canoe vs Kayak: How to Choose the  Right boat 

Canoe vs. Kayak

There are key differences between canoes and kayaks, from the basic design and seating to how you paddle.


Generally speaking, canoes are wider, have more open space, and are heavier than kayaks. But some canoes these days are very lightweight.


A canoe typically has a bench-like seat and a higher seating position. Many canoes have two seats, and some have three.

Paddle (and Paddling)

Generally, a canoe has a traditional single-blade paddle used in both hands while sitting down. A canoe paddle has a “T” knob on the top of the paddle for one hand, and the other goes in the middle.

Getting wet

Anytime you are paddling, there is an opportunity to get wet. The nature of a canoe sitting up higher can help keep you drier.


Generally speaking, canoes are wider, longer, and more spacious but more difficult to paddle than your standard recreational kayak, especially if weighted down with people, pets, and gear.

Storage Space

Storage space makes a canoe ideal for large groups of people and pets. It will be less crowded on the canoe than on the kayak.

Canoes, by far, have a higher load capacity than kayaks and carry lots of stuff. Most recreational kayaks have a lower load capacity than canoes.

Weight limit

Both canoes and kayaks present some challenges when transporting the boat from your house to the waterway.



A canoe is a better option if you need to portage frequently. Even with a backpack full of gear, you can still toss a canoe on your back and walk it where you need to go.

Check out more great content:  Ultimate Guide to Kayak Fishing