So you say you want lightweight and will mainly paddle flat water. If the choice is between a 63 lb. Royalex hull and a similar 40 lb. black-gold hull, for me it would be NO CONTEST.
Unless you are a 25 year old weight lifter and plan on staying that way, you should be thinking about the long run. A quality canoe can be a lifetime investment.
Carbon-Kevlar will last your lifetime if you treat it well, and especially if you store it indoors (out of the weather). If it is a flatwater boat, the most you should do is to add character building scratches on the bottom.
A long drive is nothing to find a quality boat. I drove twice from NY to Florida in the 80's to buy Kevlar composite boats from Mike Galt. If I had kept them indoors more, you would think they are five years old. I drove from Connecticut to California to pick up my outrigger canoe. Most recently, I drove from Connecticut to Virginia to try and buy a used Bell black-gold Wildfire.
My 60 year old self thanks my 30 year old self for buying lightweight canoes 30 years ago, even though it required some sacrifices at the time.
Get lots of pictures from the seller and remember that you don't have to pay his asking price.
The few hundred bucks, few hundred miles, and few hours you spend acquiring a quality canoe is soon forgotten -- but you will have a wonderful pleasure machine that will give you adrenal and endorphin highs for decades to come.
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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