Light, Strong, Beautiful Custom-Built Kevlar Canoes

Testimonials & Reviews

Reviews And Customer comments

Howdy Benjamin it was nice to meet you when we picked up the canoe. It paddles  spectacularly we very much enjoyed our vacation here … Thanks again for the awesome boat. (Leo 17)

Mitchell, GA


We Love it.  We took the boat out and it’s great. Handles like a dream. My office does an annual canoe trip… and it was night and day over the rentals getting into this canoe.  (Cygnus 16)

Lisa, CA


My wife and I got our new Leo 17 last year and I couldn’t be happier.  We spent 15 days in the back country on two separate trips.  The canoe handled great and was a pleasure to portage.  The stability was excellent and it moves very well thru the water.  I was quite proud of the comments from many other boaters about the beauty of it as well.  I can hardly wait to take it on my BWCA trip in August.

Thank you Benjamin

Gary, IN


I bought a Utility Cygnus 16′ from you in 2018. Now that my wife and I have

put several hundred water miles on the boat, I must say that we are still as

thrilled about it as the first day we took it out. With our previous heavy

boat (and being fiberglass it was not THAT heavy), we never took it out as

often as we could. With the Cygnus, the only thing that forced the end of

last season on us was arriving at Big Lake in Central Cascades finding it

completely frozen over!

The boat handles marvelously. It tracks great and corrective strokes are

needed much less often and when the wind blows in the right direction, only

rarely. Yet it still turns on a dime when needed. The tumblehome keeps our

knuckles intact. The second time out we got caught in fairly big rollers

coming from the side and with a bit of leaning we did not even get any spray

in. Moving the rear seat forward was a great idea, our trim is perfect. We

ended up moving the seats below the brackets. The boat has become a member

of the family and we cannot imagine being without it.

Alex, OR


We took our 17 footer with us to SE Alaska, Metlakatla and have been using it in area saltwater bays and lakes. Well made, handles and performs well in a range of conditions.



Sorry it took so long but I just wanted to tell you how happy we are with your canoe.  So easy for us to load and unload.  It paddles so effortlessly we don’t even use the electric motor unless fishing on a large body of water.  Thanks again for your fine craftsmanship, we love it!
Sincerely, Boyd and Jules

Benjamin dropped of our new Cygnus just before dinner on a lovely June day so we headed out after eating for our maiden voyage on the Milwaukee River. Putting it atop the car by myself was delightfully easy. Great blue and green herons, kingfishers and other avian friends turned out to mark the occasion. The canoe handled very well and, even with our 70 pound Portuguese water dog on board, felt every bit as stable as our old, much heavier canoe. This is going to be a great canoe for us.


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We are on our second season using the canoe, and overtime I use it I love it.  The first time we took it out we had our 2 – 5 year old grandsons out camping for the first time and I was a little concerned how stable it would be with the little guys in it.  Well it was so stable I was so impressed because it was even more stable than the 16 foot Old Town I had.  Thanks again for making a fantastic canoe which is not only easy to put up on the truck by myself but its a beautiful canoe that gets a lot of attention….

Just thought I would share how pleased we are with your product.

Thanks Again

Larry, IA

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As a born and raised Minnesotan, I spent some of the happiest moments of my childhood paddling away in my family’s canoe at our lake cabin. Benjamin’s canoes are built to create these happy family memories year after year. They’re light, durable, sturdy and easy to maneuver. Perhaps most importantly, the love and care that Benjamin puts into the every detail will make your new canoe one to pass down through the generations.

Alex., MN

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I purchased the 18 pegasus.  I’ve taken it out twice love it and hopping to do a trip in a couple weeks…. love the room and stability.

Steve, IL

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Just letting you know I enjoyed my first outing with my nighthawk and it went great.  The canoe handled very well and portaged wonderfully.  I actually ran into another nighthawk canoe owner at the Sylvania Wilderness.

Lee, IA

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of trying out a “Nighthawk” brand canoe. Wow!  The canoe cut the water so well I found little in the way of a wake. The chairs are very comfortable and the paddles are first class. You move without much effort. If you want an excellent

canoe I urge you to try a handcrafted Nighthawk.  Impressive is an understatement.

Terry, MN

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Benjamin…We took that new Leo 17′ canoe for a spin on a little lake close to home this afternoon.  I will tell you that after seeing the sleek design in person, I had my doubts that it could both paddle well and be stable at the same time.  My wife is not an accomplished paddler and she felt very comfortable in the Leo, and it paddled better than any canoe I have ever been in…it tracked well, and handled well both going with and against the wind…  I didn’t buy this canoe with tripping in mind…but now I am very tempted!   This canoe is exactly as you described it and now I understand why every review I read was so positive!   I love the fact that at 65 years old, I can toss that canoe on my shoulders and go!


You can call it the Leo 17….I will call it the Wonder Canoe…


Bob and Raye, AK

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Hey, had a chance to throw the canoe in the pond last night at dusk.  It was awesome!!   It seemed to float in just inches of water!   The center seat worked out great for solo paddling.   It was a lot faster than my old canoe.  It was a pleasure to carry down to the water.   I found the initial stability a little different, but got used to it right away.

I’m really happy with the canoe.  It’s a great craft that I’m sure I’ll enjoy for decades!!   Thanks again, I appreciate the work that went into it, and I wish you much success!!!

-Michigan Paddler

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I’ve had it [Cygnus 16] out a few times now. It is so easy to load and unload. Easier than I expected, so with my bum back I can manage it fine. Paddles nicely. Similar to my old town 158, but much, much lighter.


The canoe has an added benefit of an ego enhancer at the beach as one gracefully handles it due to its weight. Before, I looked like a broken down old man struggling under my burden.


Here are a couple of pics.


Already have scratches. No more class III…. but those are in the past anyway. Will try to be more careful.


There was no way I could risk my back on my 80 lb Old Town tanker so I had given up on paddling. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to paddle again.


Glenn, NV.


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We have had our Cygnus 16 for a year and a half and we are extremely happy with this canoe, it is our favorite canoe period.  Julie now refers to our Royalex boats as “German tanks”.   This is our first Kevlar canoe and we love its performance in all conditions (including rivers) with loads or for day tripping.  The light weight is handy for loading/unloading and for portages.


Last year we took it on at least 6 camping trips including the BWCA and Sylvania and it performed perfectly for our needs.  For a 10 day trip in the BWCA with two packs of approximately 45 pounds each (for a total cargo weight with us at around 350 pounds) the Cygnus easily accommodated us.  Since we try to do single portages, I also appreciate the light weight when carrying a pack on some of the longer portages in the BWCA as well.


We are looking forward to more canoeing adventures and camping trips this summer.


Thanks again,


K and J, Wisconsin

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I had the opportunity to paddle the Leo 17 model Nighthawk canoe on two different occasions. The first experience was in very windy conditions with three large adults. The swells were big enough that we took water over the bow on several occasions but the canoe remained steadfast. I was impressed with the stability and the comfort of the bow seat.

The second time I paddled this canoe the conditions were much more favorable. There were two of us (both adults) and I paddled from the stern. For a tripping canoe that is made to handle heavy loads, I was surprised with the stability when empty. These are beautifully made, light weight and durable canoes. I have paddled many different light weight flat water canoes and the Nighthawk Leo 17 is equal to or better than any of the top manufacturers.

Charlie, MN

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This is a great canoe! I was able to use one this summer on a local lake. It is extremely lightweight and glides nicely through the water. Anyone considering a strong, lightweight canoe like a Wenonah needs to check out a Nighthawk first. A nice feature of the Nighthawk is that the seat placement works equally well for either tandem or solo paddling.

Gregg, MN

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I’ve had the Columba out twice now….Today, just before twilight, I took it out in 34 DF temps with a bit more open water to play in.  More confident this time, the boat delighted me.  It’s very quick and holds glide wonderfully.  I switch-paddled when I really wanted speed, and it seems to be about a fast as a very skinny sea kayak I have paddled a lot, the 16 Ft. Romany, with a 21 inch beam.  In classic, stay -on -one -side paddling the boat really needs a strong quick J at most every stroke.  Maybe sunk a bit with gear it would track more strongly.  Secure in kneeling position you can get the boat on its side for much easier short-radius turns, with sweeps and cross draws.  I now certifiably love the boat.

Dennis, MN

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We purchased a Cygnus 16 from you a week ago, and Julie and I would both like to inform you that we both believe that this a wonderful canoe.  We are very impressed with it’s light weight, making it easy to load on the car or to carry it the city block to our launch point on Lake Monona.

Once we got it into the water, we both were REALLY impressed with it’s performance.  It is a surprisingly fast canoe that handles very responsively as well.  Julie immediately commented on the generous tumbledown because she was not banging her hand on the gunwales like our other canoe.  I was also very pleased with its stability when we pointed it into the wakes of motor boats and while going into some fairly good swells from a NW wind.

We both look forward to taking the Cygnus out again this coming weekend and taking it out for some trips in the Boundary Waters next summer.  I suspect that I will not dread some of the longer portages when using this canoe.

Thanks for making these canoes available.

Kyle and Julie, WI.

We took it out on Waubesa on Saturday in a bit rougher water and were impressed there again.  Julie was surprised at how long she can paddle into the wind in the Cygnus and how stable it was even without a load. The kevlar makes it possible to see that the boat only draws around 4″ with the two of us in it…

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I love my brand new Nighthawk 17 foot Kevlar canoe. It handles great in the water, and at 43 pounds, is actually fun to carry. It also happens to be the best looking canoe I’ve ever ridden in.

It was a pleasure to work with Benjamin, and see the care and craftsmanship that he puts into each canoe. I purchased the [Leo] 17 foot basic black canoe. (a beauty in and out of the water)

After my last boundary waters trip, and a wrenched back, I decided never to carry a heavy canoe again. At the end of June I’ll head back up with the Kevlar canoe and take some longer portages. (The first is a 380 rod portage) In early July I will let you know about my boundary waters experience, and how the canoe handled in different lakes, winds, and waves.

Rick, MN

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Am happy to say we are delighted with the light weight. You made the ordering process simple and straightforward, which we greatly appreciated.  Color choices were a bonus, too, even though we finally decided on standard bright yellow.

Mary,  ND

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Thanks for the demo last Wednesday on Fish Lake.  I was impressed with your canoes, especially with the weight and performance of the them.  I think the Tandem 17 is a great all-around canoe that can easily handle the BWCA.

Ryan, MN

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I took a Nighthawk down to the Mississippi over the weekend to paddle through the old industrial part of St. Paul. I pulled the canoe off the car and could not believe how light it was! I figured the integrity of the craft would be compromised but it was just as strong as other Kevlars I’ve paddled.

The boat handled well, especially over waves and rolling wakes. I was thoroughly impressed and can’t wait to take it out again!

Nick,  MN

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This past Memorial Day my wife and I had the opportunity to take a Nighthawk canoe for a test drive on a local chain of lakes in Saint Paul, MN. I canoe during the summers on day trips and on multiple-day excursions and have gone on numerous trips through the Boundary Waters.

I found many attractive features about the Nighthawk canoe. It was lightweight and easy to throw on top of the car and to maneuver. The seats were comfortable and adjustable and the construction was solid and stable.             The canoe was easy to turn and yet felt grounded in somewhat choppy waters that were disturbed by occasional motor boats towing water skiers. The finish of the canoe was attractive and I was pleased to see the customizable options for a variety of other colors and selections regarding the aesthetics of the canoe.

At the end of the day, my wife and I had a very enjoyable day of paddling and we look forward to taking our 8 year old daughter out in one to see how it works with her parked and paddling from the middle.  Based on our current experience, we highly recommend this canoe to others.

Steve, MN


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