What Are the Differences Between Kayaks and Canoes?

What Are the Differences Between Kayaks and Canoes?

What Are the Differences Between Kayaks and Canoes

Kayak rental is on the menu at Canyon Sports during the spring and summer months. We see our fair share of visitors renting inflatable kayaks for adventures on the local area’s many waterways. Note that we do not rent canoes. Speaking of which, do you know the differences between kayaks and canoes?

Both kayaks and canoes are non-motorized watercraft. Some people attach small trolling motors to make using a canoe more convenient, but the two types of boats are almost always powered by humans with paddles. That is the main similarity. As for their differences, keep reading.

1. Design and Profile

It is easy to tell the difference between a kayak and canoe on sight if you know what you’re looking for. The two types of watercraft have different design and profiles. Kayaks are closed-deck boats with one or two cockpits for riders. On the other hand, canoes have an open top and raised gunwales.

Kayaks also have lower profiles. By comparison, they make a higher profile canoe look like a large boat. Canoes are generally capable of carrying three or four passengers while kayaks are limited to one or two.

2. Speed and Stability

Kayaks are narrower than canoes. They also have a sharper profile designed to cut through the water more easily. This makes kayaks more maneuverable and faster. They are ideal for white water adventures and other trips where speed is desired.

On the other hand, canoes are wider and flatter. They are not designed for speed. They are also not as maneuverable. Canoes are better for slow, leisurely trips on calms waters. They are stable enough to use for fishing trips. Kayaks are not.

3. Paddle Choices

Though it might seem odd, different paddles are used with the two types of boats. A single-bladed paddle is preferable for canoes simply because you’re not putting forth as much effort and you don’t need exceptional maneuverability. Kayakers prefer double-bladed paddles. Two blades mean the ability to always have one in the water without having to switch hands.

4. User Experience

Though both canoes and kayaks are available to users of all experience levels, kayaks are generally the domain of more experienced boaters who want the speed and maneuverability they offer. We tend to recommend that people who have no experience with either type of boat start with canoes on calm waters. Canoes require less skill to operate safely.

Safely using a kayak requires good balance and stamina. It also requires a good grasp of boating basics. Beginners should limit their adventures to calmer lakes and rivers, at least until they get used to what they are doing. Gradually working up to faster and more chaotic waters is the safest way to go.

5. Boat Construction

Finally, canoes and kayaks can theoretically be made from a variety of different materials. But in practice, canoes are generally made from aluminum or fiberglass. The need for stability dictates rigid boats that are carried on trailers, car roofs, and truck beds.

Kayaks tend to be made from fiberglass or other composites. You can invest in an inflatable kayak, which is what we’ve done here at Canyon Sports. Inflatable kayaks do not require a trailer or a special carrier for the car. They are transported like any other piece of luggage.

So now you know the main differences between canoes and kayaks. If you are looking to get out on some of Salt Lake City’s best waterways, come on down and take advantage of our kayak rentals. Renting is a terrific way to experience the sport without investing in your own kayak.