Canoe Buying Guide

Types of Canoes – Choosing the Right Material, Size & Weight, Buoyancy & Tracking, Comfort & Safety Features

When looking to purchase a canoe, the first step is to decide what type of canoe you want. There are many different options available, such as kayaks, touring canoes, whitewater canoes, recreational canoes and racing canoes. Each type has different features and benefits that should be considered when making your decision. The material that a canoe is made out of will determine its durability and performance – common materials include plastic, aluminum, fiberglass and Kevlar. The size and weight of a canoe will also determine how easy it is to transport and portage around obstacles on a river or lake. The buoyancy of a canoe determines how much weight it can hold without sinking or becoming unstable on the water while tracking ability refers to how easily the boat moves through the water in a straight line without veering off course. It’s important to consider comfort and safety features when choosing a canoe such as adjustable seating, foot braces for better control while paddling, flotation bags for extra buoyancy in case of capsizing and other features that will make your time on the water more enjoyable.

Types of Canoes: Flat-Bottomed, Pontoon, Kayaks & Folding

Canoes are small, lightweight open-top boats used in shallow or flat waters. Traditionally made from wood or animal hides and propelled by a single paddle, canoes come in many shapes and sizes with unique qualities and uses. Popular types include flat-bottomed canoes, pontoon canoes, kayaks and folding canoes.

Canoe Buying Guide

Flat-Bottomed Canoes

Flat-bottomed canoes have a shallow draft making them ideal for exploring creeks, rivers and lakes. Their stability makes them great for fishing too and they come in various lengths and widths to accommodate different paddlers.

Pontoon Canoes

Pontoon canoes are larger than traditional canoes with two pontoons on either side for greater stability on the water. Perfect for fishing or carrying heavier loads like camping gear or coolers, pontoon canoes come in several sizes and are often used by families wanting to explore longer distances.


Kayaks resemble traditional canoes but feature a closed cockpit requiring you to sit inside while paddling. They are designed for speed and maneuverability with long blades on either end acting as rudders when paddling. Kayaks come in many shapes and sizes depending on the activity.

Folding Canoes

Folding canoes are lightweight alternatives to traditional styles that can be easily transported. Featuring an aluminum frame with canvas fabric stretched over it, folding canoes are portable yet durable enough to handle the elements. They come in various sizes so they’re great for solo paddlers or groups.

Where to Buy a Canoe: Online Stores, Local Sporting Goods Stores & Canoe Outfitters

Buying a canoe can be a daunting task, but there are a few places to buy the right one for your needs and budget. Online stores such as Amazon, Bass Pro Shops and Overtons offer different types of canoes from recreational to whitewater. Local sporting goods stores like Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy Sports + Outdoors and REI usually have recreational canoes. If you’re looking for more specialized gear such as whitewater rafts or touring kayaks, visit a canoe outfitter – they typically specialize in selling these items and may even offer classes or guided trips. For an affordable option, consider buying a used canoe from Craigslist or eBay.

Canoe Buying Guide

Tips for Buying Used Canoes

Looking for an affordable way to get a quality canoe? Consider buying a used one! Here are some tips to help you make the right choice when buying a used canoe.

First, decide the type of canoe you want. There are recreational canoes, whitewater canoes and more. Think about the type of water you’ll be paddling and how much storage space you have.

Once you’ve narrowed it down, start shopping around online or visit local sporting goods stores. Ask questions about the condition of the canoe and any repairs that may have been made.

When inspecting a used canoe, check for any signs of damage such as cracks or leaks. Look at the hull to make sure there are no dents or gouges. Test paddle it if possible to ensure it’s comfortable and maneuverable.

Finally, make sure that you’re aware of all applicable laws when buying a used canoe. Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on where and how you can use your boat.

FAQ: Guide to Purchasing a Canoe

Discover what type of canoe is best for your needs with this FAQ guide to purchasing a canoe. Understand the different types of canoes, materials available, estimated costs and necessary accessories for a successful canoeing adventure.

What are the Different Types of Canoes?

When buying a canoe, there are three main varieties to choose from: recreational, touring, and whitewater. Recreational canoes are designed for flatwater paddling and slow-moving rivers. Touring canoes offer great speed and tracking capabilities on open water. Whitewater canoes are specifically built for river running in rapids.

What Materials do Canoes Come In?

Canoe materials include wood, aluminum, and plastic (polyethylene). Wood is lightweight and classic but more expensive than other materials. Aluminum is strong and durable but heavier than wood or plastic. Plastic is the most common material as it’s affordable and very durable.

Canoe Buying Guide

How Much Does a Canoe Cost?

The price of a canoe depends on size, material, manufacturer and other factors. A basic recreational polyethylene canoe typically costs $400-$800; higher-end touring or whitewater canoes may cost between $1000-$2000.

What Accessories Do I Need?

In addition to the actual canoe, you’ll need some essential accessories such as paddles, life jackets (PFDs), safety gear (whistle), storage containers/bags (dry bags) and rope/cordage for tying down gear.

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