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Let me tell you a little about how Van Hal Canoes began:

The dream of canoeing started for me when I was just a kid. After working a few summer jobs, my brother and I had enough money to buy an 18-foot fiberglass canoe. One of my many adventures included a trip down the Des-Moines River from the source in Minnesota to Fort Dodge, Iowa. Even after weathering a tornado less than 1⁄2 mile from our camp I was hooked on canoeing.

I can clearly remember sitting in the boat with my dad, drawing plans for a wooden boat when I was 12 years old. I dreamt of the day when I could build my own. My dreams spawned a reality in 1986, when I built my first redwood strip canoe. During the building process I realized that I was doing what I loved most. Designing and constructing wood strip canoes. Ever since then, it has become a passion for me.

If you happen to see me on the lake or river you might notice a few things: If I’m paddling solo you’ll see 3 gallons of water in a nylon collapsible water bag tucked in the bow. That helps even the canoe out in the water by giving me better control in the current or wind. If there is a side or rear-quartering breeze, I’ll sit towards one side leaning into the wind. This will cause the canoe to pick up some speed from the wind.
When canoeing solo, I will usually sit on the bow seat in reverse. With a symmetrical canoe you have the versatility to run it either way. I usually use a backrest while canoeing. You can either use the plastic Coleman or the more expensive Wenonah backrest. I have both depending on the application. The Wenonah can be taken out and used flat on the ground while you are in or out of your tent.
I am enjoying a solo tour around the lake      
The adventure of exploring new places and enjoying the world’s nature is something that I have loved since I was a kid. Being able to maneuver through a powerful river or a serene lake in a wood strip canoe is indescribable. If you’ve ever banged around in a metal canoe you’ll immediately notice the quietness of a wood strip canoe. My admiration for the outdoors and natural materials is evident in the care that I put into constructing every wood strip canoe.      
Burt, Dave and myself enjoying the day in the Boundary Waters      

If you want to escape from daily stress, work or anything that weighs heavy on your mind. Explore nature in a handcrafted wood strip canoe.

“What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other travel. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.”- Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Working out of the Indiana vicinity vanhalcanoes region includes Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. If you are outside of the region but inside the continental U.S. we will work with you on delivery of your craft to the best of our ability. There is free delivery within 70 miles of Mooresville, Indiana.

Let me help you start creating your own adventures.

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