What’s the difference between a kayak canoeing and canoing? It’s a popular question and sometimes the answer isn’t as immediately obvious as it may first seem. While canoing is frequently used as an umbrella word for both sports, in truth there are really only a few very clear differences between the two sports.
Canoes are primarily used for pleasure boating on flat water and for other non-commercial activities such as fishing. Large canoes can carry up to 200 gallons of water, and some canoes can go as far as a thousand miles! Canoes are large, solid boats that are primarily constructed from aluminum or fiberglass. These boats are relatively slow, and even when they are moving at a fast rate, can take quite a while to complete the journey. The lack of portability makes canoes somewhat less usable in rough waters, although they can be outfitted with riggly seats and padded seats so that you can enjoy the ride nonetheless.
Kayaks, on the other hand, are generally much more maneuverable than canoes. However, even a well-built kayak will have some disadvantages. Typically, a kayak has a single seating capacity of about five people, making them far less useful for groups with more people. Kayaks also tend to be much heavier than canoes, which makes them unsuitable for many recreational activities such as mountain biking and canoeing. Although they do tend to be faster than canoes, a kayak is typically only suitable for small rivers and lakes, and even then, speeds are only reasonable. They are also ill suited for group trips due to their size.
If you’re looking to go kayaking for sport rather than work, canoes can make a great option. Canoes are light enough to quickly cruise over any type of terrain, whereas kayaks are often heavy and cumbersome. Kayakers also enjoy the flexibility that comes from being able to pedal rather than push with the feet. Kayakers have the ability to kayak through most types of water, whereas canoes cannot. This gives kayakers the ability to experience nature up close and personal, as canoes are typically not suitable for access to some of the more difficult geographical features of inland rivers and lakes.
Sit-In Kayaks are made to sit inside of larger boats, and provide much more stable travel than canoes. These kayaks are designed to sit securely against the boat’s hull and are much easier to control when capsized. In addition, they offer significantly less stability than canoes, making them bad choices for longer treks. Kayaks have the advantage of easy entry and exit, but lack the portability of canoes. They also have a bad safety record, frequently resulting in capsizing or entanglement with nearby objects, and often result in one person losing their life.
There are other differences between canoes and kayaks that are worth examining. In terms of price, canoes are generally more expensive than kayaks. Also, canoes have more powerful engines and more storage space, while kayaks tend to be smaller and more streamlined, with better storage options. Finally, in terms of comfort, canoes win by a mile in length, though this advantage is not always noticeable in wet or fast water conditions. Regardless of your choice, know that the differences among canoes and kayaks are significant and should guide your purchase to the perfect canoe or kayak for you!