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Thread: Snake River Canoes 12' Review

  1. #1

    Default Snake River Canoes 12' Review

    Snakerivercanoes.com

    Snake River 12'

    The very first thing that attracted me to the Snake River 12' was the weight. Coming in at 16 kilos was just what I was after. Then, when I saw the price - under 400 for a brand new glass fibre boat....WOW!




    It had to be worth a try at that price. When you consider the nearest boat at that weight and size is the Old Town Pack which is over twice the price and nowhere near as stiff.

    The builder who makes these canoes has a background in building beach buggies so the build is very robust but not thick and heavy like a glass fibre car body!

    First impressions -


    Good quality for a low cost boat
    Pine used to fit the boat out, to keep cost down.
    Simple slatted seat, also to keep cost down.
    Nice finish, with 'flow coat' on the inside.
    No gunwale hangers, seat fitted to the inside of hull for added strength.
    Strengthening inside the bottom
    No rocker to speak of.
    A slight keel.



    I was a bit worried by the keel at first. I usually don't like the directional stability that a keel gives, but in such a small boat I really think it's needed. You can still spin it around on a sixpence and it tracks well.

    First paddle was on a small standing wave, doing a bit of surfing. The folks that I was paddling with were not convinced at all and thought it would just fill with water and sink!

    Well....it didn't, in fact it surfed really well. The lack of rocker did make it a bit tricky to turn whilst on the plane but I was expecting that. It did take in some water as well but not as much as expected...Its not really designed for this type of activity so I was more than happy.

    I am a heavy bloke, 15 stone, so whilst sitting on the seat it does 'wheelie' a bit, but not whilst kneeling in the middle of the boat or with gear at the front. I did expect this, as I think it's set up for a lighter paddler. I will be moving the seat shortly to accommodate my weight. More paddling is needed though before I'm sure where to put it!

    Second time out was a flat water paddle in perfect conditions with a paddle along a narrow overgrown stream. The boat hardly drew anything, with it coasting over water only about 2-3 inches deep, even with my heavy bulk!
    It paddled really well against the current twisting and turning round the tight bends with ease..I thought the lack of rocker and the keel would be a problem in these conditions but not at all.

    When I reached my first portage it was heaven, just picking the boat up with one hand!

    Put the boat on the main Thames and had a great paddle in the more open water, tracking very well and gathering some good speed for a short boat. A bit tippy but with very good secondary stability. Not as fast as a longer boat but for 12' I was very satisfied. You can certainly paddle faster in the kneeling position, but this could be because of the better trim, being in the middle.

    There was no oil canning at all. I put this down to the light-ply re-enforcement built into the bottom of the hull.

    A correction stroke is necessary to keep going straight but that is perfectly normal for solo paddling and it's very easy to do a J stroke. When the boat is on the heel it goes a bit faster but still tracks straight, because of the very very shallow rocker the full length of the boat is still in the water when heeled over, so this may not suit some paddlers who prefer to paddle solo on the heel.

    The boat moves very well sideways with some easy sculling strokes.

    It can be loaded up with gear and it seems to have a good amount of freeboard when loaded. I would say that a weekend solo camping trip would be no problem!

    I have paddled my Snake River 12' two up - with my 7 year old nephew as the bow paddler and it was great!

    If you're looking for a boat to take tandem with a child then this could be the answer. There is no front seat but he just sat on his usual foam seat. If he got tired , he could just stop paddling and I could still plod on with no problems at all.

    All in all -

    I would recommend the Snake River 12' for short solo camping trips and day trips.
    It represents fantastic value for money and is so light that you can be on the water with minimal effort.

    The man that builds them, Mel, is a great person to deal with and offers a fantastic after sales service.

    He builds other boats as well and offers a variety of fantastic colours. He is also open to new ideas and builds his own moulds, so, I believe he could make a boat to meet your own specifications.






















    www.snakerivercanoes.com
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 2nd-November-2010 at 08:57 PM. Reason: link

  2. #2
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    If only I'd read this a few months ago before I bought mine. I think I would have had no doubt as to what to get. Nice review.

  3. #3
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    Default Snake River Canoes

    Thanks very much for the review,does look a very nice canoe.

    In response to you recent blogg, I have contacted Mel, and hope to nip over and see him,certainly before Xmas,(hoping wife might take the hint,if she hasn't already got me pressie!!!).

    So will let you know, how I get on, and hopefully arrange a Snake River meet!

    Bryngun

  4. #4
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    It does look a fine boat Wavecloud, and not one I've come across before until your blogs.

    We should meet up some time and compare notes between the Pack and the Snake River.

    BTW does it have any buoyancy built in or do you use airbags at all?

    Here comes the future and you can't run from it
    If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it


    Crow Trip Log

  5. #5

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    No it doesn't have any buoyancy but I'm sure he would build it into a boat if you requested!

    I havn't gotten round to installing air bags and lacing yet, but I will be soon as I'm thinking of fitting it out for sailing.

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    Thats the good bit about fibreglass, would not be too difficult to build in a section fore and aft yourself and either leave hollow for storage with an access panel or fill with foam. For that size boat would not need much to keep it afloat.
    Nice looking little grab and go canoe

  7. #7
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    That's such a nice looking canoe.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  8. #8

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    I tried poling my Snake River 12' the other day! Im sorry I didn't any pics, but it was tottally do-able and good fun!

  9. #9
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    Nice boat and pics.(Pity no poling pics,though). Must have good stability to pole without swimming!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by andre View Post
    Nice boat and pics.(Pity no poling pics,though). Must have good stability to pole without swimming!
    Yes - although it did come close a few times

  11. #11

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    Well...Drove to Wisbech on Sat 12th with Stuttieboy to pic up his Snakeriver 12' in kit form. As usual, Mel was a delight to deal with! He gave Stuttieboy a VERY good deal indeed.

    He now has access to a small lake 50 yards away from his workshop, where you can try boats before you buy!

    I believe there will be a blog of the build, so, watch this space

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    I started it last night,i am going to fit the slatted seat initially so i can get going on the rest.I have got some oak at work to make a webbing seat but i think i will treat that as a seperate project,i am a machinist by trade so my woodwork is a bit slow.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by stuttieboy View Post
    I started it last night,i am going to fit the slatted seat initially so i can get going on the rest.I have got some oak at work to make a webbing seat but i think i will treat that as a seperate project,i am a machinist by trade so my woodwork is a bit slow.
    Pics please?

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    All i have done is sand,drill, countersink and start to apply finish the seat slats.

  15. #15

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    Nice one - the colour looks really good!

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    I was not happy with the finish and did not realise danish oil was available in various colours so i stripped what i had done and started again Got a few coats on and my stainless screws turned up today so got the slats fitted.

  17. #17

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    Looking good! I liked the dark colour though

  18. #18

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    Did you just drill into the blocks or add inserts

  19. #19
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    drilled a clearance hole through the glass then screwed into the wood...

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    My garage is full so managed to get it indoors for a bit

    Got busy on the lathe this morning..

    Finally decided on a location.

    A bit of loctite EDS32,job done.

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    Nice m/c'ing is it Delron or Nylatron ? Maybe a bit too low ?

  22. #22
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    Delrin..done them 115mm down,went a little bit more than the reccomended 4" but there might be a little bit to trim off the top when the gunwales are fitted ?

  23. #23
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    Ah most go for 50mm down and 50mm in.How does the Loctite do with the Delrin as I heard it's a sod to glue.CNC or manual lathe ?

  24. #24
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    I keyed the delrin up with lots of heavy scratches and small holes,which has been successfull on other jobs. All done on a conventional lathe. They were made out of 4" bar,its all we had in stock,there was swarfe everywhere

  25. #25
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    Many years ago I used to machine the cups for rod rests out of Nylatron,until I realised how much the stuff was worth,good job I did'nt have to pay for it

  26. #26
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    Default snake river

    hiya, ive been surfing the web and reading reviews on here for way too long, still havent got a canoe, always trying to justify the spend really, anyway found this snake river last night and I live nearby, so am really pleased as driving to manchester to pick up an apache always bothered me. does anyone know how these compare to the apache ?
    when i read about the evils of drink i decided never to read again

  27. #27

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    I havn't paddled an Apache yet, but I would say that Snakeriver boats are more for your beginner - intermediate paddler.

    I have felt the weight of an Apache 14 and I would say the Snakerver 14 is a bit lighter.

    Apache finish is a bit better quality but also a bit more expensive. If you buy in kit form then the finish is down to you!

    There is now doubt that Apaches are fine quality boats!

    Snakeriver Canoes are a bit more 'budget' canoes.

    The best thing you can do is try them out and see!

    Mel has a lake next door that you can test out the canoes in.

    I'm sure that Stu from Apache would let you test one out also.

  28. #28
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    Default help !!

    hi,

    like many others, we are looking to buy our 1st open canoe. i am torn between an old town penobscout in plastic and one of mells fiberglass snake river boats. thing is i hate to see damage on anything i buy. we have a plastic kayak and it seems to stand up well to scuffing, i wondered how fiberglass would do ? i know its stupid to expect it to stay as new but when launching and recovering i wondered how bad it would be ? i hope to use the boat for camping trips.
    any advise would be apreciated and you seem to have some experience with these canoes.

    many thanks for any advise.

    Quote Originally Posted by wavecloud View Post
    I havn't paddled an Apache yet, but I would say that Snakeriver boats are more for your beginner - intermediate paddler.

    I have felt the weight of an Apache 14 and I would say the Snakerver 14 is a bit lighter.

    Apache finish is a bit better quality but also a bit more expensive. If you buy in kit form then the finish is down to you!

    There is now doubt that Apaches are fine quality boats!

    Snakeriver Canoes are a bit more 'budget' canoes.

    The best thing you can do is try them out and see!

    Mel has a lake next door that you can test out the canoes in.

    I'm sure that Stu from Apache would let you test one out also.

  29. #29
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    I have found that the answer to not liking seeing scuff marks on the bottom of your boat is ... don't look. I'm afraid I tend to scrape bottom occasionally on the rivers I paddle and it shows. And I tend to wince when I remember the time I dropped it off the roof of the car. But I expect my fibreglass Apache to last me many more years yet, and one can repair the gelcoat on a fibreglass canoe more easily than one can remove scratches from plastic, I believe. On the other hand, if you tend to hit large submerged rocks in fast moving water, plastic is generally thought to be more forgiving.

    If you only paddle lakes and canals and you take care when putting your boat in and taking it out you probably won't have any scratches at all! (Getting to know the draught of your canoe and hopping out of the boat before you touch bottom when the river is too shallow also works.) So it depends what you want to do with your boat ...

    All the best,
    Ian

    Personally I like the character of fibreglass more than plastic, and I love the fact that it is easier on my wallet. But if I was planning to paddle rapids I'd choose plastic.
    Last edited by idc; 24th-February-2011 at 11:43 PM. Reason: PS

  30. #30

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    Most composite boats have a glassy smooth finish when brand new. Plastic boats do not.

    It seems that both scratch easily but it shows up a LOT more on a composite boat!

    The scratch thing depends on how you look at it....It just seems more heart breaking when scratches start to show on a beautiful gloss surface. The first scratches stand out a lot less on plastic, because it's fairly dull to start with.

    In my younger days, I would always buy plastic, thinking that it as harder wearing. Even if it is a bit......it's not worth having something that can be bashed about and treated roughly, if it doesn't perform. The trade off just isn't worth it!

    There is the WW argument, that plastic is better. I reckon that may be the case if you're on shallow rivers bashing off rocks the whole time. Otherwise, I would go for GRP or Kevlar every time.

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    If you dont want to see the scratches get an ivory coloured boat

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    If you dont want to see the scratches get an ivory coloured boat
    That's the philosophy that I went for with my Mega!

    There is an argument that suggests scratches actually increase the slipperiness of the boat making it faster......like a rough dolphin or shark skin!

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    Would that be a scratched red canoe or a scratched green one ?

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    Default fiber glass ???

    Hi again,

    thanks for your replys, i did reply earlier but to the wrong place........still getting used to site.

    any way ........why fibergalss evertime ? i have no idea, is it better made, better to paddel, last longer, there seems to be equal benefits to both plastic and fiberglass. feel im getting more confused about which one to get

    thanks again, lee

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by canoeless1 View Post
    Hi again,

    thanks for your replys, i did reply earlier but to the wrong place........still getting used to site.

    any way ........why fibergalss evertime ? i have no idea, is it better made, better to paddel, last longer, there seems to be equal benefits to both plastic and fiberglass. feel im getting more confused about which one to get

    thanks again, lee


    I'm thinking the best thing you can do is try and see.

    Ultimately, it's a personal taste thing.

  36. #36
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    Default A little bit more progress...





  37. #37

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    Looking GOOD!

    Looks like it won't be long......?

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    I have got some ideas for the thwart and decks...but will take more time than the standard parts..

  39. #39

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    Sounds interesting??

  40. #40

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    Any chance of more pics boss? Eagerly awaiting a progress report!

  41. #41
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    Default here you go...


    compond angles made my head hurt !

  42. #42

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    Not much more to do now then?

    Shall we book the maiden voyage??

    Andersey Island loop I reckon!?

  43. #43
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    Still a fair bit to do...got to remove the excess fibre glass soon,better do it outside or she won't be happy !

  44. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by stuttieboy View Post
    Still a fair bit to do...got to remove the excess fibre glass soon,better do it outside or she won't be happy !
    I reckon a Flap Disc would be ideal for the job?

  45. #45
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    Best tool for the job is a belt sander.

  46. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    Best tool for the job is a belt sander.
    Of course

  47. #47
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    Belt sander it was...

    Fitting the thwart..

    Started work on the decks..(phone pics :-( )








  48. #48

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    Looking good boss!

    On the water next weekend then??? :-)

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    Hopefully..still plenty to do and my left eye is swelling up now ( i'm allergic to the resin in wood and epoxy !)

  50. #50

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    Looks like oak?

  51. #51
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    correct...had it in the loft,floorboard off cuts.

  52. #52

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    I'm thinking varnish, not oil, it would look so nice!

  53. #53
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    Trimmed up...


  54. #54

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    Nice work!!

  55. #55
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    they are 118 grammes lighter than the grp decks and i have still got to router the edges yet !

  56. #56

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    LIGHTER! I'd have never thought that!

    Certainly different. Can't wait to see what they look like.

  57. #57
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    Trial fit..

    After a bit of routing and sanding..

  58. #58

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    Awesome! Looks great!

  59. #59
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    Hey that boat looks great, I met mel the other week and went back this weekend and bought a 15' in blue, with a sparkly finish and american ash gunwales. The seats and yoke are all in pine and the end caps are in GRP not fancy oak but if that really gets my gander up I can always change them. The thing was I wanted to get on the water and 400 has done it. I have no idea what im doing with it but just got back from two hours on the welland, Harringworth to wakerly. I thought this canoeing would be easy but it wasnt the river was quite fast and very twisty, so ashamed but landed the front into the side a few times. Got a couple of scratches aswell. BUT HAD A BRILLIANT TIME ! the scary bit was seeing a sign that said "weir approaching " then thinking that maybe i should stop and have a look. Brilliant afternoon.
    when i read about the evils of drink i decided never to read again

  60. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancealot View Post
    Hey that boat looks great, I met mel the other week and went back this weekend and bought a 15' in blue, with a sparkly finish and american ash gunwales. The seats and yoke are all in pine and the end caps are in GRP not fancy oak but if that really gets my gander up I can always change them. The thing was I wanted to get on the water and 400 has done it. I have no idea what im doing with it but just got back from two hours on the welland, Harringworth to wakerly. I thought this canoeing would be easy but it wasnt the river was quite fast and very twisty, so ashamed but landed the front into the side a few times. Got a couple of scratches aswell. BUT HAD A BRILLIANT TIME ! the scary bit was seeing a sign that said "weir approaching " then thinking that maybe i should stop and have a look. Brilliant afternoon.
    Fantastic - another bunch hooked on paddling!

    So glad that you like your boat!

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