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Thread: Coleman Journey

  1. #1
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    Default Coleman Journey

    Maker's Spec


    Maker's Write Up
    •15'6" (472cm) touring canoe
    •Made of virtually indestructible Ram-X® material
    •Beam 37"/94cm
    •Weight 84 lbs/38 kg
    •Maximum capacity 800 lbs/363 kg
    •Keeled and rounded hull to reduce side slipping and improve tracking
    •Moderate slope at bow and stern
    •Foam filled seats are full width and depth, for added structural support
    •Fore and aft carrying handles
    •Drink holders
    •Two year limited warranty

  2. #2
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    You really have to love the Coleman in order to say anything nice about it, but it is the canoe that many of us started with. I have had to paddle them in the past but more unfortunately I have had to portage them. They are problematic from day one with the network of pipes and seats holding them together. They are best dragged behind the car rather than loaded on top. It will not affect the way they preform at all. The only thing going for them is the fact they are tough. They do not paddle well or turn and move well. They are at home on lazy rivers with little or no paddling involved. About the best thing you can say to compliment them is, "well it floats". If you only have a few pounds to your name and simply must get out on the water to paddle and cannot stand the wait while you save a bit more for a real canoe, then buy that Coleman it may be for you. If you are an alcoholic with no paddling skills but can keep it between the river banks on the lazy river while tanked up on cheap whiskey, then the Coleman Journey may be for you. If you already own one and quite like it, I am not implying you are an alcoholic and prefer cheap whiskey but you do have my sympathy for your choice of canoe. I give it a 2/10 on the Lloyd scale.
    Last edited by Lloyd; 2nd-March-2007 at 10:21 AM.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  3. #3
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    I started with a Coleman Journey so for no other reason than it got me into canoeing I will always have a soft spot for them. That said it is a capable canoe, just a little heavy.

    The review is here

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...read.php?p=103

    and is quoted below

    Coleman Journey Open Canoe
    The Coleman Journey was my first canoe. My canoe use has been restricted to Lochs in generally fair weather. A bit windy on occasion but nothing too scary. Also I have only been using open canoes for two years. This all in mind on with the review.

    Tha manufacturers specifications are
    Length - 472 cm 15ft 6ins,
    Beam - 94 cm 37 ins,
    Capacity - 363 Kgs 800 lbs,
    Weight - 32 Kg 70 lbs
    Hull - Ram-X.




    What does that mean? Well it means it is big enough for three adults, or two adults and two children with some camping stuff. Or two people and enough camping stuff for an extended trip. It is also small enough to be paddled solo.



    The Ram-X hull takes a real beating. It would be very difficult to imagine it getting breached in any normal situation. It is not very bouyant in itself though. The bouyancy in the canoe is provided by the seats. These are foam filled plastic. The hull also has a slight keal to it and this is stiffened by a metal tube that runs the length of the hull and is held in place by the seats. The robust nature of the hull does come at the price, weight. This is not a very light canoe. In saying that I do not find it particulary heavy. I have no difficulty getting it on to the roof of my Landrover, a high and awquard roof to put a canoe on. Also I ahve never had a problem carrying it to the waterside but I would not like to portage it very far. Even a light canoe would be no fun to carry a long distance. I tend to think that the fuss that is made about the weight of canoes is overrated. Once in the water it really does not make a huge difference. Some but not a huge amount.

    In use the canoe is generally very capable. This is not a speciallist boat it is a jack of all trades but for that it is still pretty capable in most situations. Certainly it is a good boat for your first craft. It handles well on open water and tracks well. It is pretty forgiving of the common mistakes a beginner will make, indeed for all the mistakes I made in the early days I have never fallen out of this canoe. This is in a large part due to the stability of the canoe as well as an indication of the conditions that it has been used in. Even with two young girls in it or on occasion a dog jumping about on board it has remained upright. The only time it has put anyone in the water is when a friend was climbing in and fell over as he turned to sit down.



    I have made only two modifications to the canoe. One is I fitted small "D" rings round the inside edge of the canoe for fixing kit into the canoe. I also fixed the fittings that alow me to fit oar locks. Now in heavy winf I can fit the oar locks and row the canoe into the wind, if I am struggling to make progress with normal paddling.

    Good Points
    The canoe is excellent value for money. There are few if any other canoes in this price range of this size and this and quality.
    The three seats give you a lot of flexibility in how you use the canoe. As well as the obvious person on each seat it gives you plenty of options for adjusting your trim when paddling solo. Also the seats are very comfortable and do not leave you with a cold bum like you can get on a nippy day with a cane seat. The middle seat also makes it quite comfy to carry. With the middle seat going across your shoulders it spreads the weight well.
    Robust. You do not need to worry about damaging the canoe. You are more likely to damage what you hit. One of the worries with your first canoe is that you it will get punctured by accident. With the Coleman Journey it would need to be a pretty serious accident before it did any real damage.
    Stable. The shape of the hull gives the canoe a stable feel in the water, well as stable as any open canoe. There is obviously a trade of in maneuverability but not too much.

    Bad Points
    Comparitively heavy compared to other canoes (although not in the same price range)
    Tends to catch the wind a bit. This can make steering a bit of a job when windy but again is likely to be a factor in any canoe of this size. This has been most noticeable when paddled solo and was one reason I bought my other canoe, the Old Town Pack.
    John

  4. #4
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    Default Coleman is good.

    I agree that the coleman is a bit of a tub, but better than any other canoe on the market in its area as it does exactly what it says on the tin.

    It is a good size and actually I paddle mine solo and don't find any problem getting on the roof, although it is heavy. It is strong and handles wakes from motorboats well. It is designed to be a three man canoe, although ideally a tandem. If this is the case then no probs in man-handling on or off the water. At no point have I ever felt unsafe in it. That is either on grade3+ rivers, striding/stand up kayaking, or out on deep water lakes.

    It is highly bouyant, and without airbags (or much gear) it will float (full of water) about 0.5 inches above the water line (as MK says it may be the seats but I find them pretty rubbish really).

    The only main drawback is the centre pole/rod that acts as the backbone of the canoe. If sitting in the bottom it doesn't half hurt.

    Big Problems:

    1. Seats are not built very well - they have thin plastic were the seat edges return up the gunwales - this becomes brittle quickly.

    2. Seats are also not watertight - if it goes under regularly then you will find water gets into the seat, but will not come out. This means that you might have to drill the underside to allow drainage.

    3. Solo is paddled backwards, like many, but highly recommend you dont do this in high wind becasue no matter how much you adjust the trim it simply will not track and you have a tough, tough time.

    Having said this I would still rate the coleman an 8/10 as a family recreational canoe - which it is. In the coleman blurb they specifically state that this canoe should never even be placed on the shore of a river, let alone in it.

    If you are looking for a flat water canoe that takes gear then i think this is your choice as it beats more expensive models - plus it doesn't matter if you abuse it because its cheap, and it will take it.

    I love mine, and will not get rid of it even if another replaces it. It is fantastic on a sunny day to paddle up a lazy river, find a quiet spot and simply lie out in the bottom with a few beers (if you haven't driven) and read a good book. I defy anyone to have a better time.

    Pete
    Lakeland Pete


  5. #5
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    as a toy that lives outside in the garden and cost me less than £200 new - what can you say.

  6. #6
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    Solo I found it pretty slow, but OK. The main problem was lifting it. I spent about as much as the canoe is worth on a new wing mirror and aerial after trying to put it on a rather narrow car. Should add the canoe was completely undamaged......

    Tandem, I like it. Did the River Balvaig/Loch Lubnaig trip with a friend and it performed well. Pretty stable and steers well enough.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhyAyeMan View Post
    If you are an alcoholic with no paddling skills but can keep it between the river banks on the lazy river while tanked up on cheap whiskey, then the Coleman Journey may be for you. If you already own one and quite like it, I am not implying you are an alcoholic and prefer cheap whiskey but you do have my sympathy for your choice of canoe. I give it a 2/10 on the Lloyd scale.
    Lloyd, I object to the suggestion that I am not an alcoholc (hic) and that I like to buy expensive alcohol, (I'm Scottish) and with regard to the coleman I find the truss for the double hernia quite fetching and a good conversation point for those difficult silences while waiting in a queue for the off licence to open
    Seriously though its possible (though not strictly advisable) to spend more on a bottle of malt than the Coleman (Pelican) costs, so I'd give it at least 4/5 out of ten for the reasons you give: 1. It floats, 2. its d*** near indestructible and 3. it's cheap.
    I have sailed and delivered many yachts which only managed point 1. but cost around 1000 x more. The coleman is quite a good way for people to get afloat and find out if they enjoy the experience.

    Ian

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    Before...




    After...



    One tough piece of work but with a face only a mother could love.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


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    I guess he should have bought a folding canoe

    Ian

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    I liked my old Coleman........................................... ....

    Great for a total novice going down a slightly swollen river (River Wear at Finchdale Abbey, or the Tees at Cotherstone), - plus - it really makes my current boat seem fabulous by comparison!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eds View Post
    as a toy that lives outside in the garden and cost me less than £200 new - what can you say.

    I say please tell me where I can find one for less than £200!! Am really thinking this might have to be my first canoe, (or i just bloomin build one, which I still think would go horribly horribly wrong!) So if anyone could advise a good place to get one, 2nd 3rd 4th hand whatever, I would be delighted, although it may have to wait till the new year! Also, I don't suppose there's anyone up in the far northeast of Scotland who has one of these I could possibly have a try of? (I promise I'll try not to break it!)

    Any help greatfully received!

  12. #12
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    Also, is it possible to add a kneeling thwart to one of these?? If so, how? (Sorry if this should be posted elsewhere?)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by paullewis View Post
    Also, is it possible to add a kneeling thwart to one of these?? If so, how? (Sorry if this should be posted elsewhere?)
    I'll PM you a response to limit the thread posts, but any questions like this are probably best put in the Gear section. However this is the a bit rich coming form me

    Pete
    Lakeland Pete


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by paullewis View Post
    I say please tell me where I can find one for less than £200!! Am really thinking this might have to be my first canoe, (or i just bloomin build one, which I still think would go horribly horribly wrong!) So if anyone could advise a good place to get one, 2nd 3rd 4th hand whatever, I would be delighted, although it may have to wait till the new year! Also, I don't suppose there's anyone up in the far northeast of Scotland who has one of these I could possibly have a try of? (I promise I'll try not to break it!)

    Any help greatfully received!
    Costco was the place that had these for £200 but I think that they will be nearer £300 next time in. I am in Aberdeen and you are welcome to try out mine anytime that's convenient.

    Ian

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narc View Post
    Costco was the place that had these for £200 but I think that they will be nearer £300 next time in. I am in Aberdeen and you are welcome to try out mine anytime that's convenient.

    Ian

    Thanks Ian, I will definatley take you up on the offer if thats ok, I'll pm you to sort out when!

  16. #16
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    Also useful for seal launching from shingle beaches into the sea!!!

  17. #17
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    Not sure I like some of the sniffy references to Colemans that I find here; a canoeing author - possibly Bill Riviere - pointed out something about the US that's likely to be as true in the UK. He felt that canoeing is about getting on the water not about bragging about having the best kit and that in view of the fact that the mass-produced Colemans were for ages the staple of outdoor centres and youth organisations they will have been responsible for giving more people their first canoeing experiences than all the fancy stuff.

    There weren't many open canoes for sale in Britain when I bought my green 15' Coleman in the mid-eighties so that my girlfriend of the time and I could paddle the Liffey and Exe Descent (BAD swim on one weir) races in one autumn. Since then the Coleman has been to Mike Jones weekends in Llangollen paddling down from Corwen - including successful descents of the Serpent's Tail and Town Falls, three other Liffey trips (including 2005), Jones weekends on the Tyne, Guide Dogs for the Blind paddles on the Swale near Catterick, three canoe-camping trips on the Wye, a couple on the Caledonian Canal, day trips on the Severn, the Wye, the Farndon to Chester stretch of the Dee, the Huddersfield narrow canal, the Calder Navigation, Lake Bala, the Dyfi Estuary and many, many more.

    My Coleman's gunwales are dented from whitewater swims, its hull is rippled but it's still watertight and wears its Mike Jones and Scrap Merchants CC stickers with pride. I've camped next to it, lazed on riverbanks with it on sunny days, I've made love in it and paddled it to waterside pubs. Ever ready for a day on the water, it's made me new friends and it's made me smile. It's been a survivor too; the other summer it was behind a friend's shed after a Severn paddle and narrowly escaped being lost when their house flooded. I would have been distraught if it had gone because it's an old friend that has repaid the initial purchase cost back a hundred times simply because of the pleasure it has delivered. Call me a cantankerous old fart but don't insult my friend of more than twenty years lightly.

    (This is a slightly edited version of another post I put up here somewhere in response to another thread but I like my Coleman and feel moved to stick up for them). JC

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    They were the rig in the day but time marches on. I have a real soft spot for the spitfire too but I see the worlds air forces do not share my belief that they can be modernized.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  19. #19
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    And your point is exactly? Buy a motorboat?

    JC

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    Nope; but from a purely practical sense not such a bad idea...

    Colemans serve a purpose and rate very highly for their indestructibility, but performance wise they are outclassed by all that came before and since. In the hands of a decent paddler they can be made to do great things. The main attraction was and still is price but even in the 70's when they were new and most of the bugs were worked out, aluminum was preferred by wilderness paddlers.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  21. #21
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    The Coleman is very much part of the every day canoe family on the water but differences appear with Canoeists in clubs and with people who want to spend more because they can or wish to have an improved performance in specific areas.

    since March 2008 I have owned 3 Colemans with one of them maintaining infamy as the 'Bath Tub'

    The Bath Tub is still one of my canoes, only used this last weekend but having very happily bought used an Apache until recently I have had to move from this because of MY paddling style and needs so purchased a Mowhawk Intrepid 16 in Royalex.

    So now I have the:
    Mowhawk Intrepid 16 - RRP £1,085
    Coleman Ram X 13 - Value less and yet worth a fortune to me.

    So why respond?

    A simple conclusion to placing ourselves on the Water.
    We pay what we can afford to start
    We value the performance of what we wish to achieve
    And we select to suit ourselves and nobody else

    I also Have a colleague who has sold his Mad River and bought an old 17' coleman because he wanted the strongest boat he could find to put an engine on. Good for him.


    Sean
    Sean
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  22. #22
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    I know what you're saying Sean - back in the eighties we, Scrap Merchants CC, in those carefree post-Poly, pre-mortage days were a hardcore canoe club away nearly every weekend. We raced a couple of Gaybo C2 whitewater racers (remember them?), paddled K1 slaloms, whitewater playboats etc (I have one of Pyranha's first plastic playboats hanging in my garage still) - Llangollen was 45 mins from where I lived - we entered raft races, the inflatable races at the Jones weekends and we got the SMCC name on results sheets for everything from Devizes-Westminster to Liffey Descents to the Charity Paddle to the Eddystone Light and the Anglesey Sea Kayak Race. Good times - first on the water, last out of the pub! The lure of canoe-camping trips gradually came to dominate and so the open canoe - the Coleman - became a useful tool and one that could be paddled down the Dee at Llangollen. The Wye and the Caledonian trips in open canoes and folding canvas K2s (got a Pouch Favorit - DDR copy of a Klepper and a Granta Airflow and a Tyne Spula and...) made features in Canoeist magazine.
    Over the years it's always the open boat that draws me back to the rivers when time allows and, as my initial post tells, was the one that's offered some of the greatest canoeing moments. Often the solitary ones, out of season, on bits of river like the Farndon-Chester stretch of Dee that turn out to be the best days as I'm sure you know. Once a girlfriend and I paddled from the campsite at the top (west) of Windermere to Bowness, went to the pub, paddled back and crawled into the tent etc...ahem.
    The point of my post was merely to illustrate the good times and, perhaps, encourage newcomers not to be put off getting on the water cheaply by people suggesting that Colemans are not good enough. I could afford pretty much any canoe I want within reason now but am happy to paddle my Coleman because it suits me as does my eBay Grumman. I'm hankering after a wooden boat too... found an old Peterborough but it was way, way beyond saving so I've just got its lovely brass fittings and maker's plate in the shed.
    JC
    Last edited by John C; 3rd-September-2008 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Typo

  23. #23

    Default Inexperience..? coleman style.

    Hi All,
    Well i have had mine a couple of yrs now,Coleman Explorer 166,-16ft +.MAYBE ITS MY INEXPERIENCE SHINING THROUGH,but i find it kinda wobbly,i think i might be sitting up to high in those big Plastic seats & also not enough weight inside it holding it down,Was getting rid of it & have decided on a {MAD RIVER}any suggestions on this,i need something as stable as possible as i have 3 young God children whom i want to get out in the water as soon as, any suggestions what would suit,

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C View Post
    Not sure I like some of the sniffy references to Colemans that I find here;
    Yes, it's heavy.
    Yes, it doesn't track well in headwinds.

    It means I can get on the water any time I like, for an hour or two or a day or two.

    I have a sailing cruiser and a narrow boat, so couldn't justify an expensive canoe.
    Will people make disparaging remarks if I turn up at a group paddle without a featherweight birchbark shell and hand-carved paddles of several different designs?

  25. #25
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    If they are your friends they won't make disparaging remarks. But they might share their boat

    And those that do..well, are they worth making friends with?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by potterer View Post
    Yes, it's heavy.
    Yes, it doesn't track well in headwinds.

    It means I can get on the water any time I like, for an hour or two or a day or two.

    I have a sailing cruiser and a narrow boat, so couldn't justify an expensive canoe.
    Will people make disparaging remarks if I turn up at a group paddle without a featherweight birchbark shell and hand-carved paddles of several different designs?
    Those that matter don't mind...
    Those that mind don't matter.
    Lloyd

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by potterer View Post
    Will people make disparaging remarks if I turn up at a group paddle without a featherweight birchbark shell and hand-carved paddles of several different designs?
    Most definitely!

    Happens to me all the time.

    Best policy is just to wait til your out in the water then ram them. They don't like that.


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  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by potterer View Post
    Yes, it's heavy.
    Yes, it doesn't track well in headwinds.

    It means I can get on the water any time I like, for an hour or two or a day or two.

    I have a sailing cruiser and a narrow boat, so couldn't justify an expensive canoe.
    Will people make disparaging remarks if I turn up at a group paddle without a featherweight birchbark shell and hand-carved paddles of several different designs?
    What's heavy in kg? our pound?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammock_vienna View Post
    What's heavy in kg? our pound?
    Quote Originally Posted by Canoe Guru View Post
    •Weight 84 lbs/38 kg
    There you go.
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Most definitely!

    Happens to me all the time.

    Best policy is just to wait til your out in the water then ram them. They don't like that.

    Now, what did you say about the toilet and the sink in my Coleman???????

    "Pedal five hundred miles on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature" - Pierre Trudeau

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
    Now, what did you say about the toilet and the sink in my Coleman???????
    Ah, but he's got a Journey not an Explorer. There's a world of difference!

    So when you gonna post your Explorer review?

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