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Differences Between Kayaks And Canoes

To most people, canoes and kayaks are more or less the same things. Both bear a similar design and require the use of a paddle to power through shallow waters. These similarities usually work to make it harder for people to distinguish between the two.

Generally, kayaks are considered to be a type of canoe. Each variant has some distinct differences that set it apart from the other.

Whether you are looking to engage in either one of kayaking or canoeing, or want to further your understanding of the subject, here’s a short description of some of the main differences between kayaks and canoes.


Canoes are designed with an open deck to provide additional room for more comfortable paddling, luggage, and passengers. It is, however, worth stating that some canoes have a closed bridge. In such cases, you should use the other factors below to make a clear distinction.

Kayaks on the other hand usually have a closed deck. This means that the layer covers the inside of the boat and the area around the paddler. This helps keep water out while providing for a more secure sitting position.

Sitting Position

One of the most significant differences between kayaks and boats comes in the different sitting positions supported. Canoes usually have raised seats, on which paddlers and passengers can sit. When paddling, the individual can sit at the edge of their seat with one knee resting on the floor of the boat. Alternatively, paddlers can kneel on both knees when on a canoe.

When using kayaks, paddlers usually sit down on the floor of the boat, with their legs stretched out in front of them, shoulders loose and chest pushed outwards.


The paddles designed for use in canoes are different from those used for kayaking. Single bladed paddles, created with the at-shaped handle on one end, make it easier for the user to apply the necessary paddling pressure from side to side comfortably.

A double bladed paddle, on the other hand, is used on kayaks. This type of paddle allows the user to alternate from side to side without having to switch sides.


Although owners may use these boats for their preferred activities, canoes are mainly designed for free recreational use. This includes hauling gear or carrying family members for instance. The lightweight construction and streamlined design on kayaks make them suitable for use in competitive water sports.

After reading the above, you should have a better idea of how canoes and kayaks differ and to learn, even more, we recommend you click here. Furthermore, you should be able to make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing a suitable option for your intended purpose.

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