Pakboat PakCanoe folding canoe family canoeing

Selecting the Right Pakboat Folding Canoe

Pakboats' folding canoes, AKA the PakCanoes, are legendary in the portable boat world.  Their skin-on-frame hulls are light yet strong, they flex enough to take the edge off the waves for a drier ride, and you can pack the whole thing in a bag.  So you know you want a folding boat and you've decided a Pakboat folding canoe is for you but now you have to decide which model is the right one.  Once you've answered the few questions below, you will have the wee boat answer!


Pakboats PakCanoe folding canoe family canoeing trip


How Many People?


Solo Paddlers

You might be assuming that like most canoes a Pakboat canoe is made for two people to paddle but that would not quite be correct.  The ingenious folks at Pakboat created portable canoe models for the solo paddler too.  So if you are a solo paddler wanting to carry a good bit of gear then a solo Pakboat canoe might be a better choice for you than a kayak.  The PakCanoe 140 can carry up to 450 pounds, paddler plus gear.  Most kayaks just don't have that kind of capability and especially not in a nimble 14 foot length.  If you need even more weight capacity you can also choose the PakCanoe 150T and get the 150T to 150 conversion kit.  The kit will transform the wider shape of the PakCanoe 150T into a deeper and more narrow shape that is perfect for a solo paddler. Plus it can carry up to 650 pounds!


Two or More Paddlers

If there will be two paddlers in your portable canoe, then any of the other PakCanoe models will work for you.  If you want to carry a passenger such as a child in addition to the two paddlers, then the PakCanoe 160 or the PakCanoe 170 is the answer.  Just be sure to add the center seat accessory so the wee passenger has a place to sit.


Still wondering if a skin-on-frame boat is durable enough?  Read More about skin-on-frame boats.


How Much Gear and Stuff?


As with any boat, the weight of all the stuff you want to carry is a critical factor in deciding which portable boat is the right portable boat.  Too much stuff and the boat doesn't handle well and isn't safe.  Way too much stuff and you get wet.  The good thing about a PakCanoe is that they are designed to carry a lot of weight.  In fact, because the skin-on-frame hulls are so much lighter than a traditional canoe hull they actually paddle better when they have some weight in them.  


Don't Forget the Paddlers

The weight of the paddlers is an important part of the weight calculation for any boat but it is particularly important for small boats.  When you review the specifications for most small boats the weight capacity is the Total weight capacity not the weight of just your gear and other stuff.  That is why you will see that some boats mention very specifically that they are for small or medium sized paddlers in addition to giving a total weight capacity specification.  So make sure to subtract the weight of the paddlers and any passengers from the total capacity to know how much stuff you can carry.  For example, if there will be two paddlers that each weigh 150 pounds then the paddlers total weight is 300 pounds.  If the total weight capacity of the canoe is 650 pounds, then 650 minus 350 is 300 pounds of gear and other stuff you can bring in the canoe.


Water Is Heavy

When going on longer trips in your folding canoe the amount of drinking/cooking water you will be carrying also starts to play a factor in the weight calculation.  This is really important if you will be paddling in a brackish or salt water area away from a source freshwater.  A U.S. gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds (3.78 kg) at 62°F (17°C).  Many people carry at least 1 gallon of water per day per person.  So if you are going on a 7 day camping trip where you needed to pack all of your drinking water for two people, that would equate to 14 gallons or about 117 pounds.  If conditions are particular hot and your are paddling a lot, that number could be much higher.  It's certainly manageable but not negligible when determining how much weight capacity you have left for gear, food, and other stuff.


What Type of Conditions?


Flat or White

Folding canoes are very capable of handling a variety of conditions and water types but some are more specialized than others for specific conditions.  PakCanoes can handle whitewater, flatwater, freshwater, and saltwater.  If you are going to be in whitewater river conditions, then a deep and narrow canoe is more nimble and better at handling that type of paddling.  The PakCanoe 140, PakCanoe 165, and PakCanoe 150T with conversion kit all have deeper narrower hulls that are better for whitewater.  If you are going to be in mostly flatwater conditions then a broader more stable canoe will typically work better for you.  The hull shapes of the PakCanoe 150T, PakCanoe 160, and PakCanoe 170 have a broader profile that will typically be better in those conditions.


Fresh or Salty

The PakCanoes can all handle both freshwater and saltwater as all of the materials are compatible with each.  The aluminum frame of the PakCanoes are all anodized so that corrosion is less of an issue for the metal parts.  It's always good to rinse all of your wee gear and PakCanoe with freshwater after being exposed to saltwater, it will help them dry more easily and further limit corrosion.




Canoes are very versatile small boats and PakCanoes are even more so.  Being lightweight and packable but yet able to handle big loads means that they are usable for a variety of trips.  While a regular canoes would be difficult if not impossible to bring on an airplane to a remote location the PakCanoe handles this trip with ease.  Going camping for a week or more could mean loads of gear and the PakCanoe is able to handle that too.  If you are going paddling for the day on the local lake, then just throw the PakCanoe bag in the trunk and off you go.  There is never an excuse not to find a place to go paddle whether for a month or a day!

The table below summarizes the specifications of the different PakCanoe folding canoe models.








PakCanoe 140


(81 cm)


(36 cm)

38 lbs

( 17.2 kg)


(430 cm)

450 lbs

(205 kg)

PakCanoe 150T w/

conversion kit


(84 cm)


(36 cm)

45 lbs

(20.5 kg)


(460 cm)

650 lbs

(295 kg)

PakCanoe 150T


(89 cm)


(33 cm)

48 lbs

(21.8 kg)


(460 cm)

650 lbs

(295 kg)

PakCanoe 160


(94 cm)


(36 cm)

53 lbs

(24.1 kg)


(490 cm)

760 lbs

(345 kg)

PakCanoe 165


(84 cm)


(36 cm)

54 lbs

(24.5 kg)


(505 cm)

830 lbs

(375 kg)

PakCanoe 170


(96 cm)


(36 cm)

56 lbs

(25.5 kg)


(520 cm)

910 lbs

(415 kg)


If you need any help at all deciding what PakCanoe or small boat is best for you, please contact Wee Boats to discuss your small boat needs.




Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing