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Canoes

Read Trailspace's Guide to Canoes and Paddles.

Types of Canoes

photo of a recreational canoe

Recreational Canoes

photo of a touring canoe

Touring Canoes

photo of a tripping/expedition canoe

Tripping/Expedition Canoes

photo of a whitewater canoe

Whitewater Canoes

photo of a folding canoe

Folding Canoes

Top Picks

How we choose: The best canoes highlighted here were selected based on 61 reviews of 36 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a canoe that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

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Top Recreational Canoe

Old Town Saranac 146

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

I chose the Old Town Saranac 146 canoe because of its quality, features, size, and price. Not too small or too big (needed to fit on roof rack w kayak). It's fairly stable and can easily be paddled with a kayak paddle! The padded seats, rod holders and extra storage are nice for extra gear. Plenty of room for 2-3 passengers, poles, tackle, cooler, etc. A quality compact canoe (for the price) that seems very durable. You can't go wrong with legendary Old Town brand quality.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy for one or two paddlers
  • Great quality (for the price)
  • Durable and stable
  • Storage options

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit awkward for single person lift

My wife and I were looking for two kayaks, but we love canoes. She bought the kayak and I chose the Old Town Saranac 146 canoe because of its quality, features, size, and price (boat clearance sale was less than $500). It's not too small or too big (needed to fit on a roof rack with kayak). It's fairly stable and I can easily propel it with a kayak paddle! The padded seats, rod holders, and extra storage are a bonus because I use it primarily for fishing small northern lakes. I use the center seat storage to hold a compact 12volt battery for my Garmin depth finder.

Read more: Old Town Saranac 146 reviews (3)

Recreational Canoe

Old Town Discovery 119

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Great canoe! It's rugged, light, and easy to pull over log jams or sands bars. It feels tipsy at first, but is plenty stable for fishing or jump shooting duck. Have not been dumped yet, does require a good j-stroke or double paddle.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light for its price range
  • Easy to move and load solo, I'm 5'6'' and 120 pounds
  • Rugged

Reasons to Avoid

  • Takes some practice to keep it going straight due to length

This is a great little canoe! I have two other Old Town canoes for use with family and friends, but needed something lighter I could easily throw in the bed of the truck for fishing and duck hunting solo. The 119 has a shallow arched bottom so it does not have as much initial stability as a flat bottomed boat and will feel tippy at first, but it can actually be leaned over to the gunnels without tipping (with propped skill and balance).   The boat is easy to get down river banks and rough put-ins, and holds enough gear for my needs.

Read more: Old Town Discovery 119 review (1)

Recreational Canoe

Old Town Discovery 169

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

Great canoe for day, weekend, and multi-day exploratory trips. Amazing way to fish, camp, and get away from the crowds.

Reasons to Buy

  • Virtually indestructible
  • Very stable
  • Easy to paddle and control
  • Carries over 1000 lbs
  • Will carry 3 adults plus cargo
  • Wonderful fishing platform

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy (approx 90 lbs)
  • Black plastic gunwales get very hot in summer
  • Windy days are a real issue

I am an avid backpacker and hiker, and at one time was extremely proud to be able to go for 10-14 days with only a 45-50 lb pack. One evening, after a few drinks at a bar/pub in Leadville, CO, a local outdoorsman mentioned he recently went out for 10 days and packed 4 thick-cut ribeyes, 6 bottles of wine, 2 bottles of champagne, 1 bottle of top-shelf tequila, cheese, bread, 18 real eggs, 2 lbs of bacon, real ice (and even 10 lbs of dry ice) PLUS fresh fruit and veggies. Then to add insult to injury, he commented he covered over 20 miles a day.

Read more: Old Town Discovery 169 reviews (2)

Old Town Next Canoe

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Great boat. It's not a canoe or kayak but a hybrid. Paddles like a kayak and carries gear like a canoe. Very comfortable seat.

Reasons to Buy

  • Tracks straight
  • Very comfortable
  • Open and able to hold lots of gear
  • Easy to paddle

Reasons to Avoid

  • Open water in rough conditions may be tough

I've been looking for a kayak to purchase and came across the Next Canoe. Wow, I can't believe how it paddles. It paddles just like a good touring kayak and you can get up to full speed in about 3 strokes. This boat is very responsive as well. You can turn it on a dime and even paddle backwards almost as good as forwards.   Very stable in the water and although I haven't tried it yet in rough conditions, it was extremely stable with boat wakes.   I use this on small lakes and rivers and is wonderful go take gear with you.

Read more: Old Town Next Canoe review (1)

Recreational Canoe

Old Town Saranac 160

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

We have named this the little canoe that could! The guys here at C&S Adventures Unlimited will probably start their own navy with these boats!

Reasons to Buy

  • Amount of weight canoe can hold
  • Very stable
  • Built very well

Reasons to Avoid

  • Seats need a bit more padding
  • A bit heavy
  • Would love a cup holder by the back seat

This is a medium to large sized canoe that can hold some serious weight. Can seat three and hold enough gear for a couple nights on the lake or river. Its wide body makes it very stable in the water. The molded flip down front and rear seat tend to be a little uncomfortable after a couple hours in the seat but that was solved with a small pillow or PFD. Center seat is a bench style with a small water tight storage area for things like wallets, keys and phones. It's a bit heavy, so getting to the water or on the roof of the truck by yourself is a pretty rough ordeal.

Read more: Old Town Saranac 160 review (1)

Top Whitewater Canoe

Dagger Caper T

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Now discontinued for some time, this was Dagger's original whitewater Royalex boat. If you are able to locate a used one, I would encourage you to purchase this fine piece of a legendary canoe maker's history and use it!

Reasons to Buy

  • Constructed of Royalex (no longer produced)
  • Able to handle anything that you can
  • Turns quick
  • Accerates fast
  • The T model can be used tandem or solo
  • Straight gunwales for easy paddle strokes

Reasons to Avoid

  • No longer available
  • A bit tipsy for beginners

I've owned my Dagger Caper for over ten years now and couldn't be happier with it. I am not an expert paddler and have only used this boat on up to Class III+ whitewater. I frequently paddle this boat on mild whitewater and it is a joy. I paddle mainly on the Hiwassee River, Nantahala River, Little River, Citico Creek, and sections of the Tellico River. I also use this canoe in slack waters on local lakes and ponds. It has been used for overnight 20-mile trips on the Caney Fork River. Dagger Caper shown here exiting Devil's Shoals on the Hiwassee River The Caper was Joe Pulliam's first Royalex whiterwater canoe.

Read more: Dagger Caper T reviews (2)

Top Tripping/Expedition Canoe

Esquif Canyon

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Love this boat. Had an old fibreglass Clipper Explorer 17' which could not be replaced. Bought this Royalex boat to fill hole. Boy did it ever! Three inches of rocker makes this boat dance in whitewater when filled with air and it still handles great when loaded. Surfs well to boot!!

Reasons to Buy

  • Shape
  • Strength
  • Surface bonding for thigh straps, air and cargo

Reasons to Avoid

  • Weight
  • Seat configuration — height and strength

This is a great boat for those who can paddle. While it tracks beautifully with attention, it does want to turn. The rocker also means that wind drift is real so open crossings are work. Puncturing the boat to install skirt tie downs is not a worry and the wear and tear issue does not exist. The boat is warm on cold water and repairs have just not been needed so far. Glued on D rings have remained attached so far for air, cargo and thigh straps. Took out wood spacers that had hung seat below gunwales lowering center of gravity but straining the old knees and tying up the size thirteens under the seat, especially in the stern.

Read more: Esquif Canyon reviews (2)

Top Folding Canoe

Ally Canoes Model 811 16.5' DR

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Anyone who travels, but loves canoeing, knows how hard it is to transport your favourite canoe, especially in Alaska, with so few roads and so much plane-accessible wilderness. Federal aviation laws prohibit the carrying of hardshell boats strapped to the plane struts if there are passengers. It can make for an expensive trip. The Ally 811 solves the problem.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable neoprene fabric and aluminum parts
  • Made in Norway so excellent quality
  • Flexes and moves gracefully in white water

Reasons to Avoid

  • Carry bag is too snug

Like so many boats made in Europe, the attention to design has resulted in a product that has not had to change in many years. It's still a good design. The boat comes in a big box and you can buy a bag to carry it in. The carry bag has backpack straps and while it holds all the aluminium parts, I'll be damned if I can easy get the entire boat, including foam and skin in the bag. I wish the company would provide instructions on how to pack it. That aside, the instructions for assembling the boat are complicated and it really takes one to read and use the visual provided, while the second person gathers up the correct pieces.

Read more: Ally Canoes Model 811 16.5' DR reviews (2)

Top Touring Canoe

Wenonah Escapade

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

The We-no-nah Escapade is a 16.6 tandem performance touring canoe available only in "tuff weave"material. Produced mainly for lakes and gentle rivers, this boat is sleek and agile with great response to the paddlers commands.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light weight
  • Solo capable
  • Fast
  • Narrow hull

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lower gear capacity than most touring canoes

I got in my new We-no-nah Escapade late last week and have taken her out every day since. The Escapade is a 16.6 canoe and it just so happens that 16.6 is the perfect length for a solo canoe. This canoe is only available in Tuff Weave material. I do like the feel and weight of tuff weave over royalex. The big drawback to the tuff weave however is that it does not take well to scratching. Structurally, you do no damage, but aesthetically it is easy to scratch your tuff weave paint job (why I bought the boat in white).

Read more: Wenonah Escapade reviews (2)

More Canoes

Trailspace reviewers have shared 61 reviews of 36 different canoes. Narrow your search and view more specific canoe recommendations in these categories:

Recreational Canoes

Touring Canoes

Tripping/Expedition Canoes

Whitewater Canoes

Folding Canoes

All Paddling Gear

Other Types of Paddling Gear

Find more paddling gear reviewed in these related categories:

Kayaks

Rafts

Stand-Up Paddle Boards

+7 more types

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