That’s nice! You still can’t beat wood for workability, strength and cost. I have a “next gen” of my PVC mod for a new car, and it’s now made of wood.
I live in Fort Myers and kayak from Bonita Springs to Punta Gorda. Check out www.calusablueway.com. It covers all the waterways along the west coast and around Pine Island. You can download or order maps that give you launch sites and different locations to paddle. Also “Paddles in Paradise” by Ed Higgins, is a paperback book on where to paddle around Punta Gorda. I met Ed and his wife paddling in Estero, great guy, good book and he belongs to a kayak club in Punta Gorda, which you should look into. Book is on Amazon or order on www.paddlesinparadise.com.
I’m insanely impressed - that looks awesome!
Thanks for the recommendations… I’m ordering both books right now!!
As for a kayak, I use a Wilderness Pungo 120 in CT only 49lbs, you might be able to get away with a 10ft version, in FL I just got a used Wilderness Pungo Ultra-lite (12ft) 2015 at only 39lbs! There are likely shops in Punta Gorda, got mine from Estero Outfitters, great guys run it Jeff and Josh, owners, have both new and used. I am 6’2" 195lbs so really need the 12ft versions, but again at 5’2" 10ft may work and that would reduce the weight of the kayak likely by 6 to 8 lbs. Can’t say enough about Wilderness Systems kayaks, but they are more expensive, so something like Perception Kayaks might work and a bit cheaper. Depends on how much you want to kayak. Sun Dolphin and alike are cheaper, lighter and generally a basic kayak. Might want to rent some first before you buy.
Nice saddles, but I definitely do not recommend those rubber tiedowns. They have a nasty tendency to degrade with UV exposure and break, often with little outward sign of failure. I used to use these on my work truck and after having several break replaced them with nylon cam straps. Not only adjustable, but stronger and longer lasting. Nylon straps will show signs of wear long before they actually fail.
For extra security would also recommend wrapping the straps around the roof rails.
Long distance they get bow lined and an additional nylon strap around the rails. I don’t think that particular rubber has seen 24 hours of UV yet but I do check for cracks when I load up. Supposed to be sunny and 40 today…
Trailex makes a great lightweight trailer for kayaks and canoe’s. 125lb aluminum trailer pulls with ease no bouncing or wobble, even empty. Doubles as a dolly. Many configurations for however many you are hauling. Trailex.com. Check out Boat Owners World in Canada (Good people!) to order online and pick up at factory for discount and tax free.
It appears you already have a trailer hitch on your outback. Purchase a truck extender, 4-5 ’
on Amazon or a dealer for about $50.00. This will enable you to slide kayak straight into the outback, very little lifting required. Great for short hauls. You can position the hatchback on the kayak with bungee cord and a towel. Be sure to keep windows open while driving to eliminate carbon monoxide. This has worked very well for me for years.
Thanks for all the advice, everyone! I ended up ordering the Yakima Showdown that @rstevens15 mentioned above, with Rhino Rack saddles… all of which will work on my factory crossbars. I also found a good deal on a blemished Ocean Kayak Caper online (after watching FB Marketplace for a few weeks and not really seeing much that fit my needs/wishes) and ordered a new/better paddle, so now I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of all my purchases so I can get out there and enjoy all of the great paddles I’m reading about in the book that @Rick recommended!!
You guys are awesome!
I have a 2015 Outback and I can fit my Malibu 9.5 kayak inside with door closed. Assuming other kayaks of similar length would also fit. Makes for easy load in/out.