Canoe Vs Kayak Which Should You Choose?

canoe vs kayak

Last updated on September 2, 2022

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For a number of people, kayaks and canoes are the same. But what is canoe vs kayak?

Canoes and kayaks used interchangeably. People who aren’t familiar with kayaking or canoeing do this. You might have heard your friend say, ” Dude. I want to buy a kayak. I am going out of town for a good canoeing adventure”.

You can’t blame your friend, though. Kayaks and canoes do look the same. Their similarity is the same as jam and jelly. Their difference isn’t apparent, and you will need to do a bit of research to know why they’re different.

You’re very fortunate. I already did most of the research for you. That said, all you have to do is stay and hear what I have to say for you to decide which to pick.

Here are the topics that I will cover for this discussion.

Canoe vs Kayak

Comparison of Design and Size

At first glance, kayaks and canoes look the same. Both have a streamlined appearance. Their stern and bow have this pointed design for more natural control and navigation. Also, the gunwales, yoke, and thwart of canoes and kayaks serve the same purpose for staying afloat.

In closer inspection, you’ll see that the stern and bow of canoes might be a bit broader and more significant than those of kayaks. In contrast, the stern and bow of kayaks are smaller and are lying low.

Also, canoes are bigger than kayaks. The average size of the canoes is 15-18 feet. On the other hand, kayaks have an average size of 6-12 feet. Three people can ride a large boat at the same time. For kayaks, the max capacity is two persons.

In terms of design, kayaks look fancier than canoes. Their interior and exterior are more detailed and have various graphics such as stickers, color patterns, etc. Boats have this feature too, but their colors and graphics aren’t as eye-catching as those of kayaks.

Comparison of Types

There are only three main types of canoes available in the market. On the other hand, there at least four types of kayaks that you can choose. In this sense, kayaks beat canoes when it comes to variety.

The 3 types of canoes are recreational, intermediate/advanced canoe, and whitewater canoe.

Recreational canoes are made from plastic or aluminum material and can be left outside without any problems. Intermediate/advanced canoes have better features than recreational canoes and made from lighter and more durable materials.

Finally, whitewater canoes are highly stable and lightweight. This is why they’re suitable for rapid waters.

The five types of kayaks are recreational, sit on top, sit inside, inflatable. And whitewater kayaks.

Recreational kayaks are smaller than recreational canoes and made out of fiberglass or plastic. Sit inside and sit on top kayaks equate to intermediate/advanced canoes. However, they’re smaller, lighter, and less bulky. Inflatable kayaks are made out of rubber, or polyethylene and require air for set up.

Lastly, whitewater kayaks are smaller than whitewater canoes and have a lower rocker.

Comparison of Prices

On average, cheap recreational canoes cost $300. Recreational kayaks are way less expensive at a difference of $150

Sit on top kayaks and sit inside kayaks are sold between $400-$600. In comparison, intermediate/advanced canoes cost more and are sold at $750 or even more.

Whitewater kayaks are pricey, which sold at $900 or even higher. On the other hand, whitewater canoes cost twice as much.

In summary, canoes are way more expensive than kayaks. However, it would be best if you didn’t let this discourage you from buying because they’re more durable and stable than kayaks.

Comparison of Performance

Canoes beat kayaks when it comes to loading capacity. Canoes designed to be big, and at least three individuals may ride on their smallest variety. On the other hand, only recreational kayaks and inflatable kayaks can carry more than one person. Even so, their carrying capacity is limited to 2 individuals regardless of their length.

Riding a canoe is more comfortable than riding a kayak. Their spacious cockpit allows for more pleasant positioning of the feet, the back, the hips, and torso. Aside from this, they’re very stable and don’t capsize quickly in turbulent waters.

However, kayaks beat canoes in terms of speed. This is primarily due to their small sizes. By being humble, kayaks move fast even with minimal paddling. The reason why some people prefer kayaks over canoes is that lesser effort is required to keep them running.

Another area of performance where kayaks defeat canoes are control and maneuverability. Again, the small size of kayaks plays an integral part. The design of kayak paddles also plays a significant role aside from this. Kayak paddles have blades in both of its ends, whereas canoe paddles only have one edge.

As a result, its easier to change the direction of the kayak using the paddles. Furthermore, the user may even commit to different positions for making sudden turns.

In canoeing vs. kayaking, kayaking is easier because kayaks are speedy and more controllable.

Lastly, kayaks are easier to transport than canoes. All kayaks can be placed on your car’s roof rack for traveling to different kayaking locations. You can also do this to canoes, but this is only possible if your vehicle has a full canopy. In the case of inflatable kayaks, all you have to do is to remove air then tuck them on a carrying bag.

A car trolley is a must-have for canoes because it allows for more comfortable transportation.

Final Verdict: Canoes Or Kayaks?

Canoes are ideal for large families who frequent lakes, streams, and rivers for recreation. On the other hand, kayaks recommended for individuals who engage in water adventures without companions.

If you’re looking for a speedy watercraft, you should opt for kayaks. However, you should go for canoes if you’re emphasizing stability and durability.

Both canoes and kayaks are great. Their usefulness will largely depend upon your needs. The difference between kayak and canoe isn’t significant. Base your decision according to your needs to make the most of your investment.

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