Canoeing VS Kayaking: What’s the Difference? | Canoe Safaris

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Posted by Phillip Collins on May 20, 2022

 

Canoeing VS Kayaking: What’s the Difference?

 

Despite the fact that many use the two words interchangeably, there are actually clear differences between a kayak and a canoe. The boats are different. The gear is different. The way they are used is different. But few know what those differences actually are. Our aim is to explore these differences in detail and explain why a canoe is a perfect vessel for exploring New Zealand’s waterways.

 

 

Difference in Design

 

Canoes tend to be much heavier than kayaks, with a wide frame and an open-top design akin to a rowboat. The spacious design allows for multiple passengers to sit on bench seats and can hold a lot of additional gear. They are considered Expedition craft, more suited to longer journeys. 

 

Kayaks are smaller, nimble boats designed for speed and maneuverability. Typically, but not always, they have a closed-top design, meaning the paddler sits inside the boat with the kayak covering their legs.

 

 

Row Row Row Your Boat

 

Since canoes tend to be a lot heavier than kayaks; paddling them requires a good deal more effort. In fact, paddling a canoe will more often than not require two people since the boat is larger and the paddles are shorter and have only a single blade.  More effort does not mean more hard work though, as using good Canoe paddle techniques, and teamwork makes them a really enjoyable -and responsive – watercraft. 

 

Paddling a kayak, on the other hand, is far more straightforward. The paddles have two blades, one on each end, and since kayaks aren’t typically as wide or as heavy – meaning less cargo - a single person can easily operate a kayak, and this makes it instinctively easier for a novice, or solo paddler. 

 

 

Don’t Rock the Boat

 

A canoe’s wider hull allows for greater stability on the water, ensuring that even the most inexperienced paddlers can stay dry. This security does come at the cost of some short-term maneuverability and acceleration, so don’t expect to be setting record times through the rapids anytime soon in a canoe however, over longer distances they become invaluable.

 

Kayaks are far smaller and lighter, making them easier to maneuver and quicker over short distances. This greater maneuverability comes at the cost of less stability and higher chances of taking an unwanted dip in the river. The initial learning curve for using a kayak is much simpler than a canoe, and you can get away with less technique.

 

 

Canoes and Kayaks – What are they Good for?

 

Both kayaks and canoes can be used for a wide range of activities — but each does carry certain benefits. It can be helpful to think of a kayak as a sports car and a canoe as the minivan of the paddling world. Kayaks are better suited to big rapids or ocean and estuary trips, Whereas canoes are better suited for those looking for longer expedition style trips over multiple days, down a winding river with the family.

 

Experience New Zealand Like Never Before

 

Now that you know how to tell the difference between a kayak and a canoe, you will also be able to choose the best boat for your next adventure. Why not make that next adventure a trip down the Whanganui River? At Canoe Safaris, we do offer Whanganui canoe hire to some groups who present as suitable and capable, however we focus on our all-inclusive guided tours on either the Whanganui River or the Rangitikei River– just bring your sleeping bag and personal items, we do the rest.  Come and experience New Zealand like never before with Canoe Safaris New Zealand!