ADK Touring kayak?

I am thinking of getting a kayak for touring and camping on the windy ADK lakes like Low’s,Little Tupper,Stillwater,ect.I have had a hard time in my solo canoe in the wind.Would a kayak be a big improvment?I an 5’10" and 190lbs and I camp lite.I really don’t want a longer/heaver kayak than I need,and would rather not have to have a rudder-maybe a skeg if I had to.Manuverability would not be a priority.Price is a factor-less than 1500 preferabily less.I see some good sales now.

Thanks, Turtle

The one thing with a kayak is that it usually doesn’t handle tough portages as well a a canoe. That said, the lower profile on the water can help. There are some brands of kayaks that may feel a bit closer to what you are used to than a real low profile job, are relatively lightweight and can haul gear.

Where do you live? I personally know of a couple of kayak shops that I know would steer you well for your purposes. One is one in the Adirondacks and one in the Capital region. But I don’t know if you are in reach of them.

No Carries
I would not be doing carries except to and from my truck,and the short one to Low’s and I have a cart I can borrow.I would like to be under 50-55lbs if possible.I would use my canoe on other trips requiring carries.I think a low profile is what I want in addition to speed and seaworthyness.I paddle solo canoes kneeling,so I think it doesn’t need to be too stable.Do I need a sea kayak for this or would one of the shorter(14’) boats work? I live in WNY.


“a bit closer to what you are used to” ?
If I’m reading Turtle’s message correctly, he’s considering getting something different than what he’s used to, precisely for it’s potential to handle windy conditions differently, no?

So then, why should finding something “a bit closer to what he’s used to” necessarily be what he’s looking for in this particular circumstance? Espeically in terms of lower vs. a higher profile? A well balanced, lower profile kayak may well be just what he’s looking for here. In any event, if you’re concerned about his ability to adapt to a different type of paddling, if he’s open to learning something new, I’m sure he can handle even a “big difference” if he thinks that will solve the wind handling issue he’s concerned about. :slight_smile:


Storage and comfort

– Last Updated: Oct-25-07 5:06 PM EST –

I was not referring to your ability to manage stability, but overall storage and comfort stuff.

Gear - even if you have fairly little of it, with a canoe you don't have to obsess a lot about its shape and dimension. If you go to kayaks, you have to think about whether it'll fit thru the hatches and within a much lower deck height inside the boat. I don't know, but wouldn't be real surprised, if you found that you needed a kayak with larger oval or rectangular hatches rather than 10 inch round ones to handle some of the stuff you presently carry. Stove maybe, or tent parts, that kind of stuff can be unwieldy and there's only so far it'll compress.

You may also need a certain deck height in addition to a minimum hatch size to use all of your present gear. For example, I can't get our 3 person tent (we like comfort) with the tent frame rods in the same package thru the 10 inch hatch of my Explorer LV because the combination of diameter and length gets too much with a quite low deck as well. I have to separate the frame rods.

Comfort - the lower you go on the deck, the closer your legs are to straight. People have varying ranges of comfort on what is a comfortable position. You really have to sit in boats to get a sense of what will work - you may find that you need a higher decked boat to get a comfortable position. It'll still be lower than your canoe, but there's a decent range in this characteristic by the time you get to full sea kayaks.

In sum, it's hard to give an empirical answer from a distance. Overall, a kayak should do you. I know of people who camp just fine in the Adirondacks with a mid-length, about 14 ft boat, and I know of one who does multi-day trips and would not go without a full expedition length sea kayak. If it helps though, his group doesn't pack light. I believe the big concession this last fall paddle was that they went from bringing three pies to two of them.

The two outfits that I know which bracket the area you may live are Braddock Bay kayaks in the Rochester area, and Mountain Man in Old Forge.

Also, you expressed a strong interest in the boat tracking. Like canoes, sea and shorter touring kayaks have a range of performance and somewhere among them are kayaks that track like a train.

For your size and weight,
I would recommend a 17 foot plastic touring (sea) kayak.

With a good skirt you should be able to handle much windier and choppier conditions than in your canoe.

I for one would not be without a rudder.

I can paddle in rough conditions all day long without using mine, but on those certain times when you get a strong quartering wind at 20 MPH, you’ll be glad you have it.

You will have plenty of room in the water tight compartments for multiday camping trips.

Try as many kayaks as you can and you should find one that you will like.



it sounds like wind is the deciding factor in you wanting to switch to kayaking, however, you also said you’d rather not have a rudder, a skeg if you “had to”. well, rudder or skeg are your primary aid in countering wind while on the water so you may have to settle for one of them.

you can offset the effects of wind with proper stroke, but having gone with and without, using the rudder/skeg makes things much easier.

$1500 should get you a very nice kayak.

don’t know where you live but mountainman outdoors has some of the best prices around. they also have a really good website with updated prices.

I camp in a hammock and use a smll stove-no poles,but Sounds like I might need a sea kayak anyway?Three I have comsidered were the P+H Cappela16’6",Venture Skye16’7" and the Old town Cayuga 16 all have skags.Doe you have any others you would recomend? They all are a little heaver than I would like.


Outfitters in WNY
Bay Creek and Oak Orchard are two more in Rochester. Of the two, Bay Creek has access to better water for test paddles. Unfortunately their fall sale was a couple weeks ago.

Capella, Venture, Cayuga

– Last Updated: Oct-26-07 4:16 PM EST –

By and large the Old Town will be heavier on primary stability and lighter on secondary than the Capella, the Venture is probably somewhere in the middle.

Re the Capella, is it one with a number on it like 163, 167 etc, or is it a non-numbered older Capella? If it's the older non-numbered one, I wouldn't suggest that you buy it until you've tried it in wind. The Capellas prior to the numberred ones weren't great trackers - they improved the tracking greatly when they came out with the 163 and the 167.

I agree with above - if wind is the causitive problem, you should get a boat with a tracking device. Whichever the boat happens to come with will likely work for the lakes you will be on, rudder or skeg, but you want something.

I'd try to demo a Wilderness Systems Tempest if I were you - maybe you'd be the 170. Just a great all-around boat. You just need to make persistent use of drybags if you are out in really sloppy conditions - the hatches aren't always the driest.

For lightweight, you may also want to give a look to the Hurricane Tracer series or Swift kayaks. The latter uses older plumb bow designs that don't ring my bell for a boat, but they are light and track well and price out quite competitively. They may be a good fit for your purposes.

fish or cut bait
i’m not so sure about the necessity of going to a 17 footer, especially for the adk, but that’s a personal decision. know that the longer the kayak, the more efficiently it paddles. it’ll also hold more gear. but that added length adds weight and cost, too.

at a minimum, i think you should look for a kayak with 2 bulkheads (for storage,) a rudder or skeg (skeg takes up more room in the rear bulkhead because it needs to retract into the hull,) and at least 14 foot long.

to give you a frame of reference, i have a necky looksha sport, 14’4". i was on a much tighter budget than you so i bought the year before’s model, still “new”, for $690. i use it about 2 or 3 times a month and have taken it on a 3-day kayak camping trip in the adk. i ended up bringing around 70 lbs. of gear on the trip (i know, i pack like my wife) and had no problem with it. i love it and have no desire to get a more expensive one.

the truth is the more you hang around here, the more opinion you’ll get. you can also demo kayaks till you’re blue in the face, but at some point, you gotta decide. so instead of looking indefinately, finalize your list down to a handful, demo them. if one of them stands out, buy it and don’t look back.

you just gotta know that you made the right decision based on your budget and what’s available to you at that time. sure, if you demo 20 more, you’ll probably find others you like, but i think that’s a never ending cycle.

Why not pack canoe??
These canoes are designed for just your needs and weight 18-25 lbs depending on the one you buy:

Vermont Canoe Tupper (designed by Robbie Frenette of Tupper Lake, owner of Raquette River Outtfitters in Tupper Lake)

Placid Boat Words Rapidfire and Spitfire

Hornbeck lots of models

All utilize double blades for paddling, load easily (because they are canoes, no need for wheels), light weight, and much more immune to wind then your canoe.

By the way, what canoe do you have now?

Capella 166 & 160

– Last Updated: Oct-26-07 9:42 AM EST –


The 166 (16'7") & 160 (16'4")are the CoreLite Rotomolded plastic Capellas. Good stiffness to the material as it's a 3 layer construction and quite forgiving of rocks. Behave much the same as the 161 or the 167 but not in composite.

The Tupper would also be a fine & fun choice. Up to a 500lb. load capacity might turn you into a luxury camper instead of the Go-Light camper you've been though. ;)

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY

Dude, here’s what I now use…
I live in the same region, and am almost the same height and weight. And I have had all the same canoe and carry-from-the-car hassles. (In fact, I detest anything over 12 feet.) I also like good quality at a low price. If you don’t need to go hardshell or supertrac fast, but you still wanna “cut wind” and fish, then check out an IK like a Stearns Cordova: - 69k

Nice to hear

– Last Updated: Oct-26-07 10:37 AM EST –

I wasn't sure if the 160 had fallen off the end of the earth - heard about it but haven't seen one.
The caution I issued was based on an older Capella-Capella, from before any numbers, that is around locally. While it is plenty of fun sideways it just hasn't gotten good reviews for wanting to go straight from more advanced paddlers as well as beginners.

Address correction.
Make that:

Adirondack pack canoe or double blade

– Last Updated: Oct-26-07 2:53 PM EST –

I would look at getting a double blade for your solo canoe. 240 ought to do if you are paddling a dedicated solo.

The canoe allows you more easily to do some portages if you want and load really easily. Sure you can kayak too but I personally think its overkill. When the deck is really needed, the water will be hard there.

However on Little Tupper in lousy weather we in canoes were loading faster than the kayaks..

just got home...also did some investigating over from Rock toward Lila..the landing would have been over our heads in a yak (which I do have)

Placid Boatworks is having a sale..if you want the best of both worlds..I just adopted a Rapid Fire because its fast and I want to use it on bigger water than LTL or Lows.

If their boats are out of your price point, Hornbecks are an extremely popluar sit on the bottom canoe and double blade. They do reduce the windage too as does anything that gets you low. Plus if you want to portage someday to the Oswegatchie, you are all set.

But we did fine with regular solo canoes even though the evil wind god was up..with a double blade that is.

Now the laundry..the worst part of any outing!

Turtle! You HAVE to
come to Raystown next year and try out Placid Boatworks Rapidfire and other “Fire” series solos (they have the integrated gunwales systems). I was thinking they’d be exactly perfect for what you describe.

Or next time you are in the ADKs, go see Charlie Wilson at Placid Boatworks.

P.S. Turtle, you can borrow
my Necky Eskia to take camping if you want to give it a try. It is big – 16 ft. 4 inches, and weighs about 65 lbs, but you said you won’t be portaging. I have had it on windy Bog River (and windy Lake Erie, etc.) and it is fine to handle in the wind. It also has pretty good storage capacity in the fore and aft hatches. I have not camped out of it myself, but have been told it is suitable for that use.

Give me a call or shoot me an email, but you certainly could borrow it for your next trip if you want to try camping out of a kayak.

If you just want more efficiency in the wind you might try using a doublebladed paddle before switching boats. Look at it this way, you’ll need to buy one anyway if you get a kayak. For the typical solo canoe a 240cm paddle would probably be a good length to demo first.