How Much Does a Canoe Weigh? Everything You Need to Know

by | Last updated May 23, 2024

How Much Does a Canoe Weigh

Ever wonder how much your canoe weighs? It’s a big deal if you’re hauling it around on your own.

Aluminum canoes are tough but heavy. Kevlar canoes are light and perfect for long camping trips, but they cost more.

Canoe makers have also developed other materials, like carbon fiber, each with its own pros and cons.

How do you pick the right canoe for you? Keep reading to learn about different canoe materials and find the perfect weight for your adventures.

  • Key Materials:
    • Aluminum: Durable and affordable, but heavy (50-80 lbs).
    • Kevlar: Lightweight and great for portaging, but pricier and less durable (30-50 lbs).
    • Fiberglass, Tuff Weave, and Carbon Fiber: Offer different blends of weight, strength, and cost.
  • Canoe Types:
    • Recreational: Heavier, stable, great for families and beginners (50-80 lbs).
    • Touring: Lighter than recreational, designed for longer trips (40-70 lbs).
    • Whitewater: Varies in weight, built for rough water (40-50+ lbs).
    • Solo: Lightest option, designed for one person (30-50 lbs).
  • Choosing the Right Weight:
    • Consider your paddling style, waterways, strength, and budget.
    • Don’t forget to factor in the weight of your gear!
  • How to Find the Weight:
    • Ask the manufacturer or retailer.
    • Weigh it yourself with a bathroom or hanging scale.

Would you be ready to find your perfect canoe? Our team is here to help!

Understanding Canoe Weights

Understanding canoe weight is key to choosing the right canoe for your needs.

A man is driving canoe

Why Canoe Weight Matters

  • Portaging:
  • Transportation:
    • A lighter canoe is simpler to lift onto your car’s roof rack.
    • Less weight means better gas mileage, too.
  • Paddling Performance:
    • Lighter canoes tend to feel more responsive and agile in the water.
    • If you’re racing or want a zippy ride, weight matters!

Common Canoe Materials

  • Aluminum:
    • Pros: Tough, durable, and can handle rough conditions (rocks, rapids).
    • Cons: Heavy, not ideal for long portages.
  • Kevlar:
    • Pros: Super light, great for long trips with lots of portages (sometimes called “Kevlar canoe” or “Kevlar canoes”).
    • Cons: It can be more expensive and not as durable as some other materials.
  • Beyond Aluminum and Kevlar:
    • Other materials: Canoe makers have developed many other materials, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
    • Mixed materials: Some companies combine materials, like Wenonah’s Tuff-Weave, to get the best of both worlds (lightweight and durability).
    • High-tech options: Carbon fiber canoes are ultra-lightweight, but they can be pricey.

Common Canoe Materials & Their Weights

Okay, let’s dive deeper into the materials that make up these canoes and see how they affect weight.

A canoe

Aluminum Canoes

Aluminum canoes are like the pickup trucks of the canoe world – tough, reliable, and built to last.

Aluminum is a tough material, so you don’t have to worry too much about scratching or denting your canoe if you bump into a rock or two.

This makes aluminum canoes a popular choice for rentals, outfitters, or perhaps even summer camps where they’ll get a lot of use. They’re also relatively affordable compared to some other materials.

The downside? Aluminum canoes are heavier than most other types. You might not notice it so much on the water, but you definitely will when you’re carrying it on land.

This can be a real workout for someone who isn’t super strong, like a mom paddling with her kids.

  • Weight range: Typically 50-80 pounds, depending on the size and design.

Kevlar Canoes

Kevlar canoes are often called “Kevlar canoes” or “Kevlar canoes” because of their lightweight reputation.

Kevlar is the same stuff they use in bulletproof vests – it’s strong but super light. This makes Kevlar canoes a favorite for people who do lots of portaging (carrying the canoe over land) on their wilderness trips.

They’re easy to carry and can make a long trip much less tiring.

But Kevlar canoes aren’t perfect. They can be more expensive than aluminum canoes. And while they’re strong, they can be more prone to scratches and punctures than tougher materials like aluminum.

  • Weight range: Typically 30-50 pounds, depending on the size and design.

Materials Beyond Aluminum and Kevlar

Canoe makers aren’t just sticking to aluminum and kevlar, though.

They’re constantly experimenting with new materials and combinations to find that sweet spot that is lightweight and durable.

  • Fiberglass is lighter than aluminum but not as tough. It is often combined with other materials, like kevlar or basalt, for added strength.
  • Tuff-Weave (Wenonah Canoes): This is a special blend of materials that includes kevlar for lightness and polyester for durability. It’s a good choice for people who want a light but tough canoe.
  • Carbon Fiber: This is the ultra-lightweight champion of canoe materials. It’s super strong and stiff, but it’s also the most expensive option.

Each of these materials has its pros and cons, and the best choice for you will depend on how you plan to use your canoe.

Still not sure? Give us a call – our friendly customer service team can help you figure it out!

Canoe Types & Their Weight

Now, let’s break down the different types of canoes and what you can expect in terms of weight:

A canoe in a village side

Recreational Canoes

  • Purpose: Casual paddling on calm lakes and slow rivers. Perfect for beginners, families, and relaxing days on the water.
  • Features: Wide and stable for easy paddling and a comfortable ride.
  • Materials: Often made from aluminum for durability and affordability.
  • Weight: Typically on the heavier side, around 50-80 pounds.

Touring Canoes

  • Purpose: Longer trips and journeys, with a focus on efficiency and speed.
  • Features: Longer and narrower than recreational canoes, designed to cover distances.
  • Materials: Can be made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, kevlar, or fiberglass.
  • Weight: Usually lighter than recreational canoes, ranging from 40-70 pounds.

Whitewater Canoes

  • Purpose: Navigating rapids and challenging whitewater conditions.
  • Features: Short, maneuverable, and built tough to handle bumps and scrapes.
  • Materials: Can be made from aluminum (heavier) or kevlar/composites (lighter).
  • Weight: Varies widely depending on the material, from 40-50 pounds (kevlar/composite) to 50+ pounds (aluminum).

Solo Canoes

  • Purpose: Designed for one person, perfect for solo adventurers and explorers.
  • Features: Smaller and lighter than tandem canoes, easier to handle alone.
  • Materials: Available in various materials, including aluminum, kevlar, and others.
  • Weight: Usually the lightest canoe type, often between 30-50 pounds.

Choosing Your Canoe Type

  • Consider your paddling style: Are you a casual paddler, an adventurer, or a thrill-seeker?
  • Think about your usual waterways: Calm lakes, winding rivers, or raging rapids.
  • Factor in your strength and experience: How much weight are you comfortable carrying?
  • Don’t forget about your companions: Will you be paddling solo or with others?

Still not sure which canoe is right for you?

Give us a call, and our friendly customer service team (including canoe expert Steve Schreader) will be happy to help you find the perfect match!

Choosing the Right Canoe Weight for You

A man is driving a canoe

All right, so you’ve got the lowdown on heavy-duty canoe materials and types.

But how do you choose the right weight for your adventures? Think of it like choosing shoes for a hike – you wouldn’t wear flip-flops to climb a mountain.

Here’s what to think about:

What are you going to use it for?

  • Lazy River Days: If you’re mostly paddling around a calm lake or slow river, a heavier aluminum canoe might be just fine. It’s sturdy and won’t get scratched up easily if you bump into a dock or a tree.
  • Wilderness Warrior: If you’re planning multi-day wilderness trips with lots of portaging (carrying your canoe over land), you’ll definitely want a lighter canoe. Kevlar or a composite like Wenonah’s Tuff-Weave could be a good choice. Remember, a few pounds can make a big difference when you’re carrying a canoe on your shoulders for miles!
  • Fishing Fanatic: For fishing trips, stability is key. You don’t want to tip over when you’re reeling in the big one! A wider, more stable canoe, even if it’s a bit heavier, might be the best bet. Plus, you’ll have plenty of room for your tackle box and cooler.
  • Family Fun: If you’re paddling with kids or pets, you’ll want a canoe that’s stable and can handle some extra weight. Aluminum is a good choice for this because it’s durable and can take a beating.

How strong are you?

If you’re not a weightlifter, don’t worry!

There are plenty of lightweight canoes out there. Even some aluminum canoes are lighter than others. But if you’re paddling solo, it’s definitely easier to handle a lighter canoe.

What’s your budget?

Canoes can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Lightweight materials like kevlar and carbon fiber tend to be more expensive than aluminum.

Decide how much you’re willing to spend before you start shopping.

Don’t Forget About Gear!

Remember to factor in the weight of your gear.

If you’re planning a camping trip, you’ll need to carry a tent, sleeping bags, food, and more. All that extra weight adds up, so choose a canoe that can handle the load.

Ask the Experts

Still not sure what to choose? Our friendly customer service team, including canoe expert Steve Schreader of Midwest Mountaineering, is here to help.

Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you to the perfect canoe for your next adventure.

A Final Note from Steve Schreader

, “Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to canoe weight. It all depends on how you plan to use your canoe.

But by considering these factors, you can find the perfect canoe to help you make the most of your time on the water.”

A canoe is parked besides a lake

Tips for Weighing Your Canoe

Okay, you’ve decided on the perfect canoe for your adventures. But how do you know exactly how much it weighs?

There are a few different ways to find out:

Ask the Manufacturer or Retailer

This is the easiest way. Most canoe makers and stores will list the weight of their canoes online or in their catalogs.

It’s usually called the “hull weight” and doesn’t include any extra accessories (like paddles or seats).

Weigh It Yourself

If you already have the canoe, you can weigh it yourself.

  • Bathroom Scale Method: This works best for lighter canoes. Carefully place the canoe upside down on a bathroom scale. Make sure it’s balanced and not touching anything else. If it’s too long for the scale, you can weigh each end separately and add the weights together.
  • Hanging Scale Method: This is more accurate but requires a special hanging scale. You’ll need to find a way to hang the canoe from the scale safely.

Warning: Be careful when lifting and moving your canoe. It can be awkward and heavy, so ask a friend to help if needed.

Why Weigh Your Canoe?

Knowing your canoe’s weight is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Transportation: If you’re putting your canoe on top of your car, you need to know if it’s too heavy for your roof rack. You don’t want to damage your vehicle or, worse, have your canoe fly off on the highway!
  • Portaging: If you’re planning a trip with portages (carrying the canoe over land), knowing the weight will help you decide whether you can handle it yourself or need help.
  • Loading and Unloading: Whether you’re lifting it onto your car or hauling it down to the lake, knowing the weight will help you be prepared.

Now that you know all about canoe weights, it’s time to start shopping for your perfect paddling partner!


A man is sitting on the boat

So, what have we learned? Canoe weight isn’t just about numbers – it’s about finding the perfect match for your paddling adventures.

A heavy-duty aluminum canoe might be perfect for family lake days or fishing trips. In contrast, an ultra-light Kevlar canoe could be your best friend on wilderness expeditions with portages.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer! Consider the paddling you’ll be doing, your strength, and your budget. Don’t forget to factor in the weight of your gear, too.

And if you’re ever unsure, our friendly team of experts is here to help you find the perfect canoe to make the most of your time on the water.

Now, get out there and start exploring!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lightest canoe material?

Carbon fiber takes the crown for the lightest canoe material. It’s incredibly strong and stiff, making for a super lightweight and efficient paddling experience. However, it comes with a hefty price tag.

Which is better: a kevlar or aluminum canoe?

It depends on your needs! Kevlar canoes are lighter and easier to portage, ideal for wilderness trips. Aluminum canoes are heavier but more durable, making them a good choice for rocky rivers or frequent use in rentals and summer camps.

Are Kevlar canoes really worth the extra cost?

If you prioritize lightweight and easy portaging, especially on long trips, then the investment in a Kevlar canoe is often worthwhile. However, if you’re mainly paddling on calm waters and don’t need to carry your canoe very far, then a more affordable aluminum or composite canoe might be a better choice.

What other materials are used in canoes besides aluminum and kevlar?

Canoe makers use a wide range of materials, including fiberglass, composites like Wenonah’s Tuff-Weave (a blend of kevlar and polyester), and even high-tech options like basalt and Innegra. Each material has unique properties, offering different combinations of weight, durability, and performance.

What are the disadvantages of a kevlar canoe?

While kevlar canoe often referred for their light weight, they do have some drawbacks. They can be more expensive than other materials and are more susceptible to scratches and punctures compared to tough materials like aluminum.