Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NuCanoe Frontier 12 Review

Since I've had my Frontier out many times and fished for several different species I feel comfortable giving it my full review seeing how there seems to lots of interest in the NuCanoe's. Just to give you some background, I have not fished out of any other kayaks or canoes to compare to but I have paddled around in various kayaks and canoes previously. You can check out all the specs of the Frontier 12 on NuCanoe's Website.

Here's a look at my Frontier, setup for a typical fishing trip.

Stability is where the Frontier shines the brightest. From the get go I had no issues standing at all. Never has standing made me nervous, not to say it is impossible to fall out. My first day out I was even paddling my Frontier while standing up. You could say that the Frontier is like floating around on your own personal dock. Recently I've even tried out tandem fishing and found that even with two people the Frontier is still plenty stable. The capacity of the Frontier is 650lbs which is more than enough for 2 people and gear. The stability and spacious standing area combined with the optional swivel seat make the Frontier very comfortable to fish from.

Internal Storage isn't the Frontier's strongest asset. It has only the one large dry storage compartment on the front. If you remove the dry storage bag you gain access to the inside of the entire hull. It was advertised that you could store rods in the hull. While this is possible it made me uncomfortable because to insert a rod of moderate length requires you to bend the rod. Thus, a stiff rod is very hard to insert or even impossible without breaking the rod. This was the case with my catfish rods. I feel that some additional compartments may be a nice addition although internal storage wasn't high on my priority list, open flat space was. If your like me and just want to set everything on top and not worry about sticking things down in compartments, the Frontier is great. Since it is so stable I don't worry about tipping and losing stuff, and the raised rim around the edge prevents anything from falling out.

Speed and Maneuverability
Since the Frontier is much wider than a typical kayak, it's much slower to paddle. This could easily be dealt with by mounting a trolling motor or even up to a 2.5hp gas motor. The Frontier has a transom built for easy motor mounting. The lower speed is the price you pay for the stability and space. Wind is another big issue. Compared to smaller kayaks, the Frontier is effected by the wind severely. Paddling against strong gusts can be almost impossible. Again, this could be dealt with by using a motor of some sort. So if you plan on paddling and your looking for speed, the Frontier is not for you.

Since the Frontier is a little bit bigger than a typical kayak, it also weighs a little bit more at 77lbs. This is where the optional transport cart accessory comes in, a must have accessory for any of the NuCanoe's. The transport cart easily attaches to a pre-made hole in the transom and allows you to roll your NuCanoe. This helps greatly to an extent. The only problem is not all locations allow for rolling of wheels such as steep hills or large rocks, something that is commonly found on public creek access points. Personally I can't carry the Frontier solo, so if the transport cart isn't viable, I need help to carry it. Other than that, the Frontier is a breeze to load and unload from my truck and put in and out of the water. The stability also makes getting on and off very easy.

Customizability and Accessories
Next to the stability, the ease of customizing is the Frontiers next strongest trait. The two 70 inch freedom tracks allow for endless layout possibilities. You can view all the accessories offered directly from NuCanoe here.

The price of the Frontier may deter some would be buyers. The base price when I purchased mine was $1179 and that was without any must have accessories such as a seat, transport cart, rod holders, and a paddle. After purchasing all the essential accessories it's easy to spend over $2000 on a Frontier. Compared to other kayaks this may seem a bit high but to me it was worth it.


After only a few months of owning the Frontier I am a little worried about the durability. I've only had one issue concerning the durability of the Frontier but it was somewhat major. The floor started to crack. I explained the full situation and outcome in a separate post here. This issue may have been remedied by the now standard foam inserts.

Customer Service

I've yet to hear a bad word about NuCanoe's customer service. My experience with them was great. They offered to get me a new replacement Frontier as result of the floor issues mentioned above. You can't beat that. I did choose not to get a replacement but it is good to know that the offer is still on the table.

To sum things up I've compiled a list of the basic pros and cons of the Frontier.

  • Stability
  • Spacious
  • Comfort
  • Weight Capacity
  • Tandem Fishing
  • Customizability
  • Customer Service
  • Speed (without motor)
  • Handling in wind
  • Transporting on rough terrain
  • Price
  • Lack of internal storage compartments
  • Durability (may no longer be an issue)

I'm completely satisfied with my Frontier and wouldn't trade it in for anything. To anybody looking for a kayak or canoe to fish from, I would make sure to give the NuCanoe Frontier 12 a strong look. Good luck!


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