Wenonah Canak – Packing Light

Wenonah's new Canak isn't really a canoe or a kayak; it's a blend of both.

Photo: Clark Lubbs

Wenonah Canak
($2,699 in Kevlar, wenonah.com)
L: 16′; W:30″; D: 12.5″, 38 lbs.

As the name would suggest, Wenonah’s new Canak isn’t really a canoe or a kayak; it’s a blend of both. The hull is designed with a similar shape to Wenonah’s popular Prism solo canoe, which is a little longer than most pack canoes, making it paddle more like a traditional canoe than a kayak. But the Canak is ostensibly built for the same purpose as a pack canoe—flatwater lake and river camping involving portages. The Kevlar layup is a little heavier than most modern composite pack canoes (mainly on account of it having a deck) but it goes fast, and keeps the water off your gear. And keep in mind, even though the Canak is a little heavier than most pack canoes, it still only weighs about half as much as many tandems, while still being able to haul a heavy load.

“The advantage here is the dry storage,” one of our testers aptly observed. The outsized bow and stern hatches can easily fit 5,500- and 7,000-cubic-inch packs, respectively. Most of our testers preferred paddling it with a single blade, but it still handled well with a longer, double-bladed paddle (230-260 cm).

“It doesn’t maneuver as well as the shorter pack canoes,” another tester said. “But it definitely is the fastest of all the test boats.” The only real improvement our testers could think of was adding a backrest. Think Canak if you have a lot of gear, a few portages, and uncertain weather conditions.

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  • mark bwca

    Hello i spent two weeks last summer by my self in the bwca. I traveled from moose to knife, eddie falls, day trips into small lakes, vera, ensign and back to moose. Best trip i ever had. I owe it all to my canak. People say it does not stear well but in a rain storm when some are sitting on shore wind bound its the double bladed paddle you want. Some winds can keep you from treading in the right direction but if you zig zag into the wind and out using the full length of your double blade you will be smiling all the way home. If you still insist on a regular paddle longer is definitly better. Portaging was a cake walk and i caught and ate fish every day. Anybody looking to get out into the bwca this summer without having to wait for partners the canak is your ticket. You will fly through the water beating any one on the water and on the ground.

Buyer's Guide

Buyer's Guide