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What Is A Scanoe?

Made by Coleman, the Scanoe is a skiff and canoe hybrid.

A Scanoe is broader than a typical canoe and boasts a square back to mount a trolling motor.

Be wary when seeking out a Scanoe, as they are often imitated, but never duplicated.

The original Coleman Scanoe is the real deal.

Buying a Scanoe

If you want to buy a Scanoe, you are going to have to get a one-second hand.

After Coleman sold the brand to Pelican International in 2001, the production of the original Scanoe ceased.

While Pelican tried to duplicate the product, they were never successful, and it has never been as popular as it was when the Scanoe debuted in the 1980s.

You may be able to find a Scanoe if you look diligently, but there aren’t that many that are still in excellent condition.

Some are out there, but you need to look hard to find an old Coleman model or one of the copycat versions that are still out there.


Alternatives to the Scanoe

A square back canoe is considered an alternative to a Scanoe because of the squared back that allows you to mount a motor.

A square back canoe is suitable for anyone looking to buy a boat for duck hunting or fishing. 

The difference between a square back canoe and a regular canoe is that the stern end is not pointed, but squared so that the motor can be attached to the boat easier.

Rather than paddling for the duration of your trip, it’s simple enough to add a trolling motor or an outboard motor to the square back canoe.

If you are planning on using your paddles for part of the journey, or most of it, the square back makes it more difficult for the canoe to glide in a straight line across the water, and it moves slower than a regular canoe.

If you are using the boat for duck hunting or fishing, you won’t need to worry about paddling much as you will likely use a motor to get to your fishing spot then rest there.

Adding Motors

If you add a motor to a flat back canoe, you will learn soon enough that the journey to your hunting or fishing location will come much quicker than if you were solely paddling.

You will need to factor in the size and weight of the motor that you choose to ensure the rig remains lightweight.

There are different types of motors that you can attach to a Scanoe.

A 5 horsepower engine is okay, although you might prefer a 2-5 horsepower model by Honda, Suzuki, Tohatsu, or Nissan, to name the top brands.

You can always look for a motor second-hand or buy a different model that costs less.

Size of Square Back Canoe

If you have not been able to find a Scanoe and have decided to purchase a square back canoe, determine what size works best for you.

The smaller canoes will be easier to navigate, but the capacity is limited than the larger models.

The larger model of a canoe will be more difficult to maneuver, but it will carry more.

Decide what is better for your needs, as well as what you can handle.

Purchasing a Scanoe vs Canoe

Many people may not know what you are referring to if you ask if they carry Scanoes since they have been out of production for a long time.

Since they are not found often, even on the resale market, you will need to know the correct terminology when looking for a canoe; Scanoe, or square back to get what you want.

Since not many people know what a Scanoe is, ask for a canoe with a square back. 

If you want to make sure that you are getting a traditional Scanoe, it is best to look for an old one for sale.

To get the real deal, make sure it was manufactured by Coleman or by Pelican.

Square Back Canoe

When comparing a square back canoe to a regular canoe, the main difference is the squared-off stern versus the point on either end of the canoe; the square back has one pointed end. 


  • You can add a motor to save you from paddling
  • The motor makes the trip quicker to get to your favorite fishing or hunting spot
  • Portable and reasonably lightweight for a trolling vessel
  • More room for seating people for a more leisurely adventure


  • Heavier than canoes and bulkier with the squared end design
  • The Scanoe site lower in the water because of the square back; lack of buoyancy
  • Difficult to paddle because of drag in the water
  • Not the best vessel for rougher waters because it isn’t as aerodynamic as a canoe

Typical Canoe

The classic canoe is a beautiful boat that is ideal for relaxing paddles along a serene lake or calm body of water.

Since the traditional canoe has pointed ends, it isn’t easy to attach a motor to it.

But it is probably best to keep the canoe as something you take out for a relaxing paddle when time is abundant.


  • Moves quickly through the water
  • Easy to steer and move through the water


  • Requires you to paddle, which can be exhausting
  • It can be unstable if you are bringing a larger fish on board and tip it too far to one side
  • Only seating for one or two people

Final Word

The decision to invest in a Scanoe, or a square back canoe, is entirely dependent upon what you will be using it for and if you plan on adventuring alone or with others.

If you are going for a day trip that will require you to get there fast (with a motor mounted on the back) and take it slow while having room to store coolers and equipment, then you want to opt for the Scanoe or square back canoe.

Alternatively, if you are going solo on a paddle and don’t plan to be long or carry many things with you, then a regular canoe will do just fine.

Decide what fits your needs and then decide on your choice from there, then enjoy the journey.

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