Is a 14' ft canoe big enough?

Is a 14’ft canoe big enough for me and my wife,over night gear,and a 70 lbs dog?

16 for me.
I would go with a 16. Keep Rover happy.

For that much, the 16 is better. With
gear, even a 17 will do better than many 14 footers. Now, if you are going solo and the 14 you pick is stable for both what you want to do and your experience level, it would be nice to have. Its like apartments, two can live in aa efficiency, but life is easier if its bigger.

I have
15 and 16 foot canoes. The 15’ is low and narrow,barely big enough for 370 pounds of me and my boy in flatwater, although legroom is lacking. Dogs and gear no way. The 16’ is high and wide and big enough to pack extra gear and stay dry. Unless you are both small and paddling flatwater only, I would think the 14’ to be too small with the load you plan.


Jack L

I Recently Had A
Mohawk that was a 14 or 15. It did great as a boat to get my 60 pound dog out on the water. I took it camping and carried a lot of the equipiment in it as well as the dog. The canoe was likely overloaded at that point. Loaded like this it felt literally like I was dragging an anchor along the bottom. My son was along paddling my kayak and I had him count to ten between every stoke as I paddled like mad to keep up.



– Last Updated: Sep-23-06 8:12 AM EST –

About five years ago, I owned a 13.5 foot Bear Creek ME canoe. It was too short. That little weathercocking SOB required my use of a kayak padde in wind, and plenty of J hooking strokes even on flatwater. I spent more energy on directional control than it was worth. When I sold my last home on a small IL lake to buy my current home, the buyer's asked if I'd throw in the canoe. I acted like I was thinking about it, scratching my chin, then said "Yes!" and shook their hand before they could change their mind.

As a kid we paddled a 17 foot kayak at our lakehouse. It was a big, old heavy@ss Lincoln faux birch bark, and we adored it. Stable, long, realtively fast it seemed, and little windcocking.

So, I submit to you, original poster, that it is not only a "carry two people, a dog and some gear" issue, but it is also a performance issue.

Longer is better…
Several respondants have suggest longer, 16-17 footers.

I agree. Performance will be enhanced, tracking, speed, efficiency etc. Adding length to the boat adds markedly to its volume: abiltiy to haul (bodies and gear). It really makes the difference between squeezing in (possible) and riding uncramped.

Nova Craft, Wenonah, Bell, Mad River and Old Town all make fine boats. Mine is an Old Town Penobscot 17 to which I am partial, (only because it is mine). I have no trouble paddling solo, or in tandem, or with three; even four… The longer (17’) canoe has given me the opportunity to invite a couple of passengers for an after dinner paddle on a warm summer’s eve.

Just more flexibility in use.

George in Cody

Long and short of it…
Most 14 foot canoes would not be a good choice for tandem use – especially if you add a dog for good measure. One possible exception that comes to my mind would be a very wide 14 footer like a We-no-nah Fisherman. Friends of ours have one and it works well for their recreational use as a tandem flatwater “State Park” type tandem. Of course a wide-ride like a Fisherman truly suffers in the performance department – it’s quite a tub. Generally speaking you’d be way ahead to look at 16 or even a 17 foot canoe for the load you’re talking about.

On the other hand there are some excellent 14 foot and shorter SOLO canoes. I certainly wouldn’t dismiss short canoes as uncontrollable or requiring that you have to resort to the use of a kayak paddle to keep them in line. As a point of fact most solo FreeStyle canoeists use either 14 or 13 foot boats with canoe paddles, but they are people who have taken the time to study the methodology of precise boat control. Short solo canoes are also far superior to longer canoes when winding through small creeks with lots of obstacles – for obvious reasons. I’ve gotten off topic with this last paragraph – just wanted to point out some uses for shorter canoes. Generally they don’t make good tandems, but some make fine solos.

I don’t paddle tandem

– Last Updated: Sep-23-06 9:35 AM EST –

I don't paddle tandem anymore, but I regularly use several different solo canoes that are 14 foot or more in length. I tried to imagine loading any of them with myself, gear for 2 people for an overnight, another person, and a 70 pound dog. Not gonna happen!

I understand there are 14 footers that have more width, more depth, and therefore more volume than any of the solos I paddle. That being said; I don't understand why anyone would want to try to cram so much into so small a canoe? The benefits of doing this would be what?

I'd prefer a 16 footer minimum. A 17 footer would probably even be better in my opinion. I owned an Old Town Discovery 174, and a Dagger Reflection 17 footer. Both easily carried myself, my wife, and all the gear we could ever possibly need on multi night outings. I don't know what we'd have done with a 70 pound dog though?


If you’re a good packer,
and your dog doesn’t need to stretch out while lying down, the Oldtown Stillwater is another 14’ model that would work for what you want to do, although marginally. We, including our 75 lb. dog, like our Stillwaer, although we haven’t camped with it yet. I could see a compact tent and a weekend’s supplies making it inside. Wouldn’t try the Great Lakes with that load, though. Happy paddling!

14’ Canoe
That is too small. I have a 14’ canoe and two kids and a dog and there is not enough room. I want a 17 footer to go with my smaller one for trips. More room is more stuff but put your boat in the living room and add your stuff and see how quick it overloads. Good luck momagna

Length vs Weight capacity
I generally regard 14 foot sportsman-type tandem canoes as being capable of safely handling about 400 lbs max in up to about a foot of choppy waves … that is with competent paddlers. In more demanding conditions that those … things become too risky. In benign (smooth water/weather) conditions, you might be able to stretch the weight a bit (10-15 %) more and still be fairly safe.

A medium sized 16 footer = about 500 lbs max.

A medium to large 17 footer = 600 lbs max.

A medium to large 18 footer = 700-800 max.

As you go up in length, bow, center and stern depth generally is increased in most designs and so most “longer” canoes have the ability to handle 1-2 foot waves if the paddlers quarter into and out of them. Canoes with lots of flare and volume can be regarded as having greater weight capacity than shorter lengths with straighter sides and skinnier ends.

Lastly, seaworthyness is largely determined by the behavior of the paddlers. When in challenging conditions, get your center of gravity substantially lower towards the floor, stay more centered and have instantly available bailing buckets or scoops to use if your canoe suddenly “gulps” 20-50 gallons. In other words, be prepared to act usefully to save yourselves by evacuating as much water as quickly as possible. And if tripping, have a sea anchor (underwater drag chute) to deploy for keeping your bow perpendicular to waves if you have to manage some sort of problem in your boat.

Larger boats are usually safer and so, often thought of as being more than worth their extra weight and bulk when relied upon for many kinds of service (e.g. smooth and rougher water/weather; light and heavy loads, etc.)