Canoeing or kayaking – which is best?

Torn between these two paddling classics? Here’s the OAG breakdown that answers the question, canoeing or kayaking?

Ease of use

Kayaks: Nice and enclosed, a blade at both ends of your paddle, tendencies to head off in random directions curbed by simple drop-down skegs on modern boats.

Canoes: Potentially tippy, a single paddle that sends you round in circles and surprisingly heavy to get off the roof rack. Best used two-up.

Canoeing or kayaking


Kayaks: Easier to hunt from than a canoe, and rough water is their friend, blue water expeditions encouraged, but just as happy drifting down the local river.

Canoes: Very versatile! Easy to load, seen all over the world since 10,000BC in hollowed log version, possible to fit a family inside, perfect for river exploration.


Kayaks: White water is what they’re born for, tricks and rolling. Sea kayaks can circumnavigate continents (if you’ve got the time).

Canoes: Whitewater is possible but needs specialist kit and huge amounts of technique. Multi-day lake and river exploration is very easy.



The kayak pulls clear with a resounding display of all-roundedness during a day’s paddling!

Or, you could give Stand up paddling a go – either way – there’s nothing quite like messing about on the river, is there?