3 C’s of the Family Canoe

By Andy Whitcomb

Jul 06, 2020

A family canoe outing can be a great adventure. When planning, consider these three factors that will make your outing so much better for you and your family!

If you are looking for fun things to do outside with the family, consider an outing on a watercraft such as the canoe. With a little planning, a family canoe trip can be an adventure, worthy of making your kids’ “what I did this summer” essay. Here are some considerations for a canoe float with the family.

  1. Capacity. When weighing family kayak or family canoe trips, there are pros for each but you may find it helpful to have the additional room of a canoe. The extra capacity, which may rate as much as 1000 pounds, is advantageous for transporting stuff such as coolers, snacks, fishing gear, dip nets and other activities for kids.
  2. Calm. Pick a day with good weather and light wind. A good place for an opening family canoe voyage is a pond or small lake, where waves and current don’t complicate things. Novices tend to over correct sensations of imbalance so the best canoe for family outings is one that focuses a remaining stable. Small, slow rivers and creeks are great options too, but there is the added complication of current and transportation logistics.
  3. Communication. Steering control is mainly accomplished from the back seat of a family canoe, but the front seat crew member has the superior vantage point. With this vision, the front passenger needs to be able to communicate in a clear and timely manner navigational information such as locations of submerged boulders, logs, or gravel bars. Also with family canoe trips, take into account that if multiple canoes are required, some family pairings may work better than others. (You know what I’m talking about.)

Take all necessary safety precautions, such as wearing life jackets. Plan for the possibility of getting overturned by securing your gear and putting your phone or camera in a waterproof bag. Also, I’ve read that an inflatable family canoe may be easier to upright than a regular canoe. This might be an option too, if you are tight on storage or want something easier to transport.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.