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Old 06-09-2010, 08:49 AM   #1
protocoldroid
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Question Choosing a Hornbeck... today!

Well... After years of carrying too-heavy of canoes, weird boats, and doubling more than my fair share of portages... It's time, to buy a Hornbeck. The "need" for a Hornbeck definitely became compounded after reading (the required) healthy dose of Nessmuk articles, Woodcraft & Camping, and Rushton & His Times.

I'm headed out this afternoon to make the journey to the veritable canoeists mecca in Olmsteadville -- or at least from oogling over Hornbecks for the last 10 years, it seems that way to me. (Luckily I'm 9 days late to the party cause I realized they just bumped the prices [quite modestly, I should add])

Surely I can ask them a bunch of questions when I get there, but, I figured I'd get the take from the guys here, because I love the passion of the adkforum.

I love fishing. I love camping. I love soloing. And I love overnighters, and I tend to max out at about 5 days for a solo trip. I can pack -relatively- light, at least given fly fishing gear added. I like to say that I pack for "firepower" over ultra-light. No coolers here, but, I still manage to get a dining fly and some fresh food for the first couple nights.

Currently I'm trying to decide between the Black Jack (10.5' carbon fiber, 12 lbs), the 12 Jack (12' carbon fiber, 15 lbs) and the LowJack (low profile 12' carbon fiber, 13.5 pounds). Even at 15 lbs, it will be half as heavy as my last boat.

I'm 5'6" and 155 pounds, and the 10.5' is supposedly rated for 300 pounds. Trust me -- I don't pack -that- heavily! But, I'm wondering if it's long enough to also rig up my external frame pack? My last boat was 11' and it took the external frame fine, buuut... There's definitely a design difference. Anyone have some input on what choice might work? Or if I'm totally in the wrong ballpark?

Thanks for the input, I'll be back to let you know what I went with!
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:07 AM   #2
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While I can't give you any input, I would like to say "congratulations!" on your impending purchase!! And I'll have to admit it... I'm envious!!
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:18 AM   #3
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Well I love my 10.5 Black Jack. It has done everything I ever asked it to do. I use only internal frame back packs now. but there is plenty of room for a heavy weight week of leisurely camping or light weight week of bushwhacking.

Take your pack along and see if it fits, but I would start sculpting my equipment to fit the boat I want, not sculpting the boat to fit the equipment I have.

OTOH, if you are going to be doing larger lakes etc, the bigger boats may fit your paddling better. Once again, buy the boat you need based on what you want to do with it.

Of course the great thing is that there is no bad decisions here, just different ones.

Enjoy talking to the crew there. They are a great resource.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by protocoldroid View Post
I'm 5'6" and 155 pounds, and the 10.5' is supposedly rated for 300 pounds. Trust me -- I don't pack -that- heavily! But, I'm wondering if it's long enough to also rig up my external frame pack? My last boat was 11' and it took the external frame fine, buuut... There's definitely a design difference. Anyone have some input on what choice might work? Or if I'm totally in the wrong ballpark?
Here's my rig for the 10.5 carbon/kevlar Hornbeck. Note the diagonal downtube that makes this a rigid unit for hands free travel. I'm 185 pounds with a pack load that took me 7 days on a 185 mile trip (62 miles of carry) across the Adirondacks from Boonville to Plattsburgh. I had no problems bobbing over waves on the big lakes. You should have no problem once you figure out how to attach your pack at the balance point. Enjoy.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg knupacHornbeck.jpg (49.0 KB, 255 views)
File Type: jpg Knupac-carry-rig.jpg (75.7 KB, 258 views)
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:50 AM   #5
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@Swamp Booger -- thank you very much for the kind words. I'm quite excited! Honestly I also thought it was a dream for me too.

@ADK Keith -- also, thank you! Awesome, really psyched to hear you can get your gear into the Black Jack, it's really my first choice. Yes -- great consideration on the waters. I actually go for the smaller waters usually. Or I should say ironically, as I live 2 blocks from Lake Champlain. And I love Champlain, but, my heart lies with the smaller waters, and with the mountains that I look at as the sun's setting on the (warning: clear Adirondack bias) fairer side of the lake [Haha, I love Burlington, but, man, the Adirondacks man, the Adirondacks!]

I've got a couple internal frames too, so maybe I'll bring my expedition internal frame too and see how it can be rigged up. I'd usually rigged up the external frame as a psuedo-deck-pack and I noticed that Hornbeck has a system to rig up an external frame to carry the Hornbeck, so I was kind of assuming -- however, great advice to sculpt the gear to the boat.

@Wldrns: 62 miles of carry?!? You are my new hero! Whoa! Quite a haul of a trip, too awesome. Well it gives me some hope, I couldn't've considered 10 with my (current/soon-to-be-old) setup. I may not have the burly constitution you have to rock that heavy-duty of a trip; however, we can all dream

I love your rig. I really appreciate the photos for sure. Also looks quite cool and gets me even more excited!
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:39 AM   #6
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I'm sitting here at UVM and I have the 10.5' Kevlar Lost Pond Boat hanging in my garage out in Essex Junction that you could have come over and tried. I loved it initially but it turned out to be a little small, a little too uncomfortable and a little too slow for me. I just picked up my Placid Boatworks RapidFire this spring and I'm sure I'll use the RapidFire more than the Hornbeck BUT for long carries the 17 lb Hornbeck would be a lot easier to carry than the 28 lb RapidFire.

If I were in your shoes and set on a Hornbeck, I would go with the 12' Hornbeck and maybe even the 14'. Instead I went with the RapidFire, it is significantly more expensive and heavier but the seat is much more comfortable for me and it's a lot faster on the water. If I had gotten the 12' Hornbeck to start with instead to the 10.5' canoe I would have been much happier. FYI. I'm 6'5" and 190 lbs.

Have a great trip over to Olmsteadville-it's a beautiful drive. Pete's shop is in the middle of nowhere ; )

Scott
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:41 AM   #7
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And I love Champlain, but, my heart lies with the smaller waters, and with the mountains that I look at as the sun's setting on the (warning: clear Adirondack bias) fairer side of the lake [Haha, I love Burlington, but, man, the Adirondacks man, the Adirondacks!]
I thought it was just me. I love living here but the Adirondacks are my home

Scott
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:16 PM   #8
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By the way, I forgot to mention another major difference between the Hornbeck and the PB RapidFire. I MUCH prefer to single blade paddle my RapidFire canoe instead of treating it like a kayak. With the optional high seat it works well and all the advanced single blade strokes are available.

Unfortunately, at least in the 90-Miler, using a double blade is the only option in the race class that was basically created for the RF. The RF is not designed to be speed competitive in the C1 class.

The beam width and seat configuration of the Hornbeck makes it not conducive to other than a double blade.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:11 PM   #9
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If I were in your shoes and set on a Hornbeck, I would go with the 12' Hornbeck and maybe even the 14'.
I have both of these boats, both in the solo/tandem version (the 12' is a little small for two people plus overnight packs, hence the 14').

IMO the 14' is overkill for solo paddling. It's longer, so carrying is more of a pain as Wldrns said, plus the weight difference between that and the 12' is significant. In my experience the 14' doesn't go any faster than the 12', even though it's longer with the same beam. The 12' has plenty of capacity, unless you're the type that brings a full-size cooler and a 16-man tent.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a complaint about the boat. It does everything I need it to do. I just would never use it for solo paddling.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:31 PM   #10
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It depends on what you want to do. Protocoldroid is lightweight enough to enjoy the short Hornbeck. I'm lucky enough to own both the 10.5 Hornbeck and the PB Rapidfire. They are much different boats and fit different niches, even for pack boats.

On the other hand, the PB is a pleasure to skim with ease and speed once on the water. If I am traveling with partners paddling tandem canoes, I'll choose the PB. The Hornbeck is my long distance carry deep backcountry boat.
I've got both as well and agree with your assessment. The Hornbeck is incredibly easy to toss on the car and carry out in the field but I find the RapidFire much more pleasant to paddle and that's what I do 95% of the time I'm out and about. However I think it will be a lot easier to get the Hornbeck into Fish Pond in the St Regis Canoe area this year when compared to the RapidFire

Scott
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:36 PM   #11
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a spectrum

There are a spectrum of pack canoes for the paddler to choose from.

At one end, the Hornbeck Blackjacks are the lightest, most compact available, at some cost in performance, comfort and ruggedness. Hemlock, Grasse River and Savage make similarly small and light craft. Hemlock hand laminates like Hornbeck but the latter two respectively wet bag and infuse, resulting in higher quality laminates. Hornbeck has the most complete size range from 9 feet through 10.5, 12 and 14 foot traditional packs and 16 and 17 foot trippers. Pete's roll over rail on the Blackjacks is a stunning design
concept, minimizing weight and cost.

Somewhat up-size, which reduces portability but increases seakindlyness are wet bagged offerings from Bell and Wenonah that in their lightest laminates do not significantly improve ruggedness. Wenonah has a larger 13 footer. Vermont Canoe has a hand laminated hull that is built to be rugged. All three offerings carry improved outfitting to increase creature comfort and boat control.

Native offers a hull in both 10 1nd 12 foot classes, but their outfitting includes a 6# seat that takes them out of any rational consideration if a carry situation exists.

Swift and Placid infuse their hulls with integral foam rails, bringing the weight of the larger hulls back down while more advanced composites, Polyester in the Swift, Carbon the PBs, improve ruggedness. Swift catalogs 10, 12 and 13.5 foot variants. Placid starts at 12 feet, with a 13 footer and 15 and 16 foot trippers. Swift and Pb feature enhanced outfitting, the Placid having five seat options, a two tone color scheme and tumblehome which, for some, justifies the price of the more complete hull in the pack canoe class[es].

Which builder and which hull a paddler chooses obviously varies with the individuals needs or there wouldn't be such an array of sizes, weights, lamination qualities, trims and outfitting options. Enjoy your Hornbeck!

Last edited by charlie wilson; 06-10-2010 at 10:56 AM..
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:55 PM   #12
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Congrats..and this from a satisfied RF owner.

I dont do much ADK bushwhacking but do see that one boat does not fit all. My trips are longer..two weeks and involve some big water and the need for speed. Not day trips to the remote pond..

The ADK s are great for ponds..but we have it better over here. Thousands of lakes all availble to the public through the generosity of timberowners. Yes ponds too..trivia...a pond is by common usage less than 25 feet deep. So Moose Pond is shallow..and ten miles long.

My home waters are big..the Gulf of Maine. I had an old dear friend who bobbed off Reid State Park in the Atlantic in his Lost Pond..Though we always had to wait for him he was the"Eveready bunny". The cheeks of the Hornbeck slowed him down but he did not care..happy.

However my bushwhacking days are over..The RF suits me for some two mile long beauts that we have over here. Plus it can withstand some good bashes..I am not easy on boats and can eat a Blackjack for appetizer alas.I do wish it had a good portage yoke though

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Old 06-09-2010, 09:50 PM   #13
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I am about the same size and you and I engage in about the same activities in the same way. I have had a couple of canoes and a kayak. Now I have the 12 foot Lojack in carbon fiber. I fits my use perfectly and I really like it. As an added bonus, I have had it out on very exposed water on the St. Lawrence in strong wind and waves. While it was about at the limits of its design, it performed wonderfully.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:38 AM   #14
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I'm envious -

Did just see a Spitfire on Craigslist....mmm, I wonder if I could swing this?
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:00 AM   #15
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Where were all the used pack boats when I was looking? At least I got a 'free' Werner Kalliste bent shaft paddle with my RapidFire.

I can't wait to hear what the OP ended up with

Scott
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:54 AM   #16
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Does St. Regis Canoe rent RF's? i would like to try one for a day.

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Old 06-10-2010, 12:19 PM   #17
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Does St. Regis Canoe rent RF's? i would like to try one for a day.

Gary
I've seen Hornbecks on their rental rack at the Floodwood shop. I haven't been by there lately to see if RFs are available. I don't know about for a whole day, but if you visit the PB shop in Lake Placid you can test paddle a RF to your heart's content on the local pond.
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:25 AM   #18
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Guys! I am back ...Gotta say, I am pretty psyched up I went with the 10.5'-er. It was a tough choice between it and the 12'.

The experience of going to the shop is awesome! Extremely nice guys. Had fun trying out both the 10.5'er and 12'er out back in the pond. Very very helpful, and, they really make you feel comfortable and it's a lot of fun to see the shop and meet the guys who make your boat. It's worth the hike out there just for that!

I went with the smaller, 10'er, boat after all. The 12'er was indeed faster... But, I'm not exactly looking to nail bigger water. I think I'm going to be plenty happy with it. I can hardly say it's for "shaving weight", they're all so light. I also kinda love the idea of the tiny boat. Anyone who hasn't heard of a Hornbeck who I tell it weighs 12 pounds is in near disbelief, they're like "...And it's a canoe???"

I am kind of in 7th heaven right now You should've seen me, after driving back from NY, I was in VT stopping at the grocery store, canoe still car-topped... And it just kinda hit me as I approached my car from a distance coming out of the store -- seeing the Hornbeck there, I just started jumping up and down and clapping! ...Who knows what people were thinking when they saw that!!

I also decided to have them install their external frame pack mount on my pack. Seems to work a lot like the one Wldrns posted.

Get to have a "test" (I quote it cause I know she'll work well!) by making my annual solo trip for 4-5 days this coming week... Way out into the back of beyond to chase the Salvelinus fontinalis Now when I overpack I can't blame the canoe for being too heavy, it's a riot to pick it up and feel the weight!

@VermontScott: Dude -- definitely *high five* on the ADKs and being from VT Burlington is a great place. Also much thanks on the consideration of trying the Hornbeck if I hadn't, well, gone yesterday!
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:04 PM   #19
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Congrats on your purchase! We have two Hornbecks. The first is 15 years old--well-used and well-loved. Eventually bought another one and last year we finally made it in to Duck Hole from Tahawus (Newcomb, NY). I don't know anything about the fishing but it is a classic trip: hike, lake, hike, pond, short hike, another pond, interesting bushwhack, and then Duck Hole. We did it as a day trip but it would be a really neat trip for one or more nights. There are two leantos at Duck Hole and you could try fishing and maybe climb a mountain, or two.

Enjoy that canoe!

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Old 06-12-2010, 09:47 AM   #20
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Guys! I am back ...Gotta say, I am pretty psyched up I went with the 10.5'-er. It was a tough choice between it and the 12'.

@VermontScott: Dude -- definitely *high five* on the ADKs and being from VT Burlington is a great place. Also much thanks on the consideration of trying the Hornbeck if I hadn't, well, gone yesterday!
Dude. The best place I've found in Vermont for paddling is Green River Reservoir. If you haven't been there you definitely need to check it out. Those 'Black Jacks' look deadly I'd go with the wooden gunnels but that adds weight and maintenance but that's just me. Congratulations on your purchase-I know your feeling of elation

Scott
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