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Paddle in Comfort in the Best Canoe

  1. Sevylor Colorado Fishing Canoe
  2. Intex Explorer K2 2-person Canoe
  3. Old Town Saranac Canoe
  4. Intex Excursion Pro Fishing Canoe
  5. RaxGo Freestanding Canoe
  6. Old Town Canoe Sportsman Discovery Solo Canoe
  7. Mohawk Odyssey 15T Canoe
  8. Mad River Expedition 186 Ultralite
  9. Wenonah Encounter Expedition Canoe
  10. Nova Craft Canoe Moisie
  11. Esquif Spark Whitewater Canoe
  12. Esquif Zoom Whitewater Canoe
  13. Pelican 15.5 Foot Recreational Canoe
  14. Osagian 2013 17 Foot Classic Recreational Canoe
  15. Sun Dolphin 14 Foot Scout Canoe
  16. Buyer's Guide

Whether you are planning a leisurely paddle on a lake with your family and friends or a whitewater solo trip through some rapids, you will want the best canoe for your adventure. There are a number of different canoes designed for various activities on the water. The type of canoe you choose will depend greatly on what the primary intended use will be. Stability, maneuverability and good tracking are all qualities that are important in any canoe and will vary depending on the type of canoe you are looking at. Below is our list of the best canoes in 2022 and a buyer’s guide with detailed information to help you in your search.

Here are the best canoes of 2022 for your next adventure on the water

Sevylor Colorado Fishing Canoe - Best Canoe Overall

The Sevylor Inflatable Colorado Hunting and Fishing Canoe is made from rugged 18 gauge PVC covered in 420 denier nylon, making it durable enough for river or ocean conditions along with a 500 pound capacity. This 10 foot 9 inch long canoe maneuvers as easily as a kayak while directional strakes provide exceptional good tracking and stability, even in whitewater conditions.

The Colorado has raised seats with seat backs give plenty of support for a long day on the water along with plenty of storage space for tackle and other gear. The seats have storage in the back rests in addition to the removable storage compartment that is in the stern of the canoe. There are also plenty of space with tie downs for additional gear and fishing rods.

Intex Explorer K2 2-person Canoe - Runner Up

The Esquif Canoe made by Wilderness Supply is a versatile canoe that’s perfect for hunting or fishing. The square stern design coupled with the 44 inch width make this canoe stable and easy to cast from, even when loaded with gear. This versatile canoe can be equipped with up to a 3 horse power outboard motor. The 3 inch rocker makes the Esquif track well whether it is being paddled or under power.

At 17 feet in length, the Esquif has plenty of space for fishing rods, tackle boxes and extra gear while the webbed seats are comfortable for a full day of paddling making it perfect for family trips. Made from durable Royalex, the Esquif weighs just under 100 pounds, which is surprising for its length.

best saranac canoe

Old Town Saranac Canoe - Honorable Mention

Old Town makes some of the best recreational and fishing canoes on the market and their Saranac 160 is no exception. With a carrying capacity of 850 pounds, the Saranac 160 has more storage options than the smaller Saranac 146. This canoe has a flat bottom that is designed to track well in the roughest conditions and also remains stable even while casting.

Built for comfort, the Saranac has two padded seats with seat backs for lower back support and a center bench seat with extra storage. There’s also a six inch hatch in the center of the canoe is perfectly located for tackle or any gear requiring dry storage. The Saranac 160 is complete with a pair of rod holders and plenty of extra cargo room for tackle boxes, a cooler and additional gear.

Intex Excursion Pro Fishing Canoe - Consider

The MacKenzie Sport 15 by Clipper Canoes is a fishing canoe the whole family can enjoy. With an optional rowing mount, the MacKenzie Sport can easily be rowed on solo trips without a motor, however, the square stern on this canoe can handle up to a 3 horse power trolling motor.

The MacKenzie is lightweight, easy to carry, and it has a 1,000 pound capacity; even when loaded with gear it still performs well. This canoe comes available in Ultralight Carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass, weigning 56, 62, and 72 pounds respectively. As spacious as this canoe is, it’s still small enough so a trailer isn’t necessary. Complete with wood web seats and floatation tanks, the MacKenzie 15 comes ready to launch.

RaxGo Freestanding Canoe - Best Fishing Canoe

The Fusion by Wenonah Canoe is a perfect canoe for a solo fishing trip. This 13 foot canoe is extremely stable and easy to cast from, whether sitting or standing. The Fusion owes its stability to the 31 inch width. This canoe tracks exceptionally well thanks to the drop down rudder. With no rocker, the retractable rudder allows for quick control and easy maneuvering.

Even with an overall length of 13 feet, the Fisher has all the room you will need for your gear. Three wooden slat seats are comfortable and easy to cast from. Made from tough Royalex, the Fusion weighs only 46 pounds while the Kevlar version of the Fusion is worth every penny, weighing a mere 30 pounds. No matter which material you choose, the Fusion fishing canoe is a great pick.

best solo canoe

Old Town Canoe Sportsman Discovery Solo Canoe - Best Expedition Canoe

Similar to the Penobscot 16RX, the Penobscot 164 is a stable, high performance expedition canoe suitable for any water conditions and be maneuvered single handed with minimal effort. This canoe has exceptional tracking whether it’s in flat water or white water because of its narrow bow and straight edge keel. The Penobscot is capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds and can maintain its speed and efficiency even when at capacity. Wider than many expedition canoes, the 37 1/2 inch width of the Penobscot allows for added stability and cargo space while the two webbed seats are comfortable enough for day-long excursions.

Mohawk Odyssey 15T Canoe

Mohawk Odyssey 15T Canoe - Best Expedition Canoe

The Odyssey 15T by Mohawk is a great expedition canoe for beginners. With a beam of 32 inches and a maximum capacity of 500 pounds, there’s enough cargo space for a week’s worth of gear; the additional width also makes the Odyssey stable without sacrificing speed. The symmetrical design of the Mohawk lends to the superb tracking and maneuverability whether you’re paddling solo or with a partner.

A depth of almost 20 inches at the bow and stern ensures you and your gear stay dry in most conditions. The weight of the Odyssey varies slightly depending on the material you choose. However, even at the maximum weight of 60 pounds, this 15 foot canoe is easy to carry, load and launch.

Mad River Expedition 186 Ultralite

Mad River Expedition 186 Ultralite - Best Expedition Canoe

The Expedition 186 Ultralite by mad River Canoe is a high performing expedition canoe that’s 20 percent lighter than the previous model of the Expedition 186. The Expedition 186 Ultralite has a sharp bow that cuts through the water with speed and efficiency that’s second to none.

There are three different hull designs for the Expedition 186 Ultralite: Asymmetrical, shallow V and slightly rockered. The shallow V design is by far the most stable and versatile design in addition to having the best whitewater tracking. This hull glides across any water surface because of its shallow rocker and piercing bow.

Exceptionally comfortable, this expedition canoe also features nice extras like contoured web seats and adjustable foot braces. Whether loaded with gear or empty, the Expedition 186 Ultralite is truly a high performing expedition canoe.

Wenonah Encounter Expedition Canoe

Wenonah Encounter Expedition Canoe - Best Expedition Canoe

The Encounter by Wenonah Canoes is an excellent expedition canoe for an intermediate to advance solo paddler. The Voyager has a minimal rocker and tracks well on the smooth waters of any lake or slow moving river. At 17 feet in length, this expedition canoe can carry enough gear for weeks of paddling. A deep bow of 19 inches keeps the inside of the canoe - and all of your gear - dry while paddling.

The Encounter has a single, sliding centerline bucket seat which makes it a breeze to paddle for long periods of time while adjustable foot brackets offer customized leverage and comfort. Wenonah offers the Encounter in four different materials which vary in weight and price. Depending on your level of experience and budget, there are options ranging from the fiberglass composite weighing only 54 pounds to the ultra light Kevlar coming in at a mere 38 pounds.

Nova Craft Canoe Moisie

Nova Craft Canoe Moisie - Best Expedition Canoe

The Moisie by Nova Craft Canoe is expedition canoe for the paddler who enjoys trips that include whitewater. The 4 inch rocker coupled with the shallow arch design of the hull allow for effortless maneuvering across flat water and through big rapids. The Moisie tracks well and has a sharp bow for fast entry and speed. With over two feet of bow depth, every trip is sure to be a dry one, even in rough water conditions. The Moisie has symmetrical design which is very stable thanks to the wide, 34 inch beam; even with the added width, the Moisie cuts through the water with ease. This is the perfect canoe for weekend solo expeditions.

Esquif Spark Whitewater Canoe

Esquif Spark Whitewater Canoe - Best Whitewater Canoe

The Spark, made by Esquif, is a slalom open whitewater canoe that accelerates like none other. Fast and responsive, the Spark is a great choice for a technical paddler with an asymmetrical rocker which tapers off from 6 inches at the bow to 5 inches at the stern, allowing the Spark to execute spins with ease. It's predictable and fast through turns and spins making this a great canoe for intermediate to advanced paddlers who want a precise and predictable whitewater canoe.The Spark is made from durable Royalite, a composite material known for its durability.

Esquif Zoom Whitewater Canoe

Esquif Zoom Whitewater Canoe - Best Whitewater Canoe

The Zoom by Esquif is a whitewater canoe that lives up to its name with unmatched speed. The Zoom has an extreme rocker that tapers off from 4 ½ inches at the bow to 4 inches at the stern; this rocker design makes the Zoom fast, responsive and easy to maneuver. This model is shorter than most canoes at just over 11 feet, the Zoom paddles like a kayak. The asymmetrical hull has convenient access to the water for easy paddling, without sacrificing dryness. The Zoom is ideal for serious paddlers who want a fast, responsive canoe capable of executing spins and big drops with ease.

Pelican 15.5 Foot Recreational Canoe - Best Recreational Canoe

The Pelican 15.5, manufactured by Pelican International Inc., is a surprisingly stable canoe for its length. Shorter than the average recreational canoe, at 15 ½ feet in length, the Pelican 15.5 is highly stable because of the 37 inch width at center. This recreational canoe is made from RAM-X, a polyethylene composite with a lightweight foam core, and while it’s not as lightweight as other materials, the canoe overall is extremely durable, UV resistant and best of all, it’s affordable. At half the price of similar canoes made from Kevlar, the Pelican 15.5 is a canoe the whole family can enjoy.

Osagian 2013 17 Foot Classic Recreational Canoe - Best Recreational Canoe

The Osagian 17 Classic Side-Sponson Recreational Canoe is a versatile canoe that tracks extremely well thanks to the welded one inch keel. Osagian is well known for their high quality aluminum canoes and the recent version of the Osagian 17 Classic with the added side sponson is extremely stable. This 17 foot canoe is lightweight at only 79 pounds, making it easy for a couple to carry and launch. This model had plenty of extra storage space for all the gear you will need to enjoy a day or a weekend on the water.

Sun Dolphin 14 Foot Scout Canoe - Best Recreational Canoe

The Scout Elite by Sundolphin is a spacious recreational canoe that comfortably seats three people. At 38 inches, it’s wide for a 14 foot long canoe making for exceptional stability. Still, the Scout Elite tracks very well for a wider canoe and is easy to paddle and maneuver. A convenient dry storage area, a cooler under the center seat an cup holders molded into all three of the comfortable bench seats are just a few of the standard features that make the Scout Elite one of the best recreational canoes. It also features rod holders and plenty of room for extra gear. This canoe is constructed with durable Fortiflex, a vinyl composite molded around a foam core so it’s built to last through years of sun and water exposure.

Buyer's Guide

Canoe Buyer's Guide

Finding the right canoe can seem like a daunting task. There are countless styles, sizes and construction materials to ponder. Buying the right canoe starts with determining what type of paddling you plan on doing the most. Canoe types range from your basic recreational canoe to more specialized canoes designed for racing, fishing or expeditions. Where you will paddle should also be a factor in determining canoe type. Whitewater and river canoes are designed to maneuver easily in fast moving water and rapids. Wider, more stable recreational canoes are ideal for lakes and slow moving rivers.

Once you determine the type of canoe you want to buy, construction materials is the next factor to consider. Canoes are made from a wide range of materials, each with their own benefits. The most common construction materials include aluminum, polyethylene, Royalex, fiberglass, Kevlar and wood. The cost and weight of a canoe can vary greatly depending on the material used.

Other factors to consider are how stable the canoe is, how well it tracks through the water, and length. Typically, the wider a canoe is the more stable it feels on the water. Tracking, or how well the canoe moves across the surface of the water, is often sacrificed for increased stability. The length of the canoe you are looking for will likely be determined by the type, how many passengers you will want to accommodate and how much gear you will carry. Longer canoes, over 20 feet, are more difficult to maneuver, but can carry plenty of gear for overnight expeditions or fishing trips. Shorter canoes, under 10 feet, are usually easier to maneuver in fast water.

Canoe Types

Recreational Canoes

Recreational canoes are designed for paddling in calm water like lakes and slow moving rivers. These canoes are typically shorter and wider than other canoes, making them more stable and great for beginning paddlers.

Fishing Canoes

Most canoes can be outfitted for fishing, but canoes made specifically for fishing are already rigged with rod holders, bait wells, and mounts for trolling motors. You will want to look for a fishing canoe that is stable with a low center of gravity to make it easy to cast from.

Whitewater Canoes

Whitewater canoes are designed to be paddled safely in fast moving rivers. Features of whitewater canoes include extreme rockers which make the canoe fast and agile. Whitewater canoes typically have flared sides to make for a drier ride. Maneuverability is a more important factor to consider than tracking. 

Expedition Canoes

Expedition canoes are made to travel long distances in comfort. Designed with moderate rockers for increased tracking, these canoes paddle with ease even when loaded down with gear. Longer and narrower than most other canoe designs, expedition canoes are made to cut through the water with minimal effort. You will want to look for an expedition canoe with ergonomic seats and plenty of storage space.

Racing Canoes

Racing canoes are long, narrow and have an asymmetrical shape. These canoes are designed to track exceptionally well and glide across the water with minimal effort. The best racing canoes are made from lightweight Kevlar or carbon fiber.

River Canoes

River canoes are made for paddling swift moving water. Slightly longer than whitewater canoes, river canoes have flared sides to deflect spray and usually do not have a keel. These canoes usually have an extreme rocker at both the bow and stern, making it easy to maneuver.

Canoe Materials


Though aluminum is a lightweight metal, it’s one of the heaviest options for a canoe. Less expensive than lighter materials, aluminum is a low-price option for flat water and calm conditions. Aluminum canoes stand up to sunlight and temperature extremes better but are scratched relatively easily and dent if hit hard enough.

Polyethylene and Royalex

Polyethylene is a lightweight, flexible, and inexpensive plastic composite. Polyethylene is the heavier of the plastic composites, but is very durable and easier to repair than Royalex. Canoes made from polyethylene tend to scratch easily because this material is a lot softer than other composites.

Royalex canoes are made from a layered plastic with a foam core. Royalex is lightweight and durable, making it able to take a beating in almost any conditions. These particular canoes have a vinyl skin that can be abraded easily and is susceptible to the damages associated with exposure to sunlight over long periods of time.


Fiberglass canoes were once as common as aluminum canoes until the dawn of plastic composites and Kevlar. Fiberglass canoes range in price depending on whether or not they are composites. Fiberglass alone can easily be damaged and is sensitive to light and extreme temperatures. Fiberglass composites blended with Kevlar are more durable. These canoes are lightweight and relatively inexpensive but difficult to repair.


You might know Kevlar as the lightweight material found in bulletproof vests and it’s also one of the most durable materials a canoe can be made from (as well as one of the most expensive). You should consider Kevlar if you are planning on paddling in extreme conditions or are in the market for a lightweight racing canoe. Because Kevlar shreds like fiberglass when damaged, most Kevlar canoes have an outer coating of fiberglass or plastic composite to protect the hull.


Typically made from cedar or birch, wood canoes are expensive but have a rustic, natural beauty to them. While they’re easy to repair with some training, wood canoes do require quite a bit of maintenance and don’t fare well with continual exposure to sunlight. Wood canoes are best for paddling calm waters since the hulls can be damaged easily in extreme conditions like whitewater.

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