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How Much do Canoes Weigh? (Complete Guide)

Canoes are becoming more and more a recreational activity to do with friends, family, and even solo. So, when preparing to buy one for you or a loved one, you have to look into how much it weighs and whether you can work with it.

The weight of the canoe matters even more when you’re buying it for yourself since you will be the one carrying it most, if not all the time.

How much do canoes weigh?

Canoe weight matters on the size, type, and material it is made of. Typically, a solo riding canoe weighs 35 pounds, and a tandem canoe for two people is around 65 pounds. Fishing canoe are heavier, going 120 pounds. The usual weight is in the 20 to 100 pounds range.

A suitable kayak means smooth water rides and easy carriage. The fun begins in the water, but the groundwork begins right when you prepare yourself to buy one.

The size and the material decide how heavy the canoe is going to be, and it matters because you, more often than not, will need to solo carry and maneuver the canoe.

Reasons why canoe weight differs

There are several contributing factors as to why canoe weight might be different. Material, size, and type are three of the most common contributors.


Canoe manufacturing companies are always working on coming up with a material that will be better, lighter, faster than the ones made in the past. 

The material your canoe is made of will determine how heavy it’s going to be. Even if the dimensions match, if the material is different, the weight will be different too.

Even if it has the same proportions, a plastic canoe is going to be 10-20 pounds lighter than a fiberglass canoe. Kevlar tends to make the lightest canoes, a solo canoe usually ranging in at 45 lbs. whereas polyethylene or plastic is usually the heaviest, weighing 80 lbs.

This only proves the material regulates the weight of the canoe.


This is a no-brainer, but the size of the canoe obviously limits how heavy it is going to be as well. The size of a canoe is determined by its length, width, and depth.

In case of length, shorter boats are clearly going to be lighter than their longer counterparts if made of the same materials.

The width of the canoe will make an impact as to how heavy a canoe can be as well. It is true that the wider the canoe is, the more stable it is going to be. However, this also means the wider you make your canoe, the more material it needs, therefore making it heavier.

By depth, it means the distance between the canoes bottom and side rails, which is also known as the upper edge. As the same with width, the deeper the canoe is, the heavier it is going to be since it means the sides are taller; therefore the canoe requires more material.


It can be argued that there are two “main” forms of a canoe, one where it’s open from one end to the other (the modern/recreational) with a solo blade paddle propellor and the other being a covered deck or cockpit with double-bladed paddle propellers.

It is quite apparent that the more propellors you have, the heavier it is going to be.

There is another way canoe can be typecast, which is more based on the use of it. Recreational canoes are different from river or fishing canoes, with the multipurpose canoe being somewhere in the middle.

Recreational canoes are the ones people usually think of when asked about canoes or kayaks. Focusing on stability, they are relatively easier to handle, recommended for flat water activities.

Multi-purpose canoes are versatile where you are promised to do it all.

They are also known as tripping or touring canoes, which are built for superior maneuverability and capacity.

River canoes are, as the name suggested, made for paddling rapid rivers. Made of highly durable material, it will focus on impact and abrasion handling.

Fishing canoes prioritize stability overall, so you can peacefully catch or hunt fish. Also made to be durable, functional, and with storage, fishing canoes have to emphasize making the least amount of sound as well.

It is rather apparent that since each type of canoe focuses on one attribute over the other, how much they weigh is going to be different as well. Whether it’s a solo or a tandem canoe differentiates their weight as well. 

Canoe weight according to material:

How much does a fiberglass canoe weigh?

Handmade using a mold, fiberglass canoes are layered with resin-coated fabric cloth. They tend to be efficient, fast, lightweight while being strong as well.

A 15 feet tandem fiberglass canoe- that is to say, it can carry two people, usually weighs 65 lbs

How much does an aluminum canoe weigh?

Aluminum canoes are heavier than modern composites such as fiberglass. They tend to be cheaper and long-lasting, but they are also too noisy for fishing and can become too hot or too cold in the summer and winter respectively. 

A typical aluminum canoe that can hold 2 people will weigh around 70lbs, going up to 84lbs.

How much does a wooden canoe weigh?

Usually, wooden canoes are what people traditionally associate canoes with. Regarded as one of the prettiest forms of the canoe out there, they are heavy yet beautiful. They also need regular maintenance, yearly varnishing being a must.

A wooden, generally cedar strip canoe holding 2 people weigh 65 to 75 lbs. whereas a solo canoe will be around 40 to 55 pounds.

How much does a Kevlar canoe weigh?

Perfectly made to wear and tear proof, Kevlar canoes are becoming popular for their flat water efficient trips. Being 20% lighter than the already light fiberglass, this composite canoe is easier to navigate the water with. They are stiffer as well, with higher strength.

A tandem Kevlar canoe 15 feet long can weigh anywhere between 45 to 50 pounds.

How much does a plastic canoe weigh?

Redeemed to be one of the most inexpensive yet durable options out there, plastic canoes are also the heaviest. Despite being low maintenance, prolonged exposure to the sun can damage this material as well. They are suitable for recreational purposes.

Top manufacturers mostly make plastic canoes holding two people to be around 80 pounds, with solo canoes weighing 50 pounds.

How much does a cedar/dugout canoe weigh?

As mentioned with wooden canoes, cedar, or dugout canoes are made custom by independent manufacturers, which makes them very expensive.

These nostalgia-inducing traditional canoes weigh the same as wooden canoes, being very heavy, around 70 pounds or higher.

Canoe weight according to size:

As dictated above, the size of the canoe will play heavily into how much it is going to weigh. The answers below take account into a few of the most popular canoes to show the difference in weight and sizes.

It should be taken into consideration that despite being the same length, the difference of material decides how heavy it is going to be.

How much does a 12-foot canoe weigh?

The Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak is 12ft long but weighs only 32 lbs. On the other hand, the Third Coast Avalon has the same length but weighs a whopping 68 pounds.

How much does a 14-foot canoe weigh?

The Wilderness Systems Tsunami is 14ft long and weighs around 60 pounds. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler conversely weighs 144 despite being the same length.

How much does a 15-foot canoe weigh?

Novacraft’s Bob special 15 is a perfect example of how the build material determines how heavy a canoe is going to be. When made of fiberglass, it weighs 58lb. In contrast, when it is made of Aramid Lite, a composite material, it weighs 40lb.

How much does a 16-foot canoe weigh?

Wenonah’s most popular composite canoe, Prism, weighs only 30lbs when it’s made of Kevlar UL. However, change the material to Tuf-weave flex, and it becomes 40lbs instead.

Canoe weight according to types:

As mentioned before, the type of canoe will greatly differentiate its weight as well, despite having similar dimensions. Take inflatable and pelican canoes, for example.

How much does an inflatable canoe weigh?

Inflatable canoes are an expedition that has taken the industry by storm. It is versatile therefore allowing it to shift and form to the client’s needs and wishes.

Usually, inflatable solo canoes are super light, weighing in at a mere 30 pounds and tandem canoes being only 10 pounds heavier- 40lb.

It should also be noted that backcountry inflatable kayaks are lighter than the ones used for fishing, the 17.5 pounds to the heavy 52 pounds. 

How much does a pelican canoe weigh?

Pelican canoes are beginner-friendly, being lightweight and allowing easy portage. Considering size and function, a pelican canoe can be around 20 pounds, with heavier ones ranging in 80 pounds. 

Why consider canoe weight before buying?

You should always consider canoe weight before buying one for multiple reasons, such as

Heavy to Carry:

Unless you’re living really close to the water, you have to carry the canoe to and from. Whilst 30 pounds might feel like nothing for a quick walk, carrying a canoe of the same size for a longer duration on unequal terrains is going to inevitably tire you out.

Extra Gear:

Some canoes come with additional gears, which will make it considerably heavier, especially when portaging.

Car Roof Consideration:

If you’re planning for a long drive out with a canoe trip to finish it off, you’ll have to consider how tough it is going to be to pack it on the car roof. You also have to consider if your car roof can handle the constant weight on it during the trip.


The weight also decides how much storage you’re going to get. If you’re focusing on fishing, then you might need to add more weight for the extra storage.


The weight also determines how easy or hard it’s going to be to maneuver the canoe. The lighter kayaks tend to be easier to handle, while the heavier boats are going to be more durable yet harder to control.

Which one to choose: lightweight vs. heavyweight canoe?

Whether you need a lightweight or heavyweight canoe depends solely on your needs and requirements.

Lightweight canoes are preferable for recreational use since they are easy to carry and navigate. If you’re looking for canoes to rent, lightweight canoes are recommended for they are easy to maintain as well.

On the other hand, heavyweight canoes- as the name suggests, are good for heavy-duty activities.

Heavy kayaks tend to have propellors added to them, so it makes longer treks easier, therefore more durable on rough waters.

If you want to go for fishing while looking for serious performance, consider looking into a heavyweight canoe.

What is the lightest canoe material?

While the industry is competing to always look for the next lightest material, for the time being, the crown goes to Kevlar or Kevlar composite or hybrid canoes. Wenonah’s Wee Lassie weighs only 10 pounds, despite being almost 11 feet in length since it’s made of a Kevlar/Carbon hybrid.

What is the heaviest canoe material?

While aluminum canoes are known to be one of the heaviest in the market- it is actually polyethylene or plastic that makes the heaviest canoes. Old Town’s Discovery 169 is a monstrous 91lbs, despite its 17 feet length.

How much weight can a canoe hold?

The weight capacity fixed by the manufacturer determines how much weight a canoe can hold. Typically, solo canoes can hold 400 to 600 pounds, including the person and the gear.

It is very ill-advised to push the limit of a canoe’s weight capacity. Exceeding the weight capacity means endangering the lives of yourself and others, as well as losing all your gear.

The formula to calculate the weight capacity of a canoe is (Width x Length)/15. Keeping that in mind.

How much weight can a 12-foot canoe hold?

If the length is 12 and the width is 3, using the formula, the answer is approx. 2 people or 340 pounds.

How much weight can a 14-foot canoe hold?

The length being 14 and width being 3 feet, the answer is approx. 3 people or 450 pounds.

How much weight can a 15-foot canoe hold?

Length is 15 foot and width is the common 3; the answer is also 3 people, but this time it can hold 500 pounds.

How much weight can a 16-foot canoe hold?

Same width measurement in mind, it comes out 3 people as well, but the capacity goes up to 530 pounds.

How much does a Grumman canoe weigh?

Grumman’s standard 17’ Double-Ender can weigh between 60lbs to 75lbs depending on the material. One of the newer canoes, Marathon, weighs 81 pounds.

How much does a Coleman canoe weigh?

A Coleman classic, the Scanoe has two versions. The 1985 model with 15.8’ length weighed 95 lbs. whereas the 1989 15.67’ version weighed a pound less. The difference came from the change of material and length.

How much does a Wenonah canoe weigh?

The Wenonah prospector 15 weighs in at 59 lbs., with its 15 feet length and Royalex making. Prospector 16, on the other hand, weighs 40 lbs., despite being 16ft in length- for it is made of Kevlar Ultralight.

How much does an old town canoe weigh?

Old Towns Saranac 160 is 16ft long, made of polyethylene, and weighs 89lbs. Another popular model, the Guide 160, is also 16ft long, made with a different kind of polyethylene, and weighs 86lbs. 

The size, material, and type of canoe determine how much it’s going to weigh. Conversely, the weight of a canoe is going to dictate how it functions and upkeeps. Therefore, before going into buying a canoe, looking into its make and weight is a good idea.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do canoes float?

Can a canoe sink?

Why are canoes so tippy?

Do canoes have wheel?