If you began paddling before the rise of plastics, chances are you’ve sat in an aluminum Grumman canoe. These iconic canoes have led many adventurous families, scout troops and Burt Reynolds wannabes on their first canoe trip.
In 1944, Grumman Aircraft Engineering’s Vice President, William Hoffman, conceived the idea to build an aluminum canoe with the same technology Grumman had been using for their aircraft. Presumably, this idea emerged after slogging a waterlogged wood-canvas canoe through the Adirondacks, as aluminum construction lightened the load significantly.
With shaped aluminum panels riveted together, these canoes could be mass-produced and sold at a reasonable price. Without the care and maintenance that wood-canvas canoes demanded, recreational canoeing was suddenly available to the masses.
Grumman canoes are stable and fairly lightweight, considering how durable they are. The riveted aluminum construction resists warping, scraping, and most punctures. These are ideal canoes for anglers and hunters, or anyone who wants a boat that they don’t need to worry about. The metal construction will last generations. They are a bit noisy and frigid to the touch on cold days but consider a Grumman if that doesn’t bother you.
This article will provide you with everything you need to know about buying a Grumman canoe, whether it’s new or used. You will also find links to view specific models and compare the specifications with other popular canoes. Read on to learn more.
Our picks: Best Grumman canoes for 2022
Here are some of the most popular Grumman aluminum canoes. Use this list as inspiration on your search.
Best Grumman Canoes
Shop Grumman canoes
Follow the links below and view different Grumman canoes if you’re ready to start shopping. Filter them by type, size and store. The links take you to our Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you can compare Grumman canoes alongside other similar boats.
This comprehensive resource has essential information like specs, prices and dealers all in one place to save you the trouble of sifting through multiple websites.
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Shopping for a used Grumman canoe?
Used Grumman or other aluminum canoes are good low-risk purchases. If you are looking for a basic canoe to get from A to B or to leave at the hunt camp, you’ll find Grummans for low prices. As they are so durable, unless they’ve suffered catastrophic damage, it will still probably be fine to paddle even if they’ve been neglected for a while.
When you’re buying a used Grumman, consider where to look, what to look for and how much to pay when you find it.
Where to look
Since they’ve been in production so long and last almost forever, your chances of finding a used Grumman canoe are pretty high. They are especially popular among the hunting and fishing crowd, so you may have good luck searching in smaller towns. You can start shopping for a used Grumman right now by opening up your favorite online classifieds site. On Kijiji or Craigslist, Grumman canoes might be simply listed as “aluminum canoes” or another general term.
Cast a wide net to make sure that you don’t miss these postings. Another strategy might be to post a “wanted” ad on a community page. People may have aluminum canoes sitting in their backyards that they just haven’t gotten around to selling, and in these cases, they would be happy for you to take the boat off their hands.
What to look for
Since these canoes are so tough, most used ones will probably still be seaworthy. You’ll still want to inspect the boat and test it if you can. Flip the canoe over and look for weak points along the hull where it may have been repeatedly scraped and dragged. Two areas to check are the stems, the narrow aluminum plates that cover the seams at the bow and stern of the canoe.
If they’ve been bashed enough times they may have cracked, which could mean a leaky canoe. Best to get the canoe into some water and look for any water seeping in. Small holes are easy enough to repair with a bit of solder. Lift the canoe and listen for any water sloshing around in the bow and stern float tanks.
How much to pay
Used Grumman canoe prices will vary significantly depending on their condition and reason for the sale. You might find them for less than $500 if a seller is keen to clear it out. A newer canoe may sell for more, between $800–$1,000.
For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used canoe, read our article How To Buy A Used Canoe.
Grumman canoe buying advice
If you’ve decided that Grumman canoes are the way to go, check out their offerings below. We’ll touch on the three types of canoes they offer and who would enjoy them. Aluminum canoes are rare, and plastic has overtaken metal as the go-to for inexpensive, durable boats, but they still have their uses. While plastic canoes are susceptible to UV damage from the sun, you can leave an aluminum canoe exposed to sun, snow, heat and sleet; it will paddle the same as ever.
Grummans are stable, long-lasting canoes, ideal for recreational paddling, angling or hunting. Your preferred means of propulsion and how many people will be paddling the canoe will determine the best model and length to choose.
Grumman’s aluminum Double-Ender canoes are the ones most people are familiar with. These take the traditional canoe shape. They are the best option for prospective buyers who plan on exclusively paddling with single-bladed canoe paddles rather than attaching outboard motors or using oars. These are the lightest canoes Grumman makes as well. You can find a Grumman Double-Ender at 13, 15, or 17 feet long.
The length you choose depends on a few factors, and there are often tradeoffs when deciding which length to buy. Longer canoes get heavier, but they also increase the cargo capacity. You’ll track much better in a 17-foot canoe, but a 13-foot Double-Ender turns more readily.
For this reason, solo paddlers will have an easier time controlling a 13- or 15-foot canoe, while a 17-foot canoe provides ample space for overnight trips for two or outings with a dog. Choose the 17-footer if you’ll always have a paddling partner, the 13-footer if you’ll be solo more often, and the 15-footer for a bit of both.
Grumman’s 17-foot square-stern model is designed to be equipped with a motor for additional power. The reinforced transom at the back can support a five-horsepower outboard. At 85 pounds, this canoe is 10 pounds heavier than the 17-foot Double-Ender.
Users can paddle it with canoe paddles in areas where motors don’t work as well, like creeping into the weeds or marshy areas. These are good options for hunters, anglers or anyone who wants the extra power boost from a motor.
To dabble in a bit of everything, consider Grumman’s 3-in-1 Sportboat. This 15’3” boat can be paddled like a canoe, equipped with a motor or rowed with oars. At 40 inches, it’s wider than any of Grumman’s other canoes. It will not paddle as efficiently as the Double-Ender, but it is much more stable. This is a good option for families who want to get on the water safely but don’t care how quickly they’ll move.
The transom and extra width account for the additional weight in this 122-pound craft. This is more of a boat than a canoe, but if you aren’t planning to portage it (don’t plan to portage it), the Sportboat might be a good choice.
Is a Grumman a good canoe?
Grumman makes good aluminum canoes. These canoes are ideal for recreational paddling or paddlers who want a canoe that requires virtually no maintenance.
When did Grumman start making canoes?
Grumman started to make canoes in 1944, as World War II brought an industrial surge through the United States. The company originally made aluminum fighter planes in the war, and took the expertise for bending and riveting aluminum sheets and applied it to canoe building. The result was the first commercially viable recreational canoes.
Does Grumman still make canoes?
Marathon Boat Group owns the Grumman brand now, and they’re still churning out canoes, although with fewer options compared to their peak in the 1970s and 80s. Today, you can find three canoe models in different lengths.
Grumman canoe models
There are three different Grumman canoe models available this year. The Double-Ender is a classic canoe shape. The Square-Stern and 3-in-1 Sportboat are both flat at the stern for mounting outboard motors. Any of the models have optional paint in five colors.
Grumman canoe sizes
Grumman’s “Double-Ender” is available at 13, 15, and 17 feet long and 35-36 inches at the widest point. The Square-stern canoe is 17 feet with a 36 ⅝” beam. The 3-in-1 Sportboat is just longer than 15 feet and 40 inches wide.
Grumman canoe dimensions
Grumman canoe specs vary depending on the model. The specs for the current models are available in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. The dimensions of discontinued Grumman canoes may be found online or by contacting Grumman directly.
Weight of Grumman canoes
Grumman canoe weights range from 58 pounds for the 13-foot Double-Ender to 122 for the 3-in-1 Sportboat.
The weight of Grumman Double-ender canoes is comparable to some polyethylene and fiberglass canoes of equal lengths.
Grumman canoe prices
New Grumman canoes start at $1,500. Prices vary depending on the model and length.
Grumman canoe value
Used Grumman canoes hold their value well because of their long life. Unless it suffers catastrophic damage, the canoe will perform the same as it did when it was brand new. Used Grumman canoe prices will vary. Some may just want to clear the canoe out, while others will list it close to the sticker price. From 50–80% of the original price is fair for a used aluminum canoe.
Grumman canoe dealers
If you’re wondering where to buy a Grumman canoe, use the dealer locator tool. Grumman canoes are sold at independent outfitters, who may also be able to order a canoe in for you.
Compare Grumman canoes
Alumacraft vs Grumman canoe
Minnesota-based boat manufacturer Alumacraft began producing canoes shortly after Grumman. They no longer make canoes, instead focusing on aluminum boats, but you can still find used ones for sale periodically.
An Alumacraft canoe that’s in good shape will still provide the same durability of a Grumman canoe. If you know you want an aluminum canoe, either will meet your expectations. Grumman is a good choice if you’re set on a new aluminum canoe rather than a used one.
Grumman canoe reviews
Learn more about how people use Grumman canoes by reading reviews. These provide insight that can’t be found by looking at the specifications. Reviews will give you more information and help guide your decision on whether or not to buy a Grumman canoe, or which one to buy.