Royalex Memories

Sitting On Old Town Royalex Canoe

Royalex Memories

Picture of a young boy sitting on the bow of a red canoe

That’s my son TJ when he was about five years old.
He still loves to canoe.

Picture of a young boy sitting in a canoe

Duffing was a great way for TJ to learn about the feel of the canoe.

In the early 1970’s while working for Eddie Bauer, we started to sell a canoe with new construction. Gone were the days of trying to lug a heavy aluminum canoe across a portage. We now had a canoe that weighed about 70 pounds and we were ecstatic. Just think, you could comfortably portage across a long distance and be ready for more. Personally, I purchased an Old Town ABS plastic/Royalex canoe. It weighed about 65 pounds and it was faster than aluminum and had no keel, so it could glide through shallow water without bottoming out. It was very stable and I took many BWCA trips with it. All of my kids learned how to paddle this canoe and learned to love the north country.

Then came the advent of the Kevlar canoe. Boy, we thought the Royalex canoe was light but this was a huge difference. Weights in the 40 to 45 pound range were a welcome relief to those of us who were getting older. But Royalex still had its place. Yes, they were slow and heavy relative to Kevlar but they were still great in whitewater and on rocky shores.

Picture of a young boy and his father cooking by a camp fire

Nothing beats food cooked outdoors after a day of canoeing.

Best of all, Royalex canoes seemed indestructible. Old Town told stories of throwing a 17’4″ Tripper off their building with virtually no damage. I sold a Tripper to a guy whose roof rack ripped off his car with the canoe attached. He called to order a new one. I asked him what was wrong with the old one? He said he didn’t even go back to pull it out of the ditch. I told him to take a look and call back, which he did two hours later. Asked me to order him a new thwart. Other than that, the boat was fine.

Why do I bring this up? Because the days of the Royalex canoe are gone. Royalex will no longer be made unless someone buys the company but there is just not enough demand to keep it going. And time keeps marching on.

  1. MargaretAug 23, 2013

    Oh, my goodness! I love this post. Look at those young’ns.

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