Home Kayaks & Boats 9 Best Canoes for Every Activity

9 Best Canoes for Every Activity

Young Man Canoeing on Emerald Lake in the rocky mountains canada with canoe and life vest with mountains in the background blue water.

Choosing your first canoe or picking a new one to join the fleet can be a daunting task. With so many makes and models, how can you decide which will be your go-to fishing canoe as opposed to your camping canoe? Do you paddle solo or tandem? What about a three-person canoe?

There are a lot of technical terms related to canoeing, from design features to paddle strokes.

This guide provides answers to these and many more questions. It outlines what you need to know when choosing the best canoe for your needs.

Read on for recommendations on the best canoes for various uses, an explanation of how to choose your own canoe, and a quick outline of some of the best canoe brands.


9 Best Canoes of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews

The following recommendations outline some of the best canoes on the market for various uses.

While there are countless other options available, the canoes listed below offer the best in design quality, craftsmanship, price and overall availability.

  1. Best Fishing Canoe for the Adventurer: Wenonah Boundary Waters
  2. Best Fishing Canoe for the All-Arounder: Old Town Penobscot 164
  3. Best Fishing Canoe on a Budget: Pelican 15.5
  4. Best Family Canoe: Old Town Saranac 160
  5. Best Solo Canoe: Nova Craft Fox 14′ Solo
  6. Best Canoe for Camping Trips: Wenonah Champlain
  7. Best Two-Person Canoe: Nova Craft Prospector 17′
  8. Best Three-Person Canoe: Wenonah Seneca
  9. Best Lightweight Canoe: Wenonah Kingfisher
CategoryBest Fishing CanoeBest Family CanoeBest Solo Canoe
ProductOld Town Penobscot 164
Old Town Penobscot 164

Old Town Saranac 160
Old Town Saranac 160

Nova Craft Fox 14′
Nova Craft Fox 14′

Length16 ft 4 in16 ft14 ft
Maximum width37.5 in37 in32 in
Center depth14 in14 in13 in
Hull shapeShallow archFlatShallow arch with slight tumblehome
Seats23Single wicker
Weight75 lbs89 lbs50 lbs
CostCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price


1. Best Fishing Canoe for the Adventurer: Wenonah Boundary Waters 17

Wenonah Boundary Waters 17

The Boundary Waters 17 takes its name from the famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where fishing and backcountry adventure go hand in hand. At 17 feet long, it fits right into the touring canoe category, and with extra fullness through the middle, it can carry a surprising amount of weight.


  • Length: 17 feet
  • Maximum width: 36.5 inches
  • Center depth: 14 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 20 inches
  • Hull shape: Shallow arch
  • Rocker: One inch
  • Seats: Two
  • Weight: Tuf-Weave® Flex-Core (58 pounds); Flex-Core Aramid (53 pounds); Ultralight Aramid (42 pounds)

For the angler wanting to get into distant lakes, the Boundary Waters 17 is a great mix of stability and efficiency. It tracks well, and with a low bow and stern, wind has less impact — great for getting the perfect drift over a honey hole.


  • Good carrying capacity for extended trips
  • Choice of construction materials
  • Lightweight
  • Webbed seats
  • Good wind resistance even when unloaded


  • Ultralight hull materials are prone to damage
  • Relatively expensive canoe

The Wenonah Boundary Waters 17 is one of the best lightweight tourers available. For the adventure angler keen to fish on lakes and rivers that are a long way from anywhere, this is a reliable and capable craft that’ll carry you and your gear to where the big ones bite.

Buy it if you’re looking for the best of the best in a lightweight canoe. These are designed for the adventurer and keep everything elegantly simple.

Learn more about the Wenonah Boundary Waters 17.


2. Best Fishing Canoe for the All-Arounder: Old Town Penobscot 164

Old Town Penobscot 164

The Penobscot pays homage to the original inhabitants of the Old Town area and from whom much knowledge of boat building was gained.

The Penobscot 164 is versatile length suited to either solo or tandem paddling, with just enough rocker to keep it maneuverable while also covering water well. It’s built tough for whatever nature throws at it and is constructed from three-layer polyethylene.


  • Length: 16 feet 4 inches
  • Maximum width: 37.5 inches
  • Center depth: 14 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 20.25 inches
  • Hull shape: Shallow arch
  • Rocker: Slight
  • Seats: Two
  • Hull: Three-layer polyethylene
  • Weight: 75 pounds

For those wanting to fish rivers, lakes and streams — no matter the conditions — the Penobscot is ready to go. With plenty of carrying capacity, your fishing camp will be well stocked. And at a nimble length, the Penobscot is still easy to paddle solo on a last-minute outing.


  • Durable three-layer polyethylene hull
  • Durable and attractive ash yoke and thwart
  • Versatile design for one or two people
  • Webbed seats


  • Heavy compared to some canoe designs
  • Smaller carrying capacity for extended trips

The Penobscot 164 is a real winner as an all-around canoe. For anglers who like to fish a variety of waterways, do a bit of exploring, camp and get the most out of having a line in the water wherever they end up, this canoe won’t disappoint.

Buy it if you like to fish where the wild things are, regardless of where that is. For rivers, lakes, streams and myriad other waterways, this old favorite still delivers.



3. Best Fishing Canoe on a Budget: Pelican 15.5


Pelican 15.5


The most important thing about a budget fishing canoe is maximum capability at minimum cost. For those with these buying criteria, the Pelican 15.5 is a great choice.

It’s a proven performer and has turned up on many waterways worldwide. This reputation hasn’t been gained accidentally. The Pelican is a tough, reliable craft that’s well designed for the angler.


  • Length: 15 feet 7 inches
  • Maximum width: 37.5 inches
  • Hull shape: Flat
  • Rocker: Minimal
  • Seats: Three
  • Hull: Pelican RAM-X™
  • Weight: 81 pounds
  • Three vertical rod holders
  • Molded bench seats

The Pelican 15.5 is a little shorter than the other recommended fishing canoes but is still perfectly capable of seating three paddlers and their fishing gear. The molded bench seats give a comfortable seat, and the fitted rod holders keep the rods safely out of harm’s way.


  • Tough RAM-X™ hull
  • Three plastic molded seats
  • Three rod holders
  • Affordable price for those on a budget


  • Heavy compared to some canoe designs
  • Carrying capacity limited by size
  • Flat-bottom hull design has reduced secondary stability

The Pelican 15.5 is a reliable alternative to more expensive fishing canoes and will still get the angler out to where the fish are. It’s tough as nails and of simple design, and seats up to three occupants.

Buy it if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a fishing canoe and just need something to get out onto the local waters. It’s also a great choice for small families looking for a bit of fun.

Learn more about the Pelican 15.5.


4. Best Family Canoe: Old Town Saranac 160

Old Town Saranac 160

A canoe for the family has a few things expected of it. It needs to be big enough to carry several people comfortably and safely, it should have a few places to put things where they won’t get lost, and it should be easy to control even when some of the paddlers feel a bit tired.

The Old Town Saranac ticks all of these boxes. It’s a well-priced craft that combines Old Town’s boat-building experience with a few modern comforts, making it a great choice for a family day out on the water.


  • Length: 16 feet
  • Maximum width: 37 inches
  • Center depth: 14 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 13.5 inches
  • Hull shape: Flat
  • Rocker: Moderate
  • Seats: Three molded seats (two with back rests, one bench)
  • Hull: Single-layer thermoformed polyethylene
  • Weight: 89 pounds

The Saranac provides some handy features, with the center bench seat containing storage compartments and a six-inch hatch. It also has several storage trays and cup holders. The bow and center seats have built-in rod holders, while the bow and stern seats have molded paddle rests.

All the bits and pieces that come along for the ride can therefore be kept safe and secure.


  • Integrated storage systems
  • Comfortable molded seats
  • Carrying capacity up to 850 pounds


  • Single-layer hull not as robust as other designs
  • Flat-bottom hull leads to reduced overall stability
  • Heavy

The Old Town Saranac 160 is an affordable and functional canoe that suits family outings when the conditions are settled. With plenty of room for the kids and options to keep the gear off the floor and out of the way, it’s a great choice.

Buy it if you’re looking for a functional canoe with a few extra gadgets so that the whole family can enjoy a relaxing day on the water.



5. Best Solo Canoe: Nova Craft Fox 14′ Solo


Nova Craft Fox 14′ Solo


A good solo canoe must be responsive and capable. The Nova Craft Fox 14′ Solo is both of those things, built on a shallow arch hull with minimal rocker and slight tumblehome so the paddler can get the most out of the canoe.

At 14 feet long, there is ample space to pack gear for extended trips, but the paddler can still control it with ease.


  • Length: 14 feet
  • Maximum width: 32 inches
  • Center depth: 13 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 19 inches
  • Hull shape: Shallow arch with slight tumblehome
  • Rocker: Minimal
  • Seats: Single wicker
  • Weight: Fiberglass (50 pounds); TuffStuff (42 pounds); TuffStuff Expedition (48 pounds); Aramid Lite (34 pounds); Blue Steel (37 pounds)

A tumblehome design means that the hull curves back in toward the center as it approaches the gunwales. This allows the paddler to easily reach over the gunwales and get the paddle in the water close to the center line of the canoe.

It’s especially helpful on solo canoe trips, as the paddler sits closer to the middle of the boat where the canoe is widest. The tumblehome means less reach outside of center, keeping the canoe stable and tracking straight.


  • Variety of hull materials to choose from to best match specific uses
  • 550-pound carrying capacity
  • Quick-detach yoke system
  • Can be paddled using a single- or double-bladed paddle


  • Have to attach/detach yoke between each portage
  • Less initial stability than some solo canoes

The Nova Craft Fox 14′ Solo is widely available and an extremely versatile solo canoe. Buy it if you want quality design in an affordable package.

Learn more about the Nova Craft Fox 14′ Solo.


6. Best Canoe for Camping Trips: Wenonah Champlain

Wenonah ChamplainFor most of us, an enjoyable camping trip doesn’t involve shivering in a bivouac while trying to eat the scanty contents of a freeze-dried food packet. We want comfort, we want shelter — we want to have a good time.

The Champlain is the load carrier of Wenonah’s lineup. The company recommends it when “two or more of the following conditions apply: big people, big loads of big waters.”


  • Length: 18 feet
  • Maximum width: 37 inches
  • Center depth: 14 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 22 inches / 20 inches
  • Hull shape: Shallow arch
  • Rocker: 1.5 inches
  • Seats: Two
  • Weight: Tuf-weave® Flex-Core (61 pounds); Flex-Core Aramid (57 pounds); Ultralight Aramid (46 pounds); Ultralight Aramid Gel Bottom (49 pounds)

An extremely capable canoe, the Champlain is surprisingly easy to handle and up to the task of open water, wind and waves. It’s extremely stable whether loaded or not, making it a very safe canoe for paddling large lakes.

Its length and sharp entry lines give it efficiency and speed, while the slight rocker of the hull retains maneuverability.


  • Safe, stable canoe
  • Large carrying capacity
  • Good for traveling on large water bodies
  • Multiple hull-construction choices, including ultralight materials


  • High bow and stern may catch wind when paddling unloaded

The Champlain is a well-considered design that makes light work of big issues. Buy it if you are a camper that likes a comfortable life in the woods, are going on an extended wilderness trip, are an NFL linebacker or simply want to tackle large lakes, estuaries and other open water bodies safely and efficiently.

Learn more about the Wenonah Champlain.


7. Best Two-Person Canoe: Nova Craft Prospector 17′

Nova Craft Prospector 17′The Nova Craft Prospector 17′ is a great combination of style and substance. It’s at home on any body of water, from arctic estuaries to lakes and whitewater rivers. It makes an easy job of carrying two people and their supplies, no matter how far they’re going.

The TuffStuff Expedition hull option makes the best of lightweight durability.


  • Length: 17 feet
  • Maximum width: 36 inches
  • Center depth: 15 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 23 inches
  • Hull shape: Shallow arch
  • Rocker: 2.5 inches
  • Seats: Two
  • Weight: Fiberglass (70 pounds); TuffStuff (60 pounds); TuffStuff Expedition (65 pounds); Aramid Light (48 pounds); Blue Steel (52 pounds)

With a rated carrying capacity of 1200 pounds, the Prospector 17′ is a great expedition canoe but also well suited for shorter trips. Its moderate rocker and shallow-arch hull make it stable and responsive for running rapids. It’s a great all-around two-person canoe.


  • Versatile two-seater design for varied use
  • Large carrying capacity
  • Responsive hull shape
  • Tracks well and retains speed on flat water
  • Contoured ash yoke


  • Not as maneuverable in whitewater
  • High bow and stern may catch wind when unloaded

The Prospector 17′ retains the original style of the Canadian canoe that’s time-proven throughout the far north. It’s a rugged, reliable two-person canoe that is as at home in the wilderness as it is on the local river or lake.

Buy it if you want a versatile two-person canoe that looks the part and can deliver the goods.

Learn more about the Nova Craft Prospector 17′.


8. Best Three-Person Canoe: Wenonah Seneca

Wenonah Seneca


The Seneca is a big canoe at 19 feet 4 inches, which provides ample room for a third paddler. It’s built for versatility, while other three seaters in the Wenonah range are specialized distance travelers.

The Seneca offers the best mix of stability, maneuverability and leg room — especially for the bow-seat paddler. It’s no slouch when it comes to covering ground, though, because of its length and sharp entry lines.


  • Length: 19 feet 4 inches
  • Maximum width: 39.5 inches
  • Center depth: 14 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 22 inches
  • Hull shape: Shallow arch
  • Rocker: Two inches
  • Seats: Three
  • Hull: Tuf-weave® Flex-Core; Flex-Core Aramid; Ultralight Aramid

It’s a perfect design for family and general use, or for two paddlers carrying a lot of gear. The center seat is removable to quickly switch between the two- or three-seater options.


  • Large size and carrying capacity
  • Removable center seat
  • Stable yet responsive hull design
  • Multiple hull material options


  • Not a specialized distance-traveling canoe
  • Long for carrying over winding portages in dense vegetation

Buy the Seneca if you want the best all-around design available for a three-seat canoe. The lightweight materials used also make this one of the lightest large canoes on the market.

Learn more about the Wenonah Seneca.


9. Best Lightweight Canoe: Wenonah Kingfisher

Wenonah Kingfisher

The Kingfisher is a handy 16 feet in length, which is big enough to carry two paddlers and some gear, or be controlled by a solo canoeist. What makes it excel in the lightweight category is its 39-pound weight in the Ultralight Aramid model.


  • Length: 16 feet
  • Maximum width: 40 inches
  • Center depth: 13 inches
  • Bow/stern depth: 19 inches / 17 inches
  • Hull shape: Shallow arch
  • Rocker: 1.25 inches
  • Seats: Two
  • Weight: Ultralight Aramid (39 pounds); Tuf-weave® Flex-Core (55 pounds); Flex-Core Aramid (51 pounds)

There are more-specialized lightweight models, but none more stable and versatile than the Kingfisher. As one of Wenonah’s Sports and Leisure range, the Kingfisher is made for hunters, anglers and adventurers as much as families and hobbyists.

Weight is kept to a minimum in the ultralight hull model, with timber and webbing seats keeping weight down while maximizing functionality. The width through the middle ensures there’s room for the gear needed on a trip.


  • Ultralight model only 39 pounds
  • Very stable and roomy for a canoe of 16 feet
  • Versatile, responsive design
  • Two seats but also useful for a solo paddler


  • Ultralight canoe hull not as tough as some materials
  • Not as much room for gear as larger canoes

The Wenonah Kingfisher tops the list as the best lightweight canoe because it’s light but also highly functional. Designed to meet the demands of outdoor enthusiasts, this little canoe will turn out to be a favorite companion for the water.

Buy it if you want the ultimate in versatility in a package that you’ll hardly notice when loading and unloading or carrying over a portage.

Learn more about the Wenonah Kingfisher.


Why You Should Choose a Quality Canoe

men standing beside canoe

As with anything, you get what you pay for. The quality of a canoe is the difference between having a good time on the water and deciding to take up another hobby.

It might not seem like much, but something as simple as the seat can make a huge difference to how comfortable a canoe is, especially over long periods on the water.

Lots of little things combine to make a high-quality canoe. Well-designed grab handles, yokes, thwarts, seats and hull materials all play their part to make the best experience on the water.

Quality canoes are designed to work in a range of situations. They are constructed from quality materials that withstand the elements and the environments that paddlers venture into. They are reliable and backed by their manufacturers.

Hull design is a key consideration when purchasing a canoe, and quality manufacturers use the best designs available to make products suited to paddling on whitewater, rivers, lakes, open water, and when camping, fishing and getting back to nature.

Quality manufacturers know their products and can provide in-depth advice on how and when to use their products.


How to Choose a Canoe

3 canoes parked by the lake

Choosing your first canoe can be a daunting task. How can there be so many options for such a simple craft? From design type, dimensions and construction materials, it soon becomes apparent that things have come a long way since those primitive dugout or birch bark archetypes.

So, what are the key things you need to consider?

Hull design dictates what a canoe is most useful for. Of the many variables, the following are key considerations.



man canoeing on still water
Short canoe

Length affects speed, efficiency, maneuverability and carrying capacity.

Short canoes are slower but more maneuverable, and they aren’t made for carrying heavy loads. Long canoes are easier to paddle straight and are therefore faster and more efficient at covering distance; however, they are less easy to turn. Canoe length is a major factor in carrying capacity.



Wide canoes have room to move around and commonly have good initial stability. Greater width increases water resistance, however, and requires a rider to use more effort to reach over the gunwale when paddling, so a wide canoe is slower and less efficient.



man paddling moderate rocker canoe
Moderate-rocker hull

The rocker is the curve of the hull along the length of the canoe (think the curve of a banana).

A minimal rocker means the canoe has hardly any curve; therefore, almost all of the hull is always in contact with the water, making the canoe efficient when travelling in a straight line. Minimal-rocker canoes are suited to open flatwater.

Moderate-rocker hulls have a bit of a curve and provide a good mix of efficiency and maneuverability. Moderate-rocker canoes can be used on a mix of water types.

High-rocker canoes have a strong curve and are easy to turn. These are most effective in whitewater paddling.


Hull Cross Section

canoes upside down on deck

The hull design when viewed in cross section affects how stable a canoe is.

A flat-bottom hull has high initial stability (when it’s sitting flat in the water). As soon as the canoe tilts sideways, however, flat-bottom hulls feel like they want to tip over.

A shallow-arch hull gently curves across the bottom, which increases up into the sides of the canoe. The C-shape is much more stable when the canoe tilts sideways.


Construction Materials

green canoe by the river

The material that a canoe hull is made from is an important consideration relating to weight, durability and cost.

Many canoes are built from a variety of composites, such as Aramid and carbon fiber. The best materials are strong, stiff and lightweight, making crafts made from them easy to handle.

Composite canoes, however, are expensive and may become damaged if not properly cared for or used in locations where they might collide with things (such as in whitewater rivers).

Plastic hulls come in a variety of forms, from single-layer to multilayer polyethylene and other plastics. Some are stiff, while others have varying degrees of flex. Plastic is heavy compared to composite materials.

Plastic hulls can be more affordable for those on a budget and are generally robust enough to take a bit of abuse.


Canoe Uses

man paddling canoe on still water

The most important thing to be clear on is what the canoe will be used for. Long-distance paddling on flatwater calls for a very different design than that required to face whitewater runs. Those two specialist uses also differ from the average weekend recreational paddle.

Popular canoe uses include:

  • Expedition touring
  • Backcountry paddling and camping
  • Fishing and recreational paddling
  • Whitewater paddling

Importantly, the specifications below account for tandem canoes. A solo canoe for the same use will have similar specifications but will usually be a bit shorter, usually between 11 feet and 16 feet.


Expedition Touring

canoe with bags parked by the river

Expedition touring broadly encompasses hardcore, off-the-grid canoe travel on a variety of water types, but commonly on rivers and lakes with varying water conditions (flatwater, whitewater and open water).

Paddlers need to carry all the gear they’ll need with them, so canoes have to be able to safely carry the paddlers, camping gear, cooking equipment and other sundries.

Long distances are often traveled in all kinds of water and weather conditions, so the canoe must be responsive, maneuverable, but also capable of tracking well on open water.

Running rivers and dealing with the elements calls for a hull material that can roll with the punches and get you out at the other end safe and sound.

Most expedition canoes meet these demands with the following specifications:

  • Around 17 feet in length
  • Around 36 inches maximum width
  • Moderate rocker
  • Shallow-arch hull
  • Plenty of freeboard
  • Robust construction material


Backcountry Paddling and Camping

young men canoing on calm waters

Backcountry paddling and camping describes what you think of when dreaming about exploring Algonquin Provincial Park, Quetico, or the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area.

These places are characterized by lakes ranging from small to large, and short rivers joining different waterways together. There will be plenty of portages and breathtaking stargazing around the campfire after dark.

Canoes designed for this sort of work are similar to expedition canoes, but there are a couple of differences.

They must be able to carry all the stuff needed to spend quality time in the outdoors far from civilization. A lot of paddling will happen on the open flatwater of lakes, so the canoe needs to be able to deal with a bit of wind and waves, and should track well to cover distance efficiently.

With all those portages, it’s worth considering a lightweight construction.

A good backcountry camping canoe might have the following specs:

  • Between 17 feet to 20 feet in length
  • Minimal rocker
  • High bow, stern and center depths
  • Lightweight hull and components


Fishing and Recreational Paddling

tourists paddling canoes on a river

These are the general canoes that take some of the design features of other more specialized crafts. Compromises are made, of course, to suit the average paddler who just wants to get onto the water for a bit of fun.

Some recreational canoes suit those on a tight budget, but there are high-end models as well.

Some of these crafts come with in-built features or add-on accessories such as rod holders, coolers, cup holders and molded seats with backrests.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for the design of these, but consider canoes with the following specs:

  • A maximum width between 36 inches and 40 inches
  • Moderate rocker
  • A good combination of initial and secondary stability (consider a shallow-arch hull with a flare or chines)


Whitewater Paddling

men white water rafting in canoe

Whitewater canoes are designed to run the rough-and-tumble of wild rivers. They need to respond to the paddler’s stroke instantly, deal with waves effortlessly, and take the knocks as they come.

In general, a whitewater canoe will have:

  • Moderate to high rocker
  • Moderate to maximum width
  • High bow, stern and center depths
  • A hull constructed from durable material


Best Canoe Brands

There are countless brands on the market, targeting everyone from the budget-conscious beginner to professional explorers. Some brands are manufactured in large factories, while others are produced by specialist experts, and others are completely handmade.

It wouldn’t be practical to list all canoe makers on the market — so apologies go to all those great crafters not featured here.

The selection below aims to highlight manufacturers that have stood the test of time, are well regarded by all paddlers, and are available in most locations.



Wenonah logo

Wenonah canoes enjoy a stellar reputation when it comes to quality and craftsmanship. Established in 1967 in Winona, Minnesota, Wenonah canoes have become synonymous with backcountry travel, adventure and racing.

A visit to famous canoe-country destinations like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park quickly shows how popular they are — everyone from day trippers to professional outfitters are happy to paddle a Wenonah.

Wenonah makes use of several composite materials in their hull construction and specialize in lightweight yet durable crafts. These cater for the high end of the market — and using one makes the paddler understand why.

With hull choices including Ultralight/Aramid, Graphite/Aramid, Flex-Core/Aramid, Tuf-weave® Flex-Core and T-Formex, Wenonah caters to both the ultralight paddler and those looking for more rugged yet still lightweight designs.

Some iconic models in the range include the Prism 16’6″ (solo), Boundary Waters 17′ (tandem all-purpose), Champlain 18′ (packhorse tourer) and Seneca 19’4″ (a big three-seater).

All Wenonah products come with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects in materials and workmanship.


Nova Craft

Nova Craft logo

Nova Craft is based in London, Ontario. These canoes are a symbol of adventure and have floated some of the most remote and rugged stretches of water in the world. The brand is known for manufacturing equipment made for expedition, whitewater and recreation.

Nova Craft focuses on producing a range that covers everything a weekend paddler, mule-day tripper, camper, outfitter or whitewater enthusiast might want.

Nova Crafts come in five series, each designed with specific uses in mind.

The Prospector comes in four lengths (15 feet, 16 feet, 17 feet and 18 feet) and is made for backcountry paddling. The Recreational Series has six designs ranging from 12 feet to 16 feet in length.

The Cruiser Series presents two mile-eating designs. Outfitter Series Prospectors are constructed from rugged SP3 polyethylene for ultimate toughness. The Whitewater series covers whitewater paddling with two designs.

Canoes are built using a wide range of hull materials to cater for those looking for a lightweight craft  and paddlers wanting a tough, reliable hull.

All Nova Craft canoes are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.


Old Town


Old Town canoes have been around since 1898, when their first craft was built behind the hardware store in Old Town, Maine. Since then, Old Town has embraced the outdoor lifestyle and produced a wide range of products, including fantastic canoes.

Old Town crafts are known to be rugged and reliable. They’re manufactured from polyethylene and designed to cater to novices and serious paddlers alike. On top of this, an Old Town craft won’t hurt the hip pocket too much.

The Next is an innovative solo craft that makes use of a combination of kayak and canoe features. The Saranac is built for the recreational paddler and day tripper, with plenty of mon-cons included.

The Guide series of canoes has got simplicity and versatility covered, and they are a great all-around choice. The Discovery series offers similar versatility with lightweight components, making those portages a little easier.

For the ultimate tourer, the Penobscot continues Old Town’s original design and incorporates modern materials.

Old Town offers some ability to accessorize. They provide options with inbuilt comfort, like molded seats and folding backrests, cup holders, storage compartments and fishing rod holders.

All canoes come with a limited lifetime hull warranty.


Pelican International

Pelican International logo

Pelican International produces simple, reliable canoes from their facilities in Quebec, Canada. They are known for their exclusive RAM-X™ hull material, which deals with the harsh reality of life outdoors — hard knocks, tough conditions and UV rays.

Pelican canoes are affordable quality for those on a budget. They contain all the design features needed to get out on the water and home again at day’s end.

With two models to choose from, things are simple. The Explorer 14.6 DLX (14 feet 6 inches long) features folding seats, built-in rod holders and a central cooler seat and drink holders. It’s a nifty size that’s easy to handle.

The Pelican 15.5 (15 feet 5 inches long) is the real workhorse, with three molded bench seats, rod holders and drink holders.

Pelican canoes come with a two-year limited warranty on the hull, and a one-year guarantee on all preassembled accessories included with the product.



Do canoes tip over easily?

couple in tilted canoe on rough waters

A canoe won’t tip over unless the paddler leans too far outside of the front-to-back midline of the canoe.

Always sit along this central line so that your center of gravity is balanced along the midpoint. Remember not to sit too stiffly. Be ready to roll through the hips and ride any sideways motion.

Some canoes are more stable than others. Generally speaking, a canoe hull with a shallow arch cross section is the most stable in the widest variety of conditions. This is because even curve that spans the entire hull and all movements roll gently and predictably.


Is it easier to kayak or canoe?

canoe and kayaks on water

A well-designed canoe is easier to jump in and paddle than a kayak. They are large, wide and stable, while kayaks are usually smaller and narrower, and require greater balance.

Canoes have raised seats, making them comfortable to sit in for extended periods.

A flat single-bladed canoe paddle is easy to use, and you can’t get confused, but you might with an offset double-bladed kayak paddle.

Kayaks have an advantage, especially for the solo paddler, when it’s windy. Because a kayak has much less surface area above the waterline, it’s less likely to be pushed off course by the wind. Paddling a canoe in windy conditions takes a bit of practice.

Shorter canoes are easier for solo paddlers to handle, especially when getting started.


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Joe hails from Down Under and grew up in the Aussie outback, in a family of professional hunters. His passion is sharing his decades of outdoors experience to inspire others to find their own adventures. He’s fished and hunted around Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada; acted as a wilderness guide; and works as a wildlife ecologist. He regularly contributes to a range of fishing and hunting magazines.


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