Prospector, Workhorse of the North

The Prospector, icon of Canadian history

The Chestnut Prospector is probably the most iconic canoe around and it evoques images of solitary wilderness travel and exploration. It’s the ultimate canoe for extended, self sufficient backcountry trekkings. It can carry an astounding amount of gear and still run the wildest rapids, while it’s light enough to be carried during chalenging portages. Since its conception this canoe has been the go-to for adventurers and explorers alike.

Price: € 3960

Workhorse of the North

This “workhorse of the North” was designed for prospectors and trappers who needed to hoal their loads up and down Canada’s rivers. Our Prospector is based on a historic Chestnut model and has a flattened, shallow arch hull with good depth amidships to maintain freeboard and deepened ends to keep water out. It has sufficient rocker to make it very maneuverable in whitewater and on challenging lakes.


Length: 490 cm
Width: 88 cm
Depth: 35 cm
Bow Height: 50 cm
Weight: 26 kg


Sides: Straight
Bottom: Shallow Arch
Rocker: Moderate
Capacity: 400 kg

Bill Mason and his Prospector

The Prospector has been made immortal by canoe legend Bill Mason. His 16 foot red Prospector canoe featured in all of his projects, his instructional films on canoeing,  his books, The Path of the Paddle, The Song of the Paddle, and his last epic film, Waterwalker. Mason used it on month-long solo trips on the north shore of Lake Superior, on family trips in Algonquin Park and on trips down the Pukaskwa River. In 1989 it was donated to the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Bill Mason is one of the seminal figures of twentieth century canoeing but also an artist, filmmaker and conservationist. Even today, his films are a rich source for anyone wanting to learn or refine ones canoeing strokes and paddling techniques.

Photo features Lude kraak


Cedar and glass fabric-epoxy

Our Prospector is built with western red cedar and laminated with glass fabric and epoxy. The laminate ensures that the wood is sandwiched and never comes into contact with water. In addition, it provides extreme stiffness which makes the canoe very efficient to be paddled. The boat is finished with high or satin gloss spar varnish with an excellent UV-blocker.

Solid ash for the outfitting

The gunwales, seats, decks and the yoke are made of ash. Ash is hard, very flexible and relatively light. Because the ash parts of the canoe suffer the most they are coated with double boiled linseed oil to keep them flexible and in good shape. The outwales are screwed to make replacement easy. All screws and bolts are stainless steel.

Canoe maintenance

Our canoes are very strong and stiff. Normal wear will occur when used normally. We recommend checking the canoe regularly and retouch any scratches in the varnish. In the unlikely event the epoxy laminate gets damaged, it should be repaired within reasonable time to prevent water seeping into the wood. The gunwales should be oiled three to four times a year. Read more about maintenance.

Build it yourself?

Build the Prospector canoe by yourself? All our canoes can be built by yourself in our shop. This requires no special prior knowledge. Check out our workshop section.

Delivery period

Our canoes are made to order. It takes us about 100 hours to build one. Prepare for a delivery period of approximately five weeks. If you would like to test our canoes, please contact us by e-mail.