Solo paddling is an exciting hobby and that is why it is very important to have a canoe of good quality. Whether you have decided to paddle through a wild area or just stick to the nearby rivers, do not forget that your canoe has to be durable in order for you to stay safe and dry. In this article we are going to take a look at the best solo canoe and see which models you should check out.
Types of Solo Canoes
First of all, there are a couple of different solo canoes, depending on what kind of peddling you prefer. Some of them are:
Wilderness Tripping Canoes
Can be solo or tandem and they are usually bigger in capacity ranging from 15’ to 18’ in length. They are known for being quite stable and efficient, mostly because they are used for paddling through wilderness.
That is one of the reason why they are intended for more experienced paddlers. You can paddle on the lakes or big rivers in them, even in bad weather.
River Tripping Canoes
Specifically made to endure fast-moving streams and that is why they are a bit lighter than the wilderness tripping canoes. They range from 15’ to 17’ in length and they are designed without keels. One of their specific designs is that they are symmetrical from end to end, and include the rounded, shallow or flat bottoms. Their sides are flared with a generous depth.
However, the most distinguishable feature is the rocker found on each end because it is because of this that your canoe possesses the maximum maneuverability. When paddling in this kind of canoe, you want to avoid rocks and ledges as much as possible, and a good canoe can help you achieve that.
Usually the cheapest and designed to be steady and easy to control. They tend to be shorter in length and greater in width. If you want to go fishing or simply for a recreational paddling, then this type of canoe is the right choice for you. They can be even used for more peddlers and turned into ‘cabins’ or ‘city lake’ canoes.
Made with extreme rocker and floatation in the bow in order to prevent water from getting in. This type of canoe is used only in white water and you need to have maximum control which is achieved by knee straps and a kneeling pedestal.
Long, fast and narrow, designed for fast speed and high performance. They range from 18’ to 20’ in length and they are usually very asymmetrical with eccentric appearance. They are used only by solo peddlers for racing sports or hobbies.
Specialty Use Canoes
As their name suggests, made for specific uses which can include sailing, carrying people or racing. Decked canoes can be solo, and they are designed to handle wind and rough waters. You peddle in a sitting or kneeling position with a single paddle. You can also store more goods in them than in kayaks.
Other solo canoes for specialty use include folding canoes which are made of PVC materials put over metal frames. They are quite lightweight and sturdy, and can be easily stored in your car, which means that you can take them easily wherever you want to.
Basic Design Characteristics of Canoes
If you understand a canoe’s design, then you can easily decide which one to buy. That is because a canoe’s design directly impacts its purpose. For example, if a canoe’s purpose is to race and paddle quickly then it will be built for efficiency; if its purpose is to make quick turns in fast streams, then it will be built for maneuverability. Now we will take a look at canoes’ basic elements and structure.
- Length is measured from the tip to the bow and it impacts the canoe’s performance a lot. The longer the canoe, the faster it will be. This kind of canoe is perfect for tracking, racing and straight lines; however, it is not so good for maneuvering in white water. That is because it cannot easily create turns.
- Beam, also known as width, is measured only at the widest part of the canoe. The narrower the canoe, the faster it will be. A wider canoe is on the other hand able to carry bigger loads and it is more stable.
- Depth also impacts how stable and fast your canoe will be. If a canoe has an increased depth, then it will certainly be more stable and a perfect choice for carrying goods. If it is not, then it will be faster and more responsive in fast waters and wind.
Other Design Features of Canoes
Once you have leant the basic design features, we can move on to the more complex ones. They include:
- Rocker represents the bottom profile of a canoe when you look at it from the side. It can be heavy, moderate or straight line. If a canoe has a lot of rocker then its belly will be less in the water and it will appear shorter. That results in increased maneuverability but decreased ability to track well. On the other hand, straight line canoes can easily turn and track but they also have no rocker.
- Entry line is the shape of the front part of the canoe which cuts the water. It can be sharp or blunt. Canoes with entry lines are more efficient and faster; while the canoes with blunt entry lines are not so efficient, but more stable and buoyant.
- Stems represent the shape of the bow and can be squared or rounded. Canoes with squared stems have increased tracking performance while the ones with rounded stems are great for steering and maneuverability.
- Fullness does not only refer to the width of a canoe, but also to how quickly a canoe can widen-out. When a fullness of a canoe is reached slowly then that canoe has less volume and capacity but it is faster. If it is reached quickly then it is a great choice for carrying goods because it is more stable and buoyant, but also slower.
- Symmetry is another important feature of every canoe. A canoe can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. If a canoe is symmetrical then the widest part of its body is set in the middle; the asymmetrical canoe has different front and back halves. Both of them have advantages. Asymmetrical canoes are better for maneuvering, riding high on the water and racing. Symmetrical canoes are great for paddling both forward and backwards.
Solo Canoe Materials
After you have decided on the canoe design and what you need it for, then you should take a look at materials.
A canoe of great quality is made of materials that can endure bad weather and water.
- Fiberglass Composites represent a variety of layers that are strategically cut and woven together in order to create a strong and lightweight canoe. What makes them amazing is the fact that they can be repaired easily and the repairs are not noticeable. However, make sure to avoid canoes that are made of fiberglass only, because you might end up with a brittle product that is not stable at all.
- Kevlar® Composites are also woven fabrics that are stronger even than steel. Canoes made with this type of material are much lighter than those made of fiberglass. Kevlar is very easy to repair and it is a great choice for those who peddle a lot and need fast canoes. They tend to be expensive but they are worth it.
- Royalex® is a great material for those who need canoes for shallow waters and white water because they are a plastic laminate made of cell foam. This type of material can handle rough conditions and that is the main reasons why canoes made of it are heavy and rigid. However, if you damage this material, it is difficult to repair.
- Wood is basically the old school material but it is still used. First of all, it can be a real piece of art because they are handcrafted. The weight depends on type of the wood and a canoe made of wood can have a variety of uses. However, these canoes are always expensive and can be fragile. But they can be easily repaired and last for a long time.
- Polyethylene is a cheap option and the canoes made of it can still be durable. This is a great material for recreational uses because it is mass produced. However, keep in mind that they are easily damaged and misshaped due to the plastic pellets they consist of.
- Aluminum is the least popular because it is difficult to create curvy designs with it. The best thing about this material is that it is durable, but also heavier than wood and recommended only for recreational uses, not wilderness.
Top 7 Best Solo Canoes: Reviews
Now we are going to take a look at top 7 best solo canoes and what makes them so great. You can find at least one model that will fit your preferences.
Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
Best use: white water paddling, recreational
Design Features: it has bow and stern carry handles, molded in side handles, molded-in cup holder, removable bungees, bow deck bungee, replaceable rear skid plate for added durability.
This amazing canoe by Ocean Kayak is just what you need if you are looking for a white water paddling! It is known for being stable, durable and great on flat water.
Maneuverability is also amazing and everyone can use it, from children to adults. Whether you are looking for a new hobby or a bit of recreation during your holidays, check it out! It is affordable and can be a great addition to your holiday gear.
Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Sit-On-Top Flatwater Recreational Kayak
Best use: recreational, fishing, diving
Design Features: it has two rod holders and a cup holder, customizable high back and seat combo, sit-on-top high back outfitting, quick-lock adjustable foot braces, front hatch with dual-density cover, drain plug, and rear shock cord storage.
Check out this amazing solo canoe by Riot Kayaks. It is a great choice for recreational purposes because you can use it for diving, fishing or just lazing on the top of water during your holiday.
It features two rod holders and a cup holder for those who enjoy fishing while the comfortable seat lets you have a great time and rest. It is intended for solo use, which means that you can simply chill out in it and have a great time.
Malibu Kayaks X-13 Fish and Dive Package Sit on Top Kayak
Best use: recreational, fishing, diving
Design Features: made of polyethylene, it features a hull storage, seat, a cup holder, drain plug, bow and stern handles, tank cord, adjustable foot track system, gator hatch and hatch bag.
Take a look at this amazing solo canoe by Malibu Kayaks. This is an amazing choice for those who want to paddle, go for fishing or just chill out on the water. It has many great features for these activities and it also has a beautiful, sleek and white design.
Make sure to check it out if you need a canoe for holidays. It is also a good choice for those who want canoeing to be their new hobby and check out lake and river waters.
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
Best use: racing, tracking, recreational
Design Features: it has an 84-inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi-output manual hand pump; inflatable seat with backrest; two separate air chambers.
Are you looking for a great solo canoe that you can use for racing, recreation but also paddling through fast streams? Then this is it. It is durable, lightweight and a great choice for paddling on the rivers and lakes. It has also got an eye-catching design and colors for added safety.
It is nimble and comfortable for sitting and you will definitely have a great time in it. The air chambers will come in handy if you hit a rock.
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak
Best use: white water, diving, recreational
Design Features: it has a dry storage compartment with shock cord deck rigging; seating area with protective thigh pads, adjustable foot braces and paddle holder.
This amazing solo canoe by Sun Dolphin is a great choice for spending time at the sea and diving. However, it can also be used for lakes and rivers since it is made of UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene.
It is very comfortable for sitting and paddling and it also has added safety for thighs and feet. You can also store goods in a storage compartment and you are ready for adventures!
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
Best use: white water, diving, recreational
Design Features: it has got an easy-to-carry backpack system, 21-gauge PVC construction, tarpaulin bottom, multiple air chambers, double Lock™ valves, cup holder, 90 day warranty, hand pump and paddle, NMMA® certified to hold up to 400 lbs.
This fantastic solo canoe is durable, efficient and eye-catching. It allows you to store anything you need in the innovative backpack system while the tarpaulin bottom handles well the fast waters.
What is really amazing about it is the fact that even if you hit a rock, the multiple air chambers will help you not to drown. It is also comfortable and easy to maneuver. The comfortable seat is great if you spend hours in your canoe.
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 119 Solo Canoe
Best use: white water, diving, recreational
Design Features: it has black vinyl gunwales and it is made of lightweight construction.
You are looking for an efficient and durable canoe intended for solo use? Then look no more, because this model might be for you. It is made of a durable three-layer roto-molded polyethylene that is able to withstand even the worst conditions.
What makes it great is that it is very lightweight and efficient for fast peddling. You can use one or double paddles. Agile, stable and easy to maneuver, this solo canoe is great choice for those who want to turn canoeing into a hobby.
To sum up, we have covered the basic characteristic of canoes, different types, other important features and top 7 best canoe models. Before you decide to go and purchase a canoe, it is important to know what exactly you need it for. Is it only for recreational purposes – a bit of paddling during holidays or perhaps you need it for extreme activities such as fast rivers and streams? When you know its purpose, then it is easier to pick a design.
Recreational canoes tend to be cheaper and made of low-cost materials because they are mass-produced. However, if you need a canoe for everyday activities and extreme sports, then you will need to invest more. Do not forget to be careful and to ask someone to assist you if you are a newbie.
A safety kit and other gear is a must, no matter which activity you decide to pursue. Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below!