How Long is a Canoe? (With Examples of 21 Different Models)

How Long is a Canoe?

Do you enjoy riding a Canoe? The rush you get on the wild waters or a lazy float across a river; paddling with a canoe is precious. It is one of the best ways to get a fun outdoor experience. 

To get the most of this experience, it is essential to choose the right canoe. It can get tricky to pick the right one for you, your activities, and your family. Before purchasing one, make sure to figure out which one aligns best with your purpose.  

On average, the length of a canoe is around 5.2 m or 17 feet. It also comes in shorter length (under 14 feet), medium (14.5-17 feet), and longer (more than 17.5 feet).

The Canoe length is not the only factor you need to consider. There are many canoe brands in the market, and each is unique. However, it is essential to choose the right one. 

How long should your ideal canoe be? Read on to find out and check our curated list of 21 examples of different canoe models. 

What is the Average Canoe Length?

The average length of a canoe is 17 feet. The canoes of this length are the most popular ones.

While measuring the canoe length, we take the measurements from one end of the canoe to another. With the 17 feet canoes, there is an optimum balance between paddling ease and the carrying capacity. 

Casual canoers use canoes of this average length the most. 

Though the 17 feet canoes are the most frequently used ones, this length is still considered quite long by many.  

Families and tourists generally use the 17 feet canoes the most. Meanwhile, serious canoers and fishers go for the smaller ones. The ideal length for you entirely depends on your purpose. 

Different Canoe Lengths Available in the Market

There are varying lengths of canoes available in the market. If you look at our compiled list of 21 examples, the most famous canoes are about 16 to 17 feet in length. However, a few shorter models are also popular. 

Below are the different canoe lengths available in the market: 

Long Canoes

Long canoes are generally about 16-17 feet in length. These are popular choice among canoers. It is because long canoes come with many added advantages.

They have a higher speed and are easy to manage. Their carrying capacity is greater than the shorter canoes. Three passengers can comfortably occupy and move around in a longer canoe. They are the best for families.

There is much more space to keep your gear and other camping equipment by your reach. It is quite comfortable and mostly preferred by tourists. For longer distances, it is easy to paddle with long canoes. Besides, they give you the speed you desire. 

Can you use a long canoe for racing? Yes, it works better on flat waters such as large lakes. Additionally, you can use it for playboating.

It may, however, be a little tough to maneuver with a long canoe initially. It is because it has a higher weight and carrying capacity. 

Their large size takes up a lot of space in your storage. Moreover, they are heavier than the short canoes that are made with the same materials.

Another disadvantage is that they do not fit into narrow inlets and streams. They are also easily affected by currents and winds.

Longer Than 17 Feet

Did you find 17 feet canoes too long? There are lengthier canoes available in the market as well. They work best for families or for those who like to go canoeing with many people.

Clipper, Wenonah, and NorthStar are some of the brands that produce canoes of 20 feet! These canoes cost about $700 to $3,000. Their price is higher as they require more material and are not so common.

They have a carrying capacity of more than three and come with plenty of storage space. Additionally, the weight capacity is higher. 

You now know the problems that come along with long canoes. Well, these problems get amplified with the three additional feet. 

You have to maneuver a long canoe that does not turn smoothly. You may not get the speed you desire with 20 feet canoes. Its storage will also be an issue.

If you want a big boat for your entire gang, you may consider going with a raft instead.

Still not convinced and prefer a longer canoe? Do not worry. If the slight disadvantages of longer canoes do not deter you, there are some superior quality longer canoes for you. 

Some of the best durable long canoes are:

  • Clipper Canoes 20’ Mackenzie: 20 ft; takes 3 to 4 adults
  • NorthStar Northwind: 20 ft; takes 4 to 5 adults
  • Canots Nor-West Athabaska Special 18: 18 ft; takes 5 people

Longest Canoes

Outrigger canoes are the longest canoes. They usually come in 20 to 30 ft long. Their width is 7 feet!  

They can carry about seven people. It is a perfect canoe length for races.

These longest canoes also have a long history. In modern-day usage, outrigger races are held by Seattle and Hawaii. People from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Dubai, and Polynesia often take an active part in them.

The longest canoes are the best for family and group outings. The whole gang will be in one single canoe. Imagine the amount of fun you will have! 

They also come with multiple abilities. While shorter canoes are better for rafting and playboating. Pick your length according to your reasons, while purchasing a canoe.

The right length will make it easier and much more fun.

Shorter Canoes

The canoes that are below 14 feet are the short canoes. These are a much better option for white-water rafting and fishing. 

Short canoes weigh around 20 to 50 pounds. Such lightweight increases their agility. They are easy to maneuver in comparison to long canoes that weigh 55 to 200 pounds.    

It is easy to handle shorter canoes even in rough waters. They are more responsive towards turning strokes. They bring in higher stability. You can then brace against the currents and wind much better.

Short canoes work best on streams and rivers. You can choose them for expedition trips and white-water rafting.

Do you intend to go canoeing to have an adventurous trip instead of a leisure one? A shorter canoe below 14 ft may be ideal for you.

Some of the best smaller canoes for the thrill-seeker in you are:

  • Sevylor Ogden: 10 ft; takes two people
  • Old Town Discovery 119: 11 ft; takes only one individual
  • Lifetime Kodiak: 13 ft; takes three people

You have to keep in mind that shorter canoes are slower than the longer ones. They do not have much glide. 

That being said, speed depends on you as well. If you go with rapids, you wouldn’t be paddling a lot for speed. 

The smallest canoe that you can purchase is Sevylor’s 9.9 ft tiny inflatable canoe. If you prefer a tiny yet hard-sized one, you can go for Wee Lassie. It is 10 ft 6 inches with 16 lbs. 

21 Examples of Canoe Lengths

Here comes our curated list of 21 best examples of different canoe lengths.

The average canoe length maybe 17 feet. It is, however, best to be aware of the wide varieties available. You can get to explore better options in this way.

The models mentioned in our below list are among the most sought-after canoes:


Brand Length  Weight Carrying Capacity Price
Sevylon Ogden 10 ft 42.3lbs 2 $260
MyCanoe Origami 14 ft 52lbs 3 $1,590
Old Town 133 Recreational 14.6 ft 95lbs $1,000
Old Town Discovery 119 11 ft 49lbs 1 $700
Sun Dolphin Mackinaw 15.6 ft 100lbs 3 $590
Old Town Discovery Sport 16 ft 125lbs 4 $1,695
Grumman Solo 12.75 ft 44lbs 2 $160
MadRiver Adventure 16 16 ft 84lbs 3 $869
Grumman Double Ender 17 ft 85lbs 3 $2,165
MadRiver Adventure 14 14 ft 75lbs 3 $655
Sun Dolphin Scout 14 ft 95lbs 3 $550
Old Town Guide 147 15 ft 82lbs 2 $850
MadRiver Passage 14 14 ft 75lbs 3 $655
Wenonah Spirit II 17 ft 73lbs 3 $2,100
Grumman 16 Square Stern 16 ft 63lbs 3 $2,250
Heron Squif 14.6 ft 69lbs 3 $2,115
Wenonah Kingfisher 16 ft 39lbs 3 $2,175
Lifetime Kodiak 13 ft 96lbs 3 $795
Old Town Penobscot 174 17 ft 83lbs 3 $1,300
MadRiver Freedom 14.6 ft 55lbs 2 $1,550
Sevylor Rio 9.9 ft 35lbs 1 $380

How Does Length Impact Other Aspects of a Canoe?

While choosing a canoe, the length is undeniably an essential aspect to evaluate. However, length is not the only aspect you need to look out for. 

The weight capacity, as well as the carrying capacity, are other crucial aspects. Do not forget to check the price as well. 

You may consider these things to be separate from the length. However, length does figure into the three aspects mentioned above. 

Often, when the length of the canoe increases, so does the carrying capacity. The same mostly applies to the price and weight capacity as well.

Carrying Capacity

Carrying capacity indicates the number of persons that can sit in a canoe. Generally, canoes indicate this through their number of seats. Some canoes, however, have some space at the center that could be used as a seat. 

Canoes, on average, can carry up to 3 people. Two seats are allocated, and there is a space for the third person in the center.   

The longer your canoe is, the more people you can take along for your ultimate canoeing adventure!

If you prefer taking your entire posse with you, go for a canoe with a longer length.  

You also need to pay attention to whether you are bringing all adults or a child with you. It is because some canoes do have the carrying capacity for three people. However, weight capacity may not be enough. 

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity refers to how much capacity a canoe can withstand. Short canoes come with a lower weight capacity. It is because they cannot carry many people along with the gear.  

Some longer canoes may be unable to carry more equipment. They can, however, carry more people.

Long canoes are perfect for big groups and families!

You need to consider that even though the carrying capacity may be right for you, the weight capacity may not. Make sure to check this aspect especially, when all of you are tall and carry extra gear. 

How to Calculate the Weight Capacity with Length and Width 

If you do not know the amount of weight your canoe can carry, do not worry. You can easily calculate it.

You require only two elements to calculate your canoe’s weight capacity: length and width.

Canoes generally come in the following widths:  


The narrow width comes in 33 inches or lower. This width is the best for efficient paddling and speed. Initially, the stability is lower.


The medium width is generally 34 to 37 inches. It offers a perfect blend of capacity, stability, and speed. They are not very stable, and this can sometimes affect their speed.


The wide width ones are above 38 inches. They have amazing stability. It is, however, difficult to reach the waters. They have an impact on speed. Moreover, it is harder to paddle alone.


Now that you are familiar with the different lengths and widths of a canoe, you can apply the below formula to find out the carrying capacity. 

The formula is length x width / 15. 

Once you get this capacity, you can multiply it by 150. It is the average weight of a person. You will then get a rough estimate of the weight capacity of your canoe.

For instance, let’s say that your canoe is 16.5 feet in length with a width of 2.9 feet (35 inches). You can now apply the above formula and find out the carrying capacity first.

Make sure to convert your canoe’s width into feet for an easier calculation.

Now, put your math cap on and calculate!

Remember the formula is length x width / 15

So, multiply 16.5 x 2.9 and then divide it by 15. You will get an answer of 3.2. It is the carrying capacity of your canoe.

Now, moving on to the width capacity: 3.2 x 150. You will get the answer as 480.

So, the weight capacity of your canoe is 480 pounds!

In this way, you can easily calculate the weight capacity of your canoe. Make sure to check it before you climb aboard.


Similar to the other aspects, the price of a canoe may increase along with its length. 

More materials are required to make longer canoes. Additionally, they can carry more. So, they must be able to endure the extra weight. For this reason, they get pricier.

Longer canoes bring more to the picture than smaller ones. They generally range about $800 and above. You will find smaller canoes at relatively lower prices.

Smaller canoes do not always mean lesser prices. Canoes of high quality can be $1,000 and more, even if they are shorter. 

Other factors that influence the price of canoes include material, control-ability, appearance, speed, and stability. 

Final Thoughts

Canoe rides can give you an adventure streak or a relaxing family time. It is up to you which one you prefer. It is, however, essential to choose a canoe of the right length according to your purpose. 

You now know all about the different canoe lengths available in the market and their benefits. Our list of 21 examples of various canoe lengths can also help you make an informed decision. 

Go ahead and choose the canoe that is just right for you and your activities. Happy canoeing!

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