Kayak or Canoe!!??^^%%##@

Confusion!! Confusion!! This may be more directed at canoe owners than kayakers, but want opinions from both, especially crossovers! I am fighting back/forth with myself as far as kayak/canoe purchase. It will be solo in either case, and used primarily for workout/exercise. I have paddled the Prijon Touryak and the Calabria. The local dealer not only has Prijon and Necky yaks, but also those beautiful Wenonah canoes. I like quite a few different models including the Prism, Vagabond, Sandpiper and Argosy canoes. He also has an Advantage and Prism in stock but that kevlar stuff is expensive but man, is that light!! I will be paddling on open water small manmade lakes mostly in Texaaasss. But there is also heavy boat traffic around here sometimes with drunks. I have paddled on both a slow moving river and a little bit of open lake in the kayaks. I haven’t done anything as far as the canoe goes but find all sorts of comments on here about the solo ones. Other than the openness of canoes, as opposed to the kayak sit-ins how is the handling of the canoes in weather, glide and comfort in comparison?

I have one of each
but find I use the c-1 canoe more often.


I started out in a sea kayak. Now I’m a canoe guy. Sea Kayaks are better in large water with the potential for big waves and wind coming up. Canoes are better in every other way, in every other application (except class 3+ whitewater). If the lakes are relatively small, with minimal fetch, get a 14-16’ solo canoe. (You should install air bags for safety). Just my opinion.

A canoeist 's opinion
The answer to your question has been debated for some time. I am a canoeist so here is my byes opinion. First, if you are only doing day trips I would considered both fairly equal, the yak been faster and canoe more comfortable (excluding solo WW canoes). If the canoe is made for lakes it will track fairly well and also fairly fast. The canoe will be more impacted by the wind which can get very annoying. Some canoe shapes are better than other. Waves are also bigger problem for canoeist than it would be for a Yaker but this can be overcome with technique.

If you are going for longer trip, including portages, the canoe is far superior. I always have steaks the first night and bring sufficient red wine for the entire trip (5L). On the other hand, the Yaker will probably eat nuts and grain. On my long Canadian trips i’ll bring a mosquito tent, chairs, a folding table, a nice full size sleeping mat and my canoe has a nice portage yoke for when I need to do a portage. Yaks do not portage well and are heavy. And finally, for the coup de grace…. Canoeists are nicer! Many (not all) Yakers are stuck up and thing there are something better when they paddle by in their expensive yaks.

easier to throw
rocks at the drunks from a canoe. Kayak locks your body in and you can’t get into the throw as good as you can in a canoe. Plus you’re at equal height in a canoe so you don’t have to throw “uphill.” Plus you can carry rocks,slingshots, guns and all sorts of things in a canoe. If you’re sharing the waterway with drunks it’s an easy decision.

what a delema
well buy one of each, but start with the kayak. I am a canoe guy, so don’t just think it is a general bias. The Kayak will be a more even workout. If you want to exercise then the kayak will be a little more your style. I paddle both my boats to work out, but I paddle the canor to work out for canoeing, the kayak for general health.

I cannot recommend a type or style particularly. I know that WeNoNah canoes are wonderful and the company is a pleasure to deal with.

comparring all the aspects you asked about is like asking about a pick-up truck and a sedan. a kayak will proably glide further per stoke. the kayak will PrObAbLy go strighter in the wind. The canoe will be more comfortable (most likely) and generally more useful. you can easily load gear, and you have alot of options is a canoe. The kayak and the canoe against drunks…now there is WHOLE can of worms to be opened ha ha ha. I will leave it there for the thread to go and get more interesting.


I concur with liveoutside
A kayak will be better for a workout and if that is your sole purpose for buying then go with the yak. Having said that, if you wnat the versitility of a canoe but still want the workout, try paddling a solo canoe with a double blade (kayak style) paddle. Most of the We-no-nah solos you mentioned are suited for that. I have a We-no-nah Vagabond (royalex) that I occasionally paddle with a double balde. I also have a Bell Magic in Kev Lite that virtually “flies” when propelled with a double blade. It is a great flatwater boat and tracks very well and is fairly dry in waves. Any of the kevlar boats (Kevlar Vagabond for example) will be faster and have better glide that the royalex boats of the same model. Keep in mind I am a canoe guy who tried a yak but went back to the canoes.

what a dilema is right!
I concur with everyone’s post. Given that you are not doing exposed ocean coasts or launching landing in surf I would lean towards a solo canoe.

I have a kayak and a Bell Merlin 2. My first solo canoe was a Wenonah Vagabond (good recreational canoe). For exercise the kayak is faster but I have to say that after I lowered the seat on the Merlin with the Bell 4" bracket, installed footbraces and use a 240 cm kayak paddle the boat is very fast and gives me same workout as the kayak. However, I do prefer to sit/switch paddle with my ZRE bent shaft but when in company of kayakers it doesn’t cut it for speed. It may be my technique that is not good yet. The boat is also used kneeling for change of position to relieve my back and the seat bracket from bell is slightly canted lower in the front.

With the kayak you are only allowed one position the canoe is more comfortable in that respect.

If someone said to me “you can only have one boat” I would pick a performance solo canoe over a kayak hands down. For coastal paddling I’d improve my skill level and get a spray deck from Cookes.

Only thing to add.
When I had kayaks,and when loading for a trip,I remember jamming,cussing,cutting knuckles,reloading,having to unload the whole boat to find one thing. Now, I just walk over,drop it in, tie it down. Need one item,I can see it,or even get it underway if it’s close. I can move about,stretch,and even stand if I want. I started in canoes,went to kayaks,and back to canoes. Except for the speed of kayaks,I still wonder why I went to kayaks. I now have solo canoes.

Happy Paddling billinpa

If I get hot in my kayak, I just roll, and five seconds later I’m on my way cool and refreshed. That’s a lot harder to do in most canoes.

I like the canoe for flatwater exploring, dog transport, and fishing, and the kayak for when the weather picks up or I want to play.

Other folks have covered the tradeoffs prety well. Given that you’re looking for a workout boat for fairly warm, flat water, you might consider one of faster sit-on-top kayaks.

My vote goes for the kayak
I grew up doing canoe trips in the Adirondaks and Canada with the Boy Scouts. A couple years ago I tried a kayak for the first time and loved it immediately. These days my preference is for a kayak.

If you’re mainly looking for a workout, it doesn’t sound like tripping / portaging is a big factor. On the other hand, who knows what you might want to do with your boat in the future.

Either way, have fun!


simple solution for heat
Go ahead and dunk your head in your kayak, if you wish, but when you get hot in a canoe one simply opens the ice chest and pulls out a cold beverage, an ice cold towel, or both.

Could the cool one(s) in the ice chest explain why canoers are nicer and not obsessed with their boat’s speed?

screw the beers and rolling
I bring my snorkel gear and go chase trout when it’s hot in between the ww stretches. Or jump off rocks and swim. There’s your all around exercise. I’ll take canoeing anyday for the type of paddling I do, which is river tripping. Flatwater possibly a kayak is better, but I like the upper body canoe muscles I get from paddling, which work well with the bicycling, wood chopping and hiking muscles.Lot of kayakers I know from NPMB site get rotater cuff(?) injuries from too much of a good thing.

In my solo canoes…

– Last Updated: Oct-07-06 1:19 AM EST –

In my solo canoes I can do day floats with very little gear.
I can go out on the lake nearby for a couple of hours of paddling excercise.
I can do flat water, or up to class 2+ moving water.
I can do an overnight with all the gear that I want, or need.
Do a little class 3 whitewater? I'm the gray bearded paddler in the purple Mohawk Probe II.
So far.........pretty well even eh?

I can do a week long trip; so can you in your kayak........

But I'll be carrying a 2 man Timberline tent & tarp, a large size thermarest mattress, pillow, a "fully stocked",5 day, stainless steel, Coleman cooler, a rainfly, 5 gallons of water, all the food I could ever eat in 7 days(not talking grainola bars either), stove, lantern, chair, sleeping bag, several changes of clothes, change of shoes, paddle, spare paddle, kneeling pad, first aid kit, ammo box full of geegaws, sponge, and anything else I can think of that I "might possibly" want, or need. None of it will be on my decking either. I can sit, kneel, fold my legs, and stretch my legs full length. If I get hot; I pull over to shore, go for a swim, pull an "icy cold" one out of my cooler, and sit in the shade in my chair.

Oh.....you're a minimalist.....
Never mind......

Whatever floats your......kayak, canoe, raft,SOT.
It's all good.

LOL :^)

P.S. No; I won't haul your cooler for you.
You don't need no stinkin' cooler; you're a kayaker dude!

Re: Kayak or Canoe
Then it’s settled!..Canoe.

No argument there
But when it starts blowing whitecaps, or the swells and surf come up, I don’t see a lot of canoes out. I do enjoy launching my kayak while all the guys with 200hp fishing boats are waiting in the parking lot for the lake to calm down.

Heck, if you just want a good flatwater workout, get something you can row…

Truth is , nobody else can tell you what’s right for you. Best bet is to demo/rent/borrow as many different boats as you can and see what feels good to you.

If the sole purpose is workout/exercise, I’d go with a kayak.

whitecaps? swells?
What part of …

"But I’ll be carrying a 2 man Timberline tent & tarp, a large size thermarest mattress, pillow, a “fully stocked”,5 day, stainless steel, Coleman cooler, a rainfly, 5 gallons of water, all the food I could ever eat in 7 days(not talking grainola bars either), stove, lantern, chair, sleeping bag, several changes of clothes, change of shoes, paddle, spare paddle, kneeling pad, first aid kit, ammo box full of geegaws, sponge, and anything else I can think of that I “might possibly” want, or need. None of it will be on my decking either. I can sit, kneel, fold my legs, and stretch my legs full length. If I get hot; I pull over to shore, go for a swim, pull an “icy cold” one out of my cooler, and sit in the shade in my chair.

… didn’t you understand?

You yakkers gotta get over your fixation with defying death and learn to celebrate life!

p.s. we’re ALL small craft and none of us belong on the water when the whitecaps begin to show their teeth!

You mean I’ve been doing this…

– Last Updated: Oct-07-06 12:58 AM EST –

...boating thing wrong the whole time? I am soooo bummed out about this! Until now, I always thought whitecaps were fun. In fact, I thought hitting 13 miles per hour on the downwind face of a wave and watching spurts of spray from the bow fly by me at shoulder height was fun. I thought straining to keep the stern from getting tossed sideways while catching a good little surf sprint was fun. I thought struggling to make headway and maintain control against a 35 mph wind was an enjoyable challenge. I used to revel in my ability to feel what unseen waves were doing and react accordingly, without needing to look at the waves as they approached. What a fool I've been all this time. Of course, I'm not only a fool, but doubly strange because I did all those things in neither canoe nor kayak, but a rowboat which I used to think was a blast. Now you've ruined it for me, or, I should say, you've shown me the error of my ways. I will go now and sin no more.

Seriously, a decent kayaker is in no more danger in large waves than a floating bottle. Getting tossed around a bit and bobbing over the crest of each passing wave is really no big deal to those folks, nor should it be. I'm sure Sing is going to be very disappionted to read your post and discover that all that kayak surfing he has done was inappropriate use of a small boat, too.

Exercise doesn’t equal fast.
Paddling a solo canoe using proper rotation and a quick cadence is major exercise. A canoe gives you more options for changing positions for a workout. There is more resistance with many canoe hulls, so you will have to work harder to go faster than you would in a sea kayak. You can use a single blade to work your body and then switch to a kayak paddle to work the body slightly differently. A canoe can give you a plenty fine workout.

It sounds like you will be paddling deeper, open water that might be more suited to a kayak. Try both before you buy to see which you prefer. Make sure you can self-rescue in deep water if you’re going there.

Texas can get mighty hot and sitting inside a kayak could be unpleasant. I’ve done both and I like a canoe for hot weather. The kayakers from the south could give you more input on this aspect.

I think you can get a good workout from either a canoe or kayak. Paddle what works for you until it doesn’t work and then try something else. It’s not a lifelong decision. :slight_smile: