Best Solo Canoe: Top Picks for Your Next Adventure





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For those who love to paddle on their own, solo canoes are an excellent choice. These canoes are designed specifically for one person, allowing for greater maneuverability and control on the water.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the lake or an adventure down a river, a solo canoe can provide an enjoyable experience.

When it comes to choosing the best solo canoe, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll want to think about the type of paddling you’ll be doing.

Different canoes are designed for different types of water, so it’s important to choose one that suits your needs.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider the size and weight of the canoe, as well as any gear you’ll be carrying with you.

With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right solo canoe. That’s why it’s important to do your research and read a canoe buying guide to help you make an informed decision.

Some of the top canoe brands and manufacturers offer a variety of solo canoes, including used canoes for those on a budget.

By considering the specifications and features of each canoe, you can find the perfect one for your paddling adventures.

Types of Solo Canoes

Symmetrical Canoes

Symmetrical solo canoes are designed to have the same shape and size at both ends of the boat.

This means that the canoe can be paddled in either direction, making it a versatile option for solo paddlers.

They are typically more stable than asymmetrical canoes due to their wider beam, making them a great option for beginners or those who prioritize stability over speed.

One downside of symmetrical canoes is that they tend to have less maneuverability than asymmetrical canoes.

This is because they have less rocker, or curvature, in their hulls. However, some symmetrical canoes have added rocker to improve their maneuverability.

Asymmetrical Canoes

Asymmetrical solo canoes are designed to have different shapes and sizes at each end of the boat.

This means that they are meant to be paddled in one direction only, with the narrower end at the front.

Asymmetrical canoes are typically faster and more maneuverable than symmetrical canoes due to their longer waterline and greater rocker.

However, asymmetrical canoes can be less stable than symmetrical canoes due to their narrower beam.

This can make them more challenging for beginners or those who prioritize stability over speed. Some asymmetrical canoes have added width to improve their stability.

When choosing between symmetrical and asymmetrical solo canoes, it is important to consider your priorities and preferences.

If stability is your top priority, a symmetrical canoe may be the best option for you. If speed and maneuverability are more important, an asymmetrical canoe may be the way to go.

Check out our other article: Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Canoes: Which is the Better Choice?

Features to Consider When Choosing a Solo Canoe

When choosing a solo canoe, there are several features to consider to ensure that you get the best one for your needs. Here are some of the most important features to keep in mind:

Length and Width

The length and width of a solo canoe can greatly affect its performance on the water. Longer canoes tend to track straighter and faster, while shorter canoes are more maneuverable.

Narrower canoes are faster and easier to paddle, while wider canoes offer more stability.

Consider the type of water you will be paddling on and your level of experience when choosing the length and width of your canoe.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of a solo canoe is an important factor to consider, especially if you plan on carrying gear with you.

Make sure to choose a canoe with a weight capacity that can accommodate your body weight and any gear you plan on bringing with you.

Storage Capacity

The storage capacity of a solo canoe is also important if you plan on carrying gear with you.

Look for canoes with ample storage space, such as built-in compartments or bungee cords to secure gear to the canoe.

Seat and Paddle Position

The seat and paddle position can greatly affect your comfort and performance when paddling a solo canoe. Look for canoes with adjustable seats and footrests to ensure a comfortable fit.

Additionally, consider the placement of the seat and paddle in relation to the center of the canoe, as this can affect the canoe’s balance and maneuverability.

Rocker and Tracking

The rocker and tracking of a solo canoe can greatly affect its maneuverability and stability. Canoes with more rocker are easier to turn, while canoes with less rocker track straighter.

Consider the type of water you will be paddling on and your level of experience when choosing the rocker and tracking of your canoe.

Material and Weight

The material and weight of a solo canoe can greatly affect its durability and ease of transport.

Kevlar canoes are lightweight and durable, while aluminum canoes are heavier but more affordable.

Consider the type of paddling you will be doing and how often you will need to transport your canoe when choosing the material and weight of your canoe.

Best Solo Canoes on the Market

Top Picks for Budget Buyers

For those looking for a solo canoe on a budget, the Old Town Discovery 119 is a great option.

It is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and has a comfortable seat. Another good option is the Pelican Solo, which is also affordable and has a stable design.

Top Picks for Touring and Day Trips

The Wenonah Prism is a popular choice for solo touring and day trips. It is lightweight, fast, and tracks well.

The Nova Craft Fox 14 is another great option, with a comfortable seat and excellent stability.

Top Picks for Fishing and Hunting

The Old Town Pack Angler is a versatile solo canoe that is great for fishing and hunting. It has a lightweight design and plenty of storage space.

The Wenonah Wilderness is another good option, with a stable design and comfortable seat.

Top Picks for Whitewater

For those looking for a solo canoe for whitewater, the Dagger Encore is a popular choice. It has a responsive design and is easy to maneuver in rapids.

The Esquif Prelude is another great option, with a stable design and excellent performance in whitewater.

Tandem Canoes vs. Solo Canoes

Choosing between a tandem canoe and a solo canoe can be a difficult decision for any canoeist.

Both types of canoes have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on the individual’s needs and preferences.

Tandem canoes are designed for two people, with one person sitting in the bow seat and the other in the stern seat.

They are typically larger and heavier than solo canoes, making them more stable and easier to paddle in rough water.

Tandem canoes are also great for family outings, as they offer plenty of space for gear and can accommodate children or pets.

On the other hand, solo canoes are designed for one person and are generally smaller and lighter than tandem canoes.

They offer greater maneuverability and are easier to transport and store.

Solo canoes are ideal for solo paddlers who want to explore small lakes and rivers, or for those who want a more challenging paddling experience.

When it comes to speed, solo canoes are generally faster than tandem canoes, as they are designed to be paddled by one person.

However, tandem canoes can be faster if both paddlers are experienced and work together efficiently.

Overall, the choice between a tandem canoe and a solo canoe depends on the individual’s needs and preferences.

Those who enjoy paddling with a partner or want to bring along extra gear may prefer a tandem canoe, while solo paddlers or those who want a more challenging paddling experience may prefer a solo canoe.

Portaging and Gear for Solo Canoeing

Portaging is an essential skill for any solo canoeist. It involves carrying your canoe and gear over land to get from one body of water to another.

Portaging can be challenging, but with the right gear and technique, it can be made much easier.

Check out: Best Canoe for Portaging: A Comprehensive Guide

The first thing to consider when portaging is your gear. You’ll need a good portage pack to carry your equipment.

A portage pack is a backpack-style bag that is specifically designed for carrying gear while portaging. Look for a pack that is durable, waterproof, and has comfortable straps.

In addition to your portage pack, you’ll also need a good canoe cart. A canoe cart is a small wheeled device that you can use to transport your canoe over land.

Look for a cart that is lightweight, durable, and easy to use. Make sure it can handle the weight of your canoe and gear.

When it comes to actually portaging, there are a few techniques you can use to make it easier. The first is to use a yoke pad.

A yoke pad is a cushioned pad that you can attach to the yoke of your canoe to make it more comfortable to carry.

Make sure the pad is securely attached and positioned correctly to distribute the weight of the canoe evenly.

Another technique is to use a rope to help carry the canoe. Tie a rope to the bow and stern of your canoe, and then loop the rope over your shoulders.

This will help distribute the weight of the canoe more evenly and make it easier to carry.

Finally, make sure you take breaks when you need them. Portaging can be tiring, so it’s important to rest when you need to.

Drink plenty of water and take breaks to stretch your legs and back.


After exploring the world of solo canoes, it’s clear that the Old Town Discovery 119 is a top contender for the best solo canoe.

Its lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver and transport, while still maintaining stability and durability on the water.

For those who enjoy exploring new waterways and want a reliable canoe that won’t weigh them down, the Old Town Discovery 119 is a great choice.

Its compact size allows for easy storage and portability, making it perfect for weekend getaways or longer expeditions.

While there are certainly other great solo canoes on the market, the Old Town Discovery 119 stands out for its balance of weight, stability, and performance.

Whether you’re a seasoned canoeist or just starting out, this canoe is sure to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience on the water.

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