Does such a thing exist?

Hi! As the weather warms up, I have a new goal for this summer, which is to introduce my dog to paddlesports. We’re going to try kayaking, but might have to pull out my parents’ old canoe due to the logistics of fitting both a human and a dog in my kayak. I’d like to, provided she doesn’t completely refuse to go boating, do some overnight river or lake trips next fall or next year.

However, both my kayak and my parents’ canoe are heavy things and really not designed for solo trips; I can carry my kayak by myself but it’s a challenge. It’s also really a short-distance flatwater fishing kayak (I received it as a gift). I’m wondering if a light weight solo canoe or kayak exists that can accommodate both myself and my dog. I’m not a lightweight human (225lbs) and my dog is about 50lbs, so for an overnight, we’re talking a bit over 300lbs of load.

Does anyone have a recommendation?

Sure they do for canoes. Check out Hornbeck Boats and Placid Boatworks and Hemlock Canoe and Slipstream and Savage River. Also Swift… You will see some canoes that are paddled with a low seat and a double blade. Most solo canoes are south of 40 lbs and 18 is not unheard of. I can probably rattle off some three dozen solo canoes that would work… The general rule is that the more the load you carry the higher volume boat you need… So you can just jettison the 13 foot canoe and less idea to start. Also be aware that you need to understand how your dog reacts in a canoe before you buy… Some dogs like to tuck close to their master and others want to eek stand in the bow.

My RapidFire will carry 300 lbs easy… I do ten day trips where I have to carry fresh water which is wicked heavy. My Golden loved it… We have a cattle dog now and the ice just went off the lake yesterday and training on water has not started. He is ok in the boat when it sits on the snow.

Use your current boats to introduce your dog to the boat. It does take training. Whether the training duration is short or long is up to your dog. It may take time.

For dogs with people, with some exceptions (like Tsunami Chuck who posts here) you would want a sit on top kayak. Something like an Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 or 2XL would be good. They are heavy. A way to help with the on-land transport would be to get a cart (there are also carts available for canoes). Here are a variety compliments of an Amazon search (but they are also available at local paddlesports stores):

Thank you both!

Kayamedic - Thanks! I tend to get lost in the piles of different boats and technical specifications, but I don’t have the practical experience to know what I really need, so this narrows things down a lot and gives me a much better starting place.

Peter - I know a lot of people like them, but I really don’t like sit-on-top kayaks for a number of reasons; I appreciate the recommendation though!

Hey Mimstrel, I recommend the Swift Shearwater for you. Most solo canoes aren’t recommended for loads over 300 pounds but the Shearwater is a big solo with an efficient load range of 180-320 pounds. I’ve had dozens of solos and it’s the best dog boat of all since it’s roomy and stable yet still cruises efficiently. I’ve had over 320 pounds in mine (me plus dog plus 10 year old) and the boat handled it easily. New ones are quite light.

Another versatile and well made solo canoe that can easily handle your load is a Hemlock SRT. The SRT is a fine boat but personally I prefer the Shearwater.

Pic shows my puppy in my Shearwater.

TomL its all about the volume of the canoe… Some like the Shearwater and the Raven do have a lot of volume for solo boats. Volume decides the weight displacement at various waterlines. Most solos in the 15 foot plus range have performance weights of about 340 lbs. The OP wont even come close.

You are jumping ahead too fast. Is the dog a full of life, does not stop , barks at everything, chases other animals, nuisance or laid back, quiet, and adult dog? Do you paddle in the Okefenokee Swamp, gator central? Does your dog like the water.? Does your dog like getting in the boat? …any boat.?..will it lay down and go to sleep?

I think you need to get the canoe, and a cart to try the dog on the water before planning anything too ambitious a trip. The canoe will test the dog with less “test” on the person.

@kayamedic said:
TomL its all about the volume of the canoe… Some like the Shearwater and the Raven do have a lot of volume for solo boats. Volume decides the weight displacement at various waterlines. Most solos in the 15 foot plus range have performance weights of about 340 lbs. The OP wont even come close.

I disagree on both your points. The 15’s I have owned including Merlin II, Ariel, Osprey feel burdened as you approach 300 and in my experience feel much better if you stick to their recommended weight range (280 for Merlin II and 260 for Osprey). I would definitely not recommend an Osprey or Merlin II for loads over 300 pounds since there are much better choices out there. I also disagree on volume being the only consideration. Interior space, primary stability, secondary stability, boat depth, boat efficiency, intended usage of the boat, and availability of a sliding seat all matter. Shearwater is super roomy and works well sitting or kneeling and on lakes or rivers; the sliding seat is an awesome option for a dog boat since it adds roominess as well as allowing you to trim the boat properly even with a large dog that may change position. SRT has more volume but less interior space for a dog, Shearwater cruises more efficiently than SRT. My lab didn’t settle down in an SRT as well as any other solo because she could not see out of the boat when laying down. Shearwater also has much more primary stability than SRT. New Swift Prospector 14 also has more weight capacity than Shearwater but I’d worry about interior space. Pic shows my former dog in my former Shearwater…our load was around 275 and the boat felt lightly loaded and responsive even with that 70 pound lump laying well forward.

I think the OP might also consider a Wenonah Prism since they should work well for most use cases for sitting paddlers plus they are fairly common on the used boat market.

I shouldn’t have said only… Strong Swede form hulls are trim sensitive and even a dog moving around has an effect
I had my 70 lb Golden in my Merlin II with full camping gear… Load was about 320. It handled well in even a 25 km/hr wind going upwind… But the dog insisted on standing in the bow going downwind and it was horrific. Stern wanted to broach.

Its really all about the dog. My point was do not jam a dog into a small boat unless you want to for fun in a safe place…Here is my Golden in my Aria! Its 14 feet long

Possibly Northstar’s Northwind Solo(15’6")…or for more room in every direction for your pup, although I think a good option might be an efficient wood/canvas canoe of about the same length, or maybe a bit shorter. There’s a little bit more density in the hull built with wood & canvas which will provide a more solid platform for your pup(just a $.01 thought). Kayamedic’s mentioning the trim sensitivity is good info…

I don’t carry any of the boats. I use carts.

I love to take dogs canoeing. Get them used to the water, make swimmers out of them. Do some day trips and then they will be ready to go overnight. Get them a life jacket for moving water.

You and your dog weigh 275. Most people bring around 75 pounds worth of gear at least overnight. You can get a canoe cart for not much money to get from your canoe to the water. Tandem canoes work fine for solo trips if you can trim them out and there is no keel and the canoe has some rocker. I would try a trip or two before you decide you need to go out and buy another.