Is a Fiberglass Canoe Lighter Than Aluminum?

When it comes to choosing the right canoe for your water adventures, one of the most important factors to consider is weight. A lighter canoe can make transportation and handling much easier, while a heavier one may require more effort and muscle power.

Two common materials used for canoes are fiberglass and aluminum. But which one is lighter? Let’s take a closer look.

Fiberglass Canoes

Fiberglass canoes are made by layering fiberglass cloth over a mold in a process called “laying up.” The layers are then bonded with resin and finished with gel coat for a smooth surface. Fiberglass canoes are known for being lightweight, durable, and easy to repair.


The weight of a fiberglass canoe depends on its size and design. On average, a 16-foot fiberglass canoe weighs around 60 pounds (27 kg). However, some models can weigh as little as 45 pounds (20 kg) or as much as 80 pounds (36 kg).

  • Pros: Lightweight, durable, easy to repair.
  • Cons: Can be expensive compared to other materials.

Aluminum Canoes

Aluminum canoes are made from sheets of aluminum that are cut and formed into shape. The pieces are then welded together to create the final product. Aluminum canoes are known for being strong and resistant to damage from rocks or other obstacles in the water.

The weight of an aluminum canoe also varies depending on its size and design. On average, a 16-foot aluminum canoe weighs around 75 pounds (34 kg). However, some models can weigh as little as 60 pounds (27 kg) or as much as 90 pounds (41 kg).

  • Pros: Strong, resistant to damage.
  • Cons: Heavy, can dent or scratch easily.

So, Which Is Lighter?

In general, fiberglass canoes are lighter than aluminum canoes. However, as mentioned above, the weight of each type of canoe can vary depending on its size and design. It’s also important to note that a few extra pounds may not make a significant difference for some paddlers.

Other Factors to Consider

While weight is an important factor when choosing a canoe, it’s not the only one to consider. Here are some other factors that may impact your decision:

  • Cost: Fiberglass canoes tend to be more expensive than aluminum canoes.
  • Durability: Fiberglass canoes are known for their durability and resistance to damage, while aluminum canoes can dent or scratch more easily.
  • Performance: Each type of canoe has its own performance characteristics. Fiberglass canoes are known for being faster and more maneuverable, while aluminum canoes are stable and easy to paddle in calm waters.

The Bottom Line

Choosing between a fiberglass canoe and an aluminum canoe requires weighing the pros and cons of each material. While fiberglass canoes tend to be lighter and more durable than aluminum canoes, they also come with a higher price tag. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your personal preferences and needs as a paddler.

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Lindsay Collins