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Bell Canoe Northwoods

rated 5.0 of 5 stars

Bell Canoe is no longer in business, and the Northwoods has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best tripping/expedition canoes for 2024.

photo: Bell Canoe Northwoods tripping/expedition canoe

Magnificent paddling canoe with slight tumblehome and rocker and easy paddling. I’ve paddled plenty and this far and exceeds everything out there.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to paddle, full glide on each stroke
  • No oil canning
  • Perfectly balanced on the carrying yoke


  • I’m not thrilled with the straight webbed seats. I’ve replaced them with the bent frame ones which fit my bottom better.

I bought it after Bob Cary recommended it back in the early 2000s. I purchased it used from Puragis Outfitters in Ely, Minn., and have been thrilled ever since. Although 18.5 feet long, it doesn’t wind vane like my old Minnesota II did and obviously much lighter and does oil can like the old Royalex Old Town Tripper that I owned for decades.

This is the smoothest, easiest to paddle boat I’ve ever owned. I was saddened when Bell stopped producing, when I heard he started making them again as Northstar canoes I was thrilled. This guy knows how to make canoes that handle like Ferraris on the water, but carry loads like barges.


20+ years paddling the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Adirondacks.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $9465

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Weight 47-51 pounds
Length 18 feet, 6 inches
Max width 36 inches
Optimum load 400-700 pounds

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