Wilderness Guide

An expedition canoe for epic adventures

The Wilderness Guide has been proving itself as the perfect expedition canoe for about a century. The graceful deck line makes it instantly recognizable as an E.M. White design. It has beautiful, classic lines, a slightly curved bottom and a moderate rocker. It is a canoe with little draft and a relatively wide, flat bottom that can be easily loaded. Even when loaded, it glides through shallow water unscathed.

Price: € 4900

Wilderness approved

The Wilderness Guide is a canoe for long trips on big rivers and lakes. With a loading capacity of 550 kg, it is a real freighter and yet it remains very easy to handle. Due to its length it is also very stable and two paddlers with a good paddling technique can propel it through the water like an arrow. It’s that superiority that has been prized for generations by guides, campers, hunters and fishermen on Maine’s rivers.


Length: 560 cm
Width: 95 cm
Depth: 32 cm
Bow Height: 60 cm
Weight: 28 kg


Sides: Straight
Bottom: Flat
Rocker: Light
Capacity: 550 kg

Historic design

In the late 1800s, a number of small canoe building businesses sprang up in and around Old Town, Maine. One of the first successful builders was E.M. White, who modeled his signature canoes after the designs of Native Penobscot birch bark canoes. Those original canoes were so popular that it became increasingly difficult to find suitable birch bark. The experimental use of readily available, cheaper and more durable canvas marked a change in canoe construction.

Early canoe builders in Maine developed molds with metal bands on which steamed ribs were placed. Then planks were applied with copper nails. The metal bands on the mold clamped the nails and twisted them back into the ribs. Canvas was stretched over it that was then made waterproof. This new method enabled consistent mass production of canoes at low cost.

White began building canoes in 1895 and, with his brother and brother-in-law, opened a large store in Old Town, Maine, in 1896, under the name E.M. White & Co. After World War II, an employee of White took over the company and changed the name into White Canoe Company. The company was finally bought by The Old Town Canoe Company in 1984. Currently, the original White models are still being built by Island Falls Canoe.


Cedar and glass fabric-epoxy

This Wilderness Guide canoe 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 marine 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 on 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 Wilderness Guide 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.