One of the most common questions we get asked is the difference between a kayak and a canoe. Here we cover the main differences and help you choose the best craft for your activity.

The Canoe

  • The canoe is a larger and heavier boat than the kayak with a wide, open frame.
  • The name 'Canadian Canoe' or 'Open Canoe' is sometimes used for the open touring style of canoes.
  • Unlike rowboats, canoes are paddled facing forward, each paddler has a single-bladed or half paddle and selects a side to propel the boat forward.
  • Paddlers usually sit on a seat or kneel inside the boat.

The Advantages of A Canoe


Another popular question is how much weight can a canoe hold? Canoe construction means they can carry plenty of kit and multiple passengers. Canoes are generally very steady and, depending on the design, can hold an average of approx 280kg.


Canoes are popular for camping trips or meandering about the river. Great to spend some time relaxing on the river. Another advantage is enough capacity to take a dog. We offer canoes with room for two people up to a family of four.


Canoes are excellent for those who may have difficulty getting in or out of a kayak.

The Kayak

Group of people hire in kayaksThe kayak is a smaller, sleeker boat that is closer to the water.

Built more for speed, they are for recreational purposes, such as river tours, whitewater, or open-water sea paddling.

In a kayak, the paddler uses a double-bladed paddle pulling the blade through the water on alternate sides to move forward.

The paddler is seated on the bottom with legs stretched in front of them.

The Advantages of A Kayak


Great for covering distance and exploring the river. The efficient shape design allows paddlers to maximize performance.


Kayaking is relatively easy to pick up, and you can be paddling happily within an hour.


You can learn the basics very quickly, focus on technique, not speed. A double kayak is ideal for a couple that wants to paddle at a pace.

Image: A Double Kayak

Health Benefits

It's worth mentioning that both involve physical activity and health benefits. These are cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength in the back, arms, shoulders, and chest from moving the paddle.


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