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Old 04-27-2020, 12:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Austerlitz, NY
Posts: 44
Firebird/Flashfire for Adirondack travel?

Hi All,

I appreciate all of the wisdom on this forum and have enjoyed learning from your posts. I am interested in a new canoe and am looking for feedback regarding the Northstar Firebird or Colden Flashfire.

Some context:

I am an avid solo paddler that kneels most of the time. I only use a single blade, just my preference. I am 5'10" and 185lbs. I pack light, about 25lbs of gear (incl food) for 5 days of travel. So while I am not the lightest person, the total weight in the boat is usually <220 when tripping.

For the past couple years, I have been paddling a Mad River Independence. Mine is the Fiberglass one, ~45 lbs. We have been on a lot of the larger lakes in the Adirondacks and last year I did the Whitney loop with it. And I day paddle it a lot on local flatwater (I am in Columbia County NY). While it's relatively heavy and a little wide (at ~29" gunwale width I sometimes wish it was a bit narrower for ease of paddling), I appeciate the MR Independence's versitility. But for trips that require more portaging and perhaps off trail travel, I am considering a slightly shorter and lighter boat, but something that is not too slow. I am not really interested in a typical pack boat, so small touring canoes like the Northstar Firebird and Colden Flashfire caught my eye. I'd be hanging on to the Independence for when I want to take my dog, more stuff, or for when portages are shorter.

The Firebird and Flashfire are both advertised as freestyle/small river touring boats for smaller paddlers. And I am a larger paddler that would primarily be on flat water, including ponds, lakes and small twisty streams. But the length, weight, and narrow paddling station of these canoes are really appealing to me, especially for those long-portage pond/stream hopping trips. And, compared to my MR Independence, which is fast enough for me, I don't think that either would be all that slow (your thoughts?). With a tripping load of 220 max, I'd fall within the efficient load parameters for the boats (100-240lbs for the Firebird), although not by much.

Given what I am looking for, do you think one of these boats would serve me well? Are there other canoes that you might recommend I look into? I know that a test paddle would be helpful, and after the shutdown I will do so. But for now I am just combing through internet resources.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

dacipkowski is offline   Reply With Quote