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Bergans ALLY Folding Canoe – UpaDowna
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Bergans ALLY Folding Canoe

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  • DIMENSIONS: Length- 16'5", Width- 37.5", Depth- 14", Bow Height- 18.5"
  • STORAGE DIMENSIONS: 44" x 19" x 19"
  • CAPACITY: 835lbs
  • WEIGHT: 44lbs
  • MSRP: $2050

With its ability to fold into minimal space and its relatively light weight the Bergans ALLY folding canoe is a great way for everyone to have access to canoeing. Lets face it one of the primary reasons folks do not have watercraft it because more people than not simply do not have the space needed to store a boat when they are not using it. Especially one that is close to 17' long and over 3' wide. Fortunately the ALLY is a great answer for those wanting a canoe that have limited storage space. The 16'5" folding all purpose canoe packs down to an area roughly 44" x 19" x 19" and weighs in at 44 lbs. You can separate the pieces and stow it in a few different areas should you need and I see no reason it could not fit comfortably in the smallest of compact cars.

Assembly of this canoe was much like what I imagine wrestling a pissed off grizzly cub would be like; lots of profanity, some blood, some interesting body positions and a few grunts…but no real carnage other than both of you ending up in a hot sweaty mess. The ALLY is comprised of only a few parts that are tensioned within the skin to provide a stable and amazingly maneuverable boat. During the build, which took a few of us an hour, we laid out the components which are as follows: skin, base pad, seats, frame pieces (longitudinals that run lengthwise from the bow to stern), gunnels and ribs. All of the pieces fit together with the implementation of the included rubber mallet. To be honest I was a bit nervous about bending the aluminum frame pieces with the mallet taps, but as I got wrapped up in the process I was able to get the pieces to fit nicely together with firm, but not aggressive force. Other than needing a partner and some teamwork to help tension the ribs and longitudinals, the canoe was something that with a bit of practice would be easily doable in 30 minutes or so.

The skin on this canoe was tight and a bit tough to stretch the little bit it needed to fit the frame in it. However this is necessary to ensure that the canoe would be structurally sound enough to perform so well on the water. I also assembled the canoe on a 60 degree day and I wonder if it was a bit warmer if it would have been easier. The most difficult part of the install was trying to center the base pad both fore and aft as well as port and starboard and I eventually said screw it and managed to assemble the canoe with the pad just off of center. I think that once you get it in place you should mark the edges with permanent marker so you easily line it up in the future.

Once we had the boat assembled I was impressed at how stiff it was and even though I was certain it would be a pain to try and get it to track straight down the river, it was in fact a dream, smooth and fast and very responsive. I enjoyed how snappy it responded and although I assumed it would be a bit "flexy" on turns it was not at all difficult to maneuver and all of the folks I passed on the Colorado river were amazed at the ALLY.

Paddling through flat water and even through a few short sections of class II whitewater the ALLY was very stable and responsive. I can only image the added benefits of utilizing the optional accessories such as the pontoons, spray skirt, or pack frame to carry the canoe. With these you have a bunch of options for a variety of activities from fishing to motor use to white water and can easily pack the boat with enough gear for a week long float trip.

For most canoe shoppers the price may be a bit higher than other canoes of equal length however once you consider the fact that this is only a canoe when it is on the water and other times it is simply a box in the corner you can imagine the added value you get for your extra expense. The ability to live in a house or apartment with limited space but still have a toy like a 16'5" canoe is pretty appealing!

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