Maximizing your canoeing enjoyment
While paddling is always enjoyable, you can gain much greater satisfaction if you have a canoe that is well suited to your usage, to your size, and to your talents. What follows is a method to identify a model that harmonizes with who you are and how you like to paddle. The information in this section is subdivided as follows:
Page #1 - Maximizing your canoeing enjoyment (you are here)
Page #2 - The importance of narrowing the field
Page #3 - Performance of the five types of Versatile Canoes
Page #4 - Conclusion: putting the theory into practice
Specialty Canoes - Occasionally, one of these is the ideal choice.
If you love canoeing and wish to own the best canoe, you face quite a daunting task. First you must decide what best means, and then find a hull that delivers it. The definition of "best" is very personal. Said simply, your ideal canoe is the one that works best in the way(s) you need most.
A good canoe can have many virtues, or performance aspects, but not all in the highest measure. You often must forego some things to gain others.
The main aspects of performance are:
To learn which canoe is best for you, you must first rank their importance before you begin to look at canoes.
And when you do look you will find, if your search is even slightly thorough, more canoes than you ever imagined. We alone make over 30 designs, and there are hundreds counting each model from every builder. Yet you need to pick one canoe and without spending half a lifetime doing it.
Occasionally this is easy. A few canoes are so specific that if one of these is ideal, that fact is obvious. We call these "Specialty Canoes," and a few types are noted in a sidebar later. However, few people need a specialty canoe; most need a general-purpose one, and it is here that the choice is vast.
Luckily, general-purpose canoes fall into categories. The distinctions aren't always strict, but the categories are valid and will help you find your canoe. The process is to narrow the field by first comparing categories, and only then comparing canoes.
Finding the right category will eliminate canoes that won't serve you well -- and lets you concentrate on a few models that are close matches to your needs.
We identify several categories of our canoes to help explain them. A few other makers do this but, if not, you can usually tell what category a canoe is in by its size and shape.
So, let's explore categories. We've noted tandem hulls only. The same concepts apply to solo canoes also, but they are generally smaller.