How heavy should my canoe anchor be ?

While water sports can be a fun way to pass the time, there can also be a steep learning curve. The last thing you want to do is get out on the water, only to realize that you’re unprepared. If you have an anchor for your canoe, how heavy should it be?


Your canoe anchor should typically be under 5 lbs (2.27 kg), but the size and weight of your boat affect how heavy of an anchor you should use. It should be proportionate to your boat in size and weight.


In this article, I’ll lay out some basic information on determining what type of canoe anchor best suits your needs.

Determining How Heavy Your Canoe Anchor Should Be

While we often envision the enormous, heavy anchors of days of yore, if you’re looking for an anchor for your canoe, the reality is that it can be relatively small and light.


The average canoe anchor is around 3.25 lbs (1.47 kg), but typically, any anchor between 1.5 and 5 lbs (0.68 and 2.27 kg) is considered normal for a canoe, as long as it’s proportional to your boat. While the weight range for canoe anchors may seem bemusingly small, this is because other factors are more critical when considering what anchor to use for your canoe.


I’ll break up the rest of the article into factors to consider when choosing an anchor besides weight, including size and style.

How Do I Know What Size Anchor I Need for My Canoe?

It’s not always easy to know what size anchor to use.


To know what size anchor you need for your canoes, you should remember that you want to carry the least weight, so the lighter and smaller, the better, as long as it’s effective. Many people choose to carry two anchors when canoeing. One smaller “lunch hook” and a heavier “working anchor.”


A “lunch hook” will be on the lighter and smaller end of anchors and is used when conditions are smooth.


If it’s a calm day with barely any breeze, and you’re in the middle of a lake, the likelihood is that you’re not going to travel far, with or without an anchor. This would be an ideal time for your “lunch hook” anchor.


Your “working anchor,” on the other hand, typically trends more toward the 5 lbs (2.27 kg).


The end of the spectrum is larger and is intended to dig into the bottom. Designed for much more extreme weather conditions, this type of anchor should be used when you have more trouble keeping your canoe stationary.

Determining What Kind of Anchor Is Best for Canoeing

There are a lot of options for anchors available. As such, it can be challenging to know which style to go with. When deciding on an anchor, try to think about the conditions of the place you’d like to go canoeing.


If you’re out in the middle of a deep, sandy lake, you’re going to have different needs from an anchor than if you’re on a shallow, flowing river with a rocky bottom.

Types Of Anchors Used in Shallow Water

Different conditions require different anchors to be effective.


You should use a stake-out pole when canoeing in shallow water, as it can penetrate the bottom and keep you anchored and stationary as the water moves around you.


Stake-out poles like this YakGear YakStick are ideal when you’re looking to anchor yourself while canoeing in shallow water. This is particularly desirable because it has a wide, ergonomic handle that helps drive it into the bottom.


This stake-out pole is also a helpful tool in helping you find a good place to anchor your canoe by using the pole as a way of measuring an area that’s shallow enough to ensure you’ll be able to drive the pole deep enough into the bottom.


Note: Stake-out poles come in varying lengths. It’s best to have a general idea of the conditions of the area you’ll be canoeing to ensure you have a stake that’s an appropriate length.

Types Of Anchors Uses When Canoeing in Deep Water

In water that’s deeper than a few feet, a stake-out pole won’t be effective. You should use an anchor that’ll hold your boat to the bottom, such as a grapnel or mushroom anchor when canoeing in deep water.

Mushroom Anchors

You’ll use mushroom anchors in deeper waters with a soft bottom, such as mud or even sand. Relying on suction to hold your canoe to the water’s bottom, mushroom anchors tend to be slightly heavier.


If you decide to buy a mushroom anchor, make sure that it has drain holes, or you’ll have a hard time pulling the anchor back up. It is heavy enough to keep your boat in place, yet it’s light enough to haul with your gear.


Because they don’t have any way of gripping items on the bottom of the water, they function best in calm water with temperate weather conditions, so you don’t find yourself accidentally floating away.


Note: Mushroom anchors are ideal for inflatable canoes because they don’t have sharp edges that may inadvertently puncture them.

Grapnel Anchors

Unlike mushroom anchors, grapnel anchors rely on flukes (the extendable arms on the anchor) to grip the bottom. Because of this, you’ll want to use grapnel anchors when you’re canoeing somewhere that may have a slightly more uneven or rocky bottom.


They’re also better when weather conditions are more extreme, as they tend to have a better grip on the bottom.


Because grapnel anchors don’t rely on suction, they’re typically a lighter option and often come in compact kits like this Gradient Fitness Marine Anchor. This anchor folds completely down and it comes with its own carrying bag.


When selecting a mushroom or grapnel anchor, ensure that you’re finding an anchor with the appropriate length by following the 7:1 rule.

The 7:1 Anchor Rule

When determining how long of an anchor to use, you can follow the 7:1 rule. This rule says that your anchor chain or rope should be seven times longer than the depth of the water.


So, if you’re trying to anchor in water that is 10’ (3.05 m) deep, you’ll want to make sure that your anchor is roughly 70’ (21.34 m) long for the best results. It’s best to have a general idea of the conditions and water depth when canoeing for safety reasons.

Final Thoughts

Although you’d think it would be the essential factor, weight is just one factor in determining an excellent anchor to use when canoeing. Typically, canoe anchors tend to be between 3-4 lbs (1.36-1.81 kg), but you may decide to go lighter in calmer waters or heavier in more extreme weather conditions.


Aside from weight, the size and style of anchor you choose are also crucial in ensuring that your canoe is effectively anchored.

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