Average Price of a Canoe (48 Prices of New & Used Canoes)

If you’re anything like us, you love the outdoors. Having a canoe on hand, whether it’s for a short or long trip, can definitely add to the adventure. If you’re ready to take the next step in purchasing a canoe a good place to start is knowing the average cost of buying a new or used one.

How to Choose an Axe [Type, Size, L...
How to Choose an Axe [Type, Size, Length, Weight]

On average, the cost of a good used canoe is $750, while a new one is twice that amount at $1,500. Prices do vary widely according to quality, materials, and condition. The average price of a new fiberglass canoe is $1250, a new kevlar canoe is $3000, and an aluminum canoe will cost about $2200.

For this article, we dug deep, sourcing out many new and used options in order to come up with an accurate average cost valuation.

In new canoes, the costs we’ve indicated come directly from the manufacturer’s advertised retail price.

In used canoes, we hit up every classified ad we could find.

Below you’ll find the results and a detailed cross-section of new and used canoe prices in both higher-end and thrifty options.

But first things first…

Table of Contents

New or Used?

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to purchase a canoe, the next decision will be whether it is new or used.  That’s a fairly big issue in and of itself. We’ve personally bought several canoes that were brand new, and several canoes that were used.

There are pros and cons to both which we cover in-depth HERE (What to Look for in a New Canoe) and HERE (What to Look for in a Used Canoe). 

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It goes without saying that you’ll need to be VERY careful if you choose a used canoe since there is more potential for problems including hairline cracks, deep scratches, worn Gelcoat, and more. 

Some problems you may be able to fix, but even if you can, is the lower price worth your many hours of time and energy to patch a hole or replace seats and yokes?

On the other hand, new canoes cost more, but they come with the assurance that the craft you are purchasing is free of defects and full of warranty.

While we can give you some basic idea of the cost, the truth is that prices for a canoe on Craigslist can be $600 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and the exact same canoe of an identical model, year, and even condition, can be $900 or more in Minneapolis or Chicago.  

What We Would Spend on a Used Canoe

Our rule of thumb when it comes to used canoes is to only purchase them in near-perfect condition, and because we want a decent lake tripping canoe, our average budget target is over $2000.

Prices definitely vary but they do rise as the quality of the canoe increases.  New canoes tend to have a more definite price given that canoe manufacturers will often set the suggested retail prices and most retailers don’t deviate higher for fear of missing peoples’ business, and they don’t go much lower since their margins are usually not very high, to begin with.

The prices we’ve listed are based on our latest research at the time of the writing of this article and based on inventories available in classified ads as well as canoe retailers. Prices can change of course, so this is just a guide to give you a general idea of starting prices as we write this.

Why Are Canoes so Expensive?

A canoe’s price is based on technology used in construction and the meticulous design process that involves experienced engineers working for months at a time, designing with precise metrics. Furthermore, high-end canoes are not mass-produced but rather handcrafted and made in limited supply.

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Racing canoes like this one (yes, he’s actually in a canoe), take extensive engineering to create with space-age materials and computer-aided design software. That’s only part of the reason they’re so expensive!

For example, in designing a canoe, one has to consider its use. Is it a whitewater canoe or a flatwater canoe? If it’s a flatwater canoe, how efficient will we make it? What is its level of stability, seaworthiness, maneuverability, capacity, and efficiency quotient? What about factors like length, depth, width, profile design, and rocker?

Is the hull flared, round, shallow-v, flat, shallow arched or does it have tumblehome? Is the entry line sharp or blunt? Is the material ultra-lite graphite, kevlar, fiberglass, wood, canvas, aluminum or composite like Tuf-weave or aramid?

It’s not true to assume that a canoe is basically a tube that’s been cut in half lengthwise and then had its ends pinched together. There is a lifetime of engineering expertise and countless hours of testing and re-testing and then re-engineering again, just for one particular model.

What’s Wrong With USED?

Pre-owned canoes can come with a lot of baggage!  Usually, that baggage is metaphorical instead of literal, but it could be both!  Used canoes often come with hidden (or not so hidden) damage from hard use or years of outdoor storage.  

Of course, you also need to be aware that used canoes rarely come with a return policy or warranty.  That means that you’re on your own to assess the quality of any canoe you’ll be buying potentially. 

The good news on this front is that it’s not super difficult to quickly go over every part of the canoe with an overall checkup in about 5 minutes, and if you know what to look for, it’ll give you peace of mind and keep you from being ripped off.

Watch out for:

  • damage from years of use
  • lack of warranty
  • no return policy
  • often no chance to test on the water before purchase

Why We Like USED

There’s a big market for used canoes and there’s a BIG reason – PRICE!  We live in the middle of canoe country in Ontario, Canada and we happen to know that many canoe retailers and outfitters who sell used canoes, rarely have many (or any) in stock because of the high demand.

Obviously, price is a big deal, but so is peace of mind that comes through knowing that the value of your investment won’t plummet as quickly from now on.  So, to sum it up;

We like used because:

  • you won’t be affected as much by depreciation
  • the price is usually significantly lower than new
  • you may find an extremely good deal from an estate auction
  • used is the only option if you’d like a diamond in the rough that you can restore to new condition

What’s Wrong With NEW?

We love new things, but, as you might expect, you’ll find an upside and downside to nearly everything.

Watch out for:

  • high prices
  • immediate depreciation
  • negotiations unlikely given low profit margins
  • extra costs via sales tax or add-ons

Why We Like NEW

While used is a popular option for buying canoes, there would be no used canoes if people didn’t see any value in buying new!  Why would I buy new?

We like new because:

  • you’ll be able to try before you buy
  • you’ll get personalized attention and all your questions will be answered by the sales staff
  • you’ll get a warranty for peace of mind
  • you’ll likely have a return period in case you regret your purchase
  • your canoe will look much nicer
  • you’ll have peace of mind knowing the quality and condition is as it was meant to be

24 New and Used Canoe Price Examples

note:  During our research, we found the following examples that give us a general overview of prices.  However, you’ll notice some price spreads are much greater than others since some of the used canoes were only a year or two old with little or even no usage.  Obviously the price difference would not be so big in those cases while others were exactly the opposite, and a new canoe was hard to find since the model was not the newest.

Canoes for the Thrifty Outdoors Enthusiast

ManufacturerModelPrice NEWPrice USED
GrummanSquare Stern 17′$2,800$1,900
GrummanEagle 17′$2,000$750
Mad RiverExplorer (Royalex/Formex)$2,200$1,400
Nova CraftProspector SP3 16′$1,600$900
Old TownDiscovery 133$1,150$850
Old TownCanadienne 17′$1,500$1,200
Old TownOtter Tandem$1,400$950
Old Town Penobscot 164$1,300$1,000
Old TownDiscovery 169$1,200$800
Sun DolphinMackinaw 15’6″$950$575

Canoes for the Enthusiast who wants the best no matter the price!

ManufacturerModelPrice NEWPrice USED
ClipperMacKenzie (Kevlar) 18′$2,950$2,000
ClipperTripper (Kevlar) 17’6″$2,000$1,700+
H2OProlite Prospector$2,500$1,950
LangfordProspector Ultra-Lite Kevlar 17’4″$3,300$2,000
Old TownTripper (Royalex) 17′$2,000$1,500
Souris RiverProspector 16′ (Kevlar)$2,350$1,500
Souris RiverQuetico 18′ (Kevlar)$2,600$1,600
Souris RiverQuetico 17′ (Kevlar)$2,400$1,900 +-
WenonahMinnesota II (Tuf-Weave)$3,100$1,850
Wenonah Minnesota III (Tuf-Weave)$3,500$2,150
WenonahAurora 16′$2,000$1,500
Wenonah Escape (Graphite)$3,500$3,150
WenonahEncounter (Tuf-Weave) Solo$2,900$2,000
EsquifBlast – Whitewater$2,000$900
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An average 16-foot lake tripping canoe like one of these will cost about $1000 used and around $1,500 new.

More Canoe Details Please!

Okay, so you’ve decided you might like one or more of these potential options.  If so, you’re in the right place.  Let’s take a closer look at some of these models to help in your decision-making!

1 & 2 –  Grumman – Square Stern 17’ and Eagle 17’ Aluminum Canoe

Grumman is a company with a proud history with a deep connection to the aircraft manufacturing industry and many decades in the watercraft industry. 

I grew up with a 15’ Grumman and I can tell you that Grumman is about the most stable canoe around.  That is, it has initial stability, which means it’s tough to get it to rock side to side or lean over on its side.  It has a flat bottom and you won’t feel like you’re about to tip over at any moment. 

The Square stern model is, of course, meant to mount a small motor (2hp – 4hp) and it weighs 85 lbs.  It can handle a 5 HP motor and it even has spray rails on the sides to help divert splashes away from your clothing.  It is great for hunting and fishing, but you won’t want this one if you’re looking to portage. 

The Eagle is just another model of a double-end canoe which can be paddled in either direction.  Its design is symmetrical, which means it’s just as efficient going backward as forwards, so you can turn either end forward. 

That is certainly not the case with many other canoes which are asymmetrical and have a very specific bow and stern.

Specifications: 

  • length: 17’
  • weight: 85 lbs
  • capacity: 825 lbs
  • Square Stern New Price – $2800
  • Square Stern Used Price – $1900
  • Eagle New Price – $2000
  • Eagle Used Price – $750

3 – Mad River – Formex Explorer

While this would not be considered a high-end tripping canoe, it is one of the best of the budget brands and models.  It features a v-hull shape which makes it very seaworthy and helps in its ability to track straight in open water.  

Its fiberglass construction is very stiff but surprisingly light.  This canoe would be considered by most to be an “all-purpose” canoe that offers beginners or intermediate canoeists a great option for wilderness trips as well as a fishing craft and even a small river canoe for class 1 rivers. 

Specifications:

  • length: 15’11”
  • weight: 77 lb
  • capacity: 1100 lbs
  • width: 35” at widest
  • New Price – $2200
  • Used Price – $1400

4 – Nova Craft – Prospector SP3 16’

 Nova Craft is a very respectable canoe brand out of Ontario, Canada whose reach is worldwide and whose canoes are very well respected everywhere.  The Prospector is a canoe with lots of rocker and it’s meant to be super maneuverable though not particularly good for straight tracking in open water. 

Its strength is its ability to turn quickly to avoid obstacles and to be easily controlled by a solo paddler.

The SP3 designation just means it’s made from a very durable three-layer composite material that stands up to abuse and hard use.  SP3 canoes require relatively little TLC or maintenance and are often preferred by outfitters who can’t afford to baby their crafts after every rental.

Nova Craft is proud of the fact that an SP3 canoe should last a lifetime at the cottage with no special care or love.  Because of its accented rocker, it’s best suited as a river canoe though it can be used for anything. 

It’s not a pure whitewater canoe, but it is also not a pure flatwater lake tripping canoe either.  It falls somewhere in between so it’s at home in rivers and can easily handle class 1 and class 2 rapids, and even more if paddled by skilled users.

The hull is symmetrical so either end can be the bow or the stern.

Specifications:

  • length: 15’4”
  • weight: 85 lb
  • capacity: 900 lbs
  • width: 36”
  • New Price: $1600
  • Used Price: $900

5.  Old Town   – Discovery 133       

Old Town is one of the most iconic names in the North American canoe industry.  According to some, it’s also one of the best!  

The Discovery 133 is unique in that it is designed for up to 3 paddlers.  Because it’s only 13’ long, it’s not a serious tripping canoe, but it has a lot to offer a recreational, casual user.  It’s stable and wide which is perfect for fishing and hunting or taking small kids onto the water. 

It’s not particularly light, so I wouldn’t use it for long overland carries either.  However, versatility at the cottage is where it shines.  It’s made of 3-layers of super-tough Polyethylene, and you can outfit it with a motor.  The center seat allows a solo paddler ultimate control.

Specifications:

  • length: 13’3”
  • weight: 78 lb
  • capacity: 800 lbs
  • width: 39”
  • New Price:  $1150
  • Used Price: $850

6.  Old Town   – Canadienne  17’         

As noted earlier, Old Town is a brand you typically will not be disappointed with.  However, in the opinion of this writer, the brand is far less important than all the other factors like length, material, shape, weight, capacity, and a long list of other qualities.

The Canadienne finds itself among an elite group of canoes that have been around so long, and offer such good quality, that they have become sought-after classics.  It’s a tripping canoe with lots of capacity for a family.  While not having awesome initial stability, it offers good secondary stability. 

It comes in a variety of layups and materials, but the wood-trimmed fiberglass model is perhaps the most common and iconic design.

Specifications:

  • length: 17’
  • weight: 76 lb (wood/fiberglass)
  • capacity: 900 lbs
  • width: 36”
  • New Price (if you can find it): $1500
  • Used Price: $1200

7.  Old Town   – Twin Otter   

Okay, full disclosure here!  The Old Town Twin Otter is not exactly a traditional canoe.  In fact, it really fits the profile of a tandem kayak.  So why would I include this “kayak” in our list of canoes? 

Well, for a couple of reasons.  First of all, the top deck of the Twin Otter is mostly open (unlike most tandem kayaks), so it functions almost exactly like a canoe.  In fact, we believe it works a whole lot better if the two paddlers in the Otter use canoe paddles instead of kayak paddles. 

The second reason we included it is that the Twin Otter functions in every way like a tandem canoe.  The owner profiles are 100% the same as canoe owners, and in fact, if you love kayaks but are not big on canoes, then you’ll really NOT LIKE the Twin Otter.

It’s made of Polylink# (which is a durable Polyethylene) and has sliding seats for more customization ability.  It offers excellent gear storage (and even a tiny bungee on the aft deck for a bit of “kayak” style storage.

It would be considered a very utilitarian canoe for fun at the cottage or short local trips to the lake for fun with the kids and family.  I wouldn’t get this for any serious rapids or long trips.

Specifications:

  • length: 14’
  • weight: 68 lb
  • capacity: 450 lbs
  • width: 31”
  • New Price – $1000
  • Used Price – $650

8.  Old Town – Penobscot 164        

The Penobscot is another classic from Old Town.  The name Penobscot comes from the Native American tribe that inhabited the area of Old Town, Maine where the company is headquartered.  The purpose-built Penobscot is a solid competitor in the category of flatwater tripping or touring canoe. 

It features a shallow arch hull profile and a mild rocker.  This means it offers a little of all things good, but it’s not built to be purely a flat water canoe (no rocker) or a whitewater canoe (lots of rocker).  It can do both with some degree of proficiency.

The Penobscot is nimble enough, and with its web seats and wood yoke and thwarts, it’s comfortable and it looks good. 

Specifications:

  • length: 16’4”
  • weight: 75 lbs
  • capacity: 1250 lbs
  • width: 37.5”
  • New Price – $1300
  • Used Price – $1000

9.  Old Town  – Discovery 169      

The Old Town Discover 169 is the longest canoe in the Discovery line, and that makes it the best tracking canoe of all its siblings in flat water.  It’s also a favorite of canoe trip outfitters and guides throughout North America. 

One of the big draws for professionals is the combination of durability, performance, and price.  The Discovery offers arguably the best of all those worlds.

While we agree that the Discovery performs well in many conditions and offers excellent value through durability and price, the one big strike against this model is its unusually high weight.  It’s not suited for long overland portages and multi-lake wilderness tripping.

It offers a moderate rocker, which means it’s more maneuverable than a pure flatwater touring canoe (like the Wenonah Minnesota II) but won’t track straight quite as well.

Specifications:

  • length: 16’9”
  • weight: 91 lbs
  • capacity: 1400 lbs
  • width: 37”
  • New Price – $1200
  • Used Price – $800

10.  Sun Dolphin – Mackinaw 15’6”  

The Mackinaw from Sun Dolphin is the go-to canoe (in my opinion) for those who are itching to get on the water, but budget is a huge concern.  The Mackinaw is tough to find new unless you are looking for a square stern for a motor attachment.  The square stern model (Mackinaw SS) is easily available from Walmart for around $1000.

The non-square-stern model is the more traditional model and while it’s a decent boat for recreation at the cottage, it’s absolutely not meant for any wilderness travel. 

In fact, because of its short length and high weight, it runs the risk of actually being the item that ultimately may deter a novice from ever wanting to canoe in the future.  If an inexperienced canoeist believes the Mackinaw is a good representation of canoes in general (especially if forced to portage during a long trip), he/she will likely give up on canoeing because of the difficulty.

Having said this, if the canoe sits in the water most of the time and is not carried, and the purpose is to fish or take photos, then it just may work nicely for you.

Specifications:

  • length: 15’6”
  • weight: 95 lbs
  • capacity: 800 lbs
  • width: 42”
  • New Price – $950
  • Used Price – $500

11. Clipper   – MacKenzie (kevlar) 18’6” 

Clipper is the first company we’ll talk about in our shortlist of elite canoe makers.  There are lots more that are not featured here, but it’s a start.

The MacKenzie is a large capacity touring canoe that can safely hold lots of gear, the kids and a dog.  It’s also an ideal tripping/touring canoe.  The kevlar canoe is made with a vacuum-bagged foam core (which is exactly as it sounds – foam that is vacuumed to make it thin and dense)  which offers rigidity and toughness to the bottom of the boat. 

It offers reasonable initial stability and great secondary stability and is suitable for anglers and hunters alike.

Standard features include sliding bucket seats (only bow seat slides), footbrace, and flat contour yoke.

Specifications:

  • length: 18’6””
  • weight: 70 lbs
  • capacity: 1600 lbs
  • width: 37”
  • New Price – $2100
  • Used Price – $1500

12. Clipper  – Tripper Kevlar 17’6”        

Here’s another wilderness tripper canoe with extremely generous capacity.  It’s such an efficient and popular model that it’s been around in some form since 1983.   In fact, for nearly 40 years, the Tripper was and remains the first choice of serious expedition paddlers in the Northwest USA and Canada. 

It’s notable that the Tripper is one of the few canoes that is not specifically dedicated to ocean travel, that can handle waters of the Pacific!  It holds the world record for longest continual canoe trip from Calgary, Alberta, to Belen, Brazil.  It also holds other Canadian distance records!

The shallow arch hull offers good initial stability and it’s designed to be a very efficient canoe, meaning the distance travelled using a specific level of energy, is extremely high compared to most other less expensive recreation canoe models.

Specifications:

  • length: 17’6””
  • weight: 58 lbs
  • capacity: 1000 lbs
  • width: 35”
  • New Price – $2000
  • Used Price – $1800

13. H2O – Prolight Prospector  

H20 is a premium brand canoe maker that offers us a Prospector design second to none.  The original prospector design was considered by avid canoeists to be the most versatile tripping canoe ever made.

The Prospector comes in a variety of lengths ranging from 15’4” to 17’6”.  We like the 16’4” design since it offers the best of both capacity and overall versatility. 

The shape of the Prospector is symmetrical which means it can be paddled with either end serving as the bow.

Specifications:

  • length: 16’4”
  • weight: 49 lbs (Expedition Kevlar)
  • capacity: 650 lbs
  • width: 35”
  • New Price – $2500
  • Used Price – $1950

14. Langford  – Prospector ultra-lite kevlar – 17’4”  

As with most high-end premium canoe brands, Langford has its home base in Ontario, Canada.  It’s a very well-respected company that offers canoes that are on par with the best in the world.

Like all Prospector canoes, Langford’s Ultra-Lite Kevlar is a symmetrical design.  The 17’4” design gives special attention to ocean travel.  The flared hull and swept gunwale offer exceptional stability, and an exaggerated rocker gives each end of the canoe a bow and stern that sits higher out of the water to ward off larger waves.

Specifications:

  • length: 17’4”
  • weight: 45 lbs
  • capacity: 1200 lbs
  • width: 35.5”
  • New Price – $3300
  • Used Price – $2000

15. Old Town   – Tripper (Royalex) 17’  

While most of Old Town’s canoes are firmly in the category of “good” canoes that are offered at a mid-to-lower price point, the Tripper is just too good to leave off our premium list. 

The Royalex hull is especially suited to warding off dents and scratches while being able to literally bounce back from many blunt assaults on its hull from logs and rocks.  It’s a high-capacity tripping canoe that works both as a tandem tripper or a solo canoe.

It offers moderate rocker to offer paddlers some control in the rapids while also featuring a Deep-V hull to offer tracking ability on flat water. 

It’s namesake works for local trips on one body of water, but it’s not all sunshine and unicorns with the Tripper.  This is absolutely NOT the ideal portaging canoe given its substantial weight.

Specifications:

  • length: 17’2”
  • weight: 80 lbs
  • capacity: 1550 lbs
  • width: 37”
  • New Price – $2000
  • Used Price – $1500

16. Souris River – Prospector 16’ Kevlar      

From another exceptional canoe company (based in Ontario, Canada) comes another exceptional canoe.  We see the Prospector design once again.  Maneuverability is key to the Prospector, and Souris River knows this well. 

Outfitters throughout Canada know the quality of Souris River and they love it.  Because it’s so light, the sides of the Prospector Kevlar will bow slightly if pushed in with a knee or a poorly placed log, but it bounces back easily.

It’s quite durable and won’t succumb easily to rocks and logs, so you can travel with confidence. 

Specifications:

  • length: 16’
  • weight: 40 lbs
  • capacity: 900 lbs
  • width: 34”
  • New Price – $2350
  • Used Price – $1400

17. Souris River  – Quetico 18’5”

Souris River is offering one BIG and STABLE canoe.  Those are the keywords here, but it’s just as important to remember that weight is also a top factor here. Other canoes that offer the Quetico’s capacity and stability, are longer and absolutely heavier.

Large waves are dealt with nicely with the Quetico’s bow and stern design and it looks exceptionally nice while keeping everyone dry in large waves!

The Quetico 18’5” is equipped with a third seat given its weight capacity and seaworthiness.  That alone may offer potential buyers reason enough to buy this model given its ability to handle 3 passengers and gear.

It’s an extremely capable canoe for open lakes, large families, straight tracking and maximum speed.

Specifications:

  • length: 18’5”
  • weight: 49 lbs
  • capacity: Well over 1500 lbs
  • width: 36.5”
  • New Price – $2600
  • Used Price – $2000

18. Souris River  – Quetico  ’17 (Kevlar)

Very similar to its big brother the Quetico 18’5” canoe, the 17’ Kevlar version comprises about 60% of all Souris River sales.  That’s saying a lot given that Souris River has anywhere from 8 to 10 current models for sale at any given time.

This boat is arguably the ultimate in a multi-purpose canoe.  It’s mostly bought for its lake tripping abilities both extended or day trips.  

Specifications:

  • length: 17’3”
  • weight: 44 lbs
  • capacity: Not Listed
  • width: 35”
  • New Price – $2400
  • Used Price – $1950

19. Wenonah Minnesota II Tuf-weave

This Winona, Minnesota-based family-run canoe company has managed to become arguably the world’s best-known canoe brand.  

The Minnesota II is one of the company’s flagship canoes and it’s reputed to be the world’s most efficient, straight-tracking tandem tripping canoe.  It offers a high weight capacity, though We-no-nah doesn’t like to publicly disclose any specific weight capacities since it varies so much, depending on how much freeboard you want. 

Freeboard is the distance between the gunwales of your canoe at the lowest part, and the surface of the water itself.  The more you have, the safer you’ll typically be.

Having said this, the Minnesota 2 has a “weight capacity rating” of 9/10 so that’s pretty good.  You can expect to travel safely with probably around 1500 lbs of people and gear combined.

This canoe is absolutely NOT symmetrical.  Its design is meant for ultimate efficiency on flat water and its bow depth is deeper than the stern depth.

Specifications:

  • length: 18’6””
  • weight: 58 lbs
  • capacity: Not Listed
  • width: 33.5”
  • New Price – $3100
  • Used Price – $2000

20. Wenonah – Minnesota III Ultra-Light               

This behemoth is designed nearly the same way as the Minnesota II, but with one big difference;  it’s made for 3 paddlers and their gear.

The sliding bow seat and removable center seat allow for maximum versatility.  Once again, it’s a touring, flatwater canoe and we feature mostly these canoes because of the huge demand for such an outing rather than extreme whitewater or solo canoe activities.

Because of the Minnesota 3’s size, its efficiency is maximized so it rates a 10/10, while it’s capacity rates 9.5/10.  It’s extremely stable and seaworthy.  

Standard features include felt skid plates, ash yoke, aluminum trim, adjustable foot brace and a natural skin-coat finish.

Specifications:

  • length: 20’
  • weight: 55lbs
  • capacity:  Not Listed
  • width: 34”
  • New Price – $3500
  • Used Price – $2600

21. Wenonah – Aurora 16’ T-Formex                  

The Aurora 16’ is a general touring canoe designed for outings around the cottage and day-tripping, as well as river outings.  It’s a very nimble design and turns quickly in river and moving water environments than its bigger brother/sister the Spirit II.

Offering a bit more stability than most other crafts of its size, the Aurora will give a boost of confidence to anyone who feels a bit insecure in a canoe. 

However, because of its ability to turn quickly (rocker), the efficiency factor is just about average and not exceptional.

Because of the predictable, stable nature of the Aurora, it’s in the top tier of Wenonah’s best-selling canoe list!

Specifications:

  • length: 16’
  • weight: 69 lbs
  • capacity: Not Listed
  • width: 36”
  • New Price – $2000
  • Used Price – $1600

22. Wenonah  – Escape Ultra-lite

I love this canoe so much, I bought it!  It’s my permanent, number 1 choice for all my family trips, whether they’re day trips or 10-day excursions.  

It’s basically a shorter, smaller cousin to the Minnesota II.  The lines are very aggressive on the Escape and that means it cuts through water with almost no sound and extreme efficiency.  It’s an asymmetrical canoe which is also a factor that adds to its efficiency factor.  

The bow is flared slightly and has more depth than the stern and it’s all meant to keep you dried in the waves.

This craft is almost the same as a Minnesota except that it’s far easier to handle and portage than its larger cousin.  The only thing I’m not thrilled about with mine is that unless it’s loaded with gear and paddled by 2 canoeists, it’s not that much fun to paddle. 

There is no good seating position that allows for solo paddling, and because of it’s weight capacity (which is pretty high) it sits on top of the water where it catches the wind and can be blown off course with only one paddler.

Specifications:

  • length: 17’6”
  • weight: 41 lbs
  • capacity: Not Listed
  • width: 33”
  • New Price – $3100
  • Used Price – $2500 

23. Wenonah – Encounter Tufweave Solo

The Encounter Solo is on my wish list!  It’s a premium solo canoe meant for rougher water – like the ocean!  It was made for heavy loads and it boasts the highest capacity rating offered by Wenonah – a 10/10. 

It rides over large waves with ease and it’s designed for comfort as well.  

A sliding bucket seat comes standard, as does an aluminum foot brace.

Once again, it has very sharp taper lines so it slices the water rather than plowing the water.

There is no significant rocker, which means this is one efficient, open flat water canoe that is definitely not designed for whitewater.

Specifications:

  • length: 17’
  • weight: 54 lbs
  • capacity: Not Listed
  • width: 25”
  • New Price – $2900
  • Used Price – $2000+

24. Esquif Blast

The Blast by Esquif is one machine that is so incredibly purpose-built for extreme whitewater conditions. The Blast is used in competitions worldwide and is arguably the best (or close to) tandem whitewater canoe available anywhere.

It’s considered a high-performance craft and it looks the part. It features a very blunt bow and stern (as most whitewater canoes do) and an asymmetrical shape. It’s made from T-Formex for durability.

It deals with Class 3 rapids with ease and because of its rocker, it can turn in place with little effort. That means that while it’s a lean, mean rapids machine, it won’t track well on quiet lakes and with it’s blunt nose, it will crash and smash through the water instead of slicing through it.

This is an awesome fast river canoe, but next to worthless for flat water wilderness trips.

Specifications:

  • Length: 13′
  • Width: 28.5″
  • Weight: 53 lbs
  • New Price: $2700
  • Used Price: $900 – $1800

Our Recommendations

*Please note that you will find many canoes on places like Craigslist that are not on our list and prices that vary dramatically.  Our recommendations are only basic starting points and we encourage you to research for yourself.  The more you know, the better buyer you will be.

If you only have $500 to spend

If your budget is pretty modest and you really can’t go beyond the $500 price point, we’d suggest the Sun Dolphin Mackinaw.  Having said this, you can scour your local Craigslist and find other good canoes for $500 or even less if they are older models, so our suggestion is just a general guideline of what to expect for the money.

If you have $1000 to spend

For around the $1K price point, your options open up significantly, and if you’re like most buyers who are looking for a tandem tripping canoe with stability and reliability for day trips and maybe a short, multi-day trip, then we’d suggest the Old Town Discovery series of canoes. You’ll find them HERE on Amazon.

If you have $2000 to spend

If your budget is a bit more robust and you plan to have a craft that you may keep indefinitely and want the best performance for your money, we’d suggest something like the Souris River Prospector or something in the category of a 16’ kevlar tripping canoe

If your budget is even higher

If you’d like the absolute best canoe for your dollar, the world is open to you.  As for OUR dollar, we would get a Wenonah Escape Graphite edition that will set you back around $3000, but you’ll love the craft, and not many canoes can compete with its level of efficiency, lightness, seaworthiness, and the pure joy to paddle that it offers.


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As promised, here are our purchases over the past 5 years. The Wenonah is way more efficient in flat water touring, while the Prospector is more versatile and easier to control – especially solo!

Canoe Kits

Okay, here’s an option that won’t suit everyone, but it’s an awesome way to go for many an outdoorsman who also happens to be a woodworking craftsman.

Canoe kits are designed for cedar strip canoes that look more like a generational heirloom than a hack-around canoe for weekends at the cottage.  They are truly artful masterpieces that are usually treated with the utmost respect and often they are only used on occasion.

Canoe kits are available from a number of companies like BEAR MOUNTAIN BOATS in Ontario, Canada.  Prices for canoe kits vary greatly depending on materials and size of the boat as well as how many supply items you’ll need.  

Assuming you’ve never built a kit canoe, you’ll need supplies like molds or forms, glue, varnish, periodicals/instruction manuals, etc.  

We priced out a kit recently and found that a 16’ prospector canoe (like the one pictured below) will end up costing you about $2500 USD.  That would include everything you need to build the boat yourself other than basic tools and a work stand for the canoe body.

That price would drop by several hundred dollars if you build a second canoe since you won’t need instruction books or forms/molds to shape the layout of the wood strips.


Pete Stack

After 40 years of experience canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking and climbing in the Ontario wilderness, Pete is eager to combine his love for the outdoors with his passion to write. It is our hope that his knowledge can be passed on through this site and on Rugged Outdoors Guide on YouTube.

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