We all love paddling but not carrying a heavy one.
A canoe weighs about 70 lbs depending on what it is made of. Aluminum weighs 70 lbs, plastic 80 lbs, fiberglass 65 lbs, wood 70 lbs, Kevlar only 45 lbs.
We always dream to glide swiftly across the placid water of a quiet lake or be taken away by the stream leisurely down a lazy river. People of all ages and abilities can enjoy this. But, we need a canoe for these.
People are using canoes, as a way of transportation, since the ancient days of civilization. It is a narrow vessel; light in weight. Both ends of the vessel are pointed and there is no cover on the top.
A canoe can be propelled by one or two paddlers. Although canoes designs and materials have undergone a vast revolution over the years, they still remind us of their early versions used by Native Americans and the wilderness explorers.
Now canoes are used for different purposes and are made of different materials. But an untrained eye can hardly spot it. Before you buy a canoe, you must know how much does it weigh? As you shop it and get that onto the roof of your car and unload at your home, you will have a good lesson that a canoe can be heavy. However, the weight of a canoe depends on several factors.
Factors influencing a canoe weight
Other parameters remaining the same, build material is a major contributing factor to canoe weight. A plastic canoe is heavier than a fiberglass canoe of the same dimension. So, must consider this while bargaining. Despite being cheap, plastic canoes are heavier. The following is a rundown of different types of cones from the heaviest to the lightest.
- Polythene or plastic canoes: They are the heaviest of all. These are made of sandwiched polyethylene sheets with other plastic materials. These are inexpensive and durable but they are heavy. A plastic canoe for 2 persons can typically weigh 80 pounds average. These are best for family, fun, and recreational uses.
- Wood canoe: These are also heavy. While cedar canoes look beautiful, they need to be varnished once in a year. The average weight of a cedar canoe for 2 paddlers ranges from 65 to 75 pounds and the same for a solo canoe lies between 15 and 55 pounds. These are best for those who are nostalgic about tradition.
- Aluminum canoe: These are lighter than wood canoes but heavier than fiberglass canoes. Aluminum canoes are made by riveting layers of aluminum sheets together. These require little maintenance. The average weight of an aluminum canoe for 2 persons could be 70 pounds typically.
- Fiberglass canoe: These are lighter than aluminum canoes and constructed using fiberglass fabric and resin. Hand-laying of the fiberglass cloth and resin is done in a gel-coated mold. Ribs are also added to make the hull strong. A 15 feet long fiberglass canoe for 2 persons can typically weigh 65 pounds.
- Kevlar canoes: These are almost 20% lighter than Fiberglass canoes. These are made using an inner Kevlar shell, covered by fiberglass fabric and impregnated with epoxy resin to make it rigid. A 15 feet long Kevlar canoe for 2 persons can typically weigh between 45 to 50 pounds. These are easy to portage.
Size and passenger capacity also have a bearing on canoe weight. This is obvious. You have to increase the length and width of the canoe for increasing its stability & maneuverability, passenger, and cargo-carrying capacity. This means more material will be needed to make the canoe and that will make the canoe heavier. So, you have to strike a balance for choosing a canoe.
Why canoe weight is important?
You might say why to bother about canoe weight. But, unless it is kept floating throughout the year, you have to carry it and this can be a real issue sometimes. If you are lucky to stay at the edge of the water, that is okay. Else, carrying your canoe to and from water could be a daunting task. Hauling 50-pound canoe for 100 yards can make it feel heavier than its actual weight.
Sometimes, you will need to carry your canoe from one navigable waterway to another. This could be so tiresome that you might wish you bought a lighter one or have not bought a canoe at all.
Some canoes also include several gears making them quite heavy. And, for them, you will need canoe carts for portaging from one point to another. Doing this, on rugged terrain, is not easy.
Moreover, if you have to do a long drive with the canoe on top of your car, you have to think seriously if the car roof is strong enough to hold the weight. However, one can use a canoe trailer. But it needs a lot of planning to transport a heavy canoe. The weight of your canoe is also important to decide its storage. Depending on how heavy it is, you have to go for floor-standing canoe rack. Compare to a kayak or rowboat.
What canoes are made of?
Men have made canoe from all kinds of materials throughout history, though the most primitive were logs. While traditional canoes are still made wood, canvas, and, in some cases, animal skin, modern canoes are manufactured from a wide range of material from aluminum to plastics, fiberglass, and Kevlar. Canoes made from cedar and birches are still available.
Major canoe types
1. Recreational canoe
This is the most common type. They are designed to be stable and for easy maneuvering and controlling. These are great for paddling around a lake.
2. Whitewater canoe
These are meant to be used for white water and river paddling. They have a flat bottom and high sides to keep water out. Toe blocks are also provided for maximum control.
3. Racing canoe
These narrow and long canoes are designed for high performance. They are made of lighter materials.
4. Expedition canoe
These are designed for long trips and can carry heavy loads. These are controlled by more than two paddlers most of the time.
Now that you have a fair idea of different types of canoes, their purposes, and their weights, consider all these for getting your canoe.