are aluminum canoes any good?

there light, and reasonably priced, whats the downside? i am looking for a really lightweight canoe, but i dint want to buy aluminum if it wont last. thanks for any info.


But they last forever

…on what you are doing. The good AL canoes are almost indestructible, very tough, and need zero maintenance. They can winter outdoors unprotected. Most are good paddling designs. The drawbacks are that they tend to be noisy on the water, and chilly if your water is cold.

I’ve had mine since 1976 and it works like new. They’re not quite so racey or sleek but work fine for basic use.

they’re fine
If you don’t break it, it will last for a lifetime. Some decent designs out there.

Issues, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and noisy. A little heavier on the average.

Yes, the good ones are excellent, but
they are not nearly as light as a composite canoe.

They can take a beating, and are fun to paddle.

Check some of the family out in aluminum canoes




and hottern hell in summer…

…too noisy for fishing. The glare has given me nasty headaches.

Agree with most of previous statements about aluminum canoes.

Hot in Summer

Cold in Winter



Tendency to hang up on rocks/gravel in shallow rivers; especially if they have keels & most of them do.

Have to be careful with aluminum canoes if they get damaged areas; real easy to cut or slice your hands.

That being said; I paddled aluminum tandems in the program where I worked for many, many years & covered a couple of thousand miles in them.

They certainly can take a lot of abuse.

I’d “never” buy another one, unless I knew I could resell it for a profit asap.


Bingo what everyone said above
Many “first runs” were done in aluminum canoes. Not long ago, they were state of the art. However, there are much better materials now. Royalex is very durable and lighter than standard ABS. Royalite lighter even still. Both are durable as a freight car.

Aluminum is durable, easy to repair, can handle any kind of storage treatment, and you can paint it.

Down side is that it conducts heat very well. In the winter, it conducts heat away from you and to the water. In the summer, it conducts all that radiant sun energy right into any skin of yours that contacts it. And it’s noisy. You bang your paddle on it, and you bang anything you set down in it, and maybe a split shot or something rolls down it and it sounds like someone is bowling. It’s noisy.

So, I have nothing against aluminum canoes. All my earliest canoe-ing was in aluminum canoes, and I loved every minute of it. I still miss the sound of gravel crunching under the canoe as I launch. Nevertheless, I expect that there are more suitable alternatives.

  • Big D

I agree with Vk, also very hot in summer

Good and Heavy
I have a 17 ft smoker craft that I bought used in 1991 for $300. It’s old; it’s been stored outside in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arizona, California and Utah in 115 F Tucson Summers and -40 F, Utah winters, still just as good as the day it was made. A few dings and patches but works fine. It will carry four people and a dog and gear. You don’t want to paddle in high winds with it.

It weighs a ton, and is cold in cold weather and hot in hot weather.

I think I have got my $300 bucks worth out of it though.

I think it’s safe to say

– Last Updated: Nov-30-08 9:53 AM EST –

Aluminum canoes are way to heavy. They do not respond to advanced technique. The seats, in a word, suck/burn, depending on weather. They are cheap, but so is McDonald's coffee. Same result; can't use it.

Another analysis is position in the price range. Pelican has a tandem for $370, Swift has an infused, integral, CobraSox, railed tandem for $3700. Grummans, the best Alu bottoms, run ~$1,100. Why would anyone want a significantly below average, $2035, boat? Maybe for bait-fishing, or other sport where the hull is a platform for some other activity, but to paddle? Paddling is a skill intensive, athletic endeavor. Bad gear compromises the experience.

Aluminum is probably best used as a container for beer. Unfortunately, it is only the second best medium for that use, and so used to surround mediocre quality brew.

One can acquire an rather fragile Grumman superlite @ 66lbs, but most weigh 75-80. GRE, Swift and Wenonah all provide tandems at just over 30 lbs, and they all paddle superbly. Which would you rather load?

If aluminum canoes were the sole option, I wouldn't paddle. It wouldn't be fun.

Aluminum not always that heavy.
I have a 17’ Alumicraft that weighs in at about 60 lbs. About the same as a royalex Old Town Penobscot and many fiberglass tandems. Lighter than many royalex and fiberglass tandems.

My 17’ Grumman weighs a few lbs more

A friend calls them "boomalooms"
Because of their noise.

But if that’s what a person can afford to get on the water, nothing wrong with that.

I take exception
with Charlie. I like McDonald’s coffee.

Consumer reports
rated their “Premium” coffees better than Starbucks :slight_smile:

I agree with Mark (NM)

My opinion

– Last Updated: Nov-30-08 8:53 AM EST –

I dreamed about but never owned an aluminum canoe because they were expensive when I was young. It was always a joke to say that you could tell a rich person because they owned an aluminun Grumman Canoe.

Even to this day (and some call it noise) the sound of water bouncing of the hull of an aluminum canoe is wonderful and brings back pleasant childhood memories.

They seem to pass the test of time.


for fishing or hunting?
I think an aluminum canoe would be very noisy for fishing especially on shallow water flats where stealth is part of the technique. Are you using the canoe for fishing or hunting? If so, look at royalex if cost is an issue.

Agree with most of what was said especially with Charlie’s post. My childhood and teen year experiences with canoes involved aluminum canoe rentals. When I got into paddling again I never even thought about buying a canoe because I could only remember how horrible it was back then to paddle those noisy canoes. Kayaks were the way to go!