Are Kayaks Faster Than Canoes (All You Need To Know) – CampingWorld

Are kayaks faster than canoes? This question has been debated for years among paddlers, with no clear consensus.

In general, kayaks are faster than canoes because they are more streamlined in the water and have less drag. However, there are many factors that can affect the speed of a kayak or canoe, such as the type of boat, the weight of the paddler, and the paddling conditions.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and find out which type of boat is faster: kayaks or canoes?

Difference Between A Kayak And A Canoe

First, look at the design of kayaks and canoes.

Kayaks are long and narrow boats, designed to be paddled from a seated position. They are typically made of lightweight materials like fibreglass or plastic.

Canoes are also long and narrow, but they are designed to be paddled from a kneeling or standing position. They are usually made of heavier materials like wood or aluminium.

Second, look at how kayaks and canoes are used.

Kayaks are designed for use in rivers and lakes, where the paddler needs to navigate around obstacles. Canoes are designed for use in flat water areas, like ponds and calm rivers.

Third, is the price of kayaks and canoes.

Kayaks can be expensive, but they are also very durable and easy to transport. Canoes are less expensive, but they are not as durable and can be difficult to transport.

Fourth, paddling of kayaks and canoes.

Kayaks are easier to paddle because they are designed for seated paddlers. Canoes are more difficult to paddle because they are designed for kneeling or standing paddlers.

Are Kayaks Faster Than Canoes 

The great debate between kayakers and canoeists has raged on for years. Some argue that kayaks are faster because they are more streamlined and easier to paddle. Others claim that canoes are faster because they are lighter and easier to manoeuvre. So, which is actually faster?

The answer may surprise you. According to a study conducted by scientists at the University of California, kayaks are indeed faster than canoes. The study found that kayaks were able to travel at an average speed of 5.8 miles per hour, while canoes averaged a speed of just 4.6 miles per hour.

Reasons Why Kayaks Are More Faster Than Canoes

There are several reasons why kayaks are faster than a canoe. Some of them are:

1. Shape: Kayaks have a more streamlined and hydrodynamic shape which makes them faster in the water. Moreover, the sleek and slim shape of a kayak helps it cut through the water more easily than a canoe.

2. Size: Kayaks are smaller and lighter than canoes, so they require less effort making them easier to paddle.

3. Stability: Kayaks are more stable than canoes, meaning they are less likely to tip over.

4. Paddling: Kayaks are designed to be paddled with a double-bladed paddle, which provides more power and efficiency than a single-bladed paddle used for canoeing.

5. Technique: Kayakers use a variety of techniques to increase their speed, such as using the wind to their advantage, using eddies to turn, and using waves to surf.

All of these factors contribute to why kayaks are generally faster than canoes.

How To Choose The Right Kayak 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a kayak:

1. Type Of Kayaking:

There are different types of kayaks designed for different activities, such as whitewater kayaking, fishing, or touring.

2. Your Budget:

Kayaks can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

3. Skill Level And Experience:

There are kayaks designed for beginners as well as experienced paddlers.

4. Size And Weight Capacity You Need:

Kayaks come in a variety of sizes and have different weight limits. Make sure to choose a kayak that is the right size for you and that can accommodate your weight.

5. Other Features:

Some kayaks come with features such as built-in storage, fishing rod holders, or spray skirts. decide what features are important to you and look for a kayak that has them.

How To Choose The Right Canoe

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a canoe:

1. The Type Of Water You’ll Be Paddling In:

If you’re mostly interested in calm waters, a recreational canoe would be a good choice. If you’re planning on doing some whitewater paddling or long-distance touring, a more specialized canoe designed for those activities would be a better choice.

2. The Type Of Activities You’ll Be Doing:

If you’re mostly interested in fishing or exploring calm waters, a stable and comfortable recreational canoe might be the best choice.

3. The Size And Weight Of The Canoe:

Be sure to choose a canoe that’s the right size and weight for your needs. A heavier and longer canoe will be more difficult to transport and manoeuvre but will offer more storage space and stability on the water. A lighter and shorter canoe will be easier to transport and manoeuvre, but won’t offer as much storage space or stability on the water.

Kayaks Vs. Canoes: The Pros and Cons

If you’re wondering whether a kayak or canoe is the better choice for your next water adventure, you’re not alone. Both have their pros and cons, and which one is right for you depends on what you’re looking for in a craft. Here’s a quick rundown of the kayak vs. canoe debate to help you decide which one is right for you.

Advantages of Kayaks:

  • Kayaks are faster than canoes.
  • Kayaks are more manoeuvrable than canoes.
  • Kayaks offer more protection from the elements than canoes.

Disadvantages Of Kayaks:

  • Kayaks can be more expensive than canoes.
  • Kayaks can be harder to transport than canoes.
  • Some people find kayaks less comfortable than canoes.

Advantages Of Canoes: 

  • Canoes are cheaper than kayaks.
  • Canoes are easier to transport than kayaks.
  • Some people find canoes more comfortable than kayaks.

Disadvantages Of Canoes:

  • Canoes are slower than kayaks.
  • Canoes are less manoeuvrable than kayaks.
  • Canoes offer less protection from the elements than kayaks.


So there you have it – the definitive answer to the age-old question are kayaks faster than canoes. If you’re looking to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, a kayak is definitely the way to go. Have safe kayaking!


Is a single or double kayak faster?

A single kayak is faster than a double kayak because a single kayak weighs less and is easier to manoeuvre and handle in the water. 

What is the best type of kayak for beginners?

The best type of kayak for beginners is a sit-on-top kayak because it is stable and easy to get in and out of. Sit-in kayaks are more difficult to get in and out of and are not as stable, so they are not recommended for beginners.

What tips easier a canoe or kayak?

Kayaks are easier to tip than a canoe because they are narrower and have less buoyancy.