What to Consider when Buying a Canoe or a Kayak

Confused about what to buy: a canoe or a kayak? This article is written to discuss the factors that are to be considered when one is to buy a canoe or a kayak.

First, we have discussed the main differences between a canoe and a kayak and then we have mentioned the factors you have to look at when buying a canoe or a kayak and particularly, what to buy from both of them according to your needs.

I’m often asked about the differences between canoes and kayaks. Really the big question is what’s your intended use: where do you want to go.

what to buy: canoe vs kayak

Differences Between a Canoe and a Kayak

Canoe vs Kayak Pros and Cons

So first, the big difference between the two boats: a kayak typically has a deck on there and has a little bit smaller opening so it is usually a solo. Whereas a canoe is going to be a big open top single or tandem usually designed to carry a lot more gear.

I think the biggest difference between the two and why you would do a canoe or kayak is really where you wanted to go.  Canoes are really designed for a little bit more of inland style water. 

For instance, the Boundary Waters so you’re going to carry a lot of camping gear. You’re gonna kind of work away around some smaller islands and work your way around rivers, inland lakes.

So in a sea kayak, you can get out into larger bodies of water, more exposed to water, being that here you sit a little bit lower to the water. Your center of gravity is a little bit lower. You’re a little bit more protected.

The biggest difference between the two is what kind of paddle you use.  In a kayak, you’re going to use a double-bladed paddle which means a blade on both sides, whereas, in a canoe, it’s a paddle with one shaft and one blade. 

What to Buy: Canoe or a Kayak?

Hi guys, I’m on Lake Erie, done the overnights pack boat trip. I’ve just got my new boat and I’m gonna give you a review on it. What I think about it, some of the advantages, some of the disadvantages and really why you need to get one. If you’re shopping for a kayak do not buy a kayak until you think about getting a Packboat.

My friends at Swift canoe, make canoes and kayaks and what they’ve done is they’ve used a mold from a kayak and they’ve created what they call a Pack boat, and basically it’s just an open-top kayak. Superlight, 24 pounds. You can pick it up with one hand, lift it up with one hand, and it’s just fantastic. I mean if paddles like a kayak use a kayak paddle.

I absolutely love it and yeah so I’m out here on the one of the Great Lakes. Doing a little campout and I’m going to show you a little bit of boat.

What I think about it

So personally for me when I was shopping for kayaks years ago, I love the idea of paddling a kayak. I rented several. I used several friends of mine’s kayaks to try out and I personally do not find it comfortable seeking the kayak without a high enough back support.

buying a packboat / canoe

This here is a buckle keeps it from opening up, opens up this buckle now goes into here this they pull this that keeps the seat up.

It’s lumber support so you can put it as low or high as you want it.

Lumbar support for canoe

I like it up around that way: the padded seat, nice padded lumbar support, these adjust these buckles here so you can pull it for release it like this and that’s just the way I’m built. My back is built not for having no lumbar support.

So as much as I would love to have had a kayak years ago, I just never found one that was comfortable.

Just sit-on-top kayak the touring ones I found were very comfortable. They had the high back seats and they were great but they are also about 80 pounds so they’re really heavy and they weren’t something that I was ever going to be able to use on a backcountry trip.

 There are lots of advantages to them. You can’t sink them, they’re enclosed, you can throw the dry bags on this, and there’s lots of storage and your fish offal so there are lots of the things from those that appeal to me but the weight to me was a deal-breaker. 

In a traditional kayak I couldn’t sit in obviously I do a lot of kayak canoeing and also I have been kayaking canoe so I have a canoe but when I wanted to cover a lot of distance and the solo trips are becoming a big deal for me so I really wanted a solo trip though and this is absolutely my opinion. Absolute perfect boat, you can have this you want to get away by yourself.

shopping for a kayak or a canoe

So I saw a short little overnight trip. I used to really test them when you pack boat. I gotta tell you it’s everything I hoped it would be. It really is awesome. If you’re thinking of buying a kayak, if you’re in the market for something, you really gotta look at, the pack goes next with its honestly.

I can’t see any reason to really buy a kayak I think some people if you’re realistic with yourself, if you envision yourself may be circling Greenland and doing some National Geographic sort of expeditions, then, you maybe need a sea kayak.


Which is easier to flip, canoe or kayak? In general, a canoe is much more stable than a kayak. So if we talk about canoe vs kayak stability, then canoes are more stable.

But I would suggest that maybe most people buy probably more kayak than they really need and they’re expensive.

They cost a lot of money and truly if you’re not doing some you know some big open water expeditions. I don’t know if you really need one the only. I guess the only disadvantage with the pack boat we’d be the open top so that if you’re in rough water you could get swamped that way with the waves crashing over the deals and part of the boat.

I’ve actually got an idea that I’ve already looked into I’m going to make a template of the open top of the boat and I have a company that does tend awnings and I’m going to achieve and get a custom cover made for the top of it that maybe attaches with Velcro and I’m going to see if I can do that.

I think that would be perfect just to especially in the spring if I do it on some mug you know the early season or late season trips for the waters cold. That would be a little safety measure of having you know the peace of mind knowing that the waters not crashing over and swapping my boat.

But if you’re just a recreational kayaker, I honestly can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want a pack boat over paddling in now honestly it’s comfortable, it’s just as quick I mean literally is the same hole as the kayaks.

Design and Colors:

That slip cells firstly I love the look of it, I love the texting pattern because bill Swift would say it’s the creme de la creme of canoes and the kayaks but I personally do like the Xtreme look. I do like a red canoe. It certainly stands out in the woods and stands out in pitchers so I think I might miss that part.

But to get it read, the interior is the Kevlar, the yellow Kevlar and I guess, aesthetically I do like the gray Integra interior and the boats and again my priority.

Weight is Important:

I know it’s nitpicking, I just wanted the lightest boat I could possibly get and this literally is the latest boat that Swift makes as far as the pack load the trim level you can get them cheaper. You can get them you know a little heavier and we’re talking really you’re only talking a few more pounds heavier but again doing some extreme stuff and planning to do more extreme stuff I really I was gonna buy something.

I wanted to buy the latest boat I could possibly get so that is the carbon fusion and Negra package with the whole carbon deck seats everything’s carbon on that boat so it’s pretty sweet.

How strong they are:

I guess I should talk about how strong they are. I guess what you give up with carbon is it’s a little more fragile they say than Kevlar or expedition Kevlar having said that I’ve rented Swift boats for years in Algonquin Outfitters and not exactly proud to say it but at times I have beat the crap out of their boats and I know that they are extremely strong and I firsthand have seen some of the unfortunate events that have happened and I was amazed at how they held up.

So there’s Kevlar weaved into the hull of this as well with the carbon fusion and the texturing I mean.

canoe or a pack boat

So there is a kevlar woven into the text ream in the halt in the bottom of the hull so this isn’t a canoe that I’m going to be lending out or it’s my baby it’s my personal canoe.

So I’ll be taking good care of it and I don’t anticipate any problems. Another thing is important, I’ve also got a bent shaft boarder paddle and it’s important to have a kind of a Knoll.

What I’m using is an old wooden paddle so as you get close to the shore you’re gonna times want to smash the rocks and that prevents your canoe from getting smashed up and the Werner Carbon paddles are not exactly meant for scraping rocks either right.

So if you’re getting a set up like this yes be aware that you’re going to need to carry a shorter paddle and so I got an old beat-up one that I’m gonna use and as I get close to shore I can kind of use my way on the shore. I wouldn’t want to guide myself with rocks.

Sitting in a Kayak is more Comfortable

Sitting in a kayak seat makes things so much more comfortable or I feel like I could paddle all day and not get sore. I mean I love kayaking and/or canoeing. I like kneeling down when I canoe and my knees eventually give a little sore and I find myself shifting around after a long day so with kayaking or sitting in a kayak see in the pack boat I don’t even have that problem.

So I mean after a while your blood gets a little story I get oh and stretched maybe but besides that, it’s pretty good. Check out some inflatable canoes as well.

I’m really excited about this boat and I hope you guys have liked this article and give you an idea of if you’re choosing gear and you’re considering what to do with trips and that sort of stuff.

Buying or Renting?

Purchasing a canoe is a big thing. I mean I rented them for years there was no real reason to buy one for me I mean I’ve had old beat-up used canoes but when it was time to rent a canoe or go on a trip where I needed a light canoe they’re so expensive that quite frankly I mean I rented and most people do. There’s no shame in renting a canoe.

Ocwen Outfitters, they rent canoes that would cost you three-four thousand dollars. You can rent them for a couple of hundred bucks maybe three hundred bucks for a week trip.

So if you only go once a year, you got the hassle of owning and the stress of taking care of it and hoping it doesn’t crack and that sort of stuff.

So you know just some information for you. Hopefully, it helps if you’re considering buying a boat. Thanks for reading!

There were a few things in this article that I missed while I was out on my trip now. The nice weather here’. It’s almost impossible to find some quiet time in my yard without my neighbors working on their grass or kids playing in-store trying to find quiet time in my garage so I’m just going to wrap this up.

The thing I missed was covering off the carrying system for this boat there’s a detachable yoke that Swift sells carbon or wood and it goes on fairly quickly. You can take it off obviously when your paddle and put it on when you want to do a portage.

I have a different idea. I have something planned with my two-piece Werner paddle and it fits my backpack nicely so I’m going to show you that but I didn’t have time on this article so what I’m gonna do is when I go on my solo trip with this boat I will get into that in more detail and show you some options.

And instead of using a yoke for it. It’s just one more thing to carry and I think there’s a better way of doing it so anyways hopefully I just wanted to cover that off and a few other parts of the boat whether it be the seat and the footpegs. Thanks!

Let me know your views in the comments below!

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