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Canoeing is a popular outdoor activity that provides a unique way to explore lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Whether you’re an experienced paddler or a beginner, having the right equipment is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.
One of the most important pieces of equipment for canoeing is the canoe itself, but how much is a canoe?
We’ll explore the different factors that can affect the cost of a canoe, and provide some tips for finding a canoe that fits your needs and budget.
So, how much do canoes cost?
A basic recreational canoe will probably set you back in the region of $1,000 to $1,500. Expect to pay at least $2,000 to $3,000 for a higher quality or higher performance canoe.
Can Materials Affect The Price Of A Canoe?
How much a canoe will cost will usually depend on what it is made out of and the type of construction that was used in the manufacturing process.
The brand of canoe will also generally affect how much it will cost.
Video: Canoe Materials Explained
A plastic canoe will tend to be on the lower end of the price scale. These canoes are often rotomolded polyethylene or thermoformed canoes that are designed to be durable and cost-efficient.
These types of canoes tend to be mass produced, which helps to keep the overall costs down.
However, not all plastic polyethylene canoes are cheap. Some can be pretty expensive, depending on the design features and the extra laminate coatings that have been added to improve performance.
Generally, a new plastic canoe can cost from around $800 to over $2,000 depending on the size of the canoe and the brand.
Wooden canoes are among the most expensive canoes sold. This is because most of them tend to be handmade by skilled craftsmen. So, as well as getting a high quality boat, you are also getting a work of art that can last a lifetime or several generations.
It is not uncommon to see canoes that have been made out of wood by DIYers. These are often the results of years-long projects by their creators.
A wooden canoe can take a long time to make, which helps to explain why they are more expensive. The materials are also generally more expensive. Materials such as cedar and birch bark are usually used in the construction of wooden canoes.
Wood canoes tend to start at over $3,000 and can reach six figures, just like Trent Preszler’s expensive canoes.
Aluminum canoes are durable canoes that are built to last. They tend to be around the mid-range price point compared to other canoes.
Aluminum canoes are made using a manufacturing process that involves stretching aluminum alloy sheets over a mold that creates the desired shape. These canoes are often made by hand, which can make them more expensive to make than cheaper plastic boats.
How much does an aluminum canoe cost? They will tend to start at around $1,500 and go up to around $4,000.
Aluminum canoes are often seen as an investment piece because of their longevity, so they will often be passed down from one generation to the next, or sold on.
Inflatable canoes can be found at the cheaper end of the price scale compared to most other canoes. These are often built for convenience due to their ease of transportation and storage.
Inflatable canoe prices vary quite widely because of the materials used by the various canoe manufacturers. The type of construction can also affect the cost.
Many inflatable canoes are made with PVC, nylon, or rubber. Some will have more layers in the material than others, with the cheaper ones generally having thinner single-layer fabric.
The more expensive inflatable boats will tend to have thicker, more durable fabric, with added coatings for abrasion resistance and UV-protection.
Some will also feature drop-stitch technology that helps to provide rigidity for improved performance. Drop-stitch canoes will generally be more expensive than standard inflatable ones.
How much does an inflatable canoe cost? Generally from around $300 to over $2,000 depending on the brand and materials.
Folding canoes can often be a lot less expensive than you think, especially when you factor in the added benefit of convenient storage and transportation. However, they may not last as long as other plastic canoes or canoes made with more durable materials.
The MyCanoe Origami folding canoe comes in both solo and tandem options. These lightweight canoes are made from polypropylene with a UV treatment for added protection from the sun. They are rated for up to 20,000 fold cycles.
An origami folding canoe can be found for around $499 but these canoes vary in price by brand.
For example, an average Ally Canoe from Bergens of Norway retails at around $2,000. Other brands of folding canoes, such as York Canoe can retail at over $7,000 for a brand new canoe.
Composite canoes are usually closer to the top end of the price scale. But because composite crafts vary quite widely in materials, this can also have an effect on the cost.
Not all composite boats are made out of the same materials. The term is used to describe canoes that are made using a variety of woven fabrics that are molded with resins. The resulting materials are usually designed for performance and to reduce the overall weight of the canoe.
Kevlar canoes, Royalex canoes, carbon fiber or fiberglass canoes, and others, like TuffStuff or Tuf-Weave, are all composites.
Composite canoes generally start at roughly $2,500 up to around $6,000 or more.
What About Canoe Brands And Price?
Just like with most products, brand names can have an effect on the cost of a canoe. And just like with everything else, there are cheaper brands and more expensive brands.
You may find that similar materials are used across brands. But the way in which the canoe is manufactured and where will generally be reflected in the cost.
For example, canoes that are made in the United States or Canada will tend to be more expensive than canoes that are made in China. This is usually because of the higher labor costs in North America compared to China and most other Asian countries.
Nova Craft Canoes
Nova Craft Canoes are made in Canada. The range of canoes includes plastic and composite canoes.
There are several models available, with designs suited to whitewater, expeditions, and recreational paddling.
The Nova Craft Prospector 15 is a stable, maneuverable tripping canoe that comes in a choice of materials. The TuffStuff version retails at $3,389. The Blue Steel Carbon version comes in at $4,419.
The Nova Craft Trapper 12 is a solo canoe that also comes in a choice of construction, with the 30-pound Aramid Lite version retailing at $3,249.
Wenonah canoes are made in the USA, with the workshop on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. The range includes various models for solo paddling and tandem paddling, including racing canoes and canoes that can handle whitewater.
Wenonah canoes can be made from polyethylene, like the Southfork, a durable, stable canoe with prices from $1,399.
Wenonah also features several composite canoes, with materials including Aramid (the material used in bulletproof vests), graphite, and Tuf-Weave fiberglass. The Graphite Ultra-Light Minnesota II starts at $4,379.
Grumman canoes are aluminum canoes. Grumman started making aluminum canoes shortly after World War II when the need for fighter planes dropped.
The company focused their efforts on making strong and durable recreational canoes using the same lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum they had used on the planes.
These tough aluminum canoes cost between $1,800 and $3,500 depending on the size and style.
A great feature of these canoes is that they are suitable for outdoor storage, unlike some other materials of canoes.
A Grumman canoe is a long lasting canoe that requires very little maintenance and is not susceptible to heat damage or UV damage, so it won’t warp in the same way that a plastic or fiberglass canoe might.
Souris River Canoes
Souris River Canoes are Canadian-made canoes that claim to be the best composite canoes on the market. Most of the Souris River canoes are made for wilderness tripping and are constructed using Kevlar and epoxy resin for toughness and strength.
A feature of this brand is the flexible rib system. This level of flexibility in the hull allows for added durability on rivers in the event of hitting a submerged rock or log.
The Souris River Prospector is a Kevlar canoe that comes in two sizes: 16 and 17.5 feet. The Prospector 16 retails at $3,095.
The larger Quetico 18.5 is a family tripping canoe that is designed to be lightweight and easy to paddle, weighing just 49-pounds. This Kevlar model retails at $3,295.
Esquif Canoes is one of several canoe brands based in Canada. The brand is known for its whitewater canoes but also manufactures touring canoes for long trips, as well as hunting and fishing canoes.
Esquif used to manufacture Royalex canoes but after the material was discontinued, the brand created their own T-Formex material to offer similar levels of durability.
Esquif canoes are not as lightweight as some of the fiberglass composites out there but these canoes are much tougher.
The Vertige Adventure is a solo canoe that is designed for whitewater and camping, with the ability to handle day trips and overnight trips in the wilderness. This is Esquif’s first solo model and a brand new canoe will cost from $2,329.
Old Town Canoes
Old Town Canoes are probably one of the best known canoe brands. These canoes are made out of three-layer polyethylene and are incredibly durable, making them ideal boats for beginners and recreational paddlers.
The range includes recreational canoes, solo canoes, fishing canoes, and tandem or multi-person canoes.
Old Town canoes are affordable canoes with prices starting at just $900 for the Old Town Saranac 146.
A good canoe for fishing is the Old Town Next. This is a 13-foot solo canoe that combines the best features of a kayak with the practical features of a canoe. Built for comfort, with a padded kayak seat for a solo paddler, the Old Town Next retails at $1,400.
The most expensive canoe from Old Town is the Old Town Discovery Sport 15 with a price tag of $2,200.
Mad River Canoes
Mad River Canoes are part of the Confluence Outdoor family of brands that includes Wilderness Systems, Dagger, and Perception. This is an American canoe brand that introduced the world to the first Kevlar canoe in 1973.
The brand is also known for making the whitewater canoe for the 1996 Olympics team.
Mad River Canoes are affordable boats with prices ranging from $899 for the budget-friendly polyethylene Adventure 14 to $2,299 for the T-Formex Explorer 16.
There is a large range of canoes for various activities, including higher performance canoes, such as the Journey 156 tandem canoe, with a shallow arch hull for improved tracking, glide, and maneuverability.
This Journey canoe’s price is $1,199 and can be a good tripping boat with a carrying capacity of 1,100 pounds. It also has carrying handles to make portaging easier.
Sun Dolphin Canoes
Sun Dolphin Canoes are budget boats that are aimed at beginners and families looking for a durable, stable recreational canoe. Sun Dolphin is an American brand with canoes designed, molded, and assembled in the USA.
The Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS is the company’s best selling canoe for fishing and weekend trips. It is made out of high-density polyethylene and has a square back to give you the option of adding a trolling motor (not included).
This is a family-friendly canoe with three molded bench seats for up to three people, with cup holders plus a handy storage compartment.
The Mackinaw SS retails at just $599 so it can be a great canoe for beginners. But it is a pretty heavy canoe.
Style Of Canoe Or Intended Activity Can Affect Canoe Prices
Another factor that can influence the price of a canoe is what the canoe is primarily designed for. For example, some high end canoes don’t just have high end materials, they are also built to offer higher performance than the average canoes.
Higher performance usually means higher prices, as is the case with most other consumer goods.
Canoes hulls that are built for speed and glide will generally cost more than your average recreational canoe. This is probably because more effort has gone into the design and engineering to create a faster, more efficient canoe with improved hydrodynamics and aerodynamics.
Most of the higher performance canoes feature newer technology and state-of-the-art materials, which can help to justify the high prices.
Longer canoes can also generally cost more than shorter ones because they usually have a higher capacity and can often carry up to four people.
You may also find canoes that are built for fishing may have additional features, such as more comfortable seats or fishing rod holders. This can sometimes increase the price of a canoe.
Used Vs New Canoes
There are many retailers and outfitters that may offer both new and used canoes. A used canoe is often much cheaper than buying a brand new one. And it can sometimes give you the chance to own a better quality canoe than buying a new budget canoe in the same price range.
Many used canoes can be found for half the price of their new equivalents, which can be a decent saving. Just be sure to check for any damage before you settle on buying a used canoe.
Hopefully you have a better idea of how much a canoe costs. Remember, there are various factors that can affect the cost of a canoe. These include the size of the canoe, how it’s made and where, and the type of canoe that it is.
If there’s a canoe out there that you really want, keep in mind that you could always look for a second hand canoe if you want to keep your costs down without compromising on quality or design.
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