From a distance, you may mistake a kayak for a canoe and vice versa. There are a lot of undeniable similarities between the two, but that does not mean they are the same type of boat. Their differences are what makes one person love one over the other. One may be better suited to one person than the other. It may be more comfortable or easier for you to handle a kayak over a canoe. This is why you should learn the difference between a kayak and a canoe before you rush out to purchase one.
Different Seat Positions
One of the major differences between canoes and kayaks is the way you sit inside of it. In a canoe, you will sit on a seat or kneel down on your knees. Kayaks typically have a seat that is low to the bottom of the boat or they sit on the floor. Their legs are often stretched out in front of them rather than the seated or kneeling position. With a canoe, you have a little more room on each side of you because of their wider width. Kayaks offer very little elbow room. This makes them more unstable, but able to slice through the water faster.
The Paddles You Use
When you think about a paddle, you will think of a single or a double paddle. This means that you have a paddle on only one end or both ends of the shaft. As a general rule, people will use the double paddle blades when they are on their kayak. The single is reserved for canoes. The reason for this is because a kayak is typically thought of as faster and the double ended paddles are much faster than switching the paddle from one side to the other. However, you may see a person in a canoe paddling with a double blade paddle or a kayaker using a single paddle.
Covered Vs Uncovered
Canoes are open from one end to the other. They do not offer a dry storage area and they do nothing to protect the rider from the elements. However, you can sometimes find a canoe that has a deck covering on it, but this is not something that is standard for canoes. Kayaks, on the other hand, will typically have some area of it that is covered with splash protection of some kind, typically called a splash guard. This keeps the kayaker dry and enables them to be comfortable when out on the water during different types of weather.
Their Unique Purpose
A canoe is designed to be comfortable for a family or a group of people who want to venture out in the water on a weekend getaway. They offer stability that is unmatched by a kayak. The kayak is designed to be faster and enjoyed by a single person or perhaps two or three at most. The person on a kayak is willing to travel light. They will not carry a large cooler or a lot of gear, preferring to stay lightweight and quick. A canoe that isn’t filled with people will be filled with coolers, gear, and other items.
In both kayaks and canoes, you have different options when it comes to the things you do with it. Some kayaks are able to handle white waters and racing. Canoes are also able to be used in racing and rougher waters. It all depends on what you want to do with your canoe or kayak and the type of boat that you have available.