Is kayaking anything like canoeing?

May 27, 2004
Well, besides being on water with a paddle. :D

I love canoeing, and rent them every so often when I go to the lake to go fishing or just tear through boat wakes :grinpimp: . I am considering purchasing one, most likely an basic 500 old town but I may go cheap and get a 200-300 coleman/pelican.

But then I realize, the canoe really requires 2 people, and if i want to go and no one else does, I may be stranded. I then thought :idea: I could get a kayak, which is easier to handle on my own and can be used (obviously) by one person. If I did that, from what I read, I'd most likely get an entry level loon 111 (old town) to start on/

But I have never actually been kayaking. There are no places here to rent one (that I know of). I am sure I'd enjoy it, but not sure if I'd like it as much as a canoe. I mean, unles someone else has one, I would HAVE to go by my self.

How is canoeing and kayaking alike? How are they different? I know I'd most likely do flat water lakes, of very easy natured rivers (no real whitewater around I know of).

Any feedback is appreciated ! :bounce: :bounce2:


Supporting Vendor
Mar 6, 2005
Mauldin, SC
Keep to canoeing. Hold more gear. If you flip in a sea kayak your screwed unless you know how to roll and it's not easy. You cannot stand up and pee out the boat. lol You are strapped in in a kayak where you are not in a canoe. A kayak is a lot faster on the water with one person and easier to steer assuming you have foot controls. No waterr tight compartments in canoe unless you have float bags. Thats enough.

But kayaks are extremely popular right now.
Feb 20, 2003
If ya don't know, I ain't tellin'
Wow, if there is no place near you to rent a kayak, you must live in a really boring part of the world! :flipoff2: :D

Find a place that sells them, and ask them where to rent. You definitely need to try before buying. And lessons are a must if you want to get good. Yes, it's pretty different--kayak is much more maneuverable, much more responsive, faster. But if you're wearing a skirt, you better know what to do when you tip.

That said, I've canoed on my own,* it's not so bad. (Actually, canoing on my own is sometimes preferable to canoing with the :princess: :rolleyes: --she's not up on her paddling technique). You can load more in a canoe for camping/fishing. You can do those with a kayak as well, but you have to travel a bit lighter.

*By "on my own" I mean one to a boat--I wouldn't go out alone, it would suck to tip in the middle of a lake with no other boats around.
Aug 26, 2002
One of Four Presidential Flying Saucers
I grew up around kayaks and canoes, and would much rather have a canoe. They are more versitile, more comfortable, and if you are used to canoeing, why not stick with that (unless you're looking for something new to learn/do).

Think of it this way: if you were going to buy a motorcycle, which would you get? A cruiser or a crotch rocket? Crotch rockets are fun when you get to go fast, but have you ever seen those guys in traffic? Crap on a cracker, being hunched over like that at 35mph looks a little uncomfortable - and it's about the only position you can really ride the thing at.

I was looking at buying a few years back, and my boss kept pushing the kayak thing, and I remember telling him that my life wasn't a Mountain Dew commercial, and that I liked the slower pace of the canoe...
May 23, 2005
Ashland, OR
Kayaking is different in many ways. The seating position, the paddle stroke, the average speed and the cargo capacity to name a few. If you are only on flat water, even when pm storms kick up, check out a high performance kevlar canoe. The HP canoe's are very nice and way faster than the average consumer rigs.

In general, if you want to cover distance on a lake then a kayak is the way to go. With a spray skirt and jacket on you will be way more comfortable when the wave kick up. Flipping a kayak with a skirt on is not really a big deal unless you panic. It is very easy to get out quick just practice. On large rivers with no white water a kayak is fine.

If you need to pack alot of gear, like hunting, or may want to put a small out board on it, a canoe is the way to go.

Fly Rod


Sep 22, 2003
I just bought a kayak i love it. theres something about skiming over the water at a high speed thats like nothing else. mines a 10.5 foot with storage compartment. i can easily put it on the roof of my cruiser and carry it down to the river. it came with everything for $350 not bad. its about right for what i want, i can carry what ever i want and still cruise.
Jun 20, 2003
Fort Langley, BC
What WALoeIII said.
I kayak flatwater sprint... So much fun. But for touring, I would rather go for the Canoe - here's why:
Space - canoes have more for cargo.
Space - Canoes can have 1 or two poeple. Or whatever depending on boat. Kayaks... Well, K4's for touring may not exist. K2's might. K4 = kayak with four people.

But Kayaks are watertight... tipping in either is gonna screw you over if you had supplies in it, IMHO. Kayaks with a sprayskirt are some effort to get out of. Practice = perfect. Actually, Kayaks are more survivable if you eskimo roll or get out - the watertight compartment is still fine.

- 15 year old Kayaker on dad's account.
Mar 22, 2004
Castle Rock, CO
This reminds me, while in High School we went up to this Bible camp at a place here in CO, there were always canoes around, those were fun, well this time the shed where the kayaks were was unlocked, so we all pulled them out, never been in a kayak before in my life, but on a lake that in it's deepest spot was maybe 4', I think we were ok. We cruised around, realized kayaks are hard as hell to get going straight, but you can fly if you can go straight.. :D

The camp people came running out when they saw us, apparently you're not sposeto just grab a kayak and try to learn when they are liable... :D Lots of whining about what if we flipped over, got hurt, bla bla bla.. :D


Feb 7, 2003
bought a 17' coleman a few years back, that's almost as old as the cruiser.
that makes for a fun day on the creek with my fishing buddy.
+1 for a canoe
Sep 30, 2003
Woodstock, GA
I agree, stay with the canoe. Spend some time on it and as Waloe said learn the J stroke. It is extremely easy to caoe by yourself. I also prefer it. When with my wife I usually just tell her to lie down and sunbathe cause all she does is drag the paddle anyways. :rolleyes:

I built my own canoe years back, built for one (designed with the Adirondaks in mind) that weighs in at 20lbs even. easily goes as fast as a kayak, is versitle and more comfortable (though I would never use it in any type of white water). Man I really do miss canoeing in New England! :crybaby:
Apr 9, 2003
San Jose CA
I just got a Kayak

by cashing in credit card miles. Didn't know didldly squat about them two months ago. Yesterday I paddled 9 miles around Corkscrew slough, off S.F. bay. Saw sea lions and all sorts of marine birds I don't know the names of. is a great bulletin board, like this one, but for both Kayaking and Canoeing. I've learned a lot there, and from a class I took and several books I've bought.

I know a couple/three ways to get back in the Kayak if I go 'swimming', and the next step will be trying to learn to roll upright again after capsizing.

I imagine canoeing may be easier to get started with. I think that there are certain canoe models that lend themselves to both single and double paddlers.
Apr 23, 2003
Bellingham, WA (Lake Samish)
Most calm water kayaks are not that tippy. The only time I have ever rolled any of our kayaks has been getting in or out. Meanwhile I have kayaked on the lake I live on, the bay, the ocean and a few rivers. I am by no means an expert, and I can't do an eskimo roll in any of the kayaks I own. I have practiced ditching in the lake and the bay, and then geting back in. In fact before I let my 9 yo kayak alone, he had to demonstrate that he could get back in and pump out the kayak.

I have canoed plenty, but unless I had someone else who could paddle reasonably well, or was camping along a lake trail I would take the kayak EVERY time.

BTW - Expensive canoes will abound this weekend at the Ski to Sea. The hardcore guys have been practicing on the lake for 2 months now.
May 3, 2004
Comparing Kayaking to Canoeing is like comparing a Porsche to a Caddillac. Both are powerful. Both get the same job done...

But take the Porsche on a twisty, windy mountain road, and you can have more fun than if you drove the caddillac.

Take the Caddy on a long stretch of open highway and you will be more comfortable than if you drove the porsche.

In this case, the kayak is the porsche, the canoe is the Caddy.

If I am on class 4 whitewater, you bet your ass I'd be in a kayak.

If I am on class 1 or 2 or on a lake, give me a canoe.


rock scientist..
Staff member
Feb 17, 2002
Las Vegas

You can get a canoe in a closed bow setup. A C1 is a heck of a lot more maneuverable than a sea kayak.

The biggest difference between a Kayak and a canoe is sitting position. canoe's you kneel, kayaks you sit down in the boat. You can be "strapped" into both allong with using a spray skirt.

The big question is what do you want to do???
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