Small enough for solo paddling and big enough for weekend trips for two. Bob’s Special features a keel for improved tracking. This version is made from vacuum-bagged Kevlar® with a foam-core bottom and vinylester resin that delivers both lightness and durability.
Average Member Rating:
(2 Reviews) 2
Rating Snapshot(2 reviews)
1 out of 1(100%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
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Member Reviews for Bob Special 15' Kevlar/Ash Canoe
Review 1 for Bob Special 15' Kevlar/Ash Canoe
Location: Edmonton, AB
Age: over 55
Gear Style: Minimalist
Describe Yourself: Recreational
Test by fire
Date:November 25, 2010
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At the start of a portage round Paresaux Falls on the Mattawa
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At the mouth of French river into Georgean Bay
I am a proud and satisfied owner of the "Bob Special" kevlar canoe. I live in Edmonton, Alberta. I turned sixty six this spring and my retirement dream had been to take a canoe to Montreal and retrace Canada's history by following the voyageur route up the Ottawa and the Mattawa rivers, carry out the "La Vase" portage from Trout Lake to Lake Nipissing, go down the French river into Georgean Bay and continue on to Lake Superior. I knew that I had to go solo, as my previous experiences taught me that it would be very difficult to find a partner that could take enough vacation time for this kind of trip, have adequate level of experience, quality of equipment and be sufficiently flexible and compatible. We used to canoe alone with my wife in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, but later on, when my wife became tied up with her employment obligations, I ventured into the wilderness solo. So, I had had the solo travel experience. What had scared me before the trip were the prospect of crossing large stretches of open water on the Great Lakes and even on the Ottawa river in places, which I had not experienced much before. The vision of difficulty in finding camp spots in the populated stretches of the Ottawa river, where its banks are lined with a continuum of private lots, the size of the necessary canoe cargo, the westerly head winds, the river current and the multitude of portages posed intimidating concerns. I started collecting the necessary equipment in the Fall of the last year. I considered as the most difficult the task of finding a water craft that could satisfy all, or most of the above complex combination of concerns. When I first saw (in January) the "mango orange" kevlar canoe hanging under the ceiling of the Edmonton Mountain Equipment Coop store, which later turned out to be the Bob Special, I immediately suspected that that was the one - the right compromise - the light weight for portaging, a broad beam for stability, high sharp ends for slicing through waves, a hint of a keel for traction on lakes, yet a bit of a rocker for maneuverability in rapids, symmetry to allow sitting backwards on the front seat for solo paddling and finally, lots of cargo capacity for a long expedition by a lone paddler. I had the sales person bring a step ladder and I inspected the inside of the canoe. I was thoroughly impressed with the cherry seats and the ash gunwales woodwork. The well sculpted cherry portaging yoke convinced me conclusively that there were no shortcuts in the craftsmanship. I did not buy right away. The price was not low and I took a time to digest my thoughts. By the early spring, I affirmed my philosophy from wilderness travel experience, that one can not skimp on the quality (and consequently the cost) of the outfit. I knew that otherwise one pays with inconvenience, sweat, blood and potentially even life in situations, where one would be willing to pay any price to buy his way out. When I started worrying that somebody could buy "my canoe" before me, I quickly snapped it in the early April. I planned to leave Edmonton for my trip at the end of May. In the interim, my wife and I fitted the canoe with a well fitting laced-on light home-made waterproof spray cover, complete with a cockpit opening and a velcro/drawstring skirt that I could close to my armpits. I rented a Toyota Yaris one-way to Montreal, and I tied the canoe onto its roof, using rubber gunwale blocks. It took me five days to drive my gear from Edmonton to Montreal, finally storing it temporarily at a previously Googled yacht club, while I went to return the rented vehicle. I had so much trepidation before the start of the trip that I couldn't sleep nor eat. I had lost weight even before the start of my paddling. Well, in the end all worked out splendidly. It was obviously a lot of hard work, but everything worked. Going solo with a smaller canoe, I had a small footprint and I found it possible to always find an inconspicuous cozy camp spot. I specialized in camping on small islands, where I felt more secure, not only from wild animals, but also from strange people. Those that I met along the way, though, when they had learned that I traveled the "Voyageur Highway", as if it had hit the most patriotic string in their heart, were extremely friendly and willing to help any way they could. I had several offers to visit their homes for a dinner, shower and bed, but, due to the logistics of my travel I always had to thank them and decline. The canoe proved an excellent compromise for the varied conditions of the trip. Before I bought it, the only review the Mountain Equipment Coop website had on it was that it did not behave well in windy conditions on a lake, which obviously worried me a bit. But, as I had suspected, this must have referred to a paddler in an empty canoe, perhaps even sitting on the back seat. Traveling East to West, I faced a lot of head wind. I always put my heaviest dry bags, containing food, as far forward into the bow, as possible. With the full load so typically distributed, I could paddle even against a 20km/hr wind had it made any energy-economical sense. As far as the wave stability is concerned, I have gradually become confident in paddling right in the shipping channels of the North Channel, sometimes kilometers away from the nearest shore. I could feel safe on waves that rocked the canoe as if by a mechanical bull. I ended my trip in Sault Ste Marie for now, but I already plan to return there next Summer and continue on to Thunder Bay and even further west following the Quetico Boundary Waters to Lake of the Woods, etc. Who knows, if my body holds together, I might eventually end up in Edmonton one of these future Summers. I have a lot of pictures from the trip, some of them quite nice. Should you have any interest in using them in your advertising, please, let me know.
Pros: Rugged, Lightweight, Good Value, Reliable, good solo travel capacity
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Review 2 for Bob Special 15' Kevlar/Ash Canoe
Location: Maniwaki, Quebec
Great on quiet water
Date:September 6, 2007
A great canoe for a solo paddler as long as the wind doesn't blow. Wonderfully easy to paddle on quiet days and if you have a tough shoreline, it's easy to lift out of the water.
Pros: Waterproof, Safe, Easy To Lift, Compact Design, Easy to Use, Easy Storage