Choosing a Canoe

Old Town offers a wide variety of canoe models and designs, each with features and design elements to meet specific paddling needs. In choosing your Old Town canoe, keep in mind that no single boat can do everything well. At Old Town, we make specialized canoes designed to do one thing very well, along with general recreation canoes that will do most things pretty darn well. To choose the right canoe for you, first make an honest evaluation of your intended needs and uses.

  • What types of canoeing activities will you participate in most of the time?
  • Will you paddle mostly on calm lakes and ponds, in waves and whitewater?
  • Will you seek lazy days fishing and exploring wilderness rivers, or the thrill of competition?
  • Will you paddle alone or with family and friends?
  •  How much money do you want to spend? 

 Once you've determined these parameters, you can choose the canoe design that will fit your needs most of the time.

Using This Site

CWhen determining the canoe that is best suited for you, take some time to compare all available models in each category. We have defined each category to help you narrow your choices. Definitions for each category are located on the right of this page.

When you know which models you are most interested in, link to our extensive Dealer Locator. You'll be able to find the Old Town dealers near you. Our dealers can also help you select a model that will best meet your needs.

Also in this section is "Canoe Anatomy," a handy primer on the basics of canoe design to help you understand the terminology and technology, and how subtle differences in size, shape and configuration can make a big difference to your canoeing experience.

One final thought: Canoeing is meant to be a pleasurable and exciting sport. Having the right canoe to meet your needs will greatly enhance your enjoyment on the water, as will having the proper safety equipment and accessories. As time goes on, you may seek new canoeing experiences and other designs. At Old Town Canoe, we're confident that no matter what type of paddling you're into, we have a quality canoe for you.


Canoe Types

To make it easier for you, we've organized our complete line of canoe models into four distinct categories based on how they function on the water and what sort of activities they are outfitted for. If you have any trouble finding what you are looking for, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.


Recreation canoes are suitable for a wide variety of on-water activities. They are perfect for people who want to paddle their local lake, pond or a quiet river.While these canoes may not have the performance features found in more specialized canoes their stability and versatility make them the right choice for families and newcomers to the sport of paddling.


Our Sporting canoes are designed and outfitted for a variety of outdoor activities. These canoes offer high initial stability and are versatile enough to be paddled, rowed or even motored.


Designed for easy transport, easy paddling and easy adventure. Make it a personal paddling experience.


Tripping and expedition canoes are designed to have a higher volume capacity. They can not only haul a large load, they are also designed to do the distance. Built with added rocker for maneuverability, these canoes can handle the abuse of most whitewater adventures.

Classic Wood

Not so much a specific use or activity, but a feeling. Old Town began its 100+ year history building wood and canvas canoes, and we still take great pride in our wood classics which capture the hand-crafted heritage that takes any Old Town canoeing experience back to its roots.

How to Choose the Right Canoe

In this episode of Canoeing TV, Andrew Westwood explains how to choose the right canoe for your type of paddling.



380 mile 26 day canoe & kayak trip

my name is hickory edwards and i am head paddler of the onondaga canoe and kayak club. this summer we are doing a paddle trip of about 380 miles from onondaga nation (just south of syracuse ny) to the united nations building in new york city. this is a 25 day trip. designed to educate the public on the two row wampum belt treaty and to create an sutanible ecosystem for all living things on the planet. we will be holding 13 events all along the hudson rive from albany to newyork city.after we reach albany from syracuse we will trying to take up 200 people down the hudson river. and as you can tell canoes will be a problem for us to supply for every one. we would like ask if you can possibly donate the use of a few of you fine canoes. i can be reached at onondagacanoeandkayakclub1613@gmail.com or called at anytime at 315-775-7548 and for more info on this trip please visit www.honorthetworow.org hope to hear for you soon sincerely hickory edwards