Canoes Vs Kayaks, Which to Use for Your Adventures

Canoes vs Kayaks

At True North Wilds, we love fishing from human powered vessels. When it comes to canoes vs kayaks, both have strengths and weaknesses that make one more or less superior to the other. In this article I look at where and when you should use each boat, to help you plan your trip or purchase.

canoes vs kayaks
Though both can get the job done


Canoes take the first point here. They can fill many positions that more specialized boats can not. They can get into those shallow hard to reach places that bigger boats can not go. One can also travel vast distances with some minor modifications. On a square back canoe, you can even mount an engine to the back getting you to the fish faster. You also have the option for storing gear for an adventure, or they can just do a day trip. Canoes come in variety of different materials like wood, plastic, Kevlar, Carbon fiber, and aluminum. The different materials can either make it more durable, more light weight or reduce the cost. Canoes can sit 1 to 4 people depending on size as well.

Canoes are the way to go if you want loads of cargo space


Kayaks are the clear-cut winners here. They focus on a specific task, making them a better purchase if you have a specific goal in mind. From the generic sit-on-top you might have at a cabin to fool around on, to the iconic white water sit in Kayak. There is ocean-faring kayaks, or a True North Wilds favorite, the fishing kayak. They can be propelled by paddles or there is often a pedal option. While researching I found other kayaks such as canoe/kayak hybrid, inflatable kayaks, and backpack kayaks. When looking at canoes vs kayaks, if you have one job you want done really well (especially fishing), the kayak is the way to go.

Nothing beats the comfort of fishing from a dedicated fishing kayak

Access to Hard Areas

This is what canoes were built for. In the center of some canoes there is a yolk that just begs the owner to throw it on his back and take it to those hard to reach places. Generally, the hull of a canoe is thinner than a kayak, but this is to make it lighter, so one can traverse rough terrain with the canoe over head, making portages so much easier. They also boast more storage space compared to the typical kayak which can allow for a much more comfortable camping experience. Given the choice in canoe vs kayak for portaging, I’ll take carrying a canoe over dragging a kayak any day.

Two person carries make quick work of any portage

User Friendly

This is a closer match up, but the kayak is more forgiving of the two. A canoe can be quite tippy getting in and out of, as well as not dealing with waves as well as a kayak can. Going solo in a canoe also presents unique challenges such as not being able to control the direction if there is a decent wind and you are sitting in the back. With a kayak if you don’t mind getting your legs a little wet, you can easily get in and out of your vessel. Also, with the center of gravity being low and the weight being in the middle, wind doesn’t affect it nearly as much. Sit-on-top kayaks in particular are beginner friendly and forgiving of mistakes, and they are my choice to recommend to new users.

Solid and stable and easy to move around on

Canoes vs Kayaks, conclusion

Myself personally I love fishing kayaks, they are so nice to fish from, that I am willing to put the extra work in to portage this heavier and more awkward vessel to those hard to reach places. But on a more extreme portage journey I would take a nice light canoe. Canoes vs kayaks, no matter what boat you choose they will all get you outdoors and enjoying the wilderness the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

That’s what its really all about after all.

For more information on all things outdoors as well as unboxings, gear reviews, and outdoor adventures, check out True North Wild’s Youtube channel. If you like the channel, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. If you have a fishing, hunting, or outdoor product that you would like reviewed, feel free to contact us.

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