoe is not as high as some, which make paddling in windier weather better than with other boats; the downside is that large waves/ boat wakes may cause the bow paddler to get a little wet.

I've had myself and a friend out in the canoe with a weight of around 420lbs between us and had no noise or flex issues like a previous reviewer had. I have canoed with my three year old golden retriever mix in the bow and me in the stern several times with great success. The boat will feel tippy to some as it is a shallow V and not a rounded/flatter bottom. The shallow V tracks better and has good primary and secondary stability.

The price is reasonable, its a pleasure to paddle, and its a quality piece of equipment. I would recommend it to anyone with canoeing experience. Beginning paddlers may find it a bit tippy, but once they're used to it the shallow V will perform much nicer than any rounded bottom canoe.

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Submitted by: PBSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased a white fiberglass layup Ranger Canoe 1993. It has a solo kneeling thwart and ash gunnels. I sold it to a friend some years ago - yet I still paddle it more than he does!

What makes a Ranger such a wonderful craft is it's versatility. It handles beautifully as a solo, but is also a fine wilderness tandem canoe. It turns well, glides straight ahead at brisk pace and in general is a responsive, elegant boat. My unique wood/canvas solo canoe is my favorite cane of all I've ever owned or paddled - but the Ranger holds a special place in my heart - and in my memory, given all the places I've paddled it. And it's a pretty QUIET canoe!!

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Submitted by: rjbSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've had fair amount of time paddling both a Mad River Explorer and an Old Town Discovery. My Ranger takes top honors. My boat came equipped with a kneeling thwart for solo paddling. I would strongly recommend this option for anyone who paddles solo on regular basis. The hull is asymmetrical, and performs best when paddled solo in the forward direction.

I've paddle in a wide variety of conditions: salt water tidal ponds, bays, harbors, lakes, and rivers. I've encountered big waves and high winds, and have never been disappointed with the Ranger's performance. I regularly fish, while standing, and secondary stability is excellent. Primary stability might be a little deceiving to for the less experienced paddler, but this boat is stable.

Concerns of boat being noisy are likely the result of fiberglass construction. If silence is a priority, try a royalex boat and be prepared to sacrifice performance and add weight. I must admit, I often consider buying another boat - another Ranger (perhaps in kevlar).

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Submitted by: holly
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just took my Ranger on a 100 mile trip down the Everglades Wilderness Waterway. My friend and I carried 20 gallons of water plus our gear, and covered it all with a bungeed tarp. The canoe handled beautifully, through the twisty mangroves of "The Nightmare," into the Gulf of Mexico, through the waves of Oyster Bay and the Joe River (a front came through). I couldn't have asked for more. I love my Ranger!
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     O.K. I've owned an Otter for about 5-6 months now. I used it in just about every condition in that time on ~25-30 different long and short trips.

I absolutely love this canoe. It performs remarkably in most situations. I've paddled in on slow moving rivers, still lakes, fast moving rivers with class II+ rapids, and severely wind blown lakes. The only time it wasn't fantastic was in the heavy rapids and to be fair, that is not what it's meant for. On a three day trip on Lake Umbagog in NH, I took on some water, but the waves were about 2 1/2-3ft. and the canoe was fully loaded, so no real surprise there.

I think this canoe really shines in wind versus any other canoe I've owned or paddled. I love how low its profile is on the water, which helps to keep it from being blown around. In general, this is a very fast canoe (we easily keep up with kayakers on trips). It is a little tipsy for initial stability, but once she's moving she's like a rock. that being said, she's not really a great canoe for fishing (although we have fished very comfortably from her, and caught many fish without scaring them as in the other review!)

As for the other reviewer saying that he wouldn't even take his dog out in an Otter, well he probably doesn't have a very well behaved dog. My 65lbs. dog has been on every trip that we've taken in this canoe, even when it's fully loaded and it's never been a problem.

I also think it works great as a solo canoe either reversed or with my dog weighing down the bow. I love this canoe and would recommend it to anyone that knows anything about canoeing. It probably wouldn't be a good canoe for someone who has never canoed before or plans to use it primarily for hunting or fishing. I even have a friend who is considering selling his fancy 17' sea kayak for one of these next season. He's been on 4 or 5 trips with us and can't believe how sweet this canoe is.
So, no I don't work for Ranger Canoe, but I really do love this canoe that much.

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Submitted by: JohnSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought the non-kevlar version about 4 weeks ago. I have owned a kayak for five years but wanted to buy something to share my love of the water with my 7 year old daughter. Everyone recommended the Ranger and they were right. It is a fantastic all around canoe. It has the perfect balance of speed, maneuverability, tracking, and stability. I highly recommend this canoe. I even take it out solo and it performs fine!
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Submitted by: OllieSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     I was looking for a great canoe to go fishing in. I tried out the Otter on both a still pond and the Connecticut river up in VT. The Canoe was extremely noisy, my buddy and I had trouble hearing each other over the creaking, and any fish that were around most likely got spooked. I also found the canoe to be very wobbly, the seat (not reaching the side of the canoe, but rather screwed into the top) would constantly shift with and upper body motion. Contrary to what Ranger claims, the canoe was extremely tipsy as well. I would never want to take my year and a half old niece out on the lake in this canoe, or my dog for that matter. We would surely both be swimming. I would recommend shopping around a bit more.
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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Bought a Fiberglass Ranger in May and have used the canoe for a season now, so ready for a review. Have paddled it tandem from the bow facing the stern with a bit of weight (cooler works well) in the stern. Also paddled it tandem on day trips and overnights. Tracks very well, turns easily enough with a light load or day tripping, but can be a bear to turn on a river with a heavy load. I love the lower stems to shed the wind more easily and haven't found them to be an issue in waves up to 1.5'. The combination shallow-V/shallow-arch is comfortably stable, and is faster than I thought it would be. Having paddled hundreds of different boats over the last 25 years, this is definitely my favorite tandem in the 15-17' class. As for similar boats, it reminds me of a Mad River Malecite with a bit more stability. Having Owned a Mad River Explorer, Souris River Quetico 16, and Wenonah Adirondack, the Ranger is a bit faster than all and as stable as the Explorer without being as affected by the wind. Fit and finish was good; I would prefer real wood decks, but that adds weight. The ash gunnels are well made as were the contoured seats. I did switch out the seats due to my wifes complaints but I found no fault with them. Supposedly my boat was a "Blem," but don't remember what it was it was so insignificant. Very well made canoe and was an excellent "Value." And the owner/builder/designer/ was great to deal with. Giving it a "9" as nothing is perfect except maybe a Kruger. It's definitely the best 15-17' flatwater tandem that can also be pressed into some river paddling. WW
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Submitted by: TimSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Great value for the money! As a long-time whitewater and sea kayaker I've never owned a canoe before, although I've paddled many casually through the years. This boat paddles nicely with good stability, and its shallow vee hull gives it good tracking but still allows for good maneuverability. Although it's a tandem boat you can paddle it solo just fine. The worksmanship is top-notch. The layup is light, about 55 lbs. in the poly-eglass I got, and other layups including all Kevlar are available.

I am very happy with the design and performance of my first canoe. It looks elegant even next to my sleek kayaks, and I know it's going to get a lot of use.

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