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Review: Bell Canoe Works - Yellowstone Solo


Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Bell Canoe Works
  • Model: Yellowstone Solo
  • Length: 14 ft
  • Beam (maximum): 30 in
  • Beam (waterline): 26.5 in
  • Center Depth: 12.5 in
  • Capacity: 650 lb
  • Weight: 44 lb
  • Material: Royalex

Review:

The BCW Yellowstone Solo, billed as a utility solo canoe, and I have to agree that is sure meets that bill. I got to say.... "I love this canoe!"

I have put at least 500 miles on my Yellowstone Solo this year on rivers, creeks and lakes in Pennsylvania, the NJ Pine Barrens, the Adirondacks and the wilds of Maine and I surely feel I have put the canoe through its paces and it passed with flying colors.

Not to say that it is perfect, but I can say that I have very few complaints other than the canoe can be squirrely at times. This really complicates trying to Evel Knievel jump the canoe over a deadfall, fishing with renewed vigor, trying to take steady photos and definitely prevents you from poling the canoe.

However, the canoe's lightness is a plus on long mile and a half portages. Its speed and maneuverability is great for a 14 foot solo canoe allowing you to twist the boat around on tiny streams that would cause my Penobscot to become lodged between the banks and deadfalls.

My final verdict. The Yellowstone Solo performs best when used as a day or several day wilderness tripper. If you are looking for a good daily use canoe, I don't think you can go wrong with the Yellowstone Solo. It is what Bell say's it is -- an all round utility solo canoe.

Pros:

  • The canoe is light - making it easy to carry on long portages.
  • It is speedy and maneuverable in the little streams (such as the little streams of the NJ Pine Barrens).
  • When traveling light, its easy to maneuver. When heavily laden, the canoe is alot more steady allowing you to run easy Class II without worries.

Cons:

  • The canoe is not very forgiving. If you don't pay attention you could be swimming alongside your canoe.
  • Payload is just adequate. I am a big guy, so when I pack for a longer trip, I take take the essentials and very few amminities.
  • Original seat placement was too low for kneeling (which I must do since I'm a big guy). I replaced the hangars and can now put my feet under the seat.
  • Buy a portage yoke. If you replace the hangars you can't use the seat for portaging without getting a nice bump on your head.



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