kayaks and canoes compared .....

-- Last Updated: Nov-18-08 11:39 AM EST --

...... what are the advantages vs. disadvantages for each ??

I don't use a yak , haven't ever paddled one , because they cannot even come close to what I use a canoe for . That doesn't mean a yak doesn't have it's own strengths for an intended purpose , because I'm sure they do . There are things that can be done in a yak that I would'nt consider doing in a canoe .

So how do you all think these two paddle platforms stack up to one another ??

I'll start , i can easily carry a thousand pounds gross load down a river with plenty to spare in my canoe .... Good for me !!

The wind is raging , the water is/has gotten , quite choppy with little whitecaps all over . Everything is the same inside my canoe . Paddling takes lots more energy and forward progress and manuverability has slowed way down . I'm not getting wet (other than some spray) , no water is getting into my canoe , stability is as good as ever ... Good for me !!

I can stand up at will , move around in there , get to everything with ease .... Good for me !!

Yer kin’ tell dem river gnats…
ta carry their own coolers an’ de only reason ta git a 'yak be ta hide dem’s real ugly knees.


And the purpose is…
If you have already decided that a kayak wouldn’t do what you want, I am a little puzzled why you are asking. I presume that you wouldn’t try a major crossing on the ocean in a canoe, or would you? Native Americans did in many cases. Would you play in breaking surf or circumnavigate Greenland in a canoe, or is class 4 WW in your range in a canoe? Most wouldn’t, but I bet that for every blanket statement there is someone who has at least contemplated doing it.

Personally, I think that this is in the hands of the paddle-holder.

I am a bi’paddler
I love both canoes and kayaks.

When I am in the canoe, I like that best.

When I am in the kayak I like that best.

The only place where I could see being better off in a kayak would be out several miles in the ocean or a large lake with a 20MPH wind blowing, in which case I feel quite comfortable with my skirt on, even if there are breaking white caps coming over me.



The Right Tool for the Job!
There are times when almost any tool can get the job done (my dad knew a guy who did a major overhaul on a Model T Ford using something like three tools), and other times when you need exactly the right tool or else you can’t do anything, yet that same special tool won’t help you with any OTHER jobs. Same goes for boats.

I agree with jack
I loved doing 90 miler with bro in canoe. Did it twice in kayak. Kayaks are faster but the big wing can too efficent at grabbing water and the canoe paddle is a nice low impact rest. Both canoe and kayaks are great. Canoe is better fro camping and portage. Solo canoe against the wind is really tough

If you paddle a kayak…

…all of the canoeist will give you a hard time until you see the LIGHT.

I could say “Real Men” paddle kayaks but I won’t… this time.

Paddlin’ on


kayaks are better
if you want to fit in with the crowd. Easier to carry, too, I’ll give ya’ that much. And yeah, when my bilge pump battery’s died, and I got 3 more miles of cl. 3 to go, I debate that whole “skirt vs. bailing scoop” thing. Then I pet the scoop affectionately and say “we’re no navels :-).” Emotion over intellect, the way paddling should be!

Horses for courses

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 5:00 PM EST –

I find that I paddle a canoe far more often than a kayak these days to the point that I sold my beloved Current Designs Solstice GT last year to raise money for a new canoe after 10 years of adventures with it.

But when I went to the Apostle Islands this summer and the wind was cranking I was paddling one of my kayaks. I had my Bell Northwoods along and had it on Superior on day trips when the conditions were proper for it, but when things picked up later in the week it was time to switch.

After years of tripping on the Wisconsin River and lake paddling I found that I was better off for the paddling I did 99% of the time in a canoe and the Solstice was collecting dust other than an occassional paddle on Lake Michigan which I still do in my Pax 19 or Klepper.

In other words, while my own use leans twards a canoe having an advantage (as well as many people I see in kayaks) but that doesn't mean there isn't a time and a place where I would leave the canoe in the garage am glad to grab a better tool for the job.

Creaky knees
Seating position lets my knees fare much better in a kayak than a canoe.

maybe a regional thing
I don’t recall ever seeing a canoe off the coast of southern California. A covered canoe would probably be fine, otherwise splash from waves would be a pain.

If the water is calm enough (assuming a non-covered canoe) then I like the ease of moving, stretch, and getting in/out. I like kayaks because they’re more an extension of your body (you almost put them on like pants) and so seem more fun for goofing around especially in rough water. But after several hours they can seem more confining.

You can sit in many canoes.
I sit most of the time in my canoes.

Canoes Are Station Wagons…

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 5:58 PM EST –

...kayaks are sports cars.

We started kayaking in '01, about 25 years after we'd converted from sailing to canoeing. We loved it, especially paddling and camping as a family when our two daughters were very young, but missed the salt water more as time went by.

For coastal touring and day runs around our shoreline, the kayaks are great. They are light, fast, nimble, fully decked, and less affected by wind and wave. We feel a lot more confident in the kayaks in 'conditions' on the saltwater than we'd would in a canoe. I like the double-bladed paddle better, find it less tiring. In our singles, my wife and I can move along together, or separate for little side-trips. Easier to re-enter with a lot less bailing, if one gets silly and makes mistakes...

Canoes, on the other hand, are more comfortable for long days on the water, and carry a heck of a lot more gear in a much more accessible manner. We can take a kid or two and a dog along, which is nothing to be sneezed at when comparing craft. Hands-down winner, in our books, for fresh-water camping and for a number of runs around here that take you deep into the country over a series of linked "pothole ponds" where you are in-and-out of the boat several times an hour.

We still have and use both, altho the kayaks get far more seat-time - we spend the summer in an area with lots of sheltered salt-water places to paddle. They are, interestingly enough, the same waters that the Beothuk, Newfoundland's aboriginals, traversed extensively by canoe...

Canoes have more soul, but …
kayaks are cool, too.

It’s good fun in a kayak when a wave hits you in the chest. Typically, that’s a bit of a problem in a canoe. Paddling in wind and waves, I like the yak. Paddling long, open, flat stretches, the scenery goes my much faster, too.

Since last December, I’ve been on a paddling, camping trip for every full moon. Some have been kayak trips, some canoe trips. I’ve noticed I am immensely more likely to be sitting in camp, admiring the moonlit water, and jump in the boat an go for a moonlit paddle, if the boat is a canoe. There’s a higher level of preparation if I am kayaking, because I know I’m going to get wet from the paddle drip, the launch, and what have you. It’s physically more complicated to enter the kayak.

I never pack firewood in the kayak, I will in a canoe. If a site is bare of wood, I can hop in the canoe and usually find plenty a 100 yards away, and bring it back.

Pilotwingz likes to fish. The canoe, more versatile, is easy to convert to a fishing platform. It is inconvenient to fish from a kayak. Accomodation must be made to hold the rod, store gear, and if you keep your catch, store the fish. I see way more fish while standing in the canoe than sitting, and more sitting in the canoe than in a kayak.

It is way easier to paddle kayaks, skillwise, than to become proficient at canoing.

But, most importantly, canoes are just more fun to paddle, because they have soul.


Or go with the best of both worlds
a Sit-on-Top. Affectionately known as a plastic slab in some parts.

Rig it up for fishing, no bailing, no pumping, plenty or cargo space in the hull and on the back deck. No real maintenance for the plastic models, just toss it on the water, flop right down on a nice comfy seat and head out. Mine has 4 rod holders and a trolley line for the anchor.

And no worries about rolling or getting trapped upside down. Flop off and hop back on.

Fun stuff.


yo vk1nf

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 7:40 PM EST –

you're sure generalizing with your sports car/station wagon analogy. There's 6.5' canoes out there.
and though old school(like the paddler ;-)), I've never considered this a station wagon...

I have a canoe that is a sports car.
But I wouldn’t punch through surf with it.

I take exception to the
"canoes are like station wagons’ remark. In addition to the whitewater clip posted earlier, you might want to check out the freestyle clips on YouTube. There’s nothing “station wagon” about a canoe, solo or tandem in the right hands.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom paddles and cedar strip canoes

Hi FE,

A kayak with a skirt will keep the gnats off your ugly knees. (They will then focus on your head, neck and arms).


A good friend of mine recently…
…started solo canoeing, after a few years of kayaking. You hear all sorts of people say that kayaks are “an extension of your body”, but once she started to get the hang of controlling the canoe, her overwhelming impression about canoes versus kayaks was that canoes are “an extension of your thoughts”. Her reasoning is that if you paddle down a wide-open river in a kayak, every stroke is a repeat of the one before, but if you paddle down that same wide-open river in a canoe, every single stroke is taylor-made for that particular moment in time, requiring your mind to be totally engaged to the craft, and no two strokes ever turn out to be exactly the same.