Embarking on a serene canoeing adventure is a timeless experience that binds families together amidst the tranquil embrace of nature. Whether you’re gliding through calm rivers, exploring hidden lakes, or navigating gentle rapids, the right canoe can make all the difference in ensuring safety, comfort, and the creation of lasting memories.
The best family canoe has features like ample space, stability through a wide beam, durable canoe materials, adjustable seating, ergonomic comfort, storage options, and a balance between maneuverability and tracking. It’s a secure, comfortable, and versatile vessel for cherished multi-generational adventures on the water.
We know how difficult it is to find a perfect family canoe, but we are here to solve your problems. We have combined a list of 3 seater canoes that are best for your families.
4 Best Family Canoes – 3 Seater Canoes
7 Best Family Canoes (3-Seaters)
BRIS 14.1ft Inflatable Canoe is a versatile and durable watercraft suitable for fishing, kayaking and a tender boat for yachts and sailboats. The package includes an inflatable kayak, air deck floor, bench seat, oars, foot pump, carry bag, and repair kit.
It has a three-person seating capacity and four individual chambers for improved safety. The removable drop stitch air deck floor and four fins provide excellent tracking and stability.
|Overall Length||14.1 ft/ 430 cm|
|Overall Width||4.3 ft|
|Inside Width||16.5 inch|
|Seating Capacity||3 persons|
|Number of Chambers||4+|
|Max Person||2 adults|
|Accessories||3 Seats, Oars, Foot Pump, Carry Bag, and Repair Kit|
|Floor Type||Removable Drop Stitch Air Deck Floor|
|Fins||4 Fins for Improved Tracking|
- The presence of four separate chambers ensures enhanced safety.
- Stability and comfort are achieved through a removable drop-stitch air deck floor.
- Improved tracking capabilities facilitated by four fins.
- Versatile usability: suitable for fishing, kayaking, and as a tender boat for yachts and sailboats.
The Sea Eagle Inflatable 16′ Canoe, often called the Travel Canoe 16, is a high-pressure inflatable canoe that is portable, lightweight, and simple to store. It is the first high-pressure, all-drop-stitch inflatable travel canoe to receive a patent.
With a setup time of under 10 minutes, the canoe is intended to be sturdy, stable, and simple to use. The TC16 can hold up to three persons and has a maximum load capacity of 915 lbs. It weighs about the same as conventional hard shell canoes in the same class and division.
|Material||1000 denier-reinforced PVC|
|Length||16 ft (4.88 m)|
|Width||38 inches (96.52 cm) at center|
|Weight||65 lbs (29.48 kg)|
|Depth||20 inches (50.8 cm) at highest points|
|Load capacity||915 lbs (415 kg)|
|Setup Time||Under 10 minutes|
|Seats||wood web seats|
|Storage size||40″ x 24″ x 16″ (101.6 cm x 60.96 cm x 40.64 cm)|
|Side rails||3″ thick rigid high-pressure (10 psi) inflatable drop stitch gunwales that stand 20″ at the highest points|
|Accessories||Pump, bag, and optional paddles included|
- Exceptional stability with 20″ high-pressure inflatable drop stitch gunwales (side rails) and comfortable wood web seats.
- Durable construction using 1000 denier reinforced PVC material, accommodating a maximum load of 915 lbs.
- Comparable weight to traditional hard shell canoes of its class, yet conveniently packs down into a compact 40″ x 24″ x 16″ size for easy storage and transport.
The Lifetime Kodiak Canoe is a reliable and stable canoe for outdoor lovers. It is made of UV-protected, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is blow-moulded and gives it durability and impact resistance.
The canoe is 13 feet long and can easily fit three persons inside. It is already equipped with paddles and is prepared for usage. The Lifetime Kodiak Canoe is renowned for its stability and robustness, making it ideal for various water sports, including fishing, leisurely paddling, and exploring calm waters.
|Length||13” / 396.2 cm|
|Weight||96 lb / 43.5 kg|
|Capacity||600 lb / 272.1 kg|
|Maximum Width||39″ / 99 cm|
|Hull Material||High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)|
|Maximum Weight Capacity||600 lbs|
- Characterized by its robust and reliable build, offering a sturdy and stable platform for various water activities.
- Crafted with durability in mind, the impact-resistant construction ensures resilience,
- Further augmented by UV-protected material that prolongs the canoe’s lifespan
- and is designed to host up to three occupants for shared adventures comfortably.
The Old Town Saranac 160 Canoe is a recreational canoe made for families, fishermen, and casual paddlers. It is designed to float across the water, making paddling fun easily. The narrow canoe has lower seats than conventional recreational boats, improving paddling performance.
Its sturdy single-layer polyethylene construction ensures its extended lifespan and wear and tear resilience. The Saranac 160 offers adaptability to diverse water conditions and is intended for use on lakes and ponds.
|Length||16′ / 487.7 cm|
|Width||37″ / 93.98 cm|
|Weight||89 lb / 40.37 kg|
|Capacity||800-850 lb / 362.87-385.55 kg|
|Hull Shape||Flat bottom|
|Seats||Comfortable contoured seats|
|Suitable for||Recreational use on flat water|
- A streamlined design enhances paddling performance through a narrowed shape.
- Prioritizing stability and comfort, its seats are slightly lower
- The single-layer polyethylene construction ensures durability for long-lasting waterborne adventures.
- Suitable for recreational use on flat water
The Grumman 17′ Square Stern Canoe is a tough and adaptable outboard-powered canoe. It has a square stern with a sturdy.125″ aluminium transom gusset that offers stability and support for installing outboard engines.
The canoe is tougher and more durable than other square stern canoes since it is made of aircraft-grade aluminium. This canoe’s extra ribs improve its performance and strength. The 17′ Square Stern Canoe from Grumman is renowned for its durability, effectiveness, and dependability.
|Length||17′ / 518.16 cm|
|Width||38″ / 96.52 cm|
|Weight||75 lb / 34.02 kg|
|Capacity||770 lb / 349.27 kg|
|Hull Shape||Flat bottom|
|Motor Pads||Motor pads to secure outboards|
|Transom gusset||Tough .125″ aluminium|
|Suitable for||Outboard power and motorised use|
- The Grumman 17’ Square Stern Canoe is built with aircraft-grade aluminium
- Ensures exceptional durability to withstand rigorous water use.
- Designed for outboard propulsion, it incorporates a tough .125” aluminium transom gusset
- Complete with motor pads for secure outboard attachment and ribs to enhance stability
- The flat bottom hull shape aids in steady tracking.
The Lifetime Wasatch 130 Canoe is a three-person canoe for canoeing and fishing. It has blow-moulded seats with two adjustable CRS seatbacks for comfort on the water. High-density polyethylene (HDPE), which was blow-moulded into the canoe, gives it durability, UV protection, and impact resistance.
The integrated skeg enhances tracking and facilitates straight-line paddling. The Lifetime Wasatch 130 Canoe is appropriate for various water sports, including fishing, leisurely paddling, and exploring calm waterways.
|Length||13′ / 396.24 cm|
|Width||39″ / 99.06 cm|
|Weight||76 lb / 34.47 kg|
|Capacity||600 lb / 272.16 kg|
|Material||Blow-molded high-density polyethylene (HDPE)|
|Skeg||Built-in skeg improves tracking|
|CRS Setbacks||Two adjustable CRS seatbacks for comfort on the water|
|Suitable for||Canoeing and fishing|
- Crafted with durable blow-moulded high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
- Ensures longevity and resilience against the elements
- Versatile for a range of water activities, it offers comfort through adjustable CRS seatbacks
- Enhances tracking capabilities with its built-in skeg design.
The Old Town Saranac 14’6 is a recreational canoe for families, anglers, and casual canoeists. Compared to typical recreational canoes, it has a slimmer profile and significantly lowered seats, which improve paddling performance.
Because the canoe is built of a single sheet of polyethylene, it will last a long time and be durable. The Saranac 14’6 offers adaptability for diverse water conditions and is intended for use on lakes and ponds.
|Length||14’6″ / 442 cm|
|Width||36″ / 91.44 cm|
|Weight||79 lb / 35.83 kg|
|Capacity||750 lb / 340.19 kg|
|Hull Shape||Flat bottom|
|Seats||Contoured, moulded seats for added comfort|
|Suitable for||Recreational use on flat water.|
|Additional Features||Rod holders, storage options, and storage trays|
- Features a sleek, narrowed shape, enhancing paddling performance through improved manoeuvrability and efficiency.
- Its design prioritises stability and comfort with slightly lowered seats.
- The single-layer polyethylene construction ensures durability, making it an ideal choice for recreational use in calm flat water conditions.
You Should Check these Things in a Best Family Canoe Before Buying
When buying a family canoe, several factors must be considered to ensure that you get the best family canoe for your needs. Here is a detailed explanation of each factor and how checking each can be useful:
Product Weight and Load Capacity
When selecting a canoe, consider its weight for easy solo transportation. Also, assess its load capacity to accommodate your family and gear. This assessment helps in making canoe transportation and storage requirements.
The canoe’s hull design impacts its stability and manoeuvrability. A flat-bottomed hull enhances stability, while a rounded one boosts manoeuvrability. Evaluating the hull design aids in selecting a canoe that aligns with your stability and manoeuvring preferences.
Enhance your canoeing experience with practical features like cups, coolers, and paddle holders. Reviewing available features lets you choose a canoe tailored to your specific activities and convenience preferences. The BRIS 14.1ft 3-Person Inflatable Canoe is loaded with features.
Keep your canoeing accessories/gear safe and dry by considering storage options such as dry compartments and bungee cords. By assessing storage choices, you can opt for a canoe that effectively fulfills your gear storage needs.
The choice of materials influences the canoe’s durability, weight, and cost. Options like aluminium, fibreglass, and polyethene have distinct characteristics. Examining material options assists in selecting a canoe that meets your durability, weight, and budget requirements.
The canoe’s top edges, or gunwales, can be crafted from aluminium, wood, or plastic. These materials impact factors like weight, durability, and aesthetics. Evaluating gunwales material aids in finding a canoe that aligns with your weight, durability, and appearance preferences.
Comfort and adjustability hinge on the seat type. Whether it’s bench seats, moulded seats, or adjustable ones, this choice affects your overall experience. Reviewing seat types facilitates selecting a canoe that provides your desired comfort and adjustability.
Depth and Width
The depth and width of the canoe can affect its stability and weight capacity. A wider canoe is generally more stable, while a deeper canoe can hold more gear. The depth and width can help you choose a canoe that meets your stability and weight capacity needs.
The ability of the canoe to track straight can affect its manoeuvrability and ease of use. A canoe with good tracking will be easier to paddle and control. Checking the tracking can help you choose a canoe that is easy to paddle and control.
The canoe’s speed can affect how quickly you can travel and how much effort is required to paddle. A longer canoe with a pointed bow will generally be faster. Checking the speed can help you choose a canoe that meets your needs for speed and efficiency.
A skeg wheel can make transporting the canoe on the land easier, especially if you need to move it over rough terrain. Checking for a skeg wheel can help you choose a canoe that is easy to transport.
Rod holders for fishing (If you want to go fishing)
If you plan to go fishing, rod holders can be a useful feature. Checking for rod holders can help you choose a canoe suitable for fishing.
Compatibility with Motor and Offers Easy Installation
If you plan to use a canoe outboard motor, it’s important to ensure that the canoe is compatible and that installation is easy. Checking for compatibility and ease of installation can help you choose a canoe suitable for motor use.
Square stern canoes are designed to make motor installation easier. They have a flat back end that can accommodate a motor mount.
Seat Comfort and Removability/Adjustability
The comfort of the seats can affect how enjoyable your canoeing experience is. Removable and adjustable seats can make it easier to customise the canoe to your needs. Checking for seat comfort and adjustability can help you choose a comfortable and customisable canoe.
How Should You Paddle Together and Effectively in Family Canoe?
Paddling together effectively in a family canoe requires coordination and communication between the paddlers. Here are some tips and techniques to help you paddle together effectively:
- Sit in the right positions: The person in the canoe’s stern (back) is in charge of steering, while the one in the bow (front) determines the speed. To guarantee efficient paddling, sit in the proper postures.
- Use the J-stroke: The J-stroke technique allows the stern paddler to steer the canoe while the bow paddler maintains a consistent pace. Learn how to do the J-stroke to improve your paddling efficiency and control.
- Communicate: Communication is key when paddling together. Use verbal cues or hand signals to communicate with your partner about the direction and speed of the canoe.
- Maintain a consistent pace: Try to maintain a consistent pace to avoid paddling out of sync. This will help you conserve energy and paddle more efficiently.
- Practice steering strokes: Learn some strokes, such as the sweep and draw strokes, to help steer the canoe effectively.
- Take breaks: Take breaks when needed to rest and stretch your muscles. This will help you avoid fatigue and maintain good paddling form.
- Bring the right gear: Bring gloves and waterproofs to protect your hands and stay dry. This will help you stay comfortable and focused on paddling.
- Plan your route: Plan your trip ahead of time and have a map to guide you. This will assist you in avoiding getting lost and safely arriving at your destination.
- Teach your kids: If you’re paddling with children, show them some fundamental paddling methods and let them paddle in turns. This will increase their sense of involvement and engagement.
- Have fun: Remember to have fun and enjoy the experience of paddling together as a family. Take in the scenery and enjoy the time spent together on the water.
Things to Keep in Mind While Paddling with Family (including kids)
- Safety First: Prioritize safety by ensuring everyone wears a fitted personal flotation device (PFD) or canoe life jacket. This will keep everyone safe in case of an accident or emergency.
- Choose the Right Equipment: Select the appropriate kayak or canoe for your family. Choosing the right equipment will ensure everyone is comfortable and safe while paddling the canoe.
- Plan Ahead: Research the location and check the weather forecast before leaving. This will help you choose a calm and suitable water body for your family’s paddling adventure.
- Hydration and Sun Protection: Stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle close at hand and making a conscious effort to drink enough throughout the day. Protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen, hats, and lightweight, breathable clothing that covers exposed skin.
- Pack Essential Gear: Create a packing list to ensure you have all the necessary gear for your family kayaking trip. This will ensure you have everything you need to stay safe and comfortable on the water.
- Set Realistic Expectations: Consider each family member’s abilities and comfort levels when planning the duration and intensity of your paddling trip. Starting with shorter trips and gradually increasing the distance and difficulty level will ensure everyone has a positive experience.
- Teach and Practice Paddling Skills: Before setting off, teach your children basic paddling techniques and safety rules. This will help build confidence and ensure everyone can manoeuvre their kayak or canoe.
- Stay Together and Communicate: Establish clear guidelines for staying together. This will ensure everyone stays safe and no one gets lost or separated from the group.
- Respect Nature and Wildlife: Encourage your family to respect the environment and wildlife. This will help preserve the area’s natural beauty and ensure your family’s and the wildlife’s safety.
- Choose the Right Clothes: When choosing clothes for a kayaking trip with your family, remember a few things. First, you want to protect your skin from the sun. Second, you want to wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in.
- Choose the Right Time: Children’s paddling and swimming abilities and maturity levels can vary widely, so the age at which they are ready to go it alone will vary. Choosing the right time to introduce your children to kayaking will ensure they have a positive experience and are excited to continue paddling.
FAQs – Best Canoe for Family
Who steers in a 2 person’s canoe?
What type of family canoe is best for beginners?
A stable recreational canoe with a wide hull is ideal for beginners. It offers better balance and therefore, these canoes cannot tip over easily, making it easier for newcomers to learn and enjoy canoeing.
The Old Town Saranac 160 Canoe is often considered a good choice for beginners.
What kind of canoe is the most stable for families?
Canoes with a flat-bottomed hull tend to be the most stable for families. This design provides good stability for various family members, including children.
The Lifetime Kodiak Canoe are known for their stability, making them suitable family options.
Can you fit 2 adults and 3 kids in a 3-seater canoe?
It’s unlikely to fit 2 adults and 3 kids comfortably in a 3-seater canoe. This setup would exceed the canoe’s capacity and compromise safety and stability.
Is a wider canoe more stable?
Generally, a wider canoe is more stable. A broader hull increases stability by providing a larger base for weight distribution, making it suitable for families and beginners.
What is the best material for a canoe for families?
Rotomolded polyethylene canoes are often best for families due to their durability, affordability, and resistance to impact. They require less maintenance compared to materials like fibreglass or wood.
What are the differences between inflatable and hardshell family canoes?
Inflatable canoes are portable and easy to store, while hardshell canoes offer better performance and durability. Inflatables are lighter and more convenient for travel, while hard shells are more robust and stable.
How important is the hull design of a family canoe for stability?
Hull design significantly impacts stability. A flatter hull provides better initial stability, while a rounded hull offers better secondary stability. Families may prefer greater initial stability for comfort.
Why is the choice of gunwale material significant for a family canoe?
The choice of canoe gunwales material impacts durability and maintenance. Aluminium gunwales are more durable but can be cold to the touch. Wood offers a traditional look but requires more upkeep.
How do the depth and width of a family canoe impact its stability and capacity?
A deeper canoe can hold more weight and passengers but may sacrifice some stability. A wider canoe offers better stability but might be slower in the water. Balance is key for family canoes.
Jack Bennett, a passionate pedal boating enthusiast, and marine engineer by day, is here to share my knowledge and love for this exciting sport with you all. Happy Boating!