A gift from my wife 7 years ago; a used 174. I make several river runs each year, mostly I hunt, fish or trip with it. Have rowed it, mostly paddle solo. Pulled wet dogs aboard, 55 lbs dry. Into head wind, move to middle, put gear in bow - no problem - just a little extra sweat.
Stable, Fast, Reliable & Tough. Great family canoe. Draw back as noted in previous reviews is weight, only applies when on land not in water.WOW! The reviews I read are all over the board. I don't understand it. I have owned my 174 for well over a decade and have NEVER paddled a better tandem canoe!
Some reviewers have said she's slow...???...compared to WHAT? She is one of the fastest, easiest paddling boats I've seen in almost 50 years. She passes every other canoe I've encountered, and that's with one paddler, taking it easy, and one passenger in the bow. Its fun watching the expression on the kids' faces in the next boat over, digging in as I slide on by.
True, she takes a wide turning radius or a good bow paddler, but what do you want from a 17 foot, straight keeled boat? Every design is a compromise, and the 174 took efficiency over maneuverability. Nevertheless, I can turn her well enough to handle the upper Delaware without trouble, or the Fulton Chain, or the Raquette River, or the Allagash.
Capacity? I've had her out with 4 adults aboard. She just gets better as you load her down. Stability? Versatility? She's been out on New Jersey's Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, in Sandy Hook Bay, New York's Lake George, and the keys of Everglades National Park, as well as all of the rivers mentioned...and NEVER turned turtle or gave any reason for complaint.
But she belongs IN the water. On land, she's a pig. At 88 pounds, portaging or loading her on my SUV is a pain in the back...literally. Of course, I'm pushing 57, and it used to be a whole lot easier...maybe time will push me into a lighter boat, but it will not be easy to find another I like as well. Meanwhile, if I'm alone and carrying, I'll take my 50 pound sea kayak.