General Canoe

I am new to canoeing & I was hoping someone would enlighten me about what size canoe I should buy. I am 6’3" tall & 275lbs, what would a 13’ canoe be too small? My wife is small about 110lbs & we will be going together.

I would get a 15-17’ tandem canoe. 13’ is too short for your combined weight and normal use. Longer canoes carry weight much better and with less effort. Don’t believe the published load capacities of the manufacturers. Instead, figure a capacity of about 65% of those numbers. I figure the load capacity of my 16’6" tandem is about 550-600#s. You may want to solo the canoe when your wife isn’t going, and something closer to the short end of the spectrum would be a little easier to handle by yourself.

Also, the weight difference between you and your wife mean you should put a lot of additional ballast near your wife to achieve a balanced trim of the canoe. It will be hard to control if one end is sticking up.

Don’t waste your money on a cheapie from a big box store. You can get a (much) better canoe if you buy used. Search around or ask on this and other forums to get an idea of what you need.

Thank you for your answer to my question. I figured I would be looking for a 16’ canoe but it is great to have a caring person clarify that for me. Again thank you!

There may be a few 13 footers that could handle your load but due to their short length and wide width they would be sluggish to paddle. Here’s one.

But unless you have storage restrictions I agree with melenas that you want something in the the 16-16.5 foot range.

If you look at the Swift or Northstar canoe websites you’ll see that they list an efficient weight range. You want to be in that range and in general towards the middle of the range. Most 16-16.5 footers are happy with 300-500 pounds or a bit more so your load is right in the sweet spot even if you carry some extra stuff.

Welcome. It is better to look for a 16 foot canoe .Used. There are more of those tandems around than smaller tandems… The shorter the canoe for new paddlers the more it is apt to yaw and be difficult to steer. Since you will need to add weight to the bow to balance( level trim) the boat or move your seat further forward it is better to buy a boat with non fixed seats. That is seats that can be moved or lowered. Many big box store canoes have fixed seats.

Keep your initial investment small but do buy yourself and your wife decent paddles. Don’t buy the cheapest you can. They are not only heavy but detract from enjoyment because they are heavy.

check out the old towne canadiene in the classifieds. $500 good price for a kevlar boat that should fit your needs.