I’ve recently been looking for a canoe and was surprised to find out how expensive new canoes are and how hard it is to find a used one. I figured the classified ads in my local paper would be littered with used canoes, but that was not the case.
eBay has a number of canoes for sale, but for the most part are not in my area and are out of my price range. So I started to shop around at some of the more common big warehouse stores and found a Coleman canoe on sale at Canadian Tire.
For those of you who don’t know what Canadian Tire is it’s one of the first bigbox hardware stores to offer more then just tool in Canada. It was very successful when I was growing up, when there weren’t Home Depots and Walmarts. It still does well because there is a Canadian Tire in every town, but I’m sure they are having a tougher time competing with their American counterparts.
Anyway the Coleman canoe was regularly $600 and was on sale for $400 which was exactly what I was looking for. I just wanted something to get out on the water and do some fishing. The hull of the boat had me a little concerned though. It is made of a material called RamX. It’s a flexible plastic material and the canoe requires a metal bar running along the bottom of the floor to keep the boat from getting out of shape. I did some research on it and found a number of people really liked their Coleman that they bought back in the 80’s. Apparently around 2000/2001 Pelican International bought the Coleman brand of canoes and many of the recent reviews I’ve read of the canoe have been bad. Many compare paddling the Coleman RamX to paddling a dock across the lake, not a lot of fun. There were also a number of complaints of it being unstable on the water and being pushed all over the lake with just the slightest wind.
In the end I was able to talk to the owner of a river touring company in my area that rents out canoes. He confirmed that the Coleman RamX is a terrible boat and he would not recommend it to anyone regardless of their budget and uses. The main argument is if you find a good used canoe and spend $500 – $600 you will have a boat that will last a long time, will be easier paddle in the water, which will make being on the water that much more enjoyable. So as it turns out this touring company is having a season ending used canoe sale in a month. The owner assures me that although the canoes are scratched they are all in very good shape. They are selling Mad River, Old Town, and Scott canoes. I’m looking forward to purchasing one of those canoes and enjoying a lot of time on the water from now on.