Family canoe?

Hi. I am looking for an inexpensive new or used canoe that I can use to paddle on a small, 50 acre lake with my wife and three kids (who each weigh less than 40#). My kids would be happy to sit on the floor if needed. Any thoughts or recommendations?

I just bought a kayak and my kids are constantly asking me to take them out. Which is great except it limits me to give minute paddles with one while the other two wait. Unless my wife decides to let me take all of them out, with one in each of the bulk heads and one in my lap.


Look for something in the 17 foot
range. Five folks in one boat will require it…and those kids grow quickly. Also, lighter is better as you will use it more easily/often if it’s not a strain to do so.

Nearly any hull that size will have the requisite stability, especially with kids on floor. Avoid anything touted as a “racing” canoe. Many general purpose hulls out there. Others here may suggest favorites.


– Last Updated: Aug-28-12 9:26 AM EST –

Almost any 17' general-purpose canoe will work for what you want to do. 17' may actually be a bit small for 5 people, but anything much bigger gets awkward if only two of you want to go out.

If you live right on the water and don't have to carry it, weight becomes less of an issue.

Aluminum will last almost forever unless you wrap it around rocks, but is heavy and noisy and will be cold in cold water.

The Old Town Discovery series are widely available used, are very sturdy, but are heavy. Again, if you can leave it on the beach and just slide it in the water, weight's not a big deal. if you need to cartop and/or carry any distance, weight becomes much more important.

A step up would be something like an Old Town Camper.

Old race boats are often inexpensive, but would be a bad choice for what you want.

Again, almost any general-purpose tandem will be fine for quiet-water family paddles. Check your local classifieds or Craigslist.

Yup, a 17’ would be fine. Just get one that is at least 34" wide and you should be fine. Old Town and Wennonahmake great models perfect for family canoeing. Their sites are pretty informative as well.Since your kids are still small, look into in stalling a double seat near the center. That way 2 of them can help paddle and not get too board just sitting on the floor.

Look around for used boats
I agree that either an Old Town Discovery or a 17’ aluminum canoe are worth considering.

Discovery canoes can often be found on the used market. Their main vice is heavy weight but for a lakeside boat it doesn’t matter that much. If the boat is to be left outside all year aluminum might be an even better choice although I would prefer the polyethylene canoe generally.

Either a Discovery 169 or a 174 would suit pretty well.

family canoe
We have just purchased a canoe for our family (2 adults 2 kids(8&11) plus a collie. After deliberation opted for the Holy cow 16’6" prospector. Its made of kevlar so only 50lbs. Had the 3rd seat added and was $2000 SHIPPED from factory to Alberta. The site is informative but I called and spoke to the owner, amazing service and help sort us out. Wide colour pallette to choose from at no extra cost The canoe is stable very well built and the midnight blue looks awesome