After flirting with the idea for well over a year, I am finally the owner of a Hornbeck 10’5″ kevlar solo canoe.
As I tend to do with most of my gear purchases, I analyzed this one to death. Checking out several different vendors and boat options, asking for advice on outdoor forums, and reading reviews over and over again. In the end, I settled on the Hornbeck for a few reasons.
Top on the list was its weight. At only 16 pounds this boat is almost 30 pounds lighter than our Kayak and is a breeze to carry. Heck, it weights less than my backpack on a typical over night hike. This alone will dramatically increase the amount of times I actually take it out each season.
The Hornbeck also fit my budget. While I would never suggest that $1,195 is chump change, it is a reasonable price point for an ultra light canoe of this quality.
And finally, the boat is made in the Adirondacks. Supporting businesses local to the areas I enjoy is very important to me.
The Hornbeck Store is located in Olmstedville, NY, and was only a slight detour as we drove to Lake Placid for a family vacation. It sits on a nice tract of land that also includes a work shop and a small pond where you can take the boats for a test paddle.
As we pulled in we were greeted by Simon Gardner, General Manager of Hornbeck’s, and after some conversation and a quick test drive the decision to purchase was easy.
I’ve only taken the canoe out twice now, both relatively short paddles on Lake Placid, but I am wildly happy so far. The boat is a pleasure to paddle and actually “seems” lighter than it is – if that makes any sense. I spent the better part of this morning practicing getting back into the boat after a capsize, and you can literally pick the thing up over your head and empty the water out of it while you tread water. Simon mentioned this to me at the shop, but it is one of those things you have to try to believe.
I plan on paddling the hell out of the canoe this week, and can’t wait to hit the Mystic River when I get home. Keep an eye out for a full review in the coming months, after I’ve had an opportunity to kick the tires more extensively.