Well it’s been around a year now since I first ordered my Ivory 16 foot Apache and having collected quite a bit of experience with it in lots of different environments and weather conditions I thought I would put my thoughts and opinions down for other people.
Apache canoes is run by a guy called Stu, and I must admit, when dealing with someone at the end of the phone he is great. He takes the time to make sure you understand where your order is and how everything is progressing. See the Apache website here I chose a 16′ model with Ash and webbing seats and Ash trim. I had Stu do the full fitting for me and was very impressed with the quality of work.
Here are a few pictures of the build, provided by Stu:
So when the canoe was finally delivered I was very impressed. Unfortunately it took several weeks for the snow to clear enough to get out on the water safely! The first trial was a small river near home:
My first feelings on this canoe were very positive, and in fact after nearly a year and several multi day canoe and camping trips they still are. The Apache canoe is very light and very responsive. However it does have some quirks and if you want to experience the best from this boat you need to understand them. The Apache can be tippy, I say can be because it’s all about how you paddle this canoe. For example if you are solo you really should load the weight carefully and sit in the bow seat facing backwards. If you can I would say to kneel as this really makes the canoe quite stable (it’s still no Old Town though!). Two up needs a little more care, the canoe is designed to be nimble and fast, and when you get used to it solo it’s probably one of the most fun canoes I have paddled (oh and it looks just great!), but put another person in the front and it does wobble.. and I mean wobble. But thats just the characteristics of this boat. Sit down, get used to its tipping point and you will soon get comfortable.
So I have done several solo trips with full gear for 5 days (well probably enough for 2 weeks onboard as I overpack ) that took in grade 2 rapids, slow deep rivers, fast current and lakes, and you know what I loved doing it in this boat. It always turned heads with other canoeists and when paddled leaned right over just cut through the water, and at all times felt like it had enough rocker that you could just dip the paddle and turn! I found that I was using a lot less effort to do the same speed than other people in more classical boats..
So any downsides? 2 up canoeing requires some skill and confidence and the shell is fibreglass and is not as hardwearing as some of the solid and heavy canoes out there, but do I worry about that? After scraping on the beach and banking rocks for nearly a year, nope – hardly any damage. And if it does get damaged, fibreglass is easy to repair! So for a canoe thats 1/2 the price of many others, with a hand finished wood trim I would recommend it… IF you are already comfortable in a canoe. If you are newbie, stick with something much more stable.. 8 of 10 from me!
I’ll finish with a few other pics. Would also be interested in what any of our readers felt about the Apache canoes.
The Canvas bow cover is home made from white canvas and shock cord that loops over small screws under the gunwhales. I think it really finishes the canoe as well as keeps the splashes off in a bit of white stuff.