The original canoes were made of wood and were, therefore, very heavy. However, with advancements in technology, we’re now capable of making canoes out of various materials, from fiberglass to kevlar. These narrow floating vessels are typically carried to the water, so you might be wondering, how heavy is a canoe?
A two-person canoe weighs between 45 and 80 pounds (20.4 to 36.2 kg). Kevlar canoes weigh up to 50 pounds (22.6 kg), and fiberglass may reach 65 pounds (29.4 kg). Aluminum and wood can reach 75 pounds (34 kg), but wood may be heavier in some cases. Plastic canoes can weigh up to 80 pounds (36.2 kg).
Before purchasing a canoe, you’ll need to know how much it weighs so that you can plan for transportation, carrying, portaging, and more. In this article, we’ll discuss the factors that determine a canoe’s weight, how much different canoes weigh, and why a canoe’s weight matters. Read on to learn more.
Factors That Determine a Canoe’s Weight
From materials used in the canoe’s construction to the type of canoe, each of the following factors plays a role in the exact weight of the vessel:
Different materials have different weights, so the materials used in a canoe’s construction play an important role in determining the vessel’s weight. For example, a two-person canoe made of kevlar weighs far less than a two-person aluminum canoe, even if they have the same exact dimensions.
The most popular canoes are two-person vessels, but many manufacturers offer canoes that fit four or more people. However, for a canoe to accommodate more than two people, it must be longer, wider, and in some cases, deeper. With that said, a four-person canoe will weigh more than a two-person canoe, even if they’re constructed from the same materials.
Length and Width
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, increasing the capacity of a canoe means increasing its length and width. When you add length and width to a canoe, you’ll need more materials. More materials mean more weight. Many people prefer a wider canoe, as it adds to the vessel’s stability – but the wider you make the canoe, the more materials it needs.
Type of Canoe
When most people imagine a canoe, they probably envision a regular aluminum or plastic vessel that seats two people. However, there are many different kinds, including:
- Recreational Canoes: These are the standard two-person canoes that most people are familiar with. When manufacturing these vessels, the main priority is stability. As a result, these canoes are much easier to maneuver and handle and are recommended for most flat-water activities.
- Touring Canoes: Touring canoes, also known as multi-purpose canoes, often seat more than two people. These canoes are versatile and often large. They’re built for easy maneuverability. Due to the higher capacity, these are heavier than recreational canoes.
- River Canoes: For the more extreme canoer, river canoes are ideal. These vessels are designed to make paddling a rapid river easier. They’re incredibly durable, are resistant to many impacts, and can handle abrasions with ease. Due to the additional material, river canoes tend to be heavier than standard recreational canoes.
- Fishing Canoes: Designed for fishermen, fishing canoes focus on stability over everything else so that catching fish doesn’t mean toppling over into the water. These canoes are also incredibly durable and offer storage space. As a result, they tend to be quite heavy compared to regular recreational canoes.
Weight of Canoes Based on Materials
In this section, we’ll discuss the weight of standard two-person canoes based on the materials used in the canoe’s construction.
Plastic (Polyethylene) Canoe Weight
Recreational canoes are typically made of plastic or aluminum. Plastic, however, is a popular option due to its affordability and accessibility.
These inexpensive, durable, and easy-to-find canoes are quite heavy. They may weigh anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds (22.6 to 36.2 kg). They’re best for recreational use, such as a lazy day on a calm river.
Unfortunately, carrying or portaging plastic canoes is quite a task due to their weight.
Wood Canoe Weight
Ancient canoes were typically constructed from wood and tree bark. Today, many companies offer custom-made wooden canoes. They are quite expensive and heavy, but they are beautiful and unique in their own right.
The average weight of a wooden canoe is between 65 and 75 pounds (29.4 to 34 kg), though some may be heavier depending on how they’re constructed. They require yearly maintenance, so they’re best for people who have the time and resources to maintain them properly.
Wooden canoes are best for people who prefer more tranquil waters. These are not designed for rocky, rapid rivers or places with a lot of obstacles.
Aluminum Canoe Weight
While aluminum canoes are still common today, they’re slowly being replaced by their plastic counterparts. These durable canoes are constructed with flat sheets of aluminum that are shaped and riveted together.
Aluminum canoes last longer than other types of canoes, but they’re slow and heavy. A two-person aluminum canoe weighs around 70 pounds (31.7 kg). They’re best for recreational activities.
Fiberglass Canoe Weight
The construction of fiberglass canoes is quite interesting. Fabric and resin are layered in a mold to create an almost plastic-like material. Once the resin is cured, the end result is a stiff, lightweight, durable canoe.
The average weight of a fiberglass canoe is around 65 pounds (29.4 kg). These vessels tend to be fast on the water and easy to maneuver.
Kevlar Canoe Weight
Kevlar canoes are the lightest of all canoe materials. They’re perfect for tranquil waters, and because of their weight, they’re easy to transport, portage, and carry.
A two-person kevlar canoe weighs between 45 and 50 pounds (20.4 to 22.6 kg). Most people have no problem carrying a kevlar canoe 100 yards (91.44 meters) to the water’s edge or placing it atop their car for a cross-country trip.
The Reason a Canoe’s Weight Matters
Unless you live next to a body of water and are keeping your canoe floating there year-round, you’ll have to transport the canoe to and from the water at some point. Canoe weight becomes an important factor here, especially when it comes to transporting a canoe on top of a vehicle.
There are many ways to transport a canoe – but each method may create issues, depending on the canoe’s weight.
Even standard two-person canoes weigh quite a bit, so you’ll need to plan how you’re going to transport the vessel. When choosing a canoe, consider the weight while factoring in these three ways you’ll need to transport it:
- Carrying: Once you reach your destination, you’ll need to carry your canoe to the water’s edge. Most people carry canoes upside down over their heads, but with a 70 pound (31.7 kg) canoe, this can become quite a chore.
- Portaging: When you’re switching between two waterways, you’ll have to carry your canoe. This is referred to as “portaging,” and depending on the distance between the two waterways, carrying a heavy canoe can be quite challenging.
- Vehicle Transport: Whether you’re going on a cross-country trip or just visiting your grandparent’s lake house for the summer, there will come a time when you’ll need to transport your canoe further than you can carry it. However, you’ll need to know if your car’s roof rack can handle the weight of the canoe. Additionally, you should ask yourself if you’re capable of lifting a 70 pound (31.7 kg) canoe onto the roof of a vehicle.
In addition to transporting your canoe, the weight of the canoe will affect how you can store it. If it’s above a certain weight, you’ll need to purchase a specialty canoe rack – many storage bars can’t support the weight of a heavy vessel like a wooden or aluminum canoe.
Finally, maneuverability is yet another factor to consider. The weight of a canoe determines how difficult it is to get it moving, turn, and navigate fast waters. Lighter canoes, like kevlar, are easier to handle, whereas aluminum is more durable, but also slower and more difficult to control.
While the original canoes were quite heavy, often made of solid wood, modern technology allows us to create lightweight, durable canoes. Before purchasing a canoe, think about how you plan on transporting or storing it, and consider whether you want a vessel that’s easy to maneuver.
For a lightweight canoe, choose kevlar. For something a bit more durable, consider plastic or fiberglass. If you want something that’s going to last for a long time, go with aluminum. However, if you’re more into aesthetics and calm waters, wooden canoes could work for you.