Canoes come in all different sizes and weights. Although the size can play a part in its weight, the materials that make up the canoe have the highest contribution to how heavy or light it is. If two canoes are of the same dimensions but different materials, their weight will differ.
Polyethylene (plastic) canoes are the heaviest canoes. A two-person plastic canoe typically weighs around 80 pounds (36.2 kilograms), about 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) heavier than a wooden canoe. Plastic, being so cheap and widely available, allows for a very affordable canoe.
There are many factors that contribute to the weight of a canoe. In this article, we’ll discuss whether a canoe’s weight matters, how to transport them, and what the pros and cons of heavy canoes are.
Does Canoe Weight Matter?
When buying a canoe, there are several factors you’ll need to consider, including:
- Your budget
- Storage space
- Purpose and requirements
However, another essential consideration to keep in mind is the canoe’s weight.
The weight of your canoe does matter. If your canoe is too heavy, you’ll find it challenging to carry it even a short distance. It may limit you from using your canoe at your convenience and pleasure because you’ll need to rely on a friend to help you carry it to and from your destination.
Although heavy canoes are typically cheaper to buy, the money you save may not be worth your struggles in the long run.
Transporting Your Canoe
Carrying your canoe over your head by yourself or with your buddy is one way of taking it from one place to another. However, there are easier means of transportation out there to make the task a bit easier.
Use a Canoe Cart
Canoe carts are among the best and easiest ways to lug around your heavy canoe and all your gear. They’re small and easy to use.
The canoe cart typically has two wheels, a platform, and straps. Simply place your canoe on the platform, strap it in, and you’re ready to go. It’s much easier than carrying the heavy structure yourself.
The only downside to one of these is that it needs a trail, pavement, or short grass to ride on smoothly – otherwise, it may topple if the terrain is uneven and rough.
Transport Your Canoe on Your Car Roof Racks
Most rivers have slipways, which allow you to drive close to the river. By transporting your canoe on your car roof racks, you can pick a river of your choice and drive there without worrying about the weight of your canoe.
There are a few downsides, however. Lifting your heavy canoe onto and off of your roof racks may not be a task that you’ll be able to do on your own. You’ll also have to make sure that your roof racks can take the weight of your canoe.
The biggest struggle is if you have a very high car, where reaching onto the roof is a lot more difficult. You’ll need a friend to help you lift up the canoe from the ground while you pull it up from the roof. It’s not going to be an easy task, no matter how many people are around to help you.
Keep in mind that both of these options only cover transporting your canoe from your car to the river. If you need to carry or lift your canoe while in the river for any reason, the weight may pose a major issue. In such a situation, you need to have the strength necessary to pick up your canoe – which means you should practice doing so on dry land at the very least and in shallow water as well if possible.
Pros of Heavy Canoes
Heavy Canoes Are Affordable
People don’t go out and buy heavy canoes for no reason at all. Polyethylene (plastic) canoes are the heaviest canoes, but they’re also one of the cheapest available.
Due to the easy availability of polyethylene, products made from it come relatively cheap. Therefore, starting out with polyethylene canoes is a great option as you won’t be losing a lot of money if you decide that canoeing isn’t quite for you after all.
Heavy Canoes Are Durable
Polyethylene is a very durable material. Your canoe can suffer bumps and scrapes, and you won’t have to worry too much about it. They have such a high abuse tolerance level that adventure companies often rent polyethylene canoes out for recreational activities.
Of course, no matter the material, you should always carry a repair kit with you to always be on the safe side.
Heavy Canoes Are Low Maintenance
This material is durable, so you don’t have to worry about constantly getting it patched up or fixed. When cleaning your canoe, you’ll only need some soap and water as this will wash the saltwater off of it to prevent corrosion.
I also recommend spraying a good UV protectant onto your canoe, such as this 303 UV Protectant Spray from Amazon.com. It’ll give your canoe a shine and protect it from going brittle and leaking quickly due to the sun’s harsh UV rays.
Cons of Heavy Canoes
Transporting Heavy Canoes Can Be Hard
We already know that moving a heavy canoe around by yourself or with a friend is challenging. However, there are ways to make it easier, as mentioned above.
Unfortunately, if you have a small car, popping it onto your roof racks to take it to the river may not be possible with such a heavy canoe. Additionally, as mentioned above, this doesn’t cover the possibility of having to lift your canoe while you’re in the water.
Storage Can Be an Issue and Added Expense
You wouldn’t typically think that weight would be a factor when it comes to storage, but it’s quite a big one.
If your canoe is too heavy, it won’t be able to go on the storage bars because it’ll be too much weight for the garage studs. It could potentially cause the garage studs to rip out.
If you can’t store it on the wall, you’ll need to buy a floor-standing canoe rack. These take up more space and are an added expense (though you can DIY your own if you’re creative).
Regardless of how heavy your canoe is, It’s important to store it away and not leave it lying outside if you aren’t going to use it for an extended period. Storing your canoe protects it from the sun and harsh weather, prolonging its lifespan.
Polyethylene canoes are the heaviest canoes, weighing about 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) more than wooden ones. Heavy canoes are challenging to carry and store, but they’re affordable, durable, and low maintenance.
Make sure to always store your canoe when you’re finished using it, as it’ll prolong its lifespan.