Types of Canoes

Types of Canoes
Canoes were originally invented by Native Americans who carved them out of wood and used them to travel between islands. Over the years the designs of canoes have evolved, offering a variety of shapes and materials to choose from. Some canoes are still made out of wood, but most canoes are now made out of aluminum, fiberglass, Kevlar and royalex.


The classic canoe is made out of wood and is often favored by individuals who enjoy the beauty and classic looks of a wood canoe. Wood canoes are generally expensive due to the lengthy process required to construct them. They also have to be maintained to prevent the wood from rotting.

Recreation canoes are designed to provide stability and easy maneuverability. They do not offer the high performance that some other canoes do, but their ease of use makes them a popular choice with many paddlers.

Tripping canoes turn fast and sharp, making them perfect for whitewater canoeing. They maneuver well, are sturdy and can carry heavy loads.

High performance canoes are designed to go fast and straight. They are much faster than tripping canoes, but do not maneuver turns as well. High performance canoes are best suited for experienced canoeists who can perform the efficient strokes necessary to reach high speeds in these canoes.


Canoes range from 19 feet to 24 feet long. Shorter canoes are easier to maneuver and longer canoes provide a smoother ride. Wood and aluminum canoes are the heaviest. Canoes made out of fiberglass, Kevlar and royalex are the lightest in weight. Generally, the less the canoe weighs, the faster it will be.


When buying a canoe, it is best to first consider what your intended use is versus cost of the canoe. Lighter canoes cost more than heavier canoes. High performance canoes are more expensive than recreation canoes. If you are not an expert canoeist and you want a general-purpose canoe that can be used in a wide variety of conditions, the answer may lie in a compromise. Some canoes combine length, weight and shape to make a lower priced canoe that is not excellent in any particular area but is capable in every area.


It is commonly thought that the more expensive the canoe, the better it is. This is not necessarily true. Prices of canoes vary widely from brand to brand. Some cheaper canoes are of a higher quality than some more expensive ones. Also, what is considered better for one person may be different for another person. Also, buying a canoe based solely on a high price may not be the best way to meet your needs. An expensive high performance canoe will do you no good if you intend to use it for whitewater canoeing.

Article Written By Rose Kivi

Rose is an outdoor enthusiast who has respect for the environment. She volunteers her spare time working to rehabilitate wildlife and their habitats. She also teaches survival skills and leads groups on nature explorations.

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