Let’s travel together.

How to choose a Canoe


Even so when you first enter a canoe shop you may have a lot of models, brands, sizes, materials and styles in mind. In this article we will try to focus on what is important to reduce the range to a couple of models or three and make your choice easier.

The two factors that play a more important role when buying your first canoe is to consider what you are going to do with it and where you are going to use it we recommend you to buy Hawaiian Canoes. When is not so important because surely you would like to use it as many times as you have it.


Determining this from the first moment will make your options significantly reduced. In the closed canoes we sit inside the boat using its bathtub to enter. A self- emptying, open or sit-on-top canoe (from English sit on top) is just the opposite; the paddler sits on the top of the boat since they are canoes that do not have interior bathtubs precisely to make them unsinkable. Another differentiating element would be the drainage holes that incorporate all the self-emptying canoes along the hull, allowing the water that can enter the deck to be dislodged by them backs into the water, hence the name of self-emptying. The sit-on-top advantage is that they are more versatile and safe than closed canoes, in case of overturning you just have to turn them over, go up and continue the march.

Both closed and open canoes can be found in recreational models but closed canoes are typical of whitewater and sea cruises, while open canoes are mainly used for fishing, even professionally, and diving. Closed models are, in general, faster and easier to maneuver, allowing paddlers to stay dry inside the canoe as long as there is no shipwreck or swim as we usually say. On the other hand the sit-on-top canoes they are usually more stable offering greater transport capacity, options for installing accessories and access to cargo areas. Although this is not always the case, manufacturers also launch self-emptying markets that are as fast as closed and closed models that are as stable as open ones.


Choosing between an individual and a double or tandem canoe has, at times, to do with the opinion of the people of our environment such as our partner, children or a close relative. In general, and because of the use that is given to the canoes, we tend to recommend individual canoes since they provide us with greater versatility in our paddle trips. It happens, on many occasions, that our customers have bought a double canoe thinking that someone from their surroundings would accompany those most of the time and finally it has not been that way. With what you have a double canoe that you have to load, unload and move in the water alone. We are not at all against double canoes; simply our experience shows us that they are used less than the individual ones. An interesting question you should ask yourself would be “Would you buy a tandem bicycle for another person to accompany you three or four times a year?”

However, for those who have small children, double canoes can be an ideal option especially in those that offer the possibility of moving one of the seats to the central area in case you want to paddle alone. Virtually all modern double models have this option. In case you cannot move the seat, you can shovel in the front or rear area, it will never be the same as shoveling in an individual canoe but it is perfectly feasible. Keep in mind that children from 6 or 7 years old can start shoveling alone with smaller boats designed for them.


Most of the current canoes are made of polyethylene while they can also be manufactured with other materials such as fiberglass or carbon fiber, Kevlar or thermoformed plastic. Without entering into scientific discussions about which material is better we will make it easy for you. The polyethylene is very resistant, you can hit and drag it without worrying in excess of the material and its price is cheaper than fiber boats. As a disadvantage we will comment that it is heavier and more difficult to repair in case of breakage, although given its resistance this rarely occurs. The canoes made of composites, fibers and thermoformed plastic are usually lighter and easier to repair but their price is higher and they are more delicate.

It is a recurring theme that fiber canoes have a greater slip in the water being a good choice for paddlers who travel long distances or compete, which has a direct impact on their price. For most canoeists, polyethylene is the option chosen.


Trying to explain each type of helmet design, based on its shape, can be a bit complicated. For that reason we will simplify it based on its advantages:

  • Rounded helmets – good speed and maneuverability
  • V-shaped helmets – good speed and course tracing
  • Flat helmets – good stability and turning speed
  • Tunnel-shaped or ribbed helmet – the best stability

In addition to the shape of the hull, seen from the front of the canoe, we must talk about the “rocker” or ruin. The rocker is the curvature of the hull line seen laterally, the canoes with greater rocker rotate more quickly but do not keep the course so well, on the contrary the flattest canoes, with less ruin, keep the course better but are slower turning. If you want to make departures of several kilometers, sea canoe or fishing, you will choose a model with a more straight line. If you want to navigate Whitewater Rivers or areas with many obstacles you will opt for a helmet with greater rocker.


This is one of the most recurring questions when buying a canoe. In general it will depend on the type of canoeing you do and your navigation areas, also on whether you have limitations to store or transport the canoe. We consider that smaller canoes are slower but also easy to maneuver while longer models are faster but difficult to maneuver. In addition, longer canoes tend to keep their bearings better than short models. When we talk about the width or sleeve we assume that the wider models are more stable for slower.

In the end it will try to obtain a compromise between length, width and weight of the boat.


Without wanting to make this post an article about this accessory we believe it is worth commenting on. Rudders can make a difference in the behavior of your canoe. Many paddlers think of the rudder as an element to steer the canoe continuously when it has really been designed to help us correct the direction of the boat when we sail in areas of current or windy.

When the canoe exceeds four meters, the rudders can be interesting to help us improve the direction especially in self-emptying, wider and less maneuverable canoes, although they are not essential, since otherwise they would include them as standard, they help to correct the trajectory especially to the novice canoeists. In the sea canoes it will depend on the navigation areas but, in general, the orza will allow us to set a good course by helping us with the shovel and the edging of the body to direct.

We show you the comparative table of the different types of canoes and their behavior depending on the modality practiced, navigation area and characteristics.

Leave A Reply