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Are you on Team Kayak or Team Canoe?

With the weather warming up, my head is certainly drifting off to plans on the water.

Years ago while sharing a canoe on Lake Chickamauga, I found myself in a spirited debate about which watercraft “team” I was on. Ease of portaging and room for long legs came up as canoe perks, while more efficient paddling and the fun of whitewater gained points for kayaks.

So many of y’all have shared amazing stories about time on the water, including @Rivergal's Mississippi River solo-paddle and @Philreedshikes's recent Everglades trip

So if you could only use either a kayak or a canoe for the rest of your life, which would it be? Why?



At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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21 Replies

@GregA - My bad! Took her out on her maiden voyage yesterday, too.

It's an AdvancedFrame Convertible from Advanced Elements. The fact that I can configure it for either solo or tandem use is what sold me on it. Plus, as an inflatable, storage and transportation was no longer a factor.

And here's my evidence and request to be forgiven the fine LOL


“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

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I'm stuck on my Sevylor Tahiti Kayak, inflatable, which sure looks like a canoe to me. Acts like one too, even with the keel attached. 3rd one.

Moss Landing - Elkhorn Slough and McCovey Cove are examples of seafaring trips, Mono Lake and plenty more freshwater lakes, including an overnight on Lake Mead. I've been down the Owens River near Bishop - easy 2.

Fits small in the truck, and I have carried it and all gear half mile in a duffel for less crowded fun. I like Easy! 

Kayak, though not adverse to canoe. I started my river adventures late in life in canoes when my son was in a scout troop and the troop lost its pretty lucrative fund raiser. We took them from a car camping troop to a "high adventure" troop mainly because we could borrow canoes. I still own a Old Town Discovery 169 and a 1971 Grumman 17' that I picked up along the way. We were on a 5 day trip and a buddy of mine was paddling a Old Town Castine. He was moving pretty well with not that much effort and I said "self, that looks like more fun". Learned a little about kayaks, and that at my (then) size, if I wanted to pack enough gear to go 5 days, with extra because.... scouts... then I wasnt buying at Richards ladies clothing emporium. I saw an ad for a bunch of well used livery kayaks that came off of the Potomac. One of them was a Sea Lion (Aquaterra) that had a 400lb load and some Carolina (Perception) boats. They were a bit beat, but the price was right. I got the Sea Lion for me and a Carolina for my son. Replaced seat backs, rigging, re sealed bulkheads, made a rudder for the Sea lion because most of the parts were there. I really like the glide I can get in a 17 1/2 foot kayak. One really nice thing over the canoe with the scouts was it was a lot easier to go upriver to collect stragglers.

Moving it around isnt a real problem. Might change in 15 years or so but I am still not the smallest bear in the forest (although I can lose muscle a lot faster than fat, WTH 😐 ) and loading it to the top of the F250, even with camping gear, still isnt a problem. If I go where I need to portage, I will figure it out.

All things backpacking translated directly to the kayak so it was easy to pack, even though I lost all of the barge room of the canoe and I Eskimo roll both equally well.

Absolutely team kayak!  Portability and maneuverability are the main reasons. I do many solo paddles, even with groups, and as a female, a kayak is the best option. 

@REI-CarterC -fellow local I see!  So many options!  ♥️♥️♥️ Chattanooga REI




As much as I love canoes kayaks for me living in Coastal Florida are more versatile. I can go island  camping with ease, even when it’s rough.  My friend Christina and I did the entire Sante Fe River near Gainesville last summer on Kayaks. Glorious 4 days and 3 nights on this beautiful spring fed river. 



Wow, look at how clear that water is! Thanks for sharing!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Just a question from the first pic....

Did you leave anything at home??? 🤔😁


I would take the Kayak. I'm not very skilled with ether one, but I find the Kayak much easier to handle.


What a fun topic! I would totally opt for a kayak - even if it's a two-person version! I find that they are much more adaptable to various situations, and I love the speed and control that you can easily get when paddling in a kayak. Oh, and there are those thing called rapids.... 😁

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A good sea kayak is hard to beat for salt water adventures. I have two that I made from plans. They are the only ones I have ever owned: 17 ft Chesapeake LTs with retractable skegs. We spent many summers exploring the Gulf of St Lawrence and also off the northern tip of Newfoundland in them. The Killarney area of Lake Huron was also fun in a Kayak. Lake Superior too. They were magic: we could fit two weeks worth of camping stuff and food in their hatches and disappear. With a neoprene skirt you could navigate the waves and swells with confidence.

But my legs don't take kindly to the inactivity of long crossings.

I also made a strip canoe from a table of offsets in a book: a 16 ft "Prospector." We took that on many Canadian Shield trips. The week after ice-out was my favorite time to go. If your timing was right, you could avoid the black flies. I loved those lonesome, wool-clad pilgrimages.

I'm neither-and-both, I guess. Two different tools for different jobs.

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.