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Choosing the Best Canoe for BWCA: 2021 Guide

Choosing the Best Canoe for BWCA: 2021 Guide

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Canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a wonderful way to get out on the water and see some amazing sights. With more than 1 million acres to explore, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right canoe for your trip.

This will ensure that you are prepared for anything that you may experience and that you can easily transport the items that you need. The best canoe for BWCA is not only roomy, but easy to control so that you don’t get tired when out on the water. However if you are looking for family canoe then go here.

Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

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Getting out on the water alone has never been easier or more fun, as this canoe is built to be rugged, easy to control, and incredibly spacious.

It’s a great option for solo travel through the wilderness and offers plenty of room for all gear and equipment that a canoer will need when they are out on the water.


  • Only weighs 57 pounds, making it easy for a solo person to carry on their own
  • Comfortable seat is padded and great for long hours in the canoe
  • Features plenty of room for gear and tackle
  • Includes fishing rod holders to ensure ease when catching dinner
  • Easily holds up to 354 pounds, making it powerful and sturdy


  • Only one seat, which means that it’s only for solo use
  • Shorter length isn’t the best option for all canoers

Click here to check the latest price of Old Town Discovery on Amazon

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS

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Designed to be easy to control and to fit up to three people with plenty of room to spare, this canoe offers plenty of storage space, which is great for canoers who are going to be camping in the BWCA. It’s a comfortable canoe that provides plenty of space for people to stretch out and relax. At 104 pounds, however, it is difficult for solo portage, which means that it is ideal for more than one person to use in the wilderness.


  • Features built-in cooler, built-in storage, and fishing rod holders
  • Durable polyethylene hull is UV-stabilized
  • Impressive two-year warranty
  • Designed with plenty of room for bringing gear


  • Exterior can easily ding when hit on rocks or wood
  • Can be difficult to reach the trolling motor if it is used

Click here to check the latest price of Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS on Amazon

Sea Eagle 370

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Inflatable canoes are quickly becoming a popular option for canoers who want something that is durable, easy to use, and light. This option is great for two people to enter the wilderness together and is perfect for rougher water.

Since it comes with everything that canoers will need on the water, it’s a great option for newbies.


  • Inflatable design makes this canoe easy to store and to transport
  • Only weighs 32 pounds, but rated for up to Class III whitewater
  • The dual seats are moveable and incredibly comfortable
  • Comes with paddles, carry bag, and foot pump
  • Inflation/deflation valves are durable and work quickly


  • Can sometimes puncture or tear on rocks and sticks
  • Tends to feel warm to the touch in hot weather

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Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe Combo

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At under 30 pounds, this inflatable canoe is a great option for users who struggle with portage. It is a little more durable than other inflatable canoes, but can still handle up to 355 pounds of people and gear without any problems. With an included bag, pressure gauge, pump, and paddles, this is a great first canoe option.


  • Durable PVC construction is great for use in lakes
  • Includes polyester cover to help prevent punctures
  • Designed with multiple air chambers to prevent full deflation in the event of a leak
  • Secure storage areas feature bungees to keep items safe
  • Seats are adjustable and elevated for comfort


  • Seats don’t offer a lot of back support
  • Can be difficult to control with just one person

Click here to check the latest price of Sevylor Ogden on Amazon

How to Choose the Best Canoe for BWCA


Even though the BWCA is packed with great lakes that you will want to canoe, you will still have to do a fair amount of portaging. This can be really tricky, as you are going to be carrying your canoe through the forest.

Best Canoe for BWCA

For this reason, you must consider the weight of your canoe and how easily you can carry it.

While heavier canoes will offer more stability in the water, they can be almost impossible to portage, leaving you very frustrated when trying to transport your canoe across dry land.


It’s very unlikely that you aren’t going to want to spend the night in the wilderness, which means that you must have all of your gear with you in the canoe.

Some canoes are simply not large enough to bring along your tent, sleeping bag, and other supplies that you need.

While choosing a canoe that is too wide can make travel, both in and out of the water, difficult, you still want to make sure that you have enough room for the items that you want to bring. This will prevent you from feeling stranded when camping.

Fishing Rod Holders

Fishing is much easier when you can place the fishing rods in the side of the canoe and focus more on the gorgeous sights around you.

While these holders aren’t a necessity, they make it much easier to fish on the go.

Unless holding the fishing rod the entire time it is in the water is important, having fishing rod holders built into the canoe makes it much easier to catch dinner on the go.


The construction of a canoe is very important and will play a huge role in how long it lasts when used in shallow water.

Since canoers in the BWCA are often in and out of the water on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to look for a canoe that has a durable bottom.

A durable bottom will prevent the canoe from being damaged when it is pulled out of the water and pushed back in. Since portaging is so common in the BWCA, a durable canoe is a must.


While it’s only designed for solo use, the Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman Canoe is the best option for use in the BWCA.

Click here to check the latest price of Old Town Discovery 119 on Amazon

It’s incredibly easy to maneuver and to carry alone, making portaging faster and easier than ever. With plenty of storage space and an adjustable seat, it’s a great option for any person.