Cheap Beginner Canoe

Hello, I am new to this site and am new to canoeing. I have never owned a canoe, but have used one only once. It was so much fun that I wanted to get my own. I am young and on a tight budget. My maximum price is $400. I am new so I would probably need a little more stable canoe. I would like at least a 600 pound weight limit. All help would be deeply appreciated. Thank you, Jeremiah Boyd

cheap canoe
Some ideas:

Check the classified ads on this site (link on the left).

Search the internet for paddling clubs in your area; they might have websites listing stuff for sale.

Check out places in your area that rent canoes. some liveries sell off their old boats pretty cheap.

If $400 is your limit, you probably won’t have a lot of choices.

You also need to figure another $100 for a cheap set of paddles and PFDs.

But any cheap canoe is a good canoe to start out in.

Since you are in Illinois
Check out They are in Madison WI and have some excellent deals on used canoes right now. Under $500 for sure and for good boats. Good people to deal with too.

Solution In Northeast PA

I have a 14’ aluminum Grumman outfitted with a center seat, kneepads and a carring yoke. You can have it all, including a paddle for $300 leaving you some money for the trip.

It’s been modified for solo paddling by bringing in the beam (width)to 30 inches. Still great for paddling tandem.

It’s very stable and can easily carry 600 pounds.

Call me if you want it at 570 488 6942. You can try to e-mail but it won’t be reliable.


Recently saw cheap canoes wrapped
around rocks and logs on Murder Creek and the upper Toccoa River in Georgia. Be careful what you do with that thing.

Also, as to TRUE weight limits, my 16’ 10", 35" beam, 16" center-depth Bluewater Chippewa will NOT carry 600 pounds safely except on a millpond. My 18.5 foot, 36" beam, 15" deep Moore Voyageur was only good for about 550 pounds on a big lake or wavy river, and that was pushing it. My 17’ Old Town Tripper probably had a 600 pound weight limit for big lake or wavy river used.

DO NOT BELIEVE manufacturer weight ratings of 1000 pounds for 6" of hull above the water. Only freighter canoes can carry that kind of weight safely, and you would not want to car-top a freighter. If anyone on this board claims to have routinely paddled big, whitecapped lakes, or wavey rivers with haystacks and holes, carrying 1000 pounds of people and gear, they are either idiots or specially protected by the gods.

Get in touch with the Mackinaw Canoe
Club. They’re in central IL and may be able to help you find something.

600 lbs is a big load for a solo paddler. We’ve put a 550lb load in a tandem. It included 2 people and gear for a week. It was way more than we needed.

Another place to check out is Middle Fork Canoe Outfitters near Danville. They might have some used boats for sale. Also, you could rent a Novacraft Prospector from them to see if that would work for you. It’s a high capacity boat that can be paddled solo, Canadian style. Their phone is:217-304-4240 or 217-442-4571.

even closer in Illinois…
You have a couple shops in northern Illinois to check out without having to drive to Madison. Offshore in Vernon Hills has used boats from their demo and rental pool for sale, and the Chicagoland Canoe Base in Chicago usually has used boats as well.

However, in your price range, your best best would probably be with a private seller. Keep an eye on the classifieds here, or look on eBay for someone with a boat they really just want to get rid of.