Features and Models


Nighthawk Canoes are handmade, and custom built-to-order.  My canoes offer the high performance and ultra light weight you expect from a kevlar® canoe, but with improved overall strength, durability and stability over similar designs.  I currently offer three models (see below) and countless options.

Lightweight: Among the lightest canoes available, for easy transport and portaging.

Strong: Kevlar + Epoxy construction with reinforcing rib system for superior strength and resilience.

High Performance: Clean, efficient, and fast for easy paddling.

Low Maintenance: Requires very little extra care. 

Stable: A shallow arched hull for added stability with any load or in rough water.  

Comfortable: Large webbed seats, custom placement.  

Beautiful: Options for color, materials, finish, and trim available nowhere else!

Nighthawk Canoe Models:

Tandem / Solo (#3)                                              Tandem 17 (#2)                                              Tandem-Plus (#1)

Length: 16'                                                           Length: 17'3"                                                   Length: 18'6"

Max Width: 33"                                                     Max Width: 35"                                                Max Width: 36"

Weight: ~36 lbs.                                                   Weight: ~40 lbs.                                               Weight: ~44 lbs.

Rocker: 1"                                                            Rocker 1.125"                                                  Rocker: 1.25"

Shallow Arch Hull                                                 Shallow Arch Hull                                             Shallow Arch Hull

Tandem / Solo (16'), Model 3.  At 16 feet, this is my smallest canoe, also making it the lightest and most maneuverable.  At your request, I can set the tumblehome and seat configuration to be primarily a tandem canoe, a solo only canoe, or a three seat hybrid for use as either.  Solo canoe includes adjustable center seat and removable yoke.  As a tandem, choose this model if you want the lightest possible canoe, and you primarily use your canoe for day trips / lighter loads.  Also choose this model as a higher capacity solo model, or for its flexibility.

Tandem 17 (17'3"), Model 2.  This is probably the canoe best suited to most paddlers, and balances the features of the larger and smaller models.  A great all-around design, it is light, fast and stable, with enough capacity to take two adults and quite a bit of gear across the water.  Choose this canoe for a tandem design that works well for recreational paddling or for more serious tripping.

Tandem-Plus (18'6"), Model 1.  As a result of its greater size, this model features the highest capacity, greatest stability and greatest speed of our three models.  This is an excellent tripping canoe, and a great match to large loads, big water, heavier paddlers and longer trips.  Configured with three or four seats, the model 1 also makes a great family canoe.  Its size makes it slightly heavier than the other models, and a little bulkier to maneuver.  Choose this model if you want a tandem canoe with high capacity, high speed, the best stability, or room for extra people.


Lightweight: Around 40 lbs., depending on model and options.  Among the lightest canoes available in these sizes, and equal to or better than any competitor's kevlar® canoes.  

Strong: I use a high-quality epoxy resin system, which is much stronger than the vinyl-ester resin systems used on almost all other kevlar® canoes.  Though epoxy is harder to work with and more expensive than other resins, it makes a much better composite canoe.  I also use three layers of kevlar® in the basic layup, one more than most other makers.  I reinforce the bow and stern internally, for extra wear resistance without ugly skid plates.  I can further customize the layup at your request.

Rib Reinforcements: All kevlar® canoes need reinforcement to keep from collapsing under load.  Most manufacturers use a foam-core floor, which is stiff, but can be brittle under severe stress.  Nighthawk Canoes uses a rib system, which is a more balanced approach.  Ribs provide stiffness, even under full load, but have some give and redundancy in the event of a severe blow.  This makes a safer and more resilient canoe.  Ribs also help keep gear dry, by holding packs off the floor of the canoe.

NOTE: A foam core floor is also available as an optional layup.  This is slightly more brittle, but still very strong.  The foam core makes the interior of the canoe much more tidy, attractive, and it is easier to move people and gear around over the uniform foam core floor.  

High Performance: Nighthawk Canoes are sleek, with a sharp, clean entry, smooth lines and a symmetrical hull shape.  Slight rocker gives good tracking with appropriate maneuverability, and symmetrical bow and stern height help to maintain control in wind.  Arrange a demo to experience our performance for yourself.

Low Maintenance: All composite canoes require protection from extended UV light exposure.  Apart from proper storage, Nighthawk Canoes require very little special attention, and can withstand extremes of temperature without trouble.  I also treat all wood parts with epoxy and a UV protecting varnish to eliminated the annual oiling usually required. 

Stability: My canoes feature a unique shallow arch hull shape.  The arched hull allows a canoe to more easily handle rough water, but many other canoe designs over-do the arch and their canoes can feel "tippy" in calm conditions.  Nighthawk Canoes are more balanced, with good performance in rough water, but also remain centered in calm conditions and light load.

Comfortable: Rather than using hard plastic bucket seats, Nighthawk Canoes all come with large, breathable, webbed seats.  Our hull design and seat placement allows for good leg room, and you may custom select higher or lower seat placement to fit your paddling style.  An Ash carrying yoke is also standard.  

Beautiful: Finish and colors available nowhere else, a smooth glossy surface, and details like carbon fiber end caps--what a premium canoe should be.  Get the canoe you want, not just what happens to be in the shop!

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