Pal 16′

During its long history of building canoes, the Chestnut Canoe Company produced a range of models they called Pleasure canoes. One model proved to have such universal appeal that it became the definition of a general-purpose craft. This model began life as the Ajax but it grew to be so popular that it was renamed Pal to reflect the affection owners felt while using it.

Nova Craft has painstakingly reproduced the lines of the original Pal to provide today’s paddlers with the opportunity to own one of the best general-purpose traditional canoes ever made. It’s a great choice for paddlers who want a canoe that does it all well. Nicely suited for flatwater trips or short outings for sightseeing or fishing, the Pal handles rough water well and feels comfortable in windy conditions. Indeed, it’s a pleasure to paddle either tandem or solo. Once you paddle one you’ll know why owners call it “My Pal”.

Made in Canada.


TuffStuff: 52lb / 23.6kg
TuffStuff Expedition: 58lb / 26.3kg
Aramid Lite: 42lb / 19.05kg
Blue Steel: 47lb / 21.3kg

Weights are based on year-long production averages and may vary.
Learn more about our materials here.

Length: 16’ / 488cm
Width: 34″ / 86.4cm
Center Depth: 13” / 33cm
End Depth: 20″ / 50.8cm
Rocker: Minimal
Capacity: 800lb / 363kg

· Symmetrical Hull
· Shallow Arch Bottom
· Slight Rocker with Raised Ends

See Our Options Section

By Bob Bramlett:

I wanted to send a sincere letter of appreciation to Nova Craft Canoe for making such a wonderful product. I own a Pal canoe, in Kev/Spec, with ash gunnels and two tone color scheme – olive over a sand bottom. It looks gorgeous and everywhere I go people comment on what a sexy looking boat it is. I chose Nova Craft because you build a very robust tripping boat that is not ridiculously heavy. I paddle solo, am 6’4″ @ 220 pounds. I yearly travel solo in true wilderness for 10 to 30 day trips. I have had this boat on many of my trips. It has been in rocky twisty creeks, to big wind swept water. It seems every trip is fraught with strong head winds and big waves. Incredibly, when trimmed correctly, this boat paddled as a solo has handled up to 3 foot waves with aplomb. It takes big water but is still very manageable in the wind.

I find it to be a fantastic fishing platform and is stable, fast and very maneuverable.   My Pal has been all over the Wisconsin River, many lakes in Northern Wisconsin, the BWCA as well as several trips to Wood Land Caribou Provincial Park. In fact I am just coming back from a 32 day trip that covered much of the Gammon river system as well as a bit of the Bloodvein water shed. I find this boat only looks better with the battle scars of wilderness tripping. The ash gunnels do not take much in the way of maintenance to remain beautiful and durable.

I do not believe I have ever written a letter espousing the merits of a product I am so in love with. However, this boat is all you said it would be and more. I feel a deep connection with my boat and all the adventures we have shared together … and the adventures that await.

Thank you for making such a marvelous boat. I love my Pal canoe.

By rblturtle –

I have a royalite Pal. I previously had a 16′ Novacraft Prospector. For my use, the Pal fits me much better. I don’t do heavy whitewater, and for everything else I like the Pal better. It’s noticeably lighter, narrower which makes faster and easier tandem and solo paddling, less freeboard to be caught by the wind. It has less rocker and has a flatter bottom, so it’s not quite as good at extreme heals and spins.

I installed a slanted kneeling seat behind the front seat facing backwards and paddle it Canadian style a lot that way. Paddled that way it could be a good high capacity solo tripper. It also poles well. I think it is an excellent choice for an all around canoe, particularly if you want to solo a lot.

By De3 –

I own a Pal Kev/Spectra – bought new last year. I paddle the canoe solo on flat water with 3 large dogs each weighing in the 70-90 lb range each. The canoe is extremely stable, primary stability excellent. My dog managed to put the canoe practically on its side getting out without tipping the boat. I had the bow seat removed for space, at 48 lb the Kev/Spec is not ultralight and that would be the only downside in my view.

The low-profile and low free-board is a dream in the wind -its an all round great boat and as a relative novice, I am very confident in this boat. It’s sturdy and well made. If it were available one day in Super ultra-light (under 40 lbs) that for me would be the perfect boat…as a woman solo paddler I’d like something around 35lbs.

By Ken Drouillard. August 2016

You may remember us as we bought a Nova Craft Pal in regular weight TuffStuff from you last year and had taken it on a few smaller trips, one of them (Nunakani Lake Loop) was featured on your website.

In the last two weeks we took our canoe on a 13 day trip to Wabakimi Provincial Park.  We ran into an incident on Day 2 where we wrapped the boat on a rock in rapids trying to line them.  In any event, TuffStuff far exceeded my expectations.  Even being wrapped and warping under the onslaught of moving water for 10 minutes, the boat, after being released, was serviceable and held its own for the next 11 days of our trip.  The gel coat was scored quite deeply, through to the hull near the bow and there is one place where the haul might have been weakened.  I will bring the boat to Nova Craft this winter for your inspection and see if you can fix it.  At the time we bought it, John indicated that the gel-coat could be resurfaced after a few years of hard wear.  It didn’t take us many years, but I would like to have this done after the season has ended.  I know that my other kevlar canoe would not have survived this event in the same circumstance.

I captured most of the event with two go-pro cameras that were clamped to the back thwart of the canoe at the time and produced a smaller excerpt of the incident as a stand alone video to the series I’m making of our trip.  I have attached the video for your interest.  Accidents do happen, and this was an unanticipated test of the canoe’s fortitude.

As I said, I am extremely happy with the performance of this canoe.  Not only is TuffStuff worthy of its namesake, but the PAL is perhaps the most versatile canoe I’ve ever had the pleasure to paddle. It is the perfect vessel for us!

By: Jonathan Ontario, @LostLakes. July 2021

99% of my tripping had been in prospectors before I got my Pal. I looked at dozens of models from all manufacturers but landed on the Pal and I liked it immediately. A little narrower than a prospector but still very stable, faster, and less impacted by crosswinds.

I bought this boat primarily for solo trips (with the option for tandem) in northern Ontario off the beaten path and got the Tuffstuff layup for durability. Jagged rocks are not friendly to the gel coat (which I’ve touched up with West System epoxy), but the hull is strong. My bags didn’t fit flat when soloing initially, but after removing the second seat (an easy operation), there’s tons of room for my 115L pack and 60L barrel. If packing for a tandem trip, fitting a second 115L pack might be tight and then the prospector may have just that extra little bit of room needed to do so.

I took the Pal on a solo trip on Lake Superior from Silver Islet to Rossport and didn’t lose one day to conditions, despite being undecked (with a dry suit of course). In some tough wind and 2-3ft swells, it was very stable. In fact, at one point I was distracted while filming some video and a huge swell broke on a shoal I hadn’t noticed. It took me for a wild ride but the boat responded and saved my bacon.

I run a little whitewater but nothing over class II and I’m comfortable with using this boat undecked for that application. I increasingly use a double blade on flat water due to a wrist issue and my 250cm paddle is just enough for the Pal, though 260 or 270 would be better. I got the aluminum trim which is my preference (I don’t like maintenance) and the skid plates. It’s a versatile boat, a pleasure to paddle, and I look forward to taking it around Ontario for many years.