i am 5’5" 120lbs female looking to choose one of these boats …the boats will be used for day trips to 7-9 day camping trips …is the nordkapp too big of a boat …and would the avocet be able to hold the gear for the extended trips…i am leaning toward the avocet …the boats would be used in lakes ,rivers,and hopefully the ocean one day …i am new to kayaking …this would be my 1 st boat …thanks
I own an Avocet RM 2006 and a NOrdkapp RM 2007. Both superb boats, and great for the purposes you mention. For your size, the Avocet RM will be a more snug and “better” fit in the cockpit. However, the Avocet is a playful but slower boat (not as good if you are keeping up with other paddlers), and is not as good for storing your camping gear. In particualr, for longer trips as you mention, you may well like the NOrdkapp RM, wich is, I am told, in between the size of the composite NOrdkapp and the slightly smaller compsite Nordkapp LV. In particualr, I like the NOrdkapp RM (5 feet 8.54 inches, 165 lbs, though). That is a tough judgement. The Nord RM is speedier, still has rocker so very forgiving on shoppy water, and tracks straighter with less effort on directional control. It is “made for” heavier paddlers, or laden with camping stuff, as you will often be doing. Personally, the cockpit on the Nordkapp is till not what I’d call spacious, and a touch of well placed mincell goes a long way toward proper fit.
If camping is your main bag, Nordkapp RM. If day trips is your main bag, Avocet (and when you camp, pack wicked light). I have written Pnet review of both boats.
Cool doctor has good comments and experience.
If you have to stick to poly, I would also suggest you try an Aquanaut LV. Requires some edge to turn but is well mannered and has good glide.
My wife is slightly heavier than you and feels she is underweight when she is in my Nordkapp LV which is lower volume than the RM Nordkapp.
You may find that the Avocet works best for you as it is less boat to push around.
Your size & mission
Are you looking at composite or poly boats?
At 120 pounds, it's going to be difficult to find a fun day-paddling boat that'll also be comfortable with gear for a week. How often will you be taking trips like that?
Lots of aspiring sea kayakers have expedition dreams, but for most reality turns out to be day trips or a couple of hours after work. Paddling an expedition-sized boat empty most of the time can be frustrating for the paddler -- more weight, more windage, less manueverability.
If this is your first boat, I'd focus on the day-paddling & skill-building missions. Get the boat that's best for what you'll be doing most of the time, and borrow/rent for the infrequent extended trips. If you can pack like a backpacker almost any sea kayak will do for a night or two.
The composite Avocet is actually quite large in the cockpit. The RM version is snugger. Given your weight, you should be looking at boats for "small paddlers".
If you're looking at composite boats, other possibilities might include: Aquanaut LV, Avocet LV, Impex Force 3, Romany LV, Explorer LV, Necky Eliza, Capella 161...
Not as many choices in RM boats for small folks. Avocet, Tempest 165, Eliza...
You can sometimes find used composite boats for the price of new rotomolded ones.
I’m shorter and weigh less (5’1", 114 lb), and had an Avocet RM which I liked but it was huge for me. Before you make a final decision, I urge you to try the Avocet LV which handles really well, will fit quite nicely, and has good volume for its size. Also try the Impex Force 3 which will fit well, is a beautifully performing boat for a small person, and carrys plenty for camping trips. My experience is that a good fit is the first necessity. It is no fun gretting into a boat that’s too big, that’s loaded with gear, and then try to move it along.
Don’t worry about gear storage
The smallest of kayaks will haul plenty with careful packing. I know this from experience on long solo trips. Get the best fitting, most fun to paddle boat. It will be plenty fast, especially over the long haul.
How many camping trips a year?
I just got the Avocet this week and paddled about 13 miles in it yesterday. Very fun boat that kept up with longer boats not racing, nicely. I would not hesitate to camp out of it for a weekend trip or maybe once a year for a longer venture. But if I were doing frequent numerous week-long trips with mega-miles, I would not personally choose this boat for that purpose. For such frequent trips and if your size, I'd probably suggest test paddling the Aquanaut LV, Explorer LV, Force 3 in composite, and maybe the Aquanaut LV if RM desired.
Too often smaller folk are encouraged to get into a bigger bigger boat in the name of speed and hauling ability.
The science tells us that given their smaller engines the bigger boat will likely not be faster. Add sea state leverage, more wind control issues etc, and the small paddler may find themselves struggling to control a boat that is a foot and a half etc, longer.
A couple of years ago a guy won a long race around an island in Britain in a Romany. He won on efficiency at touring speeds, even though it’s not a “fast boat”.
I have done month long journeys in Nordkapps and a Romany, as well as week long trips in Chatham 16. Plenty of room. I averaged just as fast an overall time in the Romany as I did in my Nordkapps. Also paddled an Avocet and liked it.
I highly encourage sea kayakers to travel light and that does NOT mean being unsafe or without comfort. The smallest of these kayaks has more room than an expedition alpine pack.
I believe smaller paddlers will have more fun, more control, and will go further, faster, in a boat sized to their power output. I fully realise that this contradicts conventional wisdom, but not science.
Most understand intuitively this sizing concept with paddles, but not necessarily with boats.
my 1 st boat…
Salty is very right, at your size pushing around an expedition length boat is a lot of work.
In some ways I think everyone (who fits in one) should have a Romany ;-) There are a lot of them out there and you might find a used one for the price of a poly Valley boat.
A Romany or Avocet (or Romany LV or Avocet LV) is excellent as a first boat. Either is rewarding when building skills and extraordinarily flexible in a range of uses. Both are rather forgiving of inattention or not quite perfect technique...
change my thought
ok. I should have reflected on my paddle yesterday before my too-quick previous post. I’ll disagree with myself! I had no issue at all keeping up with the accompanying 17 and a half foot boats yesterday in my brand new Avocet. I am glad I did not pursue an Explorer.
I’d add the P&H Vela to the list. It is a quick boat for smaller paddlers which is very responsive.
Avocet not great for expeditioning
I’ve been paddling an Avocet (glass) for about 5 years now. Yes, you can do extended trips with it. I’ve done 7+ days. However, it is not really optimized for this. On extended trips, I feel like I’m paddling a submarine for the first few days, especially if I have to take along fresh water. I’m significantly heavier than you ~175#, but my wife ~130# has the same issues on extended trips with her Avocet. Yes, we pack like backpackers. Afterall, we met ~10 yrs ago backpacking!
Thus, I bought a NF Legend for longer trips. Much better for extended tripping.
That said, seriously consider your desired usage. The Avocet is a great first boat, especially for day or short trip usage. I paddle it 80%+ of the time.
If you really think extended tripping will be consistent usage, then consider a longer, 17’+, boat.
Just my real life experience. I’m no expert. I’ve never paddled any of the Nordkapps.
But your profile …
says you’re a male! Which is it?
It sounds like you are interested in RM boats. I would look at the P&H Capella 160, the Avocet and possibly the Aquanaut LV RM, but that may be too much boat to push around. I would avoid the Nordkapp RM. It’s a great boat for me and fun to paddle, but I think it’s too big for you given your stated size.
But … try 'em all.
So disagree with that…
Again, with respect i think you are holding onto bad commonly held misunderstandings about drag! Do you undederstand the difference between Frictional and Residual Resistance? Your Avocet is equal to, or even advatageous to longer boats in energy expenditure below 4 knots! There is no advantage to a 120 lb person going longer in the name of efficiency. Your post echo’s common bad information. No offense. After all that’s what the catalogues have told folk for decades. The science of hydrodynamics does not support these marketing notions.
Hope your comment was directed at Martin. I never mentioned speed.
But Salty, where will the double
burner Coleman go? Will my sleeping bag with the ducks and deer printed on the flannel fit?
with that stuff, nor the keg. Its the generator and sound system that will be a problem. Well, the BBQ smoker might be as well.
Ha…In the CANOE!
You mean you can’t get a sound
system in there? I’m not going! And I’m taking my volley ball net and poles, too. ; P
Ya know Salty, I walked for 9 days
across a jungle mountain range with a 3200 cubic inches backpack, some of the space not used. We would commonly start the day with a gallon of water each. Surely an Avocet would be challenged…to…hold that…hmmm, wait a minute!