Canoe vs Kayak

I’m interested in hearing from paddlers why they prefer to paddle one or the other. Some may paddle both but we prefer one over the other. Why?

I canoe mostly WW
Started out canoeing, and this old dog ain’t about to learn any new tricks.

The squirt boat is a kayak, but there’s no canoes designed to be underwater. Ah well, guess that’s a new trick.

Also enjoy poling, and that’s best done in an open boat.

Love the t-grip single blade!!

Overall, I perhaps like canoeing better which might be because I started out in a canoe. Canoeing for me has and aesthetic that kayaking somehow lacks. The view is generally better and loading and unloading are much easier.

But in wind or when trying to travel a long distance in not too much time a kayak certainly has its advantages.

For bigger whitewater, a decked boat, whether it be a kayak or a C boat, allows one to blast through waves without concern for taking on water, and results in rolling up dry and light.

My preference is kayak
White water canoed for about 23 plus years and then about 7 years now kayaking. In my heart i am a canoeist but i went to the yak as I found them to be easier to roll, lighter to carry, better for ocean travel, more comfortable than closed canoe. I still want to buy a canoe for that quick hassle free paddle on the lake. Paddling canoe is a thing of beauty.

My solo canoes are much lighter than
my kayks (two are 35 lbs or less), so I grab them more often than I do the kayaks. I don’t need a kayak’s superior weather handling qualities most of the time for my one to three hour outings on local small lakes. If I had the right light weight kayak, I might paddle it more than the solo canoes. I’ll know when that day comes.

My solo canoes are more comfortable for several hours on a river than my kayaks are. Some day I may have a kayak that’s all day comfortable, but I don’t have one yet.

Some days I just want to hammer away with a double blade, so I take a kayak.

It’s good to have the option for either kayak or canoe.

Kayaks lighter than canoes?
You must be referring to witewater and rec boats.

my first love is tripping

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and that involves walking and loading and unloading.
For an upcoming trip..35 times. So its a canoe for me. Its much lighter than a kayak too as I dont need a top deck.

33 lbs. And its not the lightest in the canoe fleet.

I find a kayak restricting me too much. In a canoe I can sit or kneel or feet anywhere. Plus I lack vision..not being tall.

Also handier to get gear when that bear swims by me and I want to take a picture.

Inverted, perverted responses so far…
… because the current market is probably 90% kayaks.

However, being inverted and perverted myself, I prefer canoes in all conditions and all waters. I say that as one who began WW in a kayak and who also seakayaked for eight mediocre years.

My reasons are the same as those already cited, plus I just find single blade technique to be much more sophisticated, technical, sensuous, beguiling, appealing and ultimately satisfying.

If pblanc feels the need to reach for a kayak for wind or long distances, I respectfully suggest he consider borrowing my outrigger CANOE instead!!!

Best of both worlds
in a SOT kayak.


"…a thing of beauty"
Hi kanaka,

You wrote: “Paddling canoe is a thing of beauty.”

I don’t disagree, but I must say that paddling a kayak is every bit a “thing of beauty” as paddling a canoe.

My father was a canoeist, and I paddled with him–and with friends–while I was growing up. Loved every moment of it. Still though, while I love being on any type of water that will float a small boat, and I still love canoes, I’ve always been drawn to the sea, and this is what led me to sea kayaks. In terms of versatility, the sea kayak wins hands down, as I can take it from the open ocean to lakes and rivers, and even poke around in quiet wetlands. All with boundless grace and beauty.

I’m a musician (Baroque 'cellist), and I’ve always found striking parallels between playing my 'cello and paddling…both physically and spiritually. Shaping notes and phrases with bow on strings, and shaping phrases of movement with paddles in water. Each has beautifully efficient techniques to learn, with infinite subtleties to explore and refine over a lifetime. With both, when I’m “in the zone”, it is aesthetic ecstasy. Beyond the beauty of the “act” of paddling, and where it can take us–both physically and spiritually–even our boats and paddles themselves are a thing of beauty (yes, even those butt ugly QCC boats can fool their paddlers into thinking they’re beautiful! ;)).

Beauty really is in the eyes, and heart, of the beholder, and both kayaks and canoes are well equipped to inspire endless awe in all of us.


I paddle both…
Started with a canoe and later bought a kayak. I use both about equally. The canoe is great for hauling gear and dogs, it’s also a much better platform for my other passion, photography. My canoe is also my boat of choice when I have a guest, which is quite often. My mother, father or wife will frequently go out with me…obviously that wouldn’t be possible with a kayak.

The kayak is usually used for fitness and soon racing. I guess I’ve become a bit of a “speed freak” when it comes to kayaks. I’m always trying to go faster and further. I rarely take the kayak on a laid back pleasure paddle.

tight ham strings
Make sitting in yak uncomfortable. Sitting in a Canoe I am up 7-9 inches and taht is all the difference in the world.

classic butt sitter

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a kayak can take you surfing, rock gardening, etc.

but sometimes it's nice to have the wife and kids along--you can't fit your family in a kayak

Last weekend-kayak, today-canoe
I like to paddle both. One big advantage my 16ft canoe has over any kayak is the ability to be a trash barge. When I see a old tire or large trash item, I can pick it up and take it home so you don’t have to look at it.

Started in a canoe
Don’t see any reason to change. Did take a WW kayak class a couple of years ago. It was a lot of fun, and I can see how people could get hooked on them. Still, its a canoe for me.

Canoe Superior | Kayak Inferior
For me Canoe vs Kayak really comes down to the blade type and technique. A kayak blade is very easy to use, paddle one side, then the other, then the other, then the other…

A canoe paddle has all sorts of technique needed and is ultimately much more maneuverable although not as fast. There is a certain art to using the single blade efficiently.

As for the boat, you can paddle a sea kayak with a single blade, and you can use a double blade paddle in a canoe. Just don’t let the canoe/kayak police catch you.

started in a Grumman, switched to kayaks, then to a Sea Wind. I far prefer the lightness of the canoe paddle over the kayak paddle. It is also nice to be able to carry more gear. I guess my reason is I like to be comfortable, and couldn’t get that in the kayaks

You can carry a cooler in a canoe.
And a chair,a tent a human can stand up in,etc.

Ha ha, haw, haw, gawf, sputter, ha, ha…

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Yer got'ta be kiddin'.... wat a questoon! Hahahahahaha! Haw! haw! Haw!

Main reeson ah' don't like 'yaks be.... Andy_S paddles 'em....


I simply prefer to paddle.
Sometimes I will look around the yard or racks and choose the poor fellow with the most leaves, stains and bird poop on it. It needs washed anyway. Why not paddle it? Other times I will select the one that is all shined up and already has all the gear either stuffed in it or hanging over it so I don’t have to look all over creation before just loading and go. Sometimes I will meticulously seek out scattered gear and whatever turns up, if that gear is more suited to canoe than yak, there is my choice. Camping is usually planned with canoes.