What makes canoe stabile?

I’m looking for my first canoe. It will be for two 200 lb adults and one 100 lb dog. Very recreational applications on quiet rivers and lakes.

Want something not too havy, around 15’. Most important is stability and comfort. I budgeted it in the $1000 top, preferrable in the $500-600 range.

What would you recommend? All help is very appreciated!



old town camper 16
try craigslist for your first.if your into it trade up. i started with an old town discovery about 12 canoes ago. all bought from craigslist for less than 600$ each. i now have 3 royalex canoes for different water.

if you have a BassProShop near you …

– Last Updated: Jun-02-10 11:35 PM EST –

...... I'll suggest you go look at the Old Town Expedition 169 (16'-9") . This is a 3 layer linear polyethylene canoe (middle layer is floatation) .

BassPro will give you a good deal on it . Most BassPro shops will give you 10% off your first purchase (the canoe for instance) if you sign up for their credit card (toss the card afterwards if you want) . I think it is retailing for 699. at BassPro now .

It weighs 84 lbs. and that's really not too much .

This canoe is roomy and you'll like it .

Before you buy paddles and PFD's , ask about those on here too .

If you can find a nice used Old Town Tripper 17' in Royalex , that would make a good canoe for you too ... it weighs about 80 lbs. .

Do not limit
yourself to 15’ length, as it is probably too small for your intended load. At 500lbs. plus gear you should look at something at least 16’ and with a large dog 17’ might even be better unless he is very well behaved.

Load limits posted by most companies should be taken with a grain of salt. Some give the top weight to allow a “6” freeboard" and that’s not enough freeboard to feel comfortable or be safe in any but the most benign water.

Try to test paddle if you can. Check for local canoe clubs. Attend canoe events. Have fun!

I like the OLDTOWN sandwiched poly…
Gotta love the OLDTOWN poly with the sandwiched insulation/floatation… makes for a nice stiff canoe (does oil can like other poly canoes).

Try these for added stability:


With em’ fully extended you can clog dance in yer canoe. :slight_smile:


Putting 500 lbs in a 15’ canoe doesn’t sound like a good idea.

And make sure that you don’t take the dog the first few times, at least until the two 200 lb adults get a feel for balancing the boat.

One hundred pounds moving around unpredictably or trying to launch off of the gunwales into the water makes for a very unstable canoe.

No matter what you choose.
That 100lb dog will be a challenge in any canoe. Unless he knows how to Down and Stay indefinitely, you should plan on getting wet. We are talking 100obs here.

Beginners with 100lb dog?
I second the Kingfisher. And 15’ is definitely too small.

We would like to watch!
With that load especially the four footed mobile load, look for ejection of the bow paddler.

Seriously.PFD on and near shore.

Most ejections are caused by the bow paddler going over first. The bow station is less stable than the stern station as there is less room to spread knees.

You can kneel, can’t you?

Remember the bow paddler cannot SEE the dog. She really does NOT have eyes in the back of her head(I am making assumptions your bow is female …usually it is). Ergo when the dog moves she will have no idea whats going on and stiffen up.

Read the posts about loose hips. Stiff =going over. The dog will cause the boat to shift back and forth-that tippy feeling.

Dont assume your dog will be quiet.

I still dislike my 65 lb goldens pacing. Unless the bottom is dry and non skid…she stands and paces. If she is comfortable she lays across one gunwale with her head in the water. And switches to to the other gunwale 30 seconds later.

I would not take the dog out to start with.

Dog in the boat
I like your comments about dog in the boat! So much of fun!!! And you guys are right - this moving back and force 100 lb cargo is not a picknick. But he is a part of the family and he HAS to be onboard. Whatever it will take from me to train him to sit steady.

Is the dog a jumper?
My dog used to decide she had had enough and bail out and swim to shore … 100 lbs of athletic dog jumping out and you will have some issues as a beginner.

Get a big long, wide heavy canoe to start with. 16.5 ft aluminum barge and have fun.

start slow and start solo
with you in the back perhaps sitting backwards on the bow seat.

Borrow something for now. Dog training is number 1. It doesnt matter the model or make of canoe.

A mat on the bottom so the dog feels secure. Treats so the dog has positive reinforcement ( or whatever you do for “good dog”). Calm. No fear. A Canine Floatation device might help ( its hilarious…my daughters Labrador retreiver is petrified by water without the CFD and fine with)

You might have a great calm at heart dog unfazed by everything. If not you will need to do some training.

Length, width, and hull design all
matter. People often express concern about stability of short boats, and end up with short, WIDE boats to get the “security” they want.

But adding a foot or two of length to a hull design contributes a lot to stability, and makes the boat paddle easier too.