Solo Canoes

Solo Canoe Buyers Guide

Canoes don't need to be tandem. In fact, paddling a solo canoe can be an exceptional alternative to a traditional canoe or kayak. Providing that same stability and storage capacity as a traditional canoe, this allows the solo canoeist to get out and explore, fish, and portage the back country. Don't shoulder or drag another boat for a half mile, hoist it up and portage your solo canoe with ease!

Tips for Buying a Solo Canoe

If you are on the hunt for a solo canoe, there's a number of specifications you'll want to be aware of. There's no perfect recipe, it all depends on your performance and versatility needs.

  • Most solo canoeists prefer a symmetrical canoe. Symmetrical meaning it's the same shape up front as it is in the back. A solo canoe trick is to actually sit in the bow seat, or front seat, and paddle backwards. The advantage here is that by sitting in the bow seat, you are placing your weight closer to the middle of the canoe. This will give you much better control, especially when using sweep strokes.
  • A traditional solo canoe will have rounded chines and lots of tumblehome. Doesn't mean you need keep with tradition, just good to know as a baseline.
  • Pay attention to weight capacity. Are you only paddling solo or will you go tandem as well? Are you going on expedition trips? If so, how much weight for gear?
  • Length is always important, but especially with a solo canoe. Longer means straighter tracking, but you give up some maneuverability. Shorter canoes will balance and turn really well. So pick a length that suits your style.
  • For paddle, you can use a traditional canoe paddle or double-bladed kayak-style paddle. You'll see folks using both, maybe dependent on how they sit.
  • When it comes to sitting in a solo canoe, you have options. You can sit on the seat and even stretch out your legs for a relaxing paddle if conditions and ambitions allow. But if conditions are adverse or windy, you will get more control on your knees. But for those of us who aren't spring chickens, it's good to know that you don't have to kneel the whole time!

Solo Canoe Reviews

Aside from all of the tips above, you'd be wise in reading the many solo canoe reviews that have been submitted over the years. You'll get a sense for the most beloved, timeless solo canoe models, but you'll also get a sense for how certain types of canoes handle, track, and turn. If ever you can, we always recommend getting out and trying before buying. Borrow from a paddling buddy or contact your local dealer to see if they have demo boats.

Browse and compare all solo canoe models above or select one of the top solo canoe manufacturers below to see a list of all their products.