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First Impression: Hornbeck 10’5 Kevlar Canoe

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.

Simon Gardner carrying out my canoe

Simon Gardner carrying out the 10’5

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.

My dad watches as foot pedals are installed in my canoe

My dad watches as foot pedals are installed in my canoe

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.

The 105 on the Hornbeck Demo Pond

The 10"5 near the Hornbeck 'Demo Pond'

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.

1 Comment

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    […] Adirondack vacation is coming to end, but I wanted to take the canoe out one more time before we left. So here is a quick video of this morning’s sunrise over […]

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    […] the drive up to Placid, my dad and I detoured through Olmstedville, NY to pick up a Hornbeck canoe that I’ve had my eye on. Neither of us could recall ever exploring the towns east of Indian […]

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    Towns and Trails: Our 5 Favorite Pieces of Gear from the last Decade | Towns and Trails01-08-2010

    […] Hornbeck 10′5 Kevlar Canoe There isn’t much I find more peaceful and relaxing than a quiet paddle on calm water. However, I hate loading and carrying around 50+ pound boats to do it. While still in Boston, we lived about 150 feet from a lake and owned a relatively lightweight kayak (about 49 lbs)… yet there were still days when I looked at that thing and decided I just wasn’t up for lugging it down to the shore on my shoulder. Call me lazy. The Hornbeck 10′5, weighing in at only 16 pounds, solved this problem. It is an absolute joy to portage and a snap to load onto the car. I can’t think of a better compliment to pay a piece of gear than to say it helped you enjoy the outdoors more frequently… and that is what the Hornbeck did for me. […]

  6. Al Berg
    Al Berg09-15-2011

    looking to purchase a used hornbeck 10.5 ‘

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