Kayak vs Canoe: What’s the Difference and What Should You Go For?

Most of us have heard of canoes and kayaks, but what are the major differences? What is each best suited for? What are the pros and cons of using each one? And most importantly, which one is right for you? Let’s get right into it.

When I started off in the water “boating” world, I was off to a rough start because I didn’t know what I was getting into. This guide is written with the beginner in mind, so if you have any questions after reading it, please leave us a comment and we’ll answer it for you.

Kayaks vs Canoes: The Basic Differences

Let me break down canoes first. Canoes are small, lightweight boats that are mostly used for recreational and exploratory purposes, and many people love to use them for fishing also. They are propelled by single-bladed paddles instead of the double-bladed paddles used with kayaks. You can also add a motor to a canoe for a faster trip.

Canoes were first constructed out of wood but now they are made from plastic, fiberglass, or aluminum. They are much wider than kayaks but both are pointed at the ends for easier movement through the water.

Just like canoes, kayaks are small, lightweight boats that are also used for recreational and exploratory purposes, and fishing. However, kayaks are also used for racing, traveling, and whitewater rafting. They’re propelled by a double-bladed paddle for speed. You can add a motor to a kayak as well and some also have pedals you can use for faster speeds.

Kayaks were first constructed using driftwood and whale bones (yikes!) but today they can be made with plastic, fiberglass, wood, or a mix of materials. There are also inflatable options for both kayaks and canoes which is a whole another world of fun and affordability.

The Pros of Canoes

Because canoes are wider than kayaks, they’re more stable and easier to navigate. So if you need to get into one either from the dock or the water, you don’t have to fear your canoe tipping over (well, not like you would with a kayak. You have to experience both to understand this well).

Canoes can carry extra equipment/gear for camping, fishing, or day long trips. With the right sized canoe, you could carry 900+ pounds of either passengers or equipment which is a lot. Kayaks could possibly hold up to 750 pounds but may be harder to operate with too much weight depending on the type of kayak.

Because canoes have you sitting higher up from the water, there is less chance of getting wet from water lapping up against the side especially on a windy day. This is a huge consideration for those who want to enjoy the water but not get splashed or wet and to enjoy it comfortable and leisurely.

The Pros of Kayaks

Kayaks don’t require as much energy as canoes to paddle making them waaay faster and waaay more efficient. Most kayaks are also lighter to carry for easier transportation. Some you can even fold and assemble once you get to the spot where you want to put the boat in the water.

The sit-in vs the sit-on type of kayak can provide protection from the wind on a cooler day, and also has compartments with lids that you can close to keep your important items dry.

Kayaks are also easier to move around in the water which is good for racing through obstacle courses, whitewater rafting, or going long distances for trips.

The Drawbacks of Canoes

Canoes can be vulnerable to damage from rocks in the water, collisions with other boats, and any debris that might be in the water. They are also prone to capsizing if too much water gets inside. The cockpits are not enclosed like most kayaks are to protect the boat from waves or turbulent waters.

Paddling a canoe might feel like more work with a paddle that you have to use for rowing from both sides. You can paddle more quickly with kayaks because there is one bar with a blade on each end.

The Drawbacks of Kayaks

Kayaks are not that good for transporting equipment such as camping or fishing gear. This makes it harder to take camping trips or go fishing for the day. If you’re in turbulent water, they can also be unstable and difficult to maneuver.

Kayaks are not the easiest boats to get into, especially if you’re boarding them from a dock. They may also be harder to get into from the water, except for the sit-on-top types.

Best Activities For Both Kayaks and Canoes

Kayaking is a great way to really get down to the water’s level to better explore wildlife and other creatures in the water. You can get further in one day to explore even more areas without getting too tired.

Kayaks are better for rapids because of their maneuverability and ability to get through tighter spots.

Some kayaks have pedals so you can use your legs instead of your arms, which is especially useful for fishing. There are kayaks made especially for fishing, with rod holders, more comfortable seating and more.

There are different kayaks for various activities, allowing for fishing, day trips, rapid exploration, or just having fun while getting wet with sit-on-top models.

While canoes can be used for certain easier rapids, they’re better suited for a peaceful day of paddling on the lake. You can go sightseeing and explore all the wildlife around you as you enjoy a nice lunch from the comfort of your canoe.

Canoes are excellent for fishing trips because of the stability of the boat, which is great for standing while casting, reeling in the fish, and being able to carry a cooler to store the fish in. Yes, you can fish in a kayak, but things aren’t as stable and roomy as they are in a canoe. You can also carry more equipment if you need it.

Because canoes can carry more weight, they are great to use for hauling camping supplies to a secluded spot, like on an island. You can carry tents, coolers, blankets, and much more.

Canoes are also easier to use for seniors or those with physical limitations because they are wider and more stable, which makes them easier to get in and out of. You can paddle slowly and take your time getting around.

Is A Canoe Better Than A Kayak?

The answer to this question depends on the type of activities you plan to do. For beginners and casual activity, a canoe is probably the better choice. It’s more stable, easier to use, and allows for more people or equipment in one boat. They are also much easier to get in and out of! I can say that from personal experience. I’m also a klutzy person and find dealing with canoes a lot easier than kayaks.

Kayaks are great for people who want an activity that is fast-paced like whitewater rafting or racing, or if you want something that is easy to maneuver around tighter areas of rivers and streams. They are also great for fishing because of their stability and ease of use.

Is It Easier To Canoe Or Kayak?

Canoeing and kayaking are both easy to learn and can be done by almost anyone but kayaking requires more upper body strength and endurance for longer trips. Canoeing is generally easier to learn due to the stability of the boat whereas a kayak is much more maneuverable.

Which one is harder depends on each person’s perspective and how they take to the activity.

Do Canoes Tip Over Easier Than Kayaks?

No, canoes are typically more stable than kayaks and do not easily tip over. Canoes have a wide, flat bottom which makes them easier to keep upright even in choppy water.

Kayaks, however, typically have a slim profile and narrow hull so they are harder to keep from tipping over since the wind or waves affect them more dramatically.

Also, many kayaks are made to sit on the surface of the water which means they can be harder to get into and out of without tipping them over.

In Summary

Canoes and kayaks both offer unique experiences on the water, depending on what your preference is or what activity you’ll be partaking in. Canoes are best for more relaxing activities on lakes or rivers, easier fishing and camping trips.

Kayaks are best for speed, whitewater adventures, limited fishing, day trips, and some protection from high winds. There are compartments that will keep your items dry, and some come with pedals so you can use your legs when your arms get tired or when you’re fishing. They’re easier than canoes to carry to secluded areas.

What the determining factors will be for which boat you should purchase is what activities you’ll be doing the most and what your physical status is. Don’t forget to wear your life jacket and take a first aid kit with you whichever one you end up going on.

Do you love kayaking or canoeing? Let us know in the comments below!

Sit In vs Sit On Kayak: What Are The Differences?

Deciding which type of kayak to purchase can be a hard choice is hard enough but is harder if you’re a beginner. This guide was created with the beginner in mind so let’s discuss sit in vs sit on kayaks in great length. We’ve also include images so you can understand some of the key differences a lot better.

There are two basic types of kayaks: one being a sit-in and the other a sit-on. Understanding the differences between the two is crucial for making an informed choice about which one is best for your kayaking activities. 

We’re going to discuss the key features and pros and cons of both so that you can purchase the right one for your next water adventure.

Pros And Cons Of Sit In Kayaks

Sit-in kayaks are kayaks that you sit inside of instead of on top of. They are a popular choice for those who want safety and comfort when exploring the water. They also offer you more protection from the elements than sit-on-top kayaks.

With sit-in kayaks, you have an easier time controlling your speed and direction. It even feels like more of a natural fit for beginner kayaks compared to the alternative we’re discussing here.

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider when choosing a sit-in kayak.


  • Sit-in kayaks are more stable than the sit-on-top types because the cockpit of a sit-in offers a lower center of gravity. This can be helpful in rough waters or when paddling with gear and supplies as it adds balance to the boat.
  • Because of the enclosed cockpits, sit-in kayaks will provide extra protection from the elements such as waves, wind, and cold water.
  • Many sit-in kayaks provide plenty of storage compartments for gear and supplies, which allows you to bring more items, especially for a longer trip. Anything that’s stored inside these compartments will remain dry even if the boat takes on some water.
  • For those who want more speed and better performance, sit-in models are the better choice because of their sleeker hull shape and reduced drag. This is ideal for long touring trips or races.
  • Some touring kayaks come with adjustable feet rests, which would allow for a more relaxed paddling position for maximum efficiency and comfort during those long trips.


Sit-in kayaks do offer the paddler better protection from the elements than sit-on-top kayaks. However, they also come with drawbacks that you should consider.

  • One potential problem with sit-in kayaks is mobility especially for heavier or taller paddlers since they can be harder to get in and out of. A bigger person might feel cramped and uncomfortable due to the limited legroom inside the cockpit.
  • If you capsize in a sit-in kayak, you will likely need assistance to get back in. This would be more dangerous if you are far away from shore, alone, without anyone to help you.
  • Many anglers prefer using sit-in kayaks because of their higher stability over sit-on-top models. You have to be stable when catching fish or possibly warding off sharks for that matter!

Pros And Cons Of Sit On Kayaks

If you remember, we discussed that sit-on kayaks are kayaks that you literally sit-on-top:


Sit-on kayaks have seen an increase in popularity due to their versatility, comfort, and affordability. Here are some of the key benefits of sit on kayaks:

  • Sit-on-top kayaks are very easy to use and require no expertise or prior instructions. The design of the kayak requires less physical effort than your typical sit-in counterpart. You can easily get back onto the boat if you fall into the water.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks feature a wide, flat hull that will provide a stable ride. This is ideal for beginners or those who plan for a leisurely trip down a calm river or lake.
  • These types of kayaks can be used in almost any water environment from lakes to rivers to oceans, making them an excellent choice for those who like to have fun on all types of water conditions.
  • Sit-ons often come with seats that have padding and adjustable footrests, which will provide superior back support and comfort while paddling.


  • Most sit-on-top kayaks generally have less storage space than sit-ins, making it more difficult to keep items dry and secure.
  • They are more prone to being affected by extreme conditions, such as wind and choppy waters, making it more difficult to paddle.
  • They provide less protection from the elements because they are open at the top. Paddlers who are sensitive to colder temperatures may need a wet suit (depending on how long they’re in the water) or accessories that will help make for an easier kayaking experience for the day.
  • Sit-ons usually require paddlers to maintain an upright posture while paddling. This can be uncomfortable after a certain period of time, possibly leading to fatigue or back pain.

What Activities Are Best Suited For Both Types Of Kayaks?

Sit-in kayaks have been around for centuries, making them the traditional choice for both recreational and fishing kayakers. Their stability is superior, and they provide extra protection from the elements. While they are ideal for the ocean and rivers, they can also be used for relaxing trips on lakes and calmer waterways.

Sit-in kayaks often come equipped with hatches allowing you to store your personal items inside for longer trips or for fishing equipment. The enclosed cockpit provides secure seating, which allows you to confidently tackle rougher conditions (like choppy ocean water or fast-moving rivers).

Sit-ins can also be great for slow-moving waters such as lakes, rivers, and estuaries. You’ll be able to take advantage of the greater stability and protection of the kayak to paddle at a leisurely pace and take in the scenery.

Because of their more spacious cockpits and storage, they are also ideal for fishing is a popular activity for these kayaks so if fishing is your jam, you may wanna start here.

Sit-on-top kayaks have become more popular for their ease of use. Unlike sit-in models that require entry through an enclosed cockpit, sit-on-tops are open to allow for accessibility. You can just climb back on after taking a dip in the water. They are very popular as rentals because they are easier to use for people on vacation for a quick, fun time. 

Sit-ons tend to be lighter than their counterparts, which makes them easier to transport and launch from shorelines or docks. They are also best used for activities that are closer to shore, or on calm waters such as lakes and slow-moving rivers as well. You can also ride waves with them since they are lighter than sit-ins.

Safety Considerations With Sit In Vs Sit On Kayaks

Kayaks have been a popular means of recreational adventure, allowing for exploration of local waters with ease. When you are considering which type of kayak to purchase, you should also think about the safety of each one, depending on which activities you’ll most be engaged in.

Sit-in kayaks have an enclosed cockpit that the user sits in while paddling. These kayaks offer great protection from the elements and are more stable while on the water. However, they may be more difficult to get in and out of than the sit-on varieties.

If they happened to fill with water, they’d become quite heavy and difficult to maneuver. Therefore, it would be crucial for users to ensure that the cockpit is properly sealed and the drain plugs are in place before heading out. Always wear a life jacket though, just in case.

Sit-on kayaks have an open deck design that allows users to simply step onto them or climb onto them when coming from the water. This makes them much easier to use for those who aren’t as agile or physically fit.

However, due to these open designs, sit-ons lack the same level of protection that sit-in models provide when it comes to wind and waves. Also, if you’re on the open ocean, you’ll be less protected from sharks as well.

In conclusion, both types of kayaks have their own unique set of safety considerations that should be taken into account before hitting the water. Wearing life jackets and bringing the appropriate equipment along can maximize your enjoyment of whatever activity you’ll be doing.

Final Thoughts

Each type of kayak has its own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on the individual’s needs and preferences.

Sit-in kayaks provide a higher level of protection from wind, waves, and other elements than sit-on models whereas sit-on kayaks are favored by those looking for ease of use and a more open design. They tend to be lighter and more maneuverable than their sit-in counterparts, an ideal choice for calm lakes or slow-moving rivers. Unfortunately, though, they don’t offer much protection from the elements and wildlife as discussed earlier.

When you have to decide between these two options, it’s important to think about your skill level and what type of environment you will be paddling in most often. For beginners who are starting on calmer waters, a sit-on kayak is usually the best choice for ease of use.

More experienced kayakers should opt for a sit-in kayak if the plan is to explore rougher waters with stronger winds or currents or if they’re taking longer trips. Ultimately, choosing between the two will come down to personal preference and your level of expertise. If you’re still unsure about which one to get, it’s a good idea to rent both and spend an hour on each to truly understand the advantages and disadvantages of each of these kayaks. Goodluck!

Learn How To Stay Safe In Dangerous Waters

Water enthusiasts, adventurists, and campers love kayaking and canoeing. However, there are potential hazards associated with kayaking, especially in waters that have dangerous wildlife, such as crocodiles, alligators, sharks, and hippos.

Therefore, there are some tips you can follow to stay safe when kayaking in such waters. Here are some of the tips you should consider to stay safe.

Weather Conditions

In every kayaking or canoeing excursion, weather plays a big role, because it determines the visibility and calmness of the water. Warm and sunny days are ideal for kayaking, although some people prefer doing it at any given time, as long as they feel safe doing so.

If you are to kayak in dangerous waters, you need to have good visibility so you can maneuver with ease. As a result, you should not kayak in cold weather, because there is a high probability that you won’t see clearly, and this would jeopardize your safety.

In addition, you need to avoid storms and strong winds, because they make the waves rougher, reduce visibility, and can make you tip over. This is especially dangerous when there are deadly reptiles, snakes, sharks, hippos, etc.

One of the things you should avoid is swimming in such bodies of water, making it more probably to encounter dangerous animals. Hence, you should always be in your kayak, and try as much as possible not to go near the animals, because they can attack you.

Hippos may look slow because they’re so big, but they are surprisingly fast! If you are in a kayak with only a paddle, you would never be able to outrace them.

Editors Note: If you are looking for a stable kayak, click here to read more about the portable Oru.

Tips For Dealing With A Dangerous Wildlife Situation

Since lakes, oceans, and rivers are home to a vast array of marine life, you might encounter some dangerous animals while paddling, even if you are cautious.

Alligators and sharks are the most threatening animals, and you should avoid them as much as possible. However, if you see a shark, you should try to remain calm, because frantic splashing/paddling can draw more attention. If the shark is aggressive, you are advised to hit it on the snout with a paddle to deter it.

On the other hand, if you encounter alligators, make loud noises or blow a whistle, because they hate noises. Finally, avoid fishing and tossing in raw fish scraps while kayaking in dangerous waters, which will tease dangerous.

Water Hazards

Water hazards vary, depending on where you are and the level of your skills. Therefore, you need to be considerate of these two factors, because they will determine your safety. If you are kayaking in dangerous waters, you should look out for any of the following water hazards:

Sweepers – Sweepers are low hanging branches that extend across the water. You need to avoid the sweepers at all costs, because they can make you lose your balance when kayaking. Avoid them with a wide berth to avoid toppling.

Rocks – Even though only a section of the rock is visible, you should keep a safe distance to avoid damaging your vessel, getting injured, or toppling.

Remember, if you are kayaking in dangerous water with sharks and you get injured, your blood can attract them, putting your life at risk.

Strainers – These are submerged, or partially-submerged obstacles that can tip or flip over your kayak. Whenever you approach a strainer (it could be a rock or even a tree), lean towards it to avoid flipping over.

Undercut – Avoid undercuts, because you can get trapped underwater when you get are submerged. Undercuts are usually found in rivers, and they are hard to spot, especially from above water.

As a result, it is important to know where you are kayaking, or seek advice from other kayakers to avoid these water hazards.


Whether it’s protecting yourself from wildlife or dangerous water conditions, take all the necessary precautions and make sure you have all the safety equipment you need. It’s also a good idea to never go alone in these conditions!

Kayaking With Kids Safety Guide

Kayaking is an outdoor activity that is loved by adventurous, active people who love being out on the water. They sometimes risk their own safety to enjoy the adrenaline that kayaking can provide, especially with fast moving rivers.

However, some people kayak with their kids when they are on a vacation or a tour. When you kayak with your kids, you should prepare them in advance to guarantee their safety.

You should have the right gear before you go kayaking, because it can save your whole family’s lives. Therefore, before you start, you should all put on life vests and load your boat with the proper safety equipment.

If you are planning to kayak with your kids, you should consider buying a sit-on-top kayak rather than a sit-in kayak, because they won’t fill with water [For regular, adult recommendations, we recommend you read our review of the Oru, the world’s most interesting portable kayak]. After you’ve gathered the right gear, you need to teach your kids how to use them and maintain them.

What To Start With

The first thing you should teach kids is the paddling technique. To achieve this, you will have to teach them in a secure area that’s protected, and there’s safety gear on, just in case anything happens.

Instruct the kids to sit up straight and hold the paddle at shoulders’ distance level, and paddle uniformly. Be patient, because you should expect the kids to tire out, or fail to paddle at all.

Therefore, you should not rely on the kids to start off paddling well, because they are not quite experienced. Alternatively, you can start watching videos with your kids and reading articles about kayaking, to prepare them in advance.

Also, you can consider signing yourself and the kids up for swimming and kayaking lessons. You can get swimming lessons from a community pool, so that in case your kayak topples, your kids can swim easily and avoid drowning. In addition, you can start working out with your kids at home to become fit, and strengthen your muscles.

The Next Step

Secondly, you will have to expose them to the kayaking world. Choose a protected area, a safe river, or a lake where you can go for your first outing. This is very important to build their confidence, teach them how to paddle, show them how to wear protective gear, and how to use them all together.

When buying life vests, you should consider both the age and weight of the kids, because they vary in size. If you are not informed about life jackets, consider seeking professional help to avoid jeopardizing your safety, or that of your kids.

Kayaking While On Vacation With Kids

In case you are planning a trip or vacation, and have been practicing kayaking on a lake or river, you need to sell the trip to the kids so that they can get involved.

First, research more about your trip, using relevant field books, and tide and current charts. This information will be helpful when kayaking, because you will have discussed where to kayak, how to do it, duration of time, and technique, among other things.

Remember, preparing your kids psychologically is very important, because you will be depending on them to cooperate and follow instructions.

Secondly, you need to have a packing list so your kids won’t forget things you really need on your trip. Some of the things you should include are clothing, food, and safety gear.

Thirdly, you need the help of other adults when kayaking, especially if you have more than one kid. Each kid should have a life vest, even if they know how to swim, because you will be kayaking on potentially dangerous water, like the ocean, for example.


Finally, while on the water, you need to go slow, give rules/directions, and teach. Most importantly, you should be supportive, to encourage your kids and enjoy the entire experience. However, safety should always come first, even if you are just trying to have fun with your family.

Best Kayaking Adventures In Florida

Florida is a kayaker’s paradise, with a diverse ecosystem and crystal clear waters. Every nature lover can appreciate the abundance of wildlife and breathtaking landscape, as they flow through river trails and the open ocean. Before we get started, we love to give our reads some reviews to read just in case they are researching any SUPs, kayaks, or canoes: check out the Hula 11 and our Oru kayak review here.

Moving on…

If you are a kayaking enthusiast, and planning on visiting the sunshine state, we have great news for you. We are about to highlight the best places to go kayaking in Florida.

#1. Rainbow River

This is Florida’s fourth largest spring, and kayak lovers are excited about the adventurous surroundings that this diverse ecosystem contains.

You will flow through cypress trees, and embrace the view of the luxurious aquatic vegetation. Plus, there are kayak rentals that are available at the park, as well as restrooms, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a place to stretch your legs.

#2. Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee State Park has crystal clear water, and is a wonderful place to explore and kayak. The most exciting part about the river in the park is that you might see manatees or otters.

#3. Juniper Run, Oscala National Forest

This is an excellent place to explore a diverse wildlife, with luscious landscapes and clear water. It’s 7 miles long, and the difficulty is moderate to difficult, because of the maneuvering you may have to do with tree that are in the way.

#4. Wekiwa Springs

Wekiwa Springs State Park is 20 minutes north of Orlando, and has a laid-back vibe with stunning, century-old trees in a field of lillypads, which will give you the feeling that you are in a Monet painting.

#5. Santa Fe River

This is an amazing chance to witness a diverse and abundant wildlife. Plus, you might get to join the once-a-month full moon paddle at night, to witness the beautiful starlights.

#6. Silver Springs State Park

In this central Florida destination, you could see a variety of alligators, turtles, tropical birds, dear, otter, and monkeys. It is an artesian spring, one of the largest ones ever discovered.

The park rents kayaks (and even clear bottom kayaks!), tandem kayaks, paddle boards, and there is a small fee to launch your own boat.

#7. Cedar Key

This is a top-notch secluded place to go paddling and kayaking. The stunning landscape and wildlife experience will definitely take your breath away.

You can paddle your way through the historic trail to get to an ancient island called Atsena Otie Key, which is a great place to find Native American artifacts, such as pottery and arrowheads.

#8. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

As you paddle through this stunning area, you will be able to see colorful fish and turtles, and embrace the surroundings of mother nature. There are kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes to rent here.

#9. Ischetucknee Springs State Park

This is a wonderful place to kayak and paddle. Through the river trails, you can explore wetland plants, a cypress forest, and rock formations.

During the off-season, you can see river otters, blue herons, and turtles playing around the river. In 1972, this place was designated as the clearest water in the world.

#10. Manatee River

This wonderful place is located in west central Florida, with a landscape that is covered with moss, pine, and shrub. The upper river paddling trail is approximately 9 miles long, and is perfect for beginners.

On weekdays, the river is usually empty. This is a great opportunity to bird watch and find alligators, manatees, and other wildlife relaxing near the river.


Florida contains a variety of wildlife and rivers for kayak enthusiasts to enjoy. The awesome part is that there are rentals, rest stops, restrooms, camping areas, and picnic areas for people to enjoy.

The diverse wildlife ecosystem, combined with clear waters and old cypress trees, makes Florida a great place to explore and appreciate mother nature.