Skip to content

Understanding Canoeing and kayaking

Canoes and kayaks are both boat types used for paddling, but there are some key differences in the design of each kind. Here’s what sets them apart:

  1. Canoe vs. Kayak Paddles
    Canoes use a single-blade paddle, whereas kayaks use two-blade paddles. Both can be used with either hand, though it’s slightly easier to learn to use your dominant hand for the paddle when you’re first learning how to paddle.
  2. Canoe vs. Kayak Width
    Kayaks are narrower than canoes, especially modern ones designed for white water or ocean surfing rather than flatwater cruising or fishing. The narrowness of kayaks makes them very able to turn on a dime and even spin around in the water. The narrowness makes kayaks more stable, which is an asset when you’re out on the water!
  3. Canoe vs. Kayak Shafts
    The paddles connect to canoe shafts, usually made of aluminum or composite materials like fiberglass; they act as a fulcrum for the paddle, transferring power to it with little effort from the paddler. Kayaks use shorter shafts that connect directly to the blade. This design allows kayakers to switch sides without having to re-adjust their grip on the paddle’s handle.
  4. Canoe vs. Kayak Transportability
    Canoes are much easier to transport than kayaks. Canoes can be lifted by one person and hauled overland to the water; once they’re in the water, they don’t weigh very much, so two people can easily lift one onto their shoulders or carry it in tandem on a yoke for several miles if necessary. Kayaks, meanwhile, need to be transported on top of a vehicle because of their greater bulk and weight.
  5. Canoe vs. Kayak Angling Positions
    Canoe paddles are designed with both hands in the same position, while kayakers have slightly different hand positions depending on which side they’re paddling.

These are the main differences between a canoe and a kayak. If you want to learn how to paddle or improve your paddling experience, try out a kayak next time!