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Design & Illustration

Caribou 395

Particulars | Background and history

Caribou 395

Plans, Caribou 395 - 114 EUR Purchase

images | information | lines | particulars | history

Caribou 395 is a touring canoe for one paddler with camping equipment or two for shorter tours with not too much gear – or perhaps a paddler with a child or a dog. Short enough to be very maneuverable and combines fine ends with large volume midships. It is easily paddled and safe and dry in rapids. The rounded bottom and almost vertical sides combine strength and low weight and keep green water outside the canoe. Caribou is modeled after a legendary American guide canoe from the twenties. A guide canoe was the working craft for transporting recreational hunters och fishermen out in the wilderness. More often than not the guide alone paddled and the daily distances could be awesome. To compete successfully for customers the guide needed a fast, roomy, easily propelled canoe in which he could safely tackle the rapids without upsetting the passenger.

The longer versions, Caribou 495 and 530 are of course faster and more efficient as touring canoes, but Caribou 395 is way handier – on land and on water.

With a glued strip hull, Caribou is lighter, stronger can take a heavier load than the comparable canoes in aluminum, composite or plastics and is as maintenance-free as a composite canoe. It can take hard use just like aluminum or plastic but can be easily restored after a mishap among rocks. The stems are slightly higher then they would have been 70 years ago, as the risk of meeting speedboats with huge wakes has increased. The hull form, on the other hand, is too good to be tampered with and since strips, as opposed to sheet materials can be coaxed into any conceivable form, there is no need to compromise. Building your own canoe from a good set of plans is a good way to rediscover the superb qualities of the birch bark canoes of the 19th century.




Length 395
Beam 87
Draft 11
Weight 16**
Load capacity 220 kg
Stability Hög
Intended use Touring and day trip for 1 - 2 persons with gear.

* These dimensions can be adapted to suit personal needs or wishes.
** Depending on type of wood, equipment, care with epoxy usage, sanding etc. etc.


The plan sheets contain the information needed to build the kayak/canoe. Station molds, stems and construction details are full scale. For kayaks the recommended cockpit size is shown half scale with offsets for a full scale drawing and advice on altering the size. On the plans you will also find advice on how to shorten or lengthen the craft. Lines and construction drawings are in metric scale 1:10.

The illustrated step-by-step building manual is in Swedish only, but it is available online in English: it covers all steps in detail and will guide first-time builders through the project.

Plans, Caribou 395 - 114 EUR Purchase

Caribou – background and history

From the end of the 20th century, canvas-sheated canoes were built in US NE and Canada SE, by among others E. M. White in Gilman Falls, E. M. White CanoesEvan H. Gerrish in Bangor, B.N. Morris in Veazie – to be followed later by Old Town Canoe Company, Chestnut Canoe Company, Carleton Canoe et al. A canoe could be purchased for approx $25.

Caribou is inspired by a legendary guide canoe from the 20th – E.M. White 18'. A guide canoe was used by competent wilderness guides taking tourists out on lakes and rivers to fish and hunt. To compete successfully it took a fast and easily maneuvered canoe with a substantial load capacity that could bring the tourists safely through white water portions of the rivers.


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