sot or solo canoe

I have a 16’ touring kayak and love it. However, I am thinking about adding another boat. One reason is that I paddle places where downed trees are common and getting under or over isn’t always possible without exiting the boat. I was considering a solo canoe, but at a club meeting someone mentioned a sit on top was very practical for climbing over trees on small creeks. I don’t really know much about either the solo canoes or sot’s. I would use this alternative boat mostly where there is some current,but nothing serious. I am not crazy about canoes in that I hate wind and since they sit higher… I realize the sot would not be practical for storing gear, but it would most likely be used for day trips only…I think I’d use the touring for trips. Any suggestions?

In and out
If you are getting in and out much the canoe with it’s higher seat is preferable.


You might want to try a WS Tarpon 120. Its a proven design for rivers and creeks with just enough length for some additional speed in flatwater and bays. Also with a SOT you can just swing your legs over the side and ease off to stand up in the water, easy on and off.

I recently paddled

– Last Updated: Apr-14-07 6:57 AM EST –

in a creek just like you ware talking about and was in a canoe. A friend was along, and he was on a SOT, and I noticed that I was able to duck lower under the downed trees than he was.
Wind should be no factor on small creeks and when you are out on open water use your touring kayak.

I vote for the canoe

You can't have too many boats.



– Last Updated: Apr-13-07 9:47 PM EST –

I too vote for the canoe. The solo canoes are actually alot like kayaks if you use a double blade. I have a touring kayak had a SOT and a couple of solo canoes. I prefer the solo canoe because you can pack more gear in it for camping trips, some models are ALOT lighter than any comparable sized SOT and you stay nice and dry. Good thing when the water's cold. In a creek or river you shouldn't be too worried about wind. Plus, alot of the newer SOT's have as much wind profile as a solo canoe. As JackL said, for the open water you already have a kayak.

I prefer my Tarpon for a creek boat
over my canoe but that has a lot to do with the design of the boats. My Voyager was not designed for quick turns; neither was the Tarpon, but it is quicker than the canoe.

My vote is for the canoe (long post)

– Last Updated: Apr-14-07 10:11 PM EST –

#1. A solo canoe will be lighter, and the chances are good that the kinds of creeks you are talking about will occassionally require you to drag the boat over downed logs, or even carry it overland around tangles. Maybe a SOT isn't super heavy, but I've come to realize that any weight savings at all is highly noticeable at those times, enough so that there will be times it is the deciding factor when a particularly bad obstacle makes you say "time to turn around" or "let's keep going".

#2. A solo canoe will go under lower obstacles than a SOT. I kneel right down on the floor and bend forward so my back is as low as the gunwales (you can do this if you aren't too big), which in a solo canoe that's suitable for such creeks will only be about 10" higher than the water's surface when your weight is in the boat. I really don't envision someone on a SOT getting their whole body low enough that they can squeeze under a gap that's only one foot high, especially since the rear deck is normally higher than the seat (can you actually lay flat over that edge?), though perhaps they could by the same method I use to get the bow under a really low log, which is to just muscle under by "sinking" the boat a bit and pushing up on the log. I don't think I'd feel too stable doing that while lying on my back, though.

#3. Remember, you won't always be able to pull up alongside a log you need to climb over. Sometimes ornery tree branches are in the way and all you can do is touch the end of the boat to the place where you must climb out of the boat. You can walk the floor of a canoe right to the very end and step out. Or, you may need to do that on the other side when you climb back in. You probably won't be able to walk the length of your SOT unless you have better balance than any of the kayakers I paddle with (for one thing, in a canoe, your weight is carried right on the floor, *below* the water line, rather than on a deck several inches above it).

#4. Even on day trips you are going to bring along food, water, a change of clothes and/or extra clothes, and maybe other stuff too. Having that stuff down low in the boat and out of the way sure beats tying it on the deck, especially if you are bushwacking through downed timber. Plus, you can put the gear anywhere you want to achieve the best trim, and yet it will never be in the way.

#5. Ever see what happens on small creeks to someone who's relying on a double-blade paddle when there are tree branches low overhead and/or close along the sides? That alone is reason enough to choose the canoe (one of my favorite little creeks really "weeds out" the kayakers on group trips). Plus, once you get the hang of it, slipping and sliding a boat in and around obstacles with a single blade is a real joy. Jack says you can never have too many boats, and it's also true that it's good to know more than one way to paddle.

Consider Pack Canoes
Pack Canoes are open topped kayaks. Youe sit just off the bottom and use a kayak paddle. Mad River and Native have rotomolde items @ 50 lbs.

Hemlock, Hornbeck, Placid boatsworks, Savage and Vermont Canoe have composite models.

My solo canoe had a 19" bow. The Tarpon
is half that.

Used to paddle a canoe
A SOT will be much easier for what you want to do. You may be able to lie in the bottome of a canoe but gunwales are still going to be much higher than laying back on an SOT. SOT is much easier to get on and off of than a canoe.

Hip waders
I went under/over a log a few days ago and it was annoying. I was in an 11 ft ww kayak. I think a small sot would be easier to fit through odd little creeks than a canoe. A rec kayak might also be Ok. Compare them and see.

You make some good points but my canoe is 17" tall and 36" wide. You must have something smaller.

Rec kayaks are difficult to get in and
out of compared to an SOT or solo canoe. Of the two, when not crawling over deadfall and such, the canoe is going to be the better performer and more fun, especially with a double bladed paddle.

Would it be that difficult?
A rec kayak usually has a huge cockpit so I don’t see that it would be difficult to get out of. You would basically do what you would do in a sot – drop your feet off both sides and then stand up in the water. I admit a canoe would be better if you actually want to keep your feet dry, but I’m not very familiar with canoes so I don’t know how many are narrow enough to fit where a kayak would fit.

Standing in the water

– Last Updated: Apr-14-07 10:28 PM EST –

The little creeks I paddle on may be small, but you usually can't just step out to get through obstacles. Usually downed timber occurs where there's already a scour hole and the water will be very deep. Even in the smallest creek I paddle, 5 feet deep would be typical in downed timber, and on small rivers, a depth of 8 feet in such locations would be pretty common. One other creek I paddle on has some stretches that are only about a foot deep, but when you cross a fallen log, it can easily be three or four feet right at that location.

Oh yeah, most of the smaller, manueverable solo canoes are about 28 or 29 inches wide. A really big honker like my Supernova is 32 inches wide, but that boat is a behemoth in the solo-canoe world, and wouldn't be my first choice on tiny creeks mostly because it weighs almost 60 pounds, but it would actually work pretty well in many cases.

Update: I just checked Wilderness systems' website and see that the "little" Tarpon 120 weighs 60 pounds. In my above post I said "maybe a SOT isn't super heavy...", but now I take that back. Here I thought that my Supernova was heavy, but it's humongous in comparison to a Tarpon 120, and at least it can be yoked.

I’ve done what you say and my canoe works well.

solo canoes

– Last Updated: Apr-15-07 9:18 AM EST –

I've done creek and river trips with others in SOT kayaks and one of them had a Tarpon 160. That is one heavy kayak! By canoes, I was recommending solo canoes not tandem canoes. These are 12 - 16 feet long depending on what you want to use it for and are usually 11 - 14 inches deep.My solo canoe is 28" wide but that varies too. Most are under 45 lbs even in royalex. You can use a double blade or single blade(my preference) and depending on model can be used kneeling/sitting or both.

Typical solo canoe?
I never see anyone in a solo canoe (other than ww canoes). Mostly every canoe I see is a 15-18 ft double. What would be some typical solo models?

Seven feet of water ??
a leg over each side ???

That is great if you are coming into a beach, but murphys law states that at every deadfall, the water is seven feet deep where ever you are getting out.



I can’t list many off the top of my head
… but check out a few canoe-maker’s websites and you’ll find a bunch. Check out websites by Bell, Wenonah, Mad River, Mohawk, and lesser-known but upscale brands like Clipper. I wish I could think of more builders than that right now.

Popular solo models that are mentioned on this site quite frequently are the Bell Wildfire, Bell Yellowstone, Mohawk Solo 14, Mohawk Oddysey 14, Wenonah Sandpiper, Wenonah Vagabond, Wenonah Argosy, and Mad River Freedom Solo (formerly known as the Guide). All of these would work well on twisty little creeks.