Solo canoes are designed to be paddled alone: the ends are narrow. Tandems are built to carry a person in each end: the ends are full. Solos don’t hold two people comfortably. Tandems have plenty of capacity for two. When you paddle a tandem solo, even a small one, with little equipment, you’ll get blown around in the wind, unless you’re built like an NFL lineman. See the picture of three adults totaling close to five-hundred pounds to help illustrate the capacity of the Polaris, a good solo/tandem.

Here’s the pertinent question: How much will you paddle solo? Be honest. If you’ll be solo 75% of the time, buy the solo and rent a tandem as necessary. Here are the common responses: but my wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, mistress/gigolo will feel left out, guilt trip me, or simply won’t let me buy the canoe. Justifying the purchase: explain that short term solitude does not bode ill for the relationship. In fact, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Remember to exercise tact and sensitivity when employing clichés.

If you’ll paddle solo half the time or you’ve got a kid you want to take, buy a tandem and bring plenty of ballast when you paddle solo on a windy day. Tandems paddled solo are also great for fishing, photography and comfy naps on the water.

Solo or solo/tandem? One of each is the best choice. Remember the old adage to the question of how many canoes you need? Just one more.