The 7 Best Lake and River Canoes of 2019

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A canoe is an ideal investment for anyone who loves spending time on the water, whether you’re planning family fun on your nearest lake or hope to embark on a solo river expedition. Canoes come in a surprising array of different styles, ranging from traditional polyethylene two-seaters to futuristic models that fold away into a closet-sized carry case. Some are designed especially for fishing; while others are adapted to fit a motor. In this article, we look at a few of the best canoes to buy today.

Our Top Picks

01 of 07

Best Overall: Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 158 Recreational Canoe

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 158 Recreational Canoe
Courtesy of Amazon

Those in search of the perfect all-rounder should choose the Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 158 Recreational Canoe. Designed to be steady, durable and easy to maneuver, it has been a best seller for top canoe company Old Town for over 30 years. Intended for two paddlers, it’s ideal for day trips on calm waters or for storing at a cabin or lake house for year after year of aquatic fun. The three-layer polyethylene construction is built to last, while the gunwales are made from sturdy black vinyl.

The canoe features two comfortable nylon web seats, and an ash thwart that provides rigidity while giving a kneeling canoeist something to lean against. The yoke is also made of ash and is ergonomically shaped to fit comfortably over your shoulders while carrying the canoe upside down. Alternatively, transport the canoe with the help of the handles molded into the end caps. The canoe measures 15’8” in length, 35.5” in width and 13.5” in depth. It weighs 87 pounds and comes in camo, ​green or red.

02 of 07

Best Budget: Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe

The Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe is the cheapest solid-construction canoe on Amazon. Made from high-density polyethylene, it measures 14’ in length and 38” in width ​and tips the scales at 84 pounds. With three comfortable molded-in seats, there’s plenty of space for family expeditions, while the square stern is designed to provide a sturdy transom for those that want to add a trolling motor. If you’d rather paddle, you’ll find that the canoe maneuvers in the same way as a traditional canoe despite its innovative shape. Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the six built-in rod holder locations.

03 of 07

Best Solo: Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 119 Solo Canoe

Also available in camo, green and red, the Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 119 Solo Canoe is the canoe of choice for solo adventurers. It is ideally suited to paddling with a double-bladed paddle and features a shallow arch, straight sides and a moderate rocker. Together, these features provide the perfect balance of stability and agility.

Made from three-layer polyethylene, the canoe is designed to hold up against the elements (giving you the confidence in your equipment that you need when exploring on your own). It’s also lightweight at just 49 pounds, and measures 11’9” long, 32.5” wide and 13.5” deep. Other highlights include the single nylon web seat, the gunwales crafted from durable black vinyl and the carry handles molded into the end caps. The twin thwarts are carved from sturdy ash for added strength.

04 of 07

Best Three-Person: Sun Dolphin Mackinaw 15’6” Canoe

A popular choice on Amazon, the Sun Dolphin Mackinaw 15'6" Canoe is the perfect solution for families or friends looking to spend time on the water together. Made of rugged polyethylene, it features three comfortable seats, each with their own built-in drink holder. Even better, the center seat includes a storage compartment and cooler, ideal for storing picnics or fishing bait for sunny summer days spent out on the lake or river.

The canoe is raved for its spacious feel and sturdy construction. It also features tie-down eyelets and transport handles built into the bow and stern. Use the former to attach a cover for when you’re not using it or ropes for tying up at the dock in between paddling trips. The canoe measures 15’6” in length, weighs 94 pounds and comes in green, hazelnut or navy. Whichever color you choose, your purchase is protected by a limited two-year warranty.


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05 of 07

Best Portable: MYCANOE Origami Folding Portable Canoe

Though not a budget-conscious choice, the patented, award-winning MYCANOE Origami Folding Portable Canoe is a sure-fire winner for design lovers. It comes in a 37” x 8” x 25” carry case that folds out into a 14’7” Canadian canoe, making this by far the most portable hardshell option on the market. What's more, assembly and disassembly are a breeze.

The carry case fits into a small sedan, therefore negating the need for a trailer. It’s also convenient for storing in your closet back home. Once the canoe is on the water, it performs exactly like a traditional canoe. It measures 35” in width and weighs just 52 pounds. Intended for two paddlers, it has a maximum load weight of 440 pounds. The canoe is made from custom polypropylene and is UV treated to withstand up to 20,000 folds.

06 of 07

Best Inflatable: Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe Combo

Those who want to take portability to the next level should consider the Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe Combo. Fully inflatable, it’s made from heavy-duty PVC with a rugged polyester cover to help provide protection from punctures. It boasts an airtight system that guarantees no leaks, while multiple air chambers prevent the canoe from collapsing completely in the unlikely event that a puncture occurs.

The canoe measures 10’3” x 2’9” when inflated and has two adjustable, elevated seats that allow for a more comfortable paddling position. Other features include bungee storage areas, D-rings for attaching extra equipment, built-in carry handles and a Boston valve for easy inflation. Best of all, the canoe comes with everything you need to get out on the water - including a hand pump, two paddles, a carry bag and a pressure gauge.

07 of 07

Best Fishing: Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

If you like the idea of an inflatable canoe but want something specifically designed with fishing in mind, you can’t go wrong with the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak. Like the previous entry, it features multiple air chambers, an airtight system and solid PVC construction. A sturdy nylon cover protects the canoe from punctures. When inflated, it measures 10’9” x 3’3” and can carry up to 470 pounds.

Quick-set rod holders keep your hands free for paddling in between fishing spots, while special holders store your paddles out of the way while you’re trying to land the big one. Keep your tackle in the canoe’s mesh storage pockets. You can also make use of the included trolling motor fittings. The canoe features two adjustable seats and comes with a carry bag and pressure gauge.