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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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      MN II vs Northwoods
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Last Visit: 05/06/2015 11:31AM
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member (24)member
Photo Journal
09/25/2011 06:16PM
I want a bigger 2 person plus dog and child canoe. I currently have an Escape and a Magic. How much faster loaded is the MN II than the Northwoods? I do like the tractor sliding seats in the MN II , If I bought a North Woods I would consider putting a bow slider and maybe buckets seats. Is this "doable" in the NW? Anyone own or paddle both?
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Photo Journal Current Donor Gear Reviews
09/26/2011 11:49AM
I'm not sure about relative speed, but I get the impression from reading boards like this that the MN II is probably faster. However, I own and LOVE a Northwoods. It is plenty fast, but also extremely stable. I am able to take it out solo in the mornings to fish from empty before the wind picks up and I have never felt uncomfortable. Obviously its not good for a solo trip, but its a nice bonus when on a tandem trip with someone who doesn't fish or likes to sleep in. I've only been in a MN II once, and it was empty with just a partner & fishing gear. It felt a little squirrely for me. I wouldn't have considered fishing from it solo. This was a long time ago though, so I probably was not as acclimated to canoes as I was when I first got the Northwoods. I haven't been in a Wenonah at all for a few years.

Also, I'm not sure about tractor seats and what's involved in installing them, but I don't see why you couldn't. Holes are always scary, but they're in plenty of canoes already. THe Northwoods does take a 3rd seat pretty easily. I installed one for my son, and still have plenty of room for gear, a big dog, and my wife and son for a long weekend trip. If we decided to rough it I'm sure we could stretch it out to a week to 10 day trip.
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1 trip report(s) Current Donor Gear Reviews
09/26/2011 01:31PM
More than enough room for gear, a dog, and a third seat in the Northwoods. I have paddled both, and IMO the Northwoods is a nicer ride.
I wouldn't consider tractor seats, I think webbed or cane seats are more comfortable.

"I am haunted by waters"~Norman Maclean "A River Runs Through It"
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1 trip report(s) Current Donor
09/26/2011 02:55PM
MNII will be a touch faster. Northwoods is more stable and easier to handle in waves, comfortable with a heavy load too. MNII will paddle like your Escape, just a bit more room and glide. I think the Northwoods is a better bet for the dog and child combination- much more forgiving of sudden shifts in load.

I believe you can get cane sliders for the bow.

Fortunately most lunatics don't have the vigor of Charles Manson.
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Photo Journal Past Donor
09/26/2011 03:13PM
Having paddled bucket or tractor seats for the last 26 years, my backside finds anything else revolting. I use no butt pads in my current boats. What does your back side like?

I have rented both the MII and the Northwoods in the last two years for I am looking for a lighter tandem.

2010 = MNII
I rented this boat for a week long trip and absolutely loved it with one exception, web seats!!!!
My backside hurt from the rear crossbar of the seat from start to finish as we had no pads with us. Yes, my wife felt the same pain.
The boat handled much like my old Odyssey except that it was much lighter on the portages. I am use to paddling straight line keels so turning this type of boat is never a big deal for me as I like to go straight most of the time anyway. We also did some empty boat paddling and the wind never seemed to bother us much. It may seem a bit tippy to the novice yet if you understand that the final stability is huge, you get used to it.

2011 = Northwoods
I rented this boat for a week too and also fell in love with it. With its built in rocker this boat turns very easily. The down point
to that is the stern man is going to be doing a whole lot of J-Stroking. Lots!!! With that being said, we were able to handle some small waves with ease as the boat floated right over them. It did seem to catch more wind than the MNII especially when lightly loaded.

This boat is a monster for room and will carry huge loads. The one we rented came with the third seat located just in front of the center thwart. We just stuffed gear underneath it and even set a NRS 3.8 Bill’s Bag on top of it. No worries.The wife and I came prepared with seat pads for this trip and still suffered from sore backsides.

In conclusion, if I were just buying a tandem for the wife and I it would be the MII hands down. It paddles fast and straight with ease and comes in at around 6 pounds lighter than the Northwoods.

If I were looking for the same reasons as you are, I would go with the Northwoods. This boat will handle the extra person and even your dog with ease. The initial stability is much greater than the MNII. Oh, you must install those bucket seats though. Ha!

Have fun shopping and I hope you get to paddle them both before a purchase. It is what you like and feel comfortable in that matters most.

"You only have one chance at life, so make it an adventure!"
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Current Donor
09/26/2011 03:22PM
I find the MN II very narrow from the bow seat. Something to think about if the bow paddler is a taller person.

"Keep close to Nature's heart, yourself; and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." ~ John Muir
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Photo Journal Past Donor
09/26/2011 03:34PM
quote Jackfish: "I find the MN II very narrow from the bow seat. Something to think about if the bow paddler is a taller person."
Jackfish does make a good point here. I am 5'6" and the wife is 5'5" so a narrow bow does not affect us.

If you get the Northwoods, I would install a sliding seat in the bow as it is very wide there. The boat we rented had a fixed bow seat and my wife couldn't reach the water with her normal stroke. She would of had to have the seat way forward.

"You only have one chance at life, so make it an adventure!"
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