5 Best Canoes 2020| Buying Guide

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Owning a canoe is an awesome experience. When looking for one, convenience and fun should be prioritized.How Do You Properly Secure Gear in a Canoe

Basically, not all the best canoes are tailored to offer a great experience while canoeing. If you are looking for a family type, then do read through this post.

That said, you should be very careful when investing in one because there are a lot of canoes already available in the market, making it challenging to select the best. 

What are the best canoes for this year ?

The simple answer for the best canoes are the following. There are five canoes selected which are worth buying.

  1. Old Town Discovery 119
  2. Sevylor Ogden
  3. Grumman 12′ 9″
  4. Sun Dolphin Mackinaw
  5. Old Town Guide 147

IN A HURRY? HERE’S OUR TOP PICKS…

Title
Best Product Overall
Old Town Discovery 119
Best Value
Sevylor Ogden 2-Person
Old Town Guide 147 Recreational Canoe, Camo, 14…
Image
Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman Canoe (Bog)
Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe Combo
Old Town Guide 147 Recreational Canoe, Camo, 14...
Rating
Best Product Overall
Title
Old Town Discovery 119
Image
Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman Canoe (Bog)
Rating
Get it on Amazon
Best Value
Title
Sevylor Ogden 2-Person
Image
Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe Combo
Rating
Get it on Amazon
Title
Old Town Guide 147 Recreational Canoe, Camo, 14…
Image
Old Town Guide 147 Recreational Canoe, Camo, 14...
Rating
Get it on Amazon

Last update on 2020-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5 Best Canoes Reviews and Rundown

1- Old Town Discovery 119

Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman Canoe (Bog)
  • Combining the best of both worlds, Old Town delivers the ideal grab-n-go watercraft for anglers and hunters alike.
  • Enjoy new and unique features like two flush mount rod holders for quick access and a recessed thwart accessory track,…
  • The Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman offers an open and spacious hull with room for tackle, decoys, a dog or gear, along…

Last update on 2020-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Is maneuverability top of your priorities? This one strikes a good balance between size and stability while still riding smooth, thanks to the shallow arch style.

The double-sided paddles ensure that you do not have to check the orientation before setting out. It’s just a board-and-paddle canoe that is designed to suit those introvert nerds among us, as well as those who’d be willing to have a second person on board.

The narrow design makes it so easy to paddle solo, unlike some other types of the same capacity that are wider.

The design is top of the art tree-layer enhanced polyethylene, strong enough to take a rough beating. The material is also lightweight (49 pounds), perfect for a solo paddler.

Pros

  • The 3-layer hull design is tough to withstand shocks
  • A lifetime hull warranty
  • Breathable seats add to the comfort
  • Designed for solo and dual paddle action

Cons

  • Doesn’t have frills
  • No space for additional accessories.

2 - Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Combo

Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe Combo
  • Heavy-duty PVC construction is rugged for lake use
  • Polyester cover provides durable protection from punctures
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured

Last update on 2020-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Just as the name suggests, this a two-person canoe made of heavy-duty PVC. It is an inflatable type and is reinforced with a polyester cover on the outside to protect against punctures.

In as much as it is not good for rapid waters, it is the best for a lake or any other quiet waters.

Pros

  • Inflatable thus easier to store and transport
  • Multiple air chambers prevent complete deflation in case of a puncture
  • Comfortable seating and lightweight making it easy to handle,
  • Cheap as compared to competitors in the same class
  • Comes with a pump

Cons

  • It’s not like an ordinary type thus may take some time for a single person to get along with

3 - Old Town Guide 147

Old Town Guide 147 Recreational Canoe, Camo, 14…
  • Old Town’s three-layer, roto-molded polyethylene hull provides years of worry-free paddling.
  • The canoe’s unique cross-section and stabilizing chines deliver exceptional stability and durability, making the canoe…
  • Sit comfortably on the contoured bow and stern seats, which include adjustable backrests for added support.

Last update on 2020-06-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another iconic one designed as a dual-purpose vessel. If you’re a hunter, this is a great choice for you. A fisher can also make good use of this one.

The dual flush mount holders make this the perfect sporting type providing attachment points for all of your fishing gear. The hull is design is open to make room for all the gear you may want to bring along. As a sporting model, it’s durability is out of the question.

It has a single fully adjustable stuffed seat and a load capacity of about 354 pounds.

Pros

  • It’s rugged and very durable (three-layer polyethylene)
  • Very stable and comfortable to paddle
  • It is a dual-purpose sporting model

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with an outboard motor
  • It is quite expensive

4 - Grumman 12' 9" Solo

Grumman 12′ 9″ Solo Canoe – Aluminum
  • Beam 29 1/2
  • Ribs – 2 / Center Depth 13
  • Standard Keel

Last update on 2020-06-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is one of a kind aluminum solo canoe. Contrary to expectations from an aluminum model, this is a lightweight canoe. It has record-setting maneuverability even when fully loaded.

The aluminum grade used on this model is top quality, guaranteeing years of safe canoeing even on rapid waters.

For its size and material, it easily outshines others in comfort, and convenience especially portage. This permits movement from place to place, over long distances (on the rack).

Pros

  • Excellent stability and strength for a small model due to a lowered center of gravity
  • Very comfortable and smooth in the water
  • It can be exceptionally good on calmer lakes

Cons

  • The small size might be a limitation for some people especially the tall paddlers

5 - Sun Dolphin Mackinaw

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Mackinaw Canoe (Green,…
  • Ideal family recreational canoe with comfortable seating for three
  • Storage compartment and cooler under center seat
  • Bow and stern tie-down eyelets and built-in transport handles

Last update on 2020-06-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As we’ve seen, long canoes offer more space and are particularly good for a family. The Sun Dolphin Mackinaw is probably the best one for this purpose.

Due to the size and weight, you need to plan on the means of transporting it. This one’s large size offers adequate covered and uncovered storage space to suit a family’s mini voyage!

It also has a cooler so you can enjoy a cold drink as you paddle. The Sun Dolphin Mackinaw is made from high-density Fortiflex that is UV stabilized, meaning you won’t have to look over your shoulder should you leave it exposed to sunlight for a while

Scouting through other similar brands and designs, you’ll note that this is one of the feature-rich, yet affordable type.

Pros

  • It’s a long one with comfortable space for three persons
  • Ample storage space and a dry spot for the keys, phone, and wallet
  • It has a cooler under the center seat.
  • Has drink holders on every seat

Cons

  • May be too large for some people (transport)

Final Verdict

These canoes have been selected based on different characteristics that are unique to each one of them.

Among the five top five discussed above, I’m pretty sure that you won’t miss one that has most of all you have been searching for. You might even fall for a model you haven’t thought of before.

Overall, many users prefer the Old Town Discovery 119 and the Sevylor Ogden​ if you are looking for the combo due to the versatility it carries with it and the special features/accessories. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it too.

Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman Canoe (Bog)
  • Combining the best of both worlds, Old Town delivers the ideal grab-n-go watercraft for anglers and hunters alike.
  • Enjoy new and unique features like two flush mount rod holders for quick access and a recessed thwart accessory track,…
  • The Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman offers an open and spacious hull with room for tackle, decoys, a dog or gear, along…

Last update on 2020-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe Combo
  • Heavy-duty PVC construction is rugged for lake use
  • Polyester cover provides durable protection from punctures
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured

Last update on 2020-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Choose the Best canoe : Some things to look for:

Before diving into article. do read through some of our top post which you may like on canoes given below:

For family

For duck hunting

Deer hunting

Little bit on the canoe seats

Different trolling motors for a canoe

Canoes designed for Dogs

For Beginners

To help you avoid the hustle of looking for the best option, we’ve shared with you a few tips on how to choose the perfect canoe. Check these below.

  • Shape and length

These two variables have a major impact on the canoeing experience. For instance, the length of a canoe determines its size.

The size, in turn, matters most when it comes to the means by which you will get from home or wherever you store it to the water and back.

A long canoe will obviously need a larger vehicle for transport. If you do not have such a vehicle, a shorter type would be a better option.

The shape impacts the stability and speed. Flat bottomed once’s are best for family and fishing because they are more balanced at rest compared to the round-bottomed ones. Generally, if you will be spending long periods of time stationary on the water, a flat-bottomed types should be your best bet.

A round-bottomed one, on the other hand, is easier to maneuver and accelerate. The rounded shape enables it to cut through water better hence the higher acceleration.

  • Weight

As a rule of the thumb, the heavier an object is, the harder it is to transport.

This applies to canoes too, especially because you will most likely carry it on your  roof rack. Remember the more weight on your car, the more gas you burn.

Secondly, mounting them onto the roof rack is quite a challenge if you’re going to be doing it by yourself.

This means that if you’re going to make your canoeing a solo adventure, a small (and light) one would be the best choice for you.

Note that you are also going to carry it from where you park the vehicle to the water and back.

If the canoe is going to serve you and your friends, then size (and weight) is not likely a big issue.

  • Materials

Materials differ in terms of cost, durability, and weight. First, the material you choose will determine how much your craft weighs.

Weight is a significant factor as we’ve seen above. The lightest available material is plastic although it is not very tough.

Aluminum is the material of choice if you’re going to encounter shallow and/or rocky waters. It is for the simple reason that metals are harder than most other materials meaning your canoe is unlikely to suffer a serious defect should you hit a rock.

The cost of material depends upon the material itself. In the above case, an aluminum model can live longer than the plastic counterpart if they’re exposed to similar conditions, but the longer life comes at a cost.

  • Load Capacity

It goes without saying that the carrying capacity of a canoe should be proportional to the expected number of passengers. This is why most types are rated based on the number of people they can carry.

If you need a canoe to carry, say, two people, you should just ensure that the rated weight for it does not fall below the combined weight of the two of you.

This, however, does not include the weight of any other peripherals you carry with you, like fishing gear.

You should, therefore, sum up the total weight of persons and other things you would like to carry along, then check this total against the rated weight, to be safe.

There are some types that will give you an experience of a lifetime and at a fair price. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easier to kayak or canoe?

To answer this question satisfactorily, a few considerations need to be made.

First, most paddling beginners consider kayaking a more technical or complicated activity than canoeing.

For this reason, they tend to seek appropriate instructions and training for kayaking and foregoing it when it comes to canoeing.

This notion has had many beginner paddlers find it hard to canoe than to kayak, some even moving around in circles with the canoe. Both of these crafts need decent training, and the rest is up to your preference.

Speed is another factor that can define the ease of operation. By design, kayaks and canoes are displacement hulls.

This means that their speed varies proportionally with the length – the longer the craft the faster it should go. There’s however one fundamental difference between a kayak and a canoe- weight.

A kayak is generally lighter than a canoe which means if you have both crafts of the same length, and load, a kayak will be faster and easier to steer.

You should, however, keep it in mind that kayaks are less stable and more prone to overturning when you’re getting in or out.

Comfort can also determine which of the two is easier for you to use. a canoe offers you a higher sitting position giving you a better view ahead and also permitting fun activities such as photography and fishing.

These activities would not be fun at all in a kayak. A canoe is also more spacious and is easier to load and off-load.

Paddling is the source of power to propel a craft. If you have been keen on the design of these crafts, you may have noted that a kayak’s wetted surface is usually smaller compared to a canoe of the same length.

A smaller craft-water contact surface means lesser friction and more efficiency in paddling. A kayak is thus easier to paddle than a canoe of the same length.

Which is better aluminum or fiberglass canoe?

This also is a subjective question.

Talking of durability in general, both aluminum and fiberglass can last you ages. However, when other factors such as the conditions of the waterways are in play, these materials perform differently.

Crafts made of aluminum do not corrode (aluminum forms an insoluble oxide layer on the outside).

These crafts are also not subject to degradation by sunlight and can, therefore, be left outside for seasons. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is subject to deterioration if exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.

The degraded fiberglass material becomes brittle making the craft risky to paddle on. The downside of the aluminum material is that if you hit a rock, a permanent dent may set in unlike in fiberglass crafts that are easy to repair.

For an aluminum canoe, two aluminum sheets are folded and riveted on the inside and it may be very hard to make detailed designs from metal sheets.

Fiberglass is usually molded which makes it easy to achieve various striking designs. The result is that fiberglass canoes are more appealing than those made of aluminum.

In case of a repair also, say a patch, it is easier to do it on a fiberglass canoe than on the aluminum canoe. The patch on a fiberglass canoe can even be unnoticeable if carefully applied.

Aluminum metal has a higher density than fiberglass. This makes it heavier and reduces the load capacity of the canoe as compared to a fiberglass counterpart. The aluminum canoe will also be slower on water.

Another downside of the aluminum material is its malleability which makes it tend to adhere and get stuck on rocky waterways.

One major advantage of aluminum canoes is the low maintenance cost on them. They also last for very long if used appropriately and carefully.

What type of canoe is best for beginners?

As a beginner paddler, there are certain things that will make your paddling much more fun than you’d expect.

One of these is the choice of a canoe. The canoe you choose should be easy to handle so that it doesn’t spoil the fun. Here are some other factors to consider, 

  • Width

As a beginner, you will need a canoe that is much more sturdy, unlike an experienced paddler who’d be fine with any type.

A wider canoe will give you more stability and resistance to tipping over. Wider canoes nowadays can have as little weight as the narrow ones meaning you do not have to push any extra weight.

A beginner is therefore advised to start off with a wider-than-normal canoe for stability reasons.

  • Material

The canoe material is as important as every other aspect for a beginner. It determines the strength of the canoe and the weight.

Lightweight materials are costlier and the canoes made of them are equally expensive.

Again, durable material is the best choice for a beginner, although such material is likely to be heavy.

Whereas fiberglass is lighter, aluminum is more durable and thus the better option for a beginner.

This is because the tough sheet metal can better withstand ramming into rocks and other solid barriers along the waterways as you learn how to canoe.

  • Seats

The number of seats in a canoe determines how many people can ride in it at a go. Some beginner paddlers would prefer to have an instructor on board which would necessitate a two-seat canoe.

Others like setting out by themselves in which case a solo canoe would be the ideal option.

One such a canoe would be the Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 119 Solo Canoe which is also long enough.

  • Length

As we’ve already discussed, the length of a canoe is directly proportional to its maneuverability.

A long canoe is ideal for a beginner for it will be easier to steer and control.

Read through this post which provides more information on the best canoes for beginners.

Who makes the lightest canoe?

A lightweight canoe is as important as just a good canoe.

In this era where mobility is precious, having that canoe that’s conveniently light offers much relief.

In addition to being ideal for portage, it is also easier to paddle. Below is a list of the lightest canoes (for different categories) you will find the market and their respective weights.

  • Driftsun Rover 120 – 22 lbs.
  • Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Canoe – 49 lbs.
  • Sevylor Odgen 2-Person Canoe – 26.9 lbs.
  • Sea Eagle 370 Pro – 32 lbs.
  • Sea Eagle TC16 Travel Canoe – 61 lbs.
  • Sea Eagle PF7K PackFish Inflatable – 27 lbs.
  • Intex Excursion Pro – 39 lbs.
  • Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person – 34.8 lbs.

These canoes have not been selected on a common basis but a rather diverse basis, e.g. the number of seats, and design.

The king of lightweight canoes is Driftsun whose 120lb Rover 120 features as the lightest of all. The product’s reviews and ratings on amazon reveal that this product actually serves as is advertised. It also comes with a one-year warranty.

Do canoes tip easily?

The simple answer is yes. A canoe can tip at the slightest shift in weight. To avoid the event of a canoe tipping, take these points into consideration;

When you’re canoeing for prolonged periods, you might be tempted to bounce around the canoe to relieve your muscles.

This could present the highest possibility of the canoe tipping over as a result of a raised center of gravity.

To avoid this, you can routinely change positions from paddling while sitting, to paddling while kneeling. The kneeling position requires padding to avoid hurting your knees.

When you’re on a downstream course, leaning forward will prevent a probable tip should your canoe hit an obstacle. In that case, your weight would prevent tipping.

One big temptation would be to engage a hanging tree branch or a rock along the waterway to propel yourself.

You should avoid this completely as it has the same effect as raising your center of gravity which is the major cause of tipping over. Just as you’d do on a downstream course, lean forward and use the paddles only.

Entering and leaving a canoe are two moments when it also becomes prone to tipping over.

The best trick is to start mounting the canoe from the beach. You should first have your paddle in the canoe and then set one foot inside. Use the other foot to launch the canoe into the waterway as you lower your center of gravity to avoid tipping over.

This method is however not applicable if your canoe is docked. In this case, you should set in both your feet into the canoe as you lower your center of gravity and use the paddles to propel the canoe from the dock area.

 These two methods are not easy at first but given enough practice, you will be good at it within a short while.

How much does a 17-foot fiberglass canoe weight?

Fiberglass has been extensively enhanced for marine usage. Some forms of the fiberglass (composite) are even stronger than Kevlar. According to the book Popular Mechanics, on average, a 17-foot fiberglass canoe would weigh approximately 70 pounds.

Are fiberglass canoes heavy?

Fiberglass is made from a plastic resin that is strengthened with glass and fiber. The resultant material is heavier than plain plastic but lighter than glass.

It, therefore, follows that fiberglass canoes are a bit heavy and delicate than the aluminum ones. Their weight, however, may not be compared with that of aluminum, which is a metallic element and thus heavier.

Generally, fiberglass canoes are considered lightweight when compared to the aluminum ones.