Advice on a Touring Yak

I am new to, and love all the information - what a great site!

My wife and I are both outdoors people. Right now, she has a kayak and I don’t, and it’s time to do something about this. I am, however, feeling a little overwhelmed with the breadth of choice with regards to getting a new kayak.

She has a P&H Capella. I’m not sure exactly which one, but it’s 16’ or so. I am a much stronger paddler, so if my boat isn’t as fast, it’ll be just fine. I’m looking for something in the 14.5-16.5 foot range. I’m also leaning toward more of a touring kayak as opposed to the faster sea kayak’s. My reason for this is that it will be used for probably 75% day touring, fishing, and photographing. I don’t want a slow boat, but I won’t be racing anybody. Storage isn’t a big deal. When I backpack I fit everything I need for a week (including food) in a 3800 ci pack weighing less than 30 lbs.

I’m also thinking the touring boats generally have more initial stability. I’ve taken my wife’s Capella out a few times, and while I’m sure you get used to the tippy feeling, learn to control it, and then it eventually goes away, I’d honestly rather have a boat with more initial stability than her yak has.

Budget is approximately $1600 or less (less being better). I am 6’ tall and weigh a little under 190 lbs. I have a fairly athletic build. It’ll be paddled mostly on MN lakes, and some on Superior. I doubt it’d ever see an ocean.

Boats I’m interested in (in no particular order):

  • OT Cayuga 160
  • Perception Carolina (either the 16 or 14.5)
  • Prijon Touryak or Seayak
  • Wilderness Systems Cape Horn 150 or Tsunami

    I also noticed that Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis lists a Tsunami 160 and 165, but they aren’t on Wilderness Systems website? Anybody know why? Just like REI lists a Perception Carolina 15.5’ model, but it’s not on Perception’s site.

    There are two things I like about the OT Cayuga design. One of them is the day hatch in front of the paddler, and the other is the 3 layer poly material they use. I have read several comments on how it’s strong and rigid. I’ve also hear the OT has good fit and finish to it. One thing that bugs me about the Perception is the lack of a day hatch, but I guess you could just stuff those type of items behind your seat or whatever. The Prijon’s seem to be pretty neat boats, but I’ve never seen one in person. The Seayak is probably the fastest boat on my list (from what I’ve read), and is considered more of a sea kayak. I was thinking that with the 24" width it might have a little more initial stability than the narrower ones - but that’s probably more dependent on hull design than width. Otherwise, I really like the Touryak, and it is probably at the top of my list, without paddling one. I would have listed Necky, but I’ve looked at them and for some reason they didn’t do it for me.

    Some things to consider… this spring Midwest Mountaineering has the 14.5 Carolina with rudder on sale for only $799 and the Touryak is on sale for $1249.

    I know, I know, I know… go test paddle the boats! Well, I don’t want to hear this just yet, because it’s Feb, and I live in MN, so I’m not going to be able to jump in the seat any time soon for a test paddle (which will probably be the final deciding factor). I’ve read all the reviews I can find on these boats, but I’d love some input on what you all think.

the carolina 14.5 is pretty stable.

Of the boats you listed
are really pretty similar. Prijon uses a plastic that is probably the toughest. The 16 footers will be a bit faster than the 14 footers. And Wilderness Systems, Dagger and Perception are just different divisions of the same company.

A couple of suggestions… Look in the classifieds here, Ebay and on some paddling club websites or an outfitter and get something used to start with. If you can not get on the water, just sit in the boat for 30 -45 minutes. Just to see if you would comfortable. Good luck.

Just a thought:

A P&H Capella is similiar to the Tempest which I own. the Tempest is 22" wide and felt tippy initially but frankly now it feels like a barge.

It took about a week or two of daily paddling but I now can photograph and even fish from the tempest with no problem.

I now have a Skin on Frame with a 19 inch beam and I find it very stable.

Another thought would be an Ocean kayak Scupper pro. It is 14 feet 9 inches, is a sit on top so perfect for fishing, is probably one of the fastest sit on tops out there, has a forward hatch and a well for gear in the back. (I bought one for my wife but I have been out on it more than her…fun boat and remarkably fast.

Just my thoughts…


if you decide on the seayak…
I have a friend who has a Prijon Seayak that she would be willing to part with for a good price. It’s in Appleton, WI. Regardless what you decide, I recommend you try out all of the boats you mentioned to find out which one fits you the best.

Regarding the Seayak…
Out of curosity, why does your friend want to part with it? Doesn’t care for it much, or are they looking for a faster boat or something? Just wondering.

I’d be interested in it, but I’m selling my motorcycle first. That’ll happen when it warms up a little and the snow melts. :slight_smile: Shoot me an email and we can discuss.

some on Superior
Lake Superior is as demanding and dangerous as the ocean.

Your wife has a real sea kayak, it makes sense for you to have one also. IMHO one should not paddle Superior with anything less than a real sea kayak.

How do you like your wife’s Capella? P&H makes very good boats. You might try a few of their models. It would be a shame, and maybe a big mistake, to get any less of a boat than your wife already has.

There are A LOT of boats out there for someone your size. Get a real boat. If the model you like best coast too much new, buy it used.

Would have to agree all around
That a sea kayak would probably be your best bet. I have heard nothing but good things about the seayak and I understand it is a beamy boat and would be stable for you. When you mention photography are you planning on heavy duty 35 mm or digital equipment with appropriate housings or are you looking at using something like the optio. Obviously holding up a larger heavier piece of equipment while shooting is going to take it’s toll, as will the length of your lens as the vibrations or movements will be greatly emphasized with a longer lens.

If it will be something small and light then any boat you can stay upright in will be ok. This was the reason that I originally brought up a sit on top as I found that getting a camera out of the day hatch or from between your legs requires some balance and if you would use a spray skirt, could cause water to get in your boat. With a SOT, this becomes a non issue. Which brings up another point:

Your SO has a touring sea kayak. While you may not be racing, you will want to keep up with her and your desires may include camping in the future or at least day trips. While I am pretty much a minimalist camper also, I find that creature comforts increase dramatically when wife or kids come along, so something with a couple of compartments serve two purposes, i.e., the flotation to get you back in your boat if necessary, and the ability to take a couple of camp chairs that you would not consider while hiking.

The longer length will give you tracking and speed.

As still a very new convert to the kayaking sport, I have found that what I am initially comfortable in becomes pretty much mundane in a week or two and have made my purchases accordingly…show room floor is great for butt comfort evals but nothing beats renting a boat for a few days in a two week period to see if you really really like it. I did that with my Tempest and love it, and still strongly recommend that boat.

(even though now it seems almost too wide but that is because I am getting silly with skin on frame boats with 18 and 19 inch beams :slight_smile: I might have to look at the 165 as it is lower volume )


Thanks for the advice everybody!

I like my wife’s Capella, but like I said I wasn’t a fan of the lack of initial stability. That said, I’m sure you learn to control that in just a few weeks. I think you’re probably right that more of a sea kayak is a better plan.

The more and more I read about the Seayak, the more I am very interested in this boat. I think a thorough test on the water will give the answer though.

Regarding the camera, I shoot a Nikon D70 - it’s nothing too special, but it’s a great hobby shooter. I will be picking up Nikon’s new 18-200mm lens (with VR) shortly, so I’m sure the VR will help with stabilization in the kayak.

I have a Panasonic FZ10 that i will take out on the water in a pelican case. Pretty much the same size as the D70. A D70 I would be so worried about that I would end up not taking it along. Remember that this is a wet sport and cameras and water do not get along!

Having said that, hopefully you have an aquapac or better even though I doubt you will find one to fit the zoom vr you are getting. but who knows? I haven’t researched that.

I think that a Capella is very similiar to the Tempest and you would do well with either one. The Seayak I believe is a little wider but you really need to test it as you may feel it is big and slow (two criticisms I have heard about the seayak)


good luck.


my bias
I’m with the others that a “sea kayak” as opposed to a “touring kayak” is the way to go. I do almost all of my paddling on the Columbia River and am happy to do it in a Tempest 165.

If you are trying to slow down, it’s a lot more fun to mess around with edging, different strokes and turns than to slog along.

I’d look for a day boat that turns well. A little more rocker and shorter is a better trade off for speed than going wider. That being said, when I was testing to buy my first boat I though I wanted something short like a Looksha Sport. It didn’t take long to realize that I liked somewhat longer boats better.

Since you want poly here are some other suggestions:

Necky Elaho, Chatham or Looksha IV (although I don’t like the Looksha that much in wind)

Tempest 165 or 170

Valley Avocet (what I would probably own if I didn’t have the T)

fishing… from a sit in kayak?
well , I am the sit on top guy.

So I suggest considering sit on tops , they are without peer for fishing and general touring.

instead of worry about rolling you can just hang out

You said yourself you don’t care about speed.

So I would suggest trying out some quality SOTs

tarpon 160, scupper pro etc.

if you want fast the tsunami X-15 ( pricey)