Inflatable Canoeing Basics

Some people prefer an inflatable canoe to an inflatable kayak and for certain activities such as expeditions and fishing they offer some great advantages and are a versatile way to get around on the water.

I have personally always been better at paddling a kayak but if you learn the basics, canoeing can be a lot of fun.

Inflatable Canoeing

Below are the basics you will need to know about inflatable canoeing and canoes in general.

  • If you are used to row boats you will find that inflatable canoes are much lighter and easier to carry as well as transport to and from the water. They are also human-powered and therefore require no noisy motor or expensive gas.
  • Although a canoe can be paddled by one person, it will work best with two or more people.
  • Inflatable canoes can vary greatly in size. Some are designed for only one person while others can hold up to three or more people with gear.
  • Most inflatable canoes will have a seat in the front as well as the back. Others have benches for sitting. It is very common to also paddle a canoe by kneeling in the bow or stern.
  • When paddling a canoe each person faces the front. The back person will do the steering and act as the rudder while the front person will focus mainly on the power strokes.
  • It is important that each person work together to manoeuvre the inflatable canoe. If you do not then the canoe will likely start to turn in circles. I always have this problem when I try to paddle a canoe solo‚Ķ I am not very good at it!
  • In order for the canoe to paddle in a straight line it is important to know how to paddle correctly. The blade of the paddle goes into the water perpendicular and then when it is out of the water the paddle should be parallel to it.
  • You will hold the paddle with one hand on the top of the paddle and the other hand closer to the blade. Then push the paddle into the water and pull the blade towards you and then behind you for a complete and proper stroke.
  • To move the inflatable canoe backwards you will need to put the paddle in the water behind you and then push the paddle forward.
  • You should switch hands and sides while paddling as you notice very quickly that you will start to spin in circles if you just paddle on one side.
  • When paddling with two people you should each paddle on the opposite side of the canoe.
  • In order to conserve energy, have a focus point on where you are going. Otherwise it can be very easy not travel in a straight line and work harder than you need to.

Inflatable canoeing is convenient, fun and an excellent form of exercise. The fact that the canoe is inflatable means that you can store it in a small space, transport it in the trunk of your vehicle or take it traveling with you on an airplane.

There are many options to choose from and a wide price range. To see the different inflatable canoe options please see our Inflatable Canoe Reviews page.


  1. Doreen Murgatroyd says:

    Informative post and useful for those who are thinking of getting into canoeing. Don’t inflatable canoes have any form of keel or rudder or help with the tracking?

Speak Your Mind