Canoe Comments about Souris River Canoes

Scroll down for customer reviews about Souris River Canoes

Why we only sell Souris River Canoes at Red Rock Wilderness Store

We're not selling Souris River Canoes just to get rich quick. In fact, it would be a whole lot easier to sell well known, name brand canoes rather than explaining all the differences between Souris River and all the other canoes out there to our prospective

customers - differences that are vastly significant and yet totally invisible to the naked, untrained consumer eye.

But, it is all worth the extra effort when you read letters and emails like these from our customers. Lightweight for carrying is a nice and important feature for any canoe but the truly important and sometimes most overlooked feature of any canoe is how it handles on the water. When our customers finally put a Souris River Canoe on the water and experience just how well a sensible, realistic hull design performs, they get a real sense of what makes a Souris River Canoe stand out from the rest of the canoe crowd. Handling, stability, durability, lightweight, and remaining freeboard with a load, is what should always comprise the list of considerations when buying a canoe. Nobody ever drowns on a portage or a parking lot. Here's what people are saying:

Quetico 17

Hi –

I just wanted to send a heartfelt ‘thanks’.  Based in large part on your website advice, I purchased a Souris River Quetico 17 (in gorgeous green!) 4 years ago.  My very first canoe, and one of my biggest lifetime purchases ever.  But it’s been worth every cent, and has delivered on every point you highlighted online.  A dream to carry  (even over >2K portages); easy to load on the truck; and a joy to paddle.  Numerous miles of water – and rock – have slipped effortlessly beneath this canoe.  I love it!!

Now it’s time to address those scratches and put a new set of skidplates on.  Again, your thorough and thoughtful advice, complete with photos, will let me do this with confidence.  Really appreciate the time you took to put all this great info together – it really is an amazing legacy.  Spending time in the backcountry is a true privilege, and one that I wish every person could enjoy as much as I do.   This lovely canoe takes me and my friends there . . .

Thank you.

- C. Smith
Ontario, Canada

Shout out to Joe and Red Rock Store!

I just wanted to tell you how much my family and I are enjoying our Souris River Kevlar Q17, purchased from you (six years ago!) online. (It’s hard for me to believe its been that long - the boat still looks like the day we bought it, in spite of a good deal of use. Wish I could say the same for myself.) . While researching my purchase I spoke with every expert - or person of experience - that I could find, from most all of the manufacturers/clubs/retailers, etc., about what would work best for my priorities. I mean everybody.

I can say without hesitation that the most valuable, straightforward, realistic - and now proven over time – information and advice I received was from Joe at Red Rock. Joe noted that while it was entertaining to talk to gearheads about, well… gear, it was another thing to have your family on the water struggling to stay upright, while engaging in what was supposed to be recreation. Also - no fun to be paddling a barge, and going nowhere fast. On top of needing a stable, maneuverable, easy to paddle and fun to use canoe – it needed to be light enough for me to handle it easily, alone, and travel on the minivan without a lot of fuss. A lot to ask for.

Joe recommended and sold me the SR Q17 kevlar, and it is everything I asked for. Easy to handle, fun on the water, beautifully made, durable. It appears to just be easier to use and enjoy than any of the canoes we have run with – and always attracts compliments on it’s appearance and the attention of gearheads. I now have a lot of experience with it, and there is nothing I don’t like about it. Joe also sold me any other items required, paddles, vests, tie-downs etc. He also talked me out of some things I intended to buy from him, stating that he did not believe I would need them or make much use of them. He was right about everything – what I needed and didn’t need, and what he thought would work best for me.

I recently called Red Rock with an inquiry about another piece of canoeing gear. I spoke with Joe and once again, he had been there and done that, and knew immediately what would work best to do what I intended.

I’m pretty particular about the things that I buy and own, and what I expect from them. My experience with the SR Q17, Joe, and Red Rock has been outstanding. They know their business and are honest and accommodating. I would, and do, recommend them whenever I get a chance.

Thank you Joe and Red Rock store!

Rod, Seattle, WA.


Just wanted to tell you how much I REALLY like the new Carrot Stix fishing rod I purchased from Red Rock Wilderness Store.

It's by far the best rod I've ever fished with.  Extremely sensitive, and it casts like a dream.  Worked great on our last fishing trip with everything from northern pike, smallmouth bass, and sunfish.



Just wanted to let you know how thrilled I am with the results of my Q17.  I received it prior to my annual Pike Fishing trip in the U.P of Michigan.  Let’s just say I wish I had a camera to capture the look on my buddies faces when I pulled into camp with it strapped on top of my Explorer.  It was everything I hoped for.  It paddled like a dream and was so quite in the lakes. Below is a picture of her waiting for another portage……See Pic Here
Thanks again for your services.


I had to drop you a line and tell you that my Souris River Quetico 17 handles the snow too. I read how well it handles wind, waves, etc but this September my buddy and I decided on a quick trip towards the end of September. When we got to our launching point it was 36 degrees windy and raining, perfect weather to go camping. We were able to get our tent tired off to trees to keep it from blowing away and shortly after getting to our camp site the rain turned over to snow. But we came to fish and fish we did, blowing and snowing didn’t affect the SR Quetico 17 a bit. Eventually the weather settled down and we had a great time camping and fishing. Fishing was fantastic !! and as always no issues with the SR Quetico 17. 

Thanks again for an awesome product

Dale from Mpls

Joe & Annette-
My wife Alicia and I purchased a SR Quetico 17 from the two of you in April '02.  Not only has it performed flawlessly over the last six years, it is truly the ultimate Boundary Waters tripper!

We had planned a trip into Horse Lake in '06 with the idea being; we, along with two other people would paddle the river to Crooked Lake to view the pictographs.  Little did we know the water level would be so low.  The river was almost impassable in certain areas.  But the SR performed like a champ, going over and through the rocks and deadfall.  The same could not be said for the other guys in their rented Brand X.  They portaged around many low spots due to the canoe's lack of freeboard (it likely would not have fared well in the rocks anyway).

We awoke on our final day to a 30-35 mph headwind.  We took 90% of everyone's gear in the SR and took off.  Even though we were fully loaded, the Quetico handled the trip extremely well.  With freeboard and stability to spare.

Alicia and I are by no means experts.  More like experienced novices.  But after ten years of Boundary waters travel, and renting canoes the first couple years (Wenonahs, Bells, Old Towns, ect.).  We will not paddle anything but a SR canoe.

Dan P., Detroit Lakes, MN

"Awesome canoe!! Need a Ferrari emblem for our upcoming Algonquin Park trip with our scout troop. Out handled everything on the water on the Pocomoke swamp river in Maryland. Can't wait to get it into large lakes. Thanks! Rob L."

Another paddler wrote:

Subject: BWCA Trip with Quetico 17 Tiger
Just a note to tell you how our trip went last week. I am not sure we would have made it without that canoe. It was light enough for me to portage on some fairly rough trails. The wind was pretty tough on Thursday. We came back from Ensign into New Found and back to Moose against a strong wind. We followed three canoes through the portage from Splash into New Found. They were dumping out water from Ensign already. It got much rougher from there in. We did not have any water come in the entire day. It was a tough trip for a couple our age, but worth it. We are ready to go again. Thanks for all the info on your website and a great canoe.

Leon B. Worthington, MN


...the SR Quetico 17 performed beautifully up there the week of Sept 16 when it rained and rained and was windy most of the week.  The other canoe, an Old Town Camper 16 ended up capsizing when we went out for a day trip on that Friday.  They ended up stranded for the night on an island 1/2 mile from our campsite because they didn't want to risk capsizing again.  The owner of the other canoe decided that he will never take his canoe on another BWCAW trip after watching me easily carry my SR and how it handled on the water in the big waves.  So, Thanks for selling me the great canoe.  It has lived up to my expectations.  By the way, have you ever considered coming down to Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin to try to create awareness of the SR Canoe?  I went to the show last March and people were buying the "Other Brand X Canoes" but there were no Souris Rivers there.  It appears that 1000's of people attend the event and it might be worth your while.  It's run by Rutabega in Madison and will be held March 7-9 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
Thanks again,
David C.

Quetico 17

Just finished a canoe trip of five days renting a Quetico 17 last week from Gunflint Northwoods Outfitters.  Truly a delight.  Can't say anything but superlatives about the design, comfort, or performance.  I am considering purchasing a canoe, and it will be a Souris River for sure.

Frank E.

Just wanted to drop a line and say that my new Souris River Quetico 17
that I purchased from you over the internet last December is a fantastic canoe …. Funny, it’s everything you said it would be. It’s been to Isle Royale and the BWCA so far this year. Thanks for making my search for a canoe an easy one, your web-site explains and compares your product to others better than I could have done. Thanks again … I’m telling everyone about my great canoe. I’ve even had to borrow it out once already.

Dale Hagenson - Mpls

Quetico 18.5

Hi there,
This past year I purchased a used Quetico 18.5 and I have to say we are loving it...  Red Rock has been quite helpful and has offered great prices and information with all the gear I purchased this year.... Thanks for everything! 
Tony B.

Shipping Canoes

I just thought I would write to let you know the canoe made it to Wyoming without a scratch.  The freight carrier said he wished more companies would pack their products as well as you did.  We hope to use the canoe in a few weeks.  Thanks for the great packing job!



Quetico 16

Well, Joe,
The black ultralight 16 has become quite comfortable as a Southern Californian so far.  I would estimate it has made 30 launch/recoveries, mostly near floats so boarding was relatively easy, but some from a bank, using the technique given for "dry feet entry" on your web page.
Has to happen once, I suppose.  I got in a hurry recently and dumped everything right near the dock.  Solo, so no screaming or panic, but I did get a round of applause from the bank fisherfolks.  Swam it to a nearby ramp, and with footing, just poured the water out, refloated, did a better job of getting in and settled, and used the extra paddle to fetch the other and my trail of items.  Nothing damaged and it was still a great day afloat.
If I had it to do again, I'd opt for a 17 carbonteq, instead of the 16, but can't really complain.  My son, at 235LB in the front and yours truly at 215LB in the back did just fine, though admittedly it was near glassy water except for the flailing we did, with his rather random but powerful paddling up front.  I assume that from the front position it is hard to know where the canoe is aimed, what with not much of it visible.  With me shouting deprications and complaints we made it back to the dock without known damage. 
I get a LOT of questions about the construction, and everyone immediately notices a 70-year-old dude just wearing it like a hat for the 150-odd feet from parking area to the bank where I usually launch.  Am accumulating enough scratches and gouges by now that I'm a little less twitchy about those bank launches.
Larry McKinley


Quetico 17

I purchased a used Quetico 17 in October 2003 from you folks and finally got it wet.  Due to things not worth mentioning and too complex, my Le Tigre sat hanging from the roof of my garage.  Yesterday, I returned from the BWCA and it's "maiden" voyage, and have never happier in my purchase.  My brother and I took the Cherokee loop  from Sawbill Lake and had a blast.  My brother was one of those Kevlar skeptics who would only use an aluminum canoe so he didn't have to worry about hitting anything.  Well, after many a talk around the campfire, he now wants to get one of his own.  So, I'm trying to get him to make the trek to Redrock and get one.  Anyway, I love the canoe and am thankful I checked out Redrock and the Souris River canoes before I purchased a canoe that I would not be happy with.  On a side note, of all the canoes we saw on our five day trip, 65% or more were Souris River canoes, and a lot of them were rentals.  That shows just how good they are, and how much people want them.  We showered at Sawbill outfitters on the way out, and they had about 60% of Souris River canoes out back.  Hmmm, I think you guys are on to something, and way ahead of your time.  Keep up the great website, and thanks again.

Kent O.
Fargo, ND

Quetico 17

Hi Joe,

My wife (Francene) and I (Jeff) from St. Charles, Illinois purchased a Souris River Quetico 17 LeTirgre at your Paddle Daze open house in May of 2003. If you remember, we took one for a demo on a really windy day with large waves. After we took off, you thought to yourself that you should have asked if we were good paddlers due to how bad the waves were. The Quetico 17 handled like a champ. We came back the next day, tested how well it performed on calm water, and we purchased it.  We purchased the Quetico 17 as our second canoe. We have a 17' kevlar black gold Bell Northwind that we did not want to use where we could damage it as it does not flex like the Souris River. With the wood trim, the Bell is like artwork. But, we like the Quetico 17 so much that the Bell does not leave our garage. We like the contoured web Souris River seats better than the Bell cane or Wenonah bucket seats. I like the Souris River aluminum trim better than the Bell wood trim. The Quetico 17 has more stability and does not seem to give up anything noticeable in paddling performance. I wish we would have know about the Souris River before we bought the Bell, but down here we did not get to try a Souris River. I think the Bell was the best available for what the dealers down here sell. We belong to the Prairie State Canoeists canoe club which is the largest canoe club in Northern Illinois. Our Quetico 17 LeTigre has received a lot of attention on our outings, and we tell them about Redrock. Our Bell is like new, and we will probably sell it or trade it as we like the Quetico 17 that much better. This is part of the reason why I am researching our next canoe.
In August of 2004, we took our first BWCA trip with a group and guide from [an outfitter]. We were provided Wenonah Minnesota II's. Although we got along fine with the canoe, I would rate it below our Bell and much below our Souris River. I agree with everything you have said about the Minnesota II.
I find your website to be excellent and very informative. Although some may find that there is a bias toward Souris River, from my actual experience, I find that what you say is true. As an engineer, I really respect that. What may seem like bias is your enthusiasm for a good product and trying to keep things from being boring. 
I am starting to think about purchasing another Souris River canoe. While using Google, I came across your Pondering web page. That page has a great deal of good information. I do not find a link from Redrock's main pages to this link, and you may want to add one or make it more apparent.
I read with interest about paddling solo from the front seat (with the canoe reversed) instead of in the center. I would like a pro's and con's comparison between using the Tranquility Solo which has a center seat verses a Quetico 16 solo with the center seat verses the Quetico 16 tandem from the front seat (with the canoe reversed). This includes the paddling characteristics of the Tranquility Solo and the Quetico 16. This would also make a good article on your Pondering web page. I am asking you this as I am thinking that my next canoe may be for solo paddling. Although I know people that use them, I do not think I would use a Kayak paddle if that influences the selection. I also paddle from a seated position. My knees do not like me to kneel, and I am out for enjoyment. I also agree with your view about sit and switch paddling not being fun. This canoe would be mainly used for day trips on large creeks up to good size rivers. Is the Quetico 16 similar to the Quetico 17 as far as how it handles?
On another topic, I have a friend who thinks he needs a royalex canoe to do large creeks and small rivers due to rocks even though he does not do real white water (once in a while a little class 2). I told him that he should consider the Quetico 16 as it should perform better than a royalex canoe, is lighter, and should withstand the rocks. He is not concerned about price. What do you think? I have watched Bill Mason's videos where he is doing some pretty good white water in a wood and canvas canoe. This could be another item for your Pondering web page. You have our permission to post any of this if you choose to.
Well Joe, I hope I have not been too long. You will see us whenever we do get to Ely.
Jeff A.

St. Charles, IL

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