Canoe vs Kayak: The Classic Debate

April 3, 2021

Canoe vs Kayak


Canoe vs Kayak

A kayak and a canoe are two different types of water vessels that can be used for recreation. A kayak is more stable than a canoe, and it has been designed to move quickly through the water without tipping over. They have can have an open or closed cockpit which allows you to sit on top of the boat or inside it. Kayaks often have closed cockpits which offer more protection from wind, waves, and other elements but make paddling slower due to limited movement in the boat. This blog post will outline some common features between both as well as all types of canoes and kayaks available for purchase!


Canoe vs Kayak
  • Main Body: A canoe sits higher out of the water than a kayak. This makes it easier to get in and out of the boat. Where as a kayak sits much lower in the water. Generally a canoe will be an open cockpit design as-well and a kayak will be a closed cockpit design. 
  • Seat: A seat on a canoe is normally in bench form and will sit much higher than that of a kayak. A kayaks seat is generally molded into the vessel as one piece. 
  • Paddles: The paddles on a kayak are generally two sided where as the paddles on a canoe are one sided. A kayaks paddle is designed for being out at open sea to help you get more traction when sitting lower down. 


  • Recreational Canoes: These are the most common type of canoe. They have a flat bottom and can be used in calm waters like lakes, ponds or slow moving rivers.
  • Whitewater Canoes: These types will usually sit higher out with more rocker on their hulls to help them maneuver through rapids or whitewater that you would find at your local river running location. 
  • Racing canoes: Well these are obviously used for racing. They are designed to be as light weight and fast on the water so that they can get a good lead over their competitors


  • Recreational Kayaks: This are the most common type of kayak. They are usually wider and shorter than a whitewater or racing style, which makes them easier to paddle in calmer waters like lakes.
  • Fishing Kayaks: These types have been designed with the fisherman's needs at heart so that they can get close enough for an easy catch without having their boat be too wide  or long on top water fish such as bass who could easily swim away from you if your fishing vessel is not properly equipped..
  • List Touring/Sea Kayaks: Slim and long to go fast and cut through the water, sea kayaks are designed for speed and distance. They're perfect if you want to go long distances or just need a boat that can get up on the water quickly, but they aren't as stable when fishing because of their design so it's not recommended unless your goal is solely catching fish in deep waters where stability doesn’t matter much
  • Whitewater/Racing Style: These types of kayaks have been designed short to increase maneuverability and speed. These are the types of kayaks that you would use if your goal is to get as far ahead in a race or competition, but they can be used for fishing too because their design makes them more stable. This type has been designed with one thing  in mind-speed! You will need some experience before using these boats so make sure not go into anything beyond what's comfortable until then!.
  • Inflatable kayak: Inflatable kayaks are becoming increasingly popular with the advent of inflatable kayaks. These boats are very stable and easy to maneuver, but they're not as fast or long-lasting. They are increasingly popular because they're easy to store and transport, but they are also more expensive than traditional kayaks.
  • Sit on top Kayak: These are great all round kayaks. They are great for fishing because they have a large cockpit and you can sit on the top of them. These kayaks also tend to be more stable than traditional ones, and as fast and longer lasting. They are very durable and will pretty much anywhere unless you want to win a a race.
  • Racing kayaks: These are the fastest kayaks you can buy. They will only be used for racing and they're not very good at anything else because of their lack of stability, but if that's what your looking to do then these boats have a lot going on with them like footrests which make it easier when paddling in long distances or sprinting short ones. They sit very low in the water and are long and slender.The best thing about these kayaks is that they are very fast and can be used for long distances. They're not the most stable, but if you want to race then this boat will work well with your needs!


Canoe vs Kayak: Racing

This will depend on what you want to use the boat for. If you want a kayak then it will depend on what type of paddling that is being done and if your looking more towards racing or not, but kayaks are better at fishing because they're more stable and robust in design which allows them to work well with someone who wants stability while also wanting some storage space!

If I were going out onto open waters where there's no one around me (so less chance getting hit by another person) I might choose my canoe over other boats just due its size-to weight ratio; It doesn't take up as much room yet still provides enough buoyancy should something happen like capsizing etc...

Kayaks seem to be the most common because their suitable for sea and fresh waters, and they're often less expensive than canoes. I personally love my open top Kayak because you can just do whatever you want! The kayak is a great boat for someone who wants to go out on the water and explore. Kayaks are also perfect if your looking at fishing, because they're more stable than canoes which means it's easier when reeling in fish or bait from below deck level etc...


  • Where will you be using it? This will immediately help you dwindle the list down to the right one. The type of water you will be using it on is important because different vessels are better for certain types, like a touring kayak would not work well in white-water rapids or an open canoe might flip over if there's too much wind etc... The length and width that suits your needs best.
  • Comfort: How worried about comfort are you? If comfort is a high priority for your needs, then consider the weight and how easy it will be to carry. And obviously how good the seating is. A canoes seating is usually more comfortable than a kayaks seating.
  • Aesthetics: Do aesthetics matter or not really at all when choosing one of these vessels? This can help narrow down which type might suit best if this matters more than anything else in terms on what appeals most aesthetically.
  • What will you be using it for? Fishing or racing will require different features. For example, a kayak will be better for fishing because it's more stable and has the ability to stand up in them while paddling around looking at fish etc...A canoe is usually used as an all-around vessel that can do anything from racing down rapids or just cruising on calm water with friends





  • Tough & Durable
  • Good stability
  • Lightweight
  • Many different options available
  • Low down
  • Often not as comfortable as a canoe




  • Seated high up
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Many different options available
  • Not as stable as a kayak
  • Less options available compared to the Kayak




Jake's Outdoors is a blog for all of your hunting, fishing and general outdoor needs. Jake's Outdoors has created this space to help beginner level enthusiasts find their way into the world of outdoors and will provide advice on how to get started. We'll cover topics like what gear you need, where to go hunting or fishing in your area, how to cook fish/game animals you've caught as well as other general outdoor tips.

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