What makes an Open Canoe Great? Open or Canadian canoes are suitable for carrying large loads and some models will take three people or more. They are very stable, great fun for families, and look lovely on the water.
The ones housed on this page will do a bit of everything. You can use them for river trips on flat water or easy white water, take the kids exploring the local lakes, or go fishing. More adventurous paddlers might go canoe camping, where you pack your tent, food, sleeping bags and very best friends into your boat and head off down river- far more exciting than driving up to a campsite. They can be paddled from a comfy seat or a kneeling thwart for more power.
There are two main materials that are used for the construction of Canadian Canoes, Royalex and Polyethylene. Both are tough plastics (usually laminated), but Royalex is lighter and more expensive. All-round canoes come in lengths from 13 to 17ft, depending on the carrying capacity and desired characteristics. Wider boats are more stable, but longer, narrower boats are faster. The range of boats is huge, so we'd like to recommend some of our favourites.
Solo users- and an open canoe trip is a perfect way to relax and unwind on your own- should look at a boat like the Old Town Pack. The low weight Royalex construction means it's easier to for one person to handle when off the water.
The Venture Canoes Prospector 15 is a firm favourite with staff members here. When in our demo fleet, it is among the first to go out on the river, looking good and gliding elegantly whilst out. Its weight and price also help its popularity, with wooden or plastic seats allowing for budgetary requirements.
Many two paddler boats can be paddled solo too. The Venture Canoes Ranger 14, for instance, comes either with seats for two or a thwart for one. This is a tough, versatile polyethylene boat for all uses. The Mad River Explorer 14TT comes as standard with two seats and a yoke.
If you are looking for a boat that will offer you greater carrying capacity for gear we suggest you consider the Old Town Charles River 15 or Old Town Charles River 16 in polyethylene and Royalex respectively. The Venture Canoes Ranger 16 and Mad River Explorer 16TT are both ideal family boats. Basic fittings include two seats, a central thwart and yoke. is a good choice- a wide, stable boat that is ideal for family use. If necessary this can also be supplied with a 3rd seat a child.
Touring boats are intended for river and lake trips on fairly flat water. They are perfect for a day on the water with the kids or a weekend camping trip travelling down a long stretch of river. Because they will be designed for efficient forward movement, so are often quite long, and most have a high carrying capacity so you can fit lots of gear (or people!) in without overloading.
For our favourite touring boats, have a look at the Mad River Reflection series. These are very light and strong for their size and carrying capacity.
Those looking for an entry level touring canoe might want to look at the options from Venture Canoes, which represent excellent rugged value for money. They also have some great budget open canoes in the All Round section here.