Comparing Canoes and Kayaks for Overnight Camping Trips

Is a canoe or a kayak best for an overnight canoe camping trip?  Here’s a summary of the differences.  Not sure which to pick?  We’d almost always recommend a kayak, because they’re easier to paddle,  lighter, and less subject to wind.  The main advantage of a canoe is the extra storage space.

Have a look at the table to compare the differences.

(And of course, we're talking about the kayaks we have available for hire, and suitable to conditions in our area)

Canoe Kayak
AppearanceLarge and open with high sidesWide, partially-covered deck and large open cockpit Our double kayaks have a single cockpit with open space between paddlers
Number of paddlers2 people (We don’t supply single canoes. 1 person on their own may find a double canoe difficult to manage.)Singles and doubles are available. A double could be paddled by one person only.
PaddlesDesigned for single-bladed paddles – each person paddling on one side (opposite to the other paddler) and regularly swapping sides. Good co-ordination between the 2 paddlers is needed.Uses double-bladed paddles (easier for newbies)
SteeringTwo paddlers coordinate for steering. The back paddler can also use their paddle as a rudder for steering.Back person most responsible for steering (half of our touring kayaks also come with rudders).
How gear fitsLarge storage section in the middle for gear. Neatly fits 2 60L barrels for dry storage, with room to spare. (barrels can be hired)Gear needs to be packed in a number of small/medium waterproof bags to fit in the storage compartments (waterproof bags can be hired). Light, bulky items can be strapped to the deck. Double touring kayaks have space for one or two large items between paddlers e.g. a medium sized esky.
How much fitsSuitable for bulkier camping gear. Has more storage capacity than a double kayakEnough storage for "light camping" gear, e.g. Tent, bedding, clothes, food, cooking/eating gear, small personal items
SeatsRelatively high seats for hip/leg comfort. Low backrests. Still stableSet low for added stability. Paddlers legs extend forward with a slight bend at the knees. Higher backrests.
Wind – how do they handle.May require more coordination between front and back paddlers in windy conditions due to having higher sidesLower sides means they are less subject to the wind than canoes. Rudder assists with keeping on track, in windy conditions.
Spray decks/spray skirtsnoneAvailable for hire with single touring kayaks
Other FeaturesCan be paddled by one adult if needed, e.g if there is a child or non-paddler in the front. Significantly lighter and less bulky than canoes (Some trails may require you to carry kayak and gear around an obstacle in the creek) Some of our kayaks have rudders. All track well – hold their direction.
Words of CautionBest suited for paddlers with previous canoeing experience

To view photos of kayaks and canoes which are available for hire, and suitable for overnight canoe/kayak camping please visit  "Craft Available":

For Canoes look at the Wobbegong.

For kayaks, look at the Tsunami 125, Dash, Tsunami 145 and Acadia 2.

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