Best Family Canoes

Best Family Canoes in 2020 – Comprehensive Review

Nowadays canoeing becomes a very popular activity for families. It is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature together with your favorite people. And, it will not be boring for the kids. Actually, canoeing has a lot of health benefits, children could learn a lot about nature and last but not least – it is funny. However, in order to enjoy the perfect family canoeing trip, you need a safe, stable and comfortable canoe. And, this is the reason we decided to create a buying guide and reviews for the best family canoes in 2020.


Our Picks For the Best Canoes for Family in 2020


Best Family Canoes – 2020 Reviews


Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS 15.6-Foot Family Canoe – Top Pick

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS 15.6-Foot Family Canoe – Top Pick

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw is a large and stable canoe that can comfortably accommodate up to 3 adults or two adult paddlers with two to three children. And, it has 800 lbs weight limit the make it spacious and stable enough for both recreational paddling and fishing with your family.

The Mackinaw’s hull is constructed of sturdy UV-resistant Fortiflex high-density polyethylene and has a length of 15 feet 6 inches and a width of 42 inches. The weight of this family canoe is 104 lbs. Designed as a square stern canoe, Sun Dolphin Mackinaw allows you to insert an electric trolling motor and use it if tired of paddling. And, it is still able to steer and maneuver as a regular canoe if you are not using a motor.

The performance in the water is also one of the positives of Mackinaw. It is designed for optimal stability and tracking which are part of the most important features for a canoe for family. Actually, it is not one of the fastest boats available on the market, but speed is not so crucial for a relaxing trip with your loved ones.

However, Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS 15.6-Foot Canoe comes with three comfortable seats with molded-in cup holders. There is also a cooler under and the center seat and handy storage compartment. This canoe also features fishing rod holders and paddle holders.

Finally, we can say Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS 15.6 is a great canoe suitable even for a family of 5 with its generous weight capacity and stability. So it is considered as the top pick in our reviews for the best family canoes in 2020.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Excellent stability and tracking
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Allows inserting an electric motor
  • Comes with a cooler and storage compartment
  • Features rod holders, beverage holders, and paddle holders

Cons

  • Not so fast
  • A bit heavy at 104 lbs.

Sun Dolphin Scout Elite SS Canoe – Editor’s Choice

Sun Dolphin Scout Elite SS Canoe – Editor’s Choice

Here comes one more stable canoe for the family from Sun Dolphin – Scout Elite SS. Actually, the 14-foot Scout Elite SSit could be generally considered as the little brother of Sun Dolphin Mackinaw. It is made of the same rugger Fortiflex polyethylene and has a maximum buoyancy of 765, Lbs. So, it is perfectly suitable for a family of 3, but it also allows you to use it as a solo canoe. At the same time, it is easier for transportation compared to Mackinaw due to its more compact size and lower weight of 84 lbs.

The design of the boat features a sturdy square back transom that gives you the option of putting an electric motor. Actually, the boat is really maneuverable and easy for paddling and tracking due to its shorter length. It also stays stable in the water so you and your family could feel safe enough. However, the boat is not that fast for paddling.

Inside the canoe, the comfort of the canoeists is ensured by the three molded seats with beverage holders. There are also paddle holders and rod holders for a better experience from the family fishing trip.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Excellent stability and tracking
  • Comfortable
  • Easy transportation
  • Allows inserting an electric motor
  • Features rod holders, beverage holders, and paddle holders

Cons

  • Not so fast
  • Not so spacious due to its length

Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe

Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe

In case you are looking for a budget option, we think the best family canoe for you is Sevylor Ogden. It is an inflatable canoe that has rugged heavy-duty PVC construction and polyester cover for durable protection from punctures. The multiple air chambers system allows the boat to stay inflated if one of the chambers is punctures. This way you will be able to safely paddle to the nearest shore.

Actually, we can easily say that the inflatable Sevylor Ogden 2-Person Canoe is the preferred option for easy transportation and storage. Its weight is only 27 lbs and inflation and deflation are not an issue with the Boston Valve system. When inflated the boat has a weight limit of 355 lbs and provides space for up to 2 paddlers. And, the adjustable, elevated seats could be moved to comfortably fit the paddler.

Another positive of Sevylor Ogden is that it comes with everything you need for your canoeing trip. In the package are included hand pump, 2 paddles, carry bag and pressure gauge. So, it is an awesome canoe for beginners that comes at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Very good stability and tracking
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy for transportation and storage
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Suitable for only two people
  • Not so spacious

Old Town Saranac 160 Recreational Family Canoe

Old Town Saranac 160 Recreational Family Canoe

Looking for the best canoe for the family we just cannot miss the Old Town Saranac 160. With its massive and spacious thermoformed polyethylene flat hull, the 16-foot Saranac provides fun and stability in the water. It has a maximum buoyancy of 850 lbs and can carry up to 3 adult paddlers. Of course, it can also be used by a family of 5 – 2 adults and up to 3 children. However, this boat is relatively lightweight at 89 lbs, which perfectly reasonable considering its large body. And, it comes with molded-in carry handles for convenient transportation.

This boat has three comfortable seats. The bow and stern contoured seats are also equipped with adjustable backrest providing excellent back support for the paddlers. The center bench seat is very suitable for kids as it stays low in the canoe.

The storage space is also not an issue with Old Town Saranac 160. It features a 6-inch storage hatch under the center seat and storage trays under the other seats. There are also molded-in cup holders, rod holders, and paddle rests.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Excellent stability and tracking
  • Spacious and Comfortable
  • Great Maximum Weight Capacity
  • Lifetime hull warranty

Cons

  • Not easy for transportation and storage due to its size
  • Not so easy for maneuvering

Old Town Guide 147 Recreational Canoe

Old Town Guide 147 Recreational Family Canoe

Old Town Guide 147 is another canoe that deserves a place in the selection for the best canoe for the family. It is a versatile canoe suitable for both recreation and family fishing outings. The hull is 14 feet 7 inches long and has a weight limit of 900 lbs, which is the highest capacity in our selection. This canoe also has a unique cross-section design with stabilizing chines. These specifics ensure its great performance in the water in terms of stability and easy paddling or rowing, while the sharp entry helps for the nice tracking.

Actually, the guys from Old Town has not made compromises with the durability of Guide 147. It is made of durable three-layer, roto-molded polyethylene. The hull is 38 inches wide and provides space and comfort for 2 paddlers. Actually, it could comfortably accommodate one or two kids in addition. Transportation is also not an issue with this canoe – it weighs 82 lbs and features convenient molded handles.

The canoe comes with ash carrying yoke and contoured bow and stern seats with adjustable backrests for added support for the paddler.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Excellent stability and tracking
  • Spacious and Comfortable
  • Great Maximum Weight Capacity
  • Lifetime hull warranty

Cons

  • Not so maneuverable
  • Some canoeists state the seats are not very comfortable

How to choose the best canoe for the family?

Best Family Canoes - Father and Son in a canoe

Choosing the best canoe for your family will very much depend on the number of family members and their total weight. It is also important to consider what kind of canoeing trips you are going to use it – recreation, fishing or camping. However, here are some of the most important considerations that will help you successfully choose the most suitable canoe for your family.

Safety

Safety first. It is the most important thing to consider when canoeing with your family. Even more, as far as there are kids on board, it makes safety crucial. So, you should ensure that you have chosen one of the best family canoes in terms of stability and safety.

The most important thing to mention here is that everyone in the boat should wear a PFD (personal flotation device). And, it should be the right size and fit properly for you and your kids.

Size

The next important consideration when choosing your boat will be its size and the number of seats. And, here your choice will depend on how many people have in your family. You should also pay attention that you will need storage space for your gear.

Actually, the performance of the canoe in the water also depends on its dimensions. Wider boats are generally more stable. The length of the boat impacts its speed and maneuverability. Longer boats perform better in terms of speed while the shorter ones are better in terms of maneuvering.

Weight Limit

Generally, the weight limit represents the maximum load a canoe or kayak has the capacity to handle without negative impacts on its performance and stability.

You need to look for a vessel that can successfully carry the total weight of the people on board. Also, you need to include in the calculation the weight of the gear you are planning to take. The weight limit of the best canoe for your family should be well above the total weight of the family members and your gear.

Stability

Stability is the king when looking for the best family canoes. Actually, most of the canoes nowadays are pretty stable and safe in the water, but their performance in terms of stability is not equal.

The stability of the boat mostly depends on its width and hull design. Generally, boats with wider and flat bottom hull stay more stable in the water. So, they are a great first choice for families looking for a recreational or fishing canoe.

Durability

The durability of every boat pretty much depends on the manufacturer and the materials used in the production. And, you should pay attention to buy a canoe from a well-known and high-quality brand. You should also look for a boat made of sturdy materials like polyethylene or maybe aluminum.

Even more, you are going to paddle with your kids so there is a huge chance they will not be very careful with the boat. So, your canoe will be more vulnerable to hits and scratches.

Canoe Weight

Last but not least, canoe own weight is an important consideration. You need to look for a boat with an optimal balance between its weight and the size you need for your family. It is a common sense that lightweight canoes are easier for carrying and transportation.

And, before buying the canoe you should consider if you will be the only person racking the canoe to your car and moving it to the water. Or someone from your favorite ones can help you with these tasks. In case you have a helper, you can afford to buy a bit heavier and bigger boat, but if you need to carry it alone – choose a lighter a vessel.

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