By far and away our most popular canoe is the Lakota. It is a nice versatile size with ample space for a family while being lovely to paddle solo. We first designed this canoe back in 2008 and from the first moment of launching we knew it was a winner. It is an adaptation of a design prepared for us by Jemwatercraft in America, called the Iroquois. You can still buy those plans from Jem.
Light enough to carry single handed on your shoulders (about 28kg) and easily transported on a car, the Lakota is 15'6" long, 36" in the beam and about 20" high.
A key feature of the Lakota is tumblehome, where the upper panel slopes inwards. This makes padding much less fatiguing than many other canoe designs. 
The Lakota has three thwarts (seats) which are arranged asymmetrically to enable the canoe to be paddled in either direction depending on the number of people on board. 
Plenty of space for camping equipment etc. 
The very low draught enables the Lakota to glide through very shallow water. 

Lakota 17

The Lakota 17  is a 17' version of the standard Lakota. It is about 400mm longer and slightly wider in the beam.

These are £200 more than the standard Lakota, take a little longer to build, and weigh about 33kg. You would struggle to get this canoe up on your shoulders but it is easily carried by 2 of you.

Before I let you build one I tend to insist you try the standard Lakota first as people often find that it is sufficient for their needs. However if you want to take the whole family, or you are keen to ensure plenty of space and carrying capacity, this model might well be your preferred option.

The Lakota 17 can be transported on a car, especially if you have an estate.

Longer canoes can be harder to store.. Something to bear in mind. 


The Huron is our shortest lightest canoe. It is just 13 feet long and weighs around 20kg.

Based on the Lakota we make very few of these as I don't feel they have the stability of the original Lakota. That said, people who have built them have been very positive about their canoes. They are light and agile on the water and although primarily for solo paddling, they will happily take two people. 

The cost of the Huron is the same as the standard Lakota.

Before you build your canoe I will get you to try a standard Lakota on the water. Canoe sizes are misleading. The only way to tell the size is to get in one and paddle! They are smaller than you think, but look immense on the workbench. 

Other canoe designs

Sometimes people ask us if they can build their own designs here. The answer is a qualified yes.

I only accept other designs here if I have had sight of the plans before you book. This is to ensure that the design is feasible here.

The other thing I insist on is that you bring full sized templates with you.

These days full sized templates are rarely sold when you buy plans. If your plans don't include full size templates you will need to loft them up yourself before you arrive. This is a time consuming and painstaking process but vital before you build your canoe. A bit like drawing a graph at school you have to plot out points and join them together with a curved line. Wallpaper lining paper or similar is fine for this.

You need to be aware that building designs other than our own will require permission from the designer (if you have bought plans from a canoe design company you will have been given permission to build one canoe, unless it states otherwise) 

To avoid disappointment please discuss all these elements with us before you book. It will inevitably be more costly than a standard Lakota owing to the additional workshop time required. 

Note the canoe on the picture is actually the standard Lakota! This illustrates just how many people it will carry.. Just about! Buoyancy aids should be worn at all times... 

Stanley Small Craft designs

Paul from Stanley Small Craft, has developed a range of canoe building plans, including the Peasemarsh range, which bear a striking resemblance to our Birchcanoes Lakota range.  I built one of  the smallest of his range this summer, as a try-out. It is the Peasemarsh 10, and is only 10 feet long. You are welcome to build one of this range instead of a Lakota if you prefer. However, you will need to purchase your templates from Stanley Small Craft before you come ( we are planning to offer these for sale on this site in due course).