In an earlier issue we had the pleasure to showcase the Rosco Solo Scamper and in this issue we’ll take a closer look at the Rosco Duo Scamper, a two-person version of the Solo.
So what’s different about the two-person Duo Scamper when compared to the Solo Scamper? Honestly, not a whole lot apart from the fact it’s designed for two people. With that in mind, let’s take a quick refresher on what the Scamper models offer anglers.
Designed for angling, the Scampers are built from fibreglass and are extremely light, weighing around 20kg. With two people carrying the Duo you can literally load it with all your gear and easily carry it down to the water’s edge. We loaded the Duo up with two people’s fishing gear, paddles, seats and some drinks and food for our test and transporting this lightweight canoe was a breeze.
The Scampers are stable and make great use of a design feature not found in many canoes, the Tumblehome design. This design gives a slight belly to the sides of the craft that aids in stability and buoyancy. It works really well and with two aboard the Duo it’s good to have a little extra security.
The Duo has a payload of 180kg. On our test day we probably overloaded it but the craft still performed really well and there was an easy 6” of freeboard while being used.
One of the slight differences between the Solo and the reviewed Duo was the stern buoyancy cavity. In the Duo this is a little larger. Specifically designed this way, the Duo’s floatation allows a single user to use the Duo without having that Shallow Hal feel to the canoe – you know the picture where the nose of the canoe is out of the water! The extra floatation also allows an electric outboard and battery to be used just as comfortably. I find it’s these little design alterations that make you understand that someone who knows their stuff has designed this craft.
Like all the Scampers, the Duo is a minimalist rig. The base rig comes with a hull and two seats – that’s it. The rest is literally up to your imagination and I can imagine plenty.
The Scamper’s build is a straight composite lay up, which is all fibreglass. Other options include Kevlar or carbon at an increased cost. Using this material provides the ability to form very fine lines, literally down to a knife-sharp entry if desired and the Scamper makes good use of this material.
Some of the advantages of fibreglass include that it is extremely lightweight (the Solo Scamper comes in at 20kg), it has a high strength-to-weight ratio, it can be formed to very fine design lines and it has a moderate cost. All these factors are displayed very well in the Scamper.
And being that the Scamper is fibreglass, what about damage and repair? Damage, of course, is a problem and these craft are not designed for going down classed rapids. If you want to do that, grab a proper whitewater kayak or a Rosco Chief, a 15’ canoe manufactured of Royalex, a material designed for whitewater use. Damage will occur from sharp rocks hit with force so avoid these situations. But the good news is that they can be repaired fairly easily and cheaply. Just remember that this is a canoe, not a rock hopper.
The big test is how this craft performs on the water and after a big trip catching bass and catties on lures I really found myself enjoying my time in the Duo Scamper.
Fishing (sorry, I meant testing) the craft with Greg Livingstone meant that the 180kg payload was tested. Neither of us are mere saplings however the Duo handled the load easily. On first stepping into the Duo you could feel the inherent stability of the canoe and even with Greg fussing around in the back trying to look pretty for the camera, never did I feel in imminent danger of going for a swim.
We had a paddle of about 2km to our fishing (sorry, testing) location and this gave us a chance to paddle this craft from the bow seat, from the stern seat and from both ends at the same time. The best directional paddling (we were using traditional canoe paddles) came from the stern seat and the bow seat provided good power or pace. With two paddling we could keep up easily with the electric powered Solo with the bow paddler providing power and the stern paddler providing some power but responsible for direction. As much as I’d like to say Greg had us going in circles and crashing through snags and trees, he didn’t and said it was a really easy unit to direct.
We did have one incident though and this involved both of us fishing and not concentrating. As we drifted toward the bank, Greg grabbed the paddle to push us off the tree that was looming and as he turned around an interesting little snake was right on our hip pockets, just looking at us as if to say “What the hell are you doing here?” With some quick reorganisation of the canoe’s weight distribution, a few frenzied paddle strokes and a bit of luck we slipped past the snake without tipping ourselves out, which seemed a minor miracle.
Fishing wise the Duo Scamper was brilliant. The front angler needed to be a little aware of the rear angler when casting forwards (sorry Greg, I know you loved that hat!), but apart from that two anglers fishing in this craft was great fun. It made landing and releasing fish so much easier as the non-catching angler did all the work.
And dry! I can’t remember being so dry in a canoe/kayak for some time. The canoe paddle is a much drier way to paddle these craft around and at day’s end that is a blessing. The change of clothes and towel I bought with me were untouched and that’s great.
The Duo Scamper is built just like its Solo Scamper brother – simple and easy to use. I love the thought of grabbing a mate, a couple of paddles, some lures and a rod each and just getting on with fishing.
Like the Solo you can have an electric set up if you want and there is also a great sail option if you want to minimise your paddle workload. You can also add on some neat little rod holders that are so simple you’ll kick yourself for not thinking about it, and you can add on drop anchors, paddle holders and more. The open plan allows for unrivalled customisation and I really like that.
The only thing I would advise is to choose your partner carefully. Overloading any boat, let alone a canoe is not the smartest thing to do so just take into account the 180kg payload. Other than that, a brilliant canoe that allows you to spend some quality time with a mate or one of the kids in a safe, stable and simple way.
To find out more about the Duo Scamper log onto www.roscocanoes.com.au or drop into the Rosco Canoes and Kayaks display rooms at 295 Gympie Rd in Kedron. You could also give them a call on (07) 3359 9330 for more information.