Lightweight Canoes

Enjoy Canoeing In The Great Outdoors

It’s hard to beat the beauty and enjoyment of canoeing in the great outdoors. There is something so serene that you must experience it to truly understand it. That being said, a successful canoe trip requires a fair deal of planning. You need to get to your starting point, figure out what gear you’ll take and make arrangements for your return trip. Part of that planning should also include looking at lightweight canoes.

While all canoes are lighter than they used to be, lightweight canoes are a good option in many cases. Keep in mind that you will have to not only transport the canoe to where you’re setting in, but you may also have to portage your canoe over land. After all, you won’t only be portaging your canoe, but also all of your gear. If you are alone, then the weight of the canoe becomes even more of an issue.

It used to be that you only had two choices when it came to lightweight canoes: aluminum or fiberglass. Today the choice of materials has expanded to include Royalex, Kevlar, carbon and composites. That being said, most of the canoes on the market today are made of fiberglass because it’s inexpensive and light weight.

You still need to be careful before buying a fiberglass canoe. The use of different construction techniques means there are serious differences in the final quality of each model. The use of chopped and shorter fibers of fiberglass leads to a weaker canoe; while the use of long fibers gives a canoe more strength but at a higher price. The catch is that you can’t always judge quality by price alone, and you would need a microscope to see which method was used to make the various lightweight canoes. However, you can go online and read about which method each manufacturer uses; that way you will know ahead of time which brands to consider.

But as mentioned earlier, fiberglass isn’t your only option. Kevlar, the same material used to make bullet-proof vests, is an excellent blend of high strength and low weight. Generally speaking, they are better suited for calmer water, though. Kevlar canoes are a great choice, but they can be a bit expensive for those of us who are on a budget.

If you plan on being in rougher water, or even going through rapids, then Royalex is a good chance. This material for makes for lightweight canoes that can withstand the punishment of more turbulent waters.

Canoes made out of carbon fibers are some of the lightest there are, but they aren’t as strong as Royalex or Kevlar. But if you know you will be in very calm water most of the time, or won’t be overloading the canoe, then it’s a fine choice.

That brings us to wood and aluminum canoes. While they may be okay in some cases, they are heavier than other materials and should only be considered in very specific circumstances.

Regardless of what you finally buy, lightweight canoes will help you to enjoy paddling through the great outdoors.