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Old 04-24-2019, 12:19 PM   #1
VTskier
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Hornbeck Canoes

I need to get into a lighter canoe (currently have a Wenonah Prism) in the mid 20 lbs range. I've been looking at the Hornbeck New Trick 14, Swift Pack 13.6, and the Placid boats. My favorite from my research is the Swift, I like the looks and especially the seat. However, both the Swift & Placid boats cost way more than the Hornbeck. I like the Hornbeck, a little concerned by the seat but will give it a demo. I'm wondering if others have used the Hornbecks or the other boats and what their experience has been. Did you consider any other boat when you were about to purchase. Any long term reviews? I can't find much via Google or Youtube on the Hornbeck.
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:00 PM   #2
Rich Lockwood
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Hornbeck

I owned a classic 10 1/2' Hornbeck for several years. great boat and good people to deal with. I couldn't tolerate the seating position and bought a lite(16#) solo with a high seat(savage River Wee lassie) I would decide if you want to sit kayak style before looking further.
Good luck, Turtle
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rich Lockwood View Post
I owned a classic 10 1/2' Hornbeck for several years. great boat and good people to deal with. I couldn't tolerate the seating position and bought a lite(16#) solo with a high seat(savage River Wee lassie) I would decide if you want to sit kayak style before looking further.
Good luck, Turtle
I own a couple of kayaks already, but they are a bit heavy (38 lbs and 48 lbs) and difficult to portage, and don't have much in the way of storage. Sitting on the "floor" of the canoe shouldn't be an issue if there is descent back support. As long as the gunwales are low enough, I think it would be OK. I've only read good things about the Hornbeck folks, they've been in business a long time so they must be doing something right by their customers.

Just looked at the Savage boats, very nice. Never checked them out before, but prices shoot up there quickly :-)
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:17 PM   #4
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A few years ago I was planning a trip diagonally across the Adirondacks, Boonville to Plattsburgh, before the NFCT existed. I seriously considered getting a GRBNewman Peeper (https://www.grbnewmandesigns.com/untitled), instead of a Hornbeck, but no Peepers were available at the time. The Peeper was my first choice mostly because of the actual seat installed in the Peeper. .

So I went instead with a 10.5' carbon/kevlar hybrid Hornbeck (the very first one that Peter had made). It did the job and I like it, and have since used it on many remote pond bushwhack trips, but I dislike the need to use a double blade paddle, due to the bottom seat arrangement. It has many miles of backcountry trips on it. The Plattsburg trip in a dry July was 185 total miles including an accumulated 65 miles of portaging over 7 days. Easy to do in that boat.

Since then I bought a Placidboat Rapidfire, with an optional rail mounted high seat, so I can use a single blade canoe paddle with it. I do not paddle it with a double blade with one exception. If I paddle it in races, such as the 90 miler, the rules for that class of boats require use of a double blade, unfortunately IMO.

I do like the RF better for most casual and racing uses, and I train solo in it (single blade) when the rest of my racing crew is not available to train in larger canoes. However I like that the Hornbeck is a lot lighter and being much shorter is much easier to bushwhack through thick vegetation and wind its way between closely spaced trees.

Hornbeck headed for Plattsburgh.
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:18 PM   #5
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I have a Hornbeck New Trick 12 and love it.
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:48 PM   #6
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I have a Swift 13.6 kayak and love it. Did the 90-miler in it. I tried the canoe too and highly reccomend it. That's not to take anything away from the Hornbeck, but the Swift is a real fine boat. Try before you buy!
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:53 PM   #7
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You have to ask yourself what is your primary use? Will you be in mostly flat water, wide windy lakes, or small ponds? Do you expect to do much portaging, maybe go off trail and bushwhack through the woods? Do you want to improve you single blade paddling skills, or are you happy with a kayak paddle only? No one boat is good for all cases.
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:32 PM   #8
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I bought a RapidFire 2 years ago after plenty of deliberation and research. My main use is tripping so was looking for something that could comfortably carry myself, a full pack and a dog for up to a 7-10 day trip. I may be wrong but didn't see any Hornbecks that would have that carrying capacity.

My choice came down to a Swift Keewaydin and the RapidFire. I was in Ontario two summers ago before I made my purchase and went to the store in Waubaushene to test paddle but unfortunately they didn't have any Keewaydins available. A couple days later I was in Lake Placid and bought the RapidFire and have no regrets.

A month later I did the Blue Mountain Lake to Saranac Lake paddle and the RapidFire paddled like a dream: took a strong wind and chop on Long Lake with no problems at all, and handled the rivers effortlessly. It wasn't cheap, but no regrets.
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:51 PM   #9
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Slipstream?

Have you looked at: http://slipstreamwatercraft.com/Slip...2/Welcome.html
Stan has been around for a long time......
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:14 AM   #10
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I'm watching this thread with interest. I've been paddling a Hornbeck blackjack (10.5) for 8 years, and love it. It's perfect for my favorite stuff -- marshes, small streams, camping trips up to 8 days involving lots of carrying. But I'm not as comfortable on large lakes when it's windy, or anything more active than complete flatwater, so I'm considering getting a kayak. So far the Swift Saranac 14 is the top contender, but it's very expensive, and has less storage space than some others. I've also noticed good online stuff about the Delta 14 (almost 1/2 the price, and good storage capacities) but it weighs about 11 lbs. more. Even if I'm not doing lots of carrying, I still need to consider not only getting it on & off the car, but ease of entry/exit from the boat in less-than-perfect situations. Mostly I paddle solo, and am likely to be getting in & out of the boat on rough shores, beaver dams, etc. It seems like the tight kayak cockpit might increase the likelihood of one of my worst nightmares: falling, and watching the boat shoot away across a lake or downstream.
Any thoughts on balancing out the weight/cost/longer-trip-capacity issues?
[Clarification: most of the large lakes I'm concerned about aren't ADK ones, but in Maine, & potentially, Canada]
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:51 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wldrns View Post
You have to ask yourself what is your primary use? Will you be in mostly flat water, wide windy lakes, or small ponds? Do you expect to do much portaging, maybe go off trail and bushwhack through the woods? Do you want to improve you single blade paddling skills, or are you happy with a kayak paddle only? No one boat is good for all cases.
I should explain that I kind of have a fleet of boats, many that I built myself, a 10.5 wooden solo canoe, paddled kayak style, a 15.5 cedar strip canoe I paddle either kneeling or sitting with a nice Shaw & Teney straight paddle, a 16 wooden seakayak which I don't use much anymore, and a 12 ft plastic kayak that I use when going with my wife since its easier to fit 2 small kayaks on the roof vs a kayak & canoe.

This canoe would be for tripping in the ADK or up in Algonquin or who knows where next :-) . Have paddled both places with my Wenonah Prism, so looking to replace that boat with something much lighter. I've come to like double paddling style. Still like to get out with the single paddle for a day paddle, but for trips I like double paddle.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:53 AM   #12
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I have a Swift 13.6 kayak and love it. Did the 90-miler in it. I tried the canoe too and highly reccomend it. That's not to take anything away from the Hornbeck, but the Swift is a real fine boat. Try before you buy!
Where did you purchase it. I see sometimes Mountainman has them, but not always.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rickhart View Post
I'm watching this thread with interest. I've been paddling a Hornbeck blackjack (10.5) for 8 years, and love it. It's perfect for my favorite stuff -- marshes, small streams, camping trips up to 8 days involving lots of carrying. But I'm not as comfortable on large lakes when it's windy, or anything more active than complete flatwater, so I'm considering getting a kayak.
Before you go over to the dark side with a kayak, consider what you like to do with the short Hornbeck. Getting in those beaver marshes, maneuvering through the weeds, weight, and ease of portaging on and off trail.

I have not had any significant problems when on big waters of the Adirondacks. I keep all gear centered as much as possible, Put a couple of separate dry bags comfortably under my knees. and the bow will thus bob up and over waves rather than cutting through if it is weighted. It does not take on any water that way. I made my own spray cover for much rougher conditions and heavy rain. it worked great for side traversing rolling waves on Lake Champlain and taking on the wide windy northern portion of Raquette Lake

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Old 04-25-2019, 09:14 AM   #14
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bottom sitting

From a structural and stability point of view, sitting on the bottom of an ultralight/small canoe is superior to a high seat. Nesmuk proved that 150 years ago. I paddled my high seat 16# savage river wee lassie tripping for several years, but the stability was marginal and I never could totally relax. I sold it and want back to my 25# Colden flashfire.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:56 AM   #15
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On the other hand, I had Joe install a high rail mounted seat in my Rapidfire. I much prefer that to the original selection of three bottom mounted seats in that boat, requiring use of a double blade paddle. Sitting higher allows me to much easier use a single blade canoe paddle in that canoe. I wish I had told Joe before building the boat to mount an even higher seat, which he can do with additional belly banding for structural support. Sometimes I think I should have bought a Swift Keewaydin with a gunwale mounted drop seat instead. I like the extra flexibility and maneuver controllability I get with the high seat and greater variety of strokes available with a single blade paddle. I do not consider it to be unstable in the slightest. I wish I could use a single blade in my Hornbeck, but it is impractical with a bottom mounted seat.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:19 PM   #16
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stability

What I meant was that my wee lassie was marginal, not any of my other high seat solos. I have tried paddling other 10-12' pack boats from an improvised high position and had similar experience. I too prefer paddling with a single blade from a high seat. The rapidfire is much like my hemlock kestrel which was fine.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:26 PM   #17
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I tried the keewaydin 14 and found it a little "tippy" and ended up buying the Rapidfire. It has plenty of room and fairly easy to get in and out of. Sitting on bottom with back support and foot peg was alot easier on my back.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:46 AM   #18
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Hornbecks

I've had my classic Hornbeck for 25 years. Bought a second one about 15 years ago. Both are wearing their age well. We've had a couple of repairs done. Pete and he is crew are great to work with.

I put a one inch foam kneeling pad on the seat to raise myself just a bit. This makes the back much more comfortable. The stability is phenomenal! We love taking them out on rough ADK waters! Sometimes, you can even catch a wave and surf it. Most of all, we love the options these very light canoes give us to reach places we would never be able to go with our big canoe (a very heavy Mad River).

And now we are also enjoying teaching our grandchildren to canoe!

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Old 04-26-2019, 09:39 AM   #19
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"Tippiness" is not necessarily a bad characteristic. Compare initial and secondary stability. A well made canoe may feel tippy but not be dangerously so. The effect is often advantageous for maneuverability and direction control. If you thought the Keewaydin was tippy, you should try the Placidboat Shadow, the RF's narrower sister with a high seat. I tried it out on a very windy day and liked the performance while shifting my weight, but did not want to spend the money after I already had a RF. IMO any of the three canoes are very fine well paddling boats.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:57 PM   #20
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Great thread - in the same market

I sold my 17.5' Perception kayak last summer...and am in the market for a canoe now myself. I paddled the RapidFire a couple of years ago, and absolutely loved it. They also now have the Oseetah, which is between the RapidFire and SpitFire in size, I gather.

Of the three I'm looking at, the Placid is, of course, the most expensive.

Also looking to try the new Swift Cruiser...it looks interesting, and I'll be in Old Forge next month for Paddlefest to test one. Same weekend, I plan to stop in Olmsteadville and check out the Hornbecks...

My needs are similar to rdl's, except for the dog part...I have a fear that the Placid will come out the best, even if it does cost a bit more.
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