Advice on kayak setup for 2 beginners

Hi all,

Looking for some advice on a kayak setup for me and my wife. We live in north Georgia and are mostly looking to do some warm weather easy river/creek/lake paddling (with the very occasional class 1 or 2 rapid). We’re mainly concerned with ease-of-use and comfort, so things like maneuverability and speed are of secondary importance.

As for me, I’m 6’4", about 200 pounds. I have a little experience kayaking after taking a class on kayaking during my undergrad days, so I’m somewhat familiar with basic concepts like paddling technique, rolls, etc… I’ve also done a little whitewater a number of years ago, but recently it’s just been easy paddling on the local lakes and flat rivers in the area. I still consider myself a beginner, but maybe not a complete beginner.

My wife is 5’3", about 130 pounds. She has some experience canoeing, and she has used a SOT kayak a number of times. She also has a very real fear of claustrophobia, which means she won’t consider a SINK, only a SOT kayak. For me, I have no such qualms.

Right now, I’m just trying to get an idea of what we should be looking for, as well as what we can expect to spend to get a quality setup (both kayaks and related gear). I’m all for buying used if I can find what I’m looking for. Based on my research here and elsewhere, it looks like I probably want at least a 12’ boat, probably closer to 14’ for me, no more than 30" wide. My best guess is that I’m probably looking at around $2000 (± $200) for two kayaks and gear, perhaps a little less if used.

When it comes to the boats, what are the most important things to look for? Is $2000 a good starting budget for a good quality setup? Besides the obvious life jacket and paddle, what other gear should I consider?

Thank you!

If you haven’t already seen it, this thread should answer your questions about the SINK and related equipment.

for me SOTs are wet summertime boats, in Georgia that may be a long season, but I paddle more in seasons other than summer, and like to stay dry. Will the Mrs even consider a big cockpit sit in like the pungo? they come in 12 and 14 ft and the seating is like a lounge chair

Think hard about canoe alternatives.
Tandem recreational kayaks are “easy” at first, but we find ourselves motoring on by tandem kayaks in our tandem canoe. Roomy, light, comfortable, easy to load and unload, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.