Photo: Clark Lubbs

Wenonah Canak
($2,699 in Kevlar,
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.