14 Footer Inquiry - New Kayaker

On the hunt for a decent 14 foot boat to do lake/river paddling and multi-day trips. This would be my first tour/rec kayak.

Came across an Old Town Cayuga 146 – 2009 model.

Curious if anybody has paddled one, owns one, etc…

I have paddled a few other boats but ran into the Cayuga for a good price so considering depending on research.

Have always received great advice on this forum so curious to hear what you all have to say…

Great kayak IF
IF it is made out of Polylink 3, which consists of a layer of foam sandwiched between two layers of plastic. The Cayugas were originally made of this material, but only briefly. The current Cayugas are made of a soft thinner rotomolded plastic.

How to recognize Polylink 3: The surface is shinier than rotomolded. It almost looks polished (and it takes a polish very well). It has tiny black flecks in the finish. It is visibly harder and smoother on the surface.

Polylink 3 is stiffer and harder than rotomolded plastic, which means faster and more durable. You really feel the difference when you paddle it, especially if you get yourself a good carbon paddle to go with it.

The Cayuga has an excellent hull shape. Even without a rudder it tracks and leans very well and can handle waves and rough water well. I would consider it seaworthy. A real workhorse.

It has excellent storage capacity for multi-day trips. I think you could easily do a week with it. I’ve done 5-day trips and had room to spare.

At the time the seat was one of the best you could buy. It’s a bit outdated now but still better than some.

If this kayak is made of Polylink 3, buy it! It’s very hard to find that kayak now. If it’s in good shape and costs $700 or less, it’s worth it.

Limited to Flat water
You want to make sure you understand that with a cockpit like in the Cayuga that you are limiting your self to absolute flat water. If you really want to do multiple day trips on rivers and large lakes you probably want a boat that you can buy a skirt that works well. You don’t say where you will be paddling, but you don’t want to do more than Class I, and you don’t want to be on open coastlines with windwaves, or ocean.

Sorry I was mistaken Cayauga has a smaller cockpit than most rec boats - I was remembering the seat - so probably better than most in moving water if you use the spray skirt.

Good points here…
Went and looked at a Cayuga for sale near where I live, STL MO. Really liked the boat itself, but as stated in previous postings the hull was a bit flimsy and flexed quite a bit under little pressure. The bulkheads were also broken from their original seals which concerns me.

Think I am going to keep looking, but if i do find an older one made from more durable plastic and in better shape it may be what I am looking for.

To answer a question posted:

  • I plan to paddle in the midwest mostly — around Missouri. Do plan on tripping too, so locations could be more widespread

    Thanks again for the advice.

P&H Delphin
Look at a Delphin way better. You will get tired of a rec kayak in no time.

First, I don’t own any of these, so these are just a couple I would look into if I were in your position. I’m assuming by lake/river paddling we are not talking whitewater or tidal races, but flatwater rivers.

If you’re a smaller built person, the Impex Gale or Impex Mystic, both 14’ X 21 1/2" x 11" depth, should get you towards nice typical all-around sea kayak performance. The Walrus Griffin 13’11" x 21.75" x 11.75" depth and Eddlyline Samba 13’10" x 22 1/2" x 12.5" depth you could try if you’re a little thicker in the thighs and seat. While there aren’t that many out there at 14’ that look like they would give nice performance, when you dig, there are a few that stick out to me.

Others I personally would be less initially attracted to, largely because they get beamier, but still I think I could end up enjoying, would be the Necky Looksha 14 or Manitou 14, Dagger Alchemy (I understand this one is quite squirrely compared to typical desired performance outside of rough water play? I would probably enjoy this one in the surf, but that doesn’t sound like it’s your current deal?), Current Designs Vision 140, Seaward Compass 140, Seda Vida.

Maybe someone skilled has experience with this 14’ range and can give impressions, but I’m guessing those first 4 may offer a bit sportier fit, feel, and performance, for typical performance oriented kayaking, the Alchemy leaning largely towards playful rougher water performance, and the rest the step between recreational and performance kayaking.

Don’t you wish you could have them all at a single shop on the water, ready for you to demo? I think I’d want to join you just to get a feel for what the 14’ range has to offer.

Another suggestion
You won’t find one used because they just came out with the model this year, but the 14’ Venture Islay is a very cool boat and reasonably priced. I have seen them on end-of-season sales for under $1000.

I’ve owned close to a dozen kayaks and used many others as rentals and loaners and have become a big booster of Venture’s kayaks as excellent “bang for the buck”. They are made by highly respected British manufacturer P & H (who makes the Delphin that was recommended earlier) and are well designed for performance, nicely finished, a bit lighter than similarly styled boats by other marques and quite reasonably priced. You biggest problem might be finding a midwest dealer for them.

They are forgiving of a beginner but have design aspects that allow you to increase your skills – plust they are fast boats in flat water and secure, even fun, in rough waters.

Old Town Cayuga 146
It’s an OK boat as I had one for about a year. I thought the boat was on the sluggish side but that’s only my opinion. Also consider the Necky Manitou 14 and the Wilderness Systems Tsunami line.

Dagger Alchemy
I have a Dagger Alchemy 14S and love it. Seems to do a little of everything and good all around. A fun change from my usual 16 to 18 foot kayaks.

Looks good
WL - I like the looks of the Venture Islay - hopefully can try one out sometime - thanks for the heads up.

Search parameter
There are a lot of choices out there but in your mentioning the 2009 Cayuga, is the search for performance or price? They are necessarily exclusive of each other on the used market but if you broaden your search you may find a lot of other options out there that will allow for better (funner) paddling overtime.

The Alchemy has been mentioned.

In the 14’ range I would suggest finding a Venture Kayaks dealer and test paddle an Islay.

Hopefully your shopping list becomes a bit longer than two choices.

See you on the water,


The River Connection , Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


First, thanks again for the feedback on this post. Really appreciate the advice and thoughts.

I am searching for a 14’ foot boat that will cost me at most $1,000. There are a ton of choices out there, many manufacturing companies, so many things to consider.

Definitely want a boat that will last and can stay fun as I get better in a kayak.

Saw Jackson makes a 14’ boat — the Journey. Any thoughts there?

Really ---- cost-wise would be looking at anything under $1,100-$1,200.

Have also been looking for used boats, found some but not many.

have you tried
the Buyer’s Guide here on P-Net?


select 14 to 15 ft, and see what comes up for further research and possible test paddles.

a couple significant things to consider besides price, since you mentioned multi-day trips – seat comfort for long intervals of paddling, and hull volume. depending on how you pack, you may find certain lower-volume models limiting.

that Journey should be a fun one to try out.

Absolutely incorrect
I guess you already realized that. I used the Cayuga 146 for many camping trips up to about 5 days, mostly on rather large lakes. The Cayuga is very stable and reliable in rough water. A friend used it extensively on Georgian Bay, which has challengin ocean conditions.

Performance vs price
If you watch Craigslist regularly, eventually a good kayak will turn up at a low price. A friend bought an Eddyline Journey last year for $550. Also last year I paid $650 for a brand new Cayuga 146 in Polylink 3 that came with a new Werner Camano paddle, a C-Tug, and other things. I bought it only for the paddle and the C-Tug and sold the kayak. Now is a good time to buy a used kayak on Craigslist.