Bad knees

I am a 66 year old over weight man with very bad knees who would like to try kayaking. I am concerned that it would be difficult for me to get in and out of the boat.

I have canoed in the past but have never been in a kayak. Are there kayaks that I could possibly use at least semi-comfortably.


– Last Updated: Aug-11-14 7:15 PM EST –

So just how bad off are you and do you think of yourself in a sit in kayak or are there any thoughts of a sit on top ? A lot depends on the boat you pick and how tight the fit is. Sit on top Kayaks obviously are completely open and you don't have sides to get over and snuggle down inside of. But there are some pretty open sit in designs too.

What type of waters will you paddle, still water ponds, larger lakes, ocean, rivers ?

Thought of something else. Can you get yourself down on to the floor to sit and then back up again ? A sit in kayak is pretty much that low. My wife will be 66 in a couple of months with a bad knee/knees, I help her in and out of her Pungo 120. She had blown up over some stress issues but went to weight watchers to most of that off. At that point is was not possible for her to get into the kayak, she was so out of shape we didn't even try. But now we paddle together again, a success story !!

Would you consider a solo canoe?
Some people find them easier to get in and out of than kayaks and you could still use a kayak paddle, if you like.

Something to consider, unless the conditions you’ll be paddling in are not appropriate for an open boat (canoe).

Some thoughts:

– Last Updated: Aug-11-14 7:48 PM EST –

If you have two bad knees and I mean very bad, forget about a sit in kayak. You will need a sit on.

However if it is just one bad knee, You can get in a sit in the way I used to prior to my knee replacement.
You stand beside the kayak on the side that is opposite your bad knee, (in other words with the bad knee leg beside the kayak). Keep your good leg outside the yak and step into the yak with your bad knee leg. Then keeping that bad stiff leg straight, bend your good leg and lean slightly back wards while holding onto the rear sides of the coaming. Keep your body weight on the tripod formed by your two arms and the good bent leg and slide your stiff leg down and forward in to the yak.. Once your butt is down on the seat and your bad leg is in and settled, just bend the good leg and bring that in.

You say you are overweight. Why not try to lose weight. You will be amazed at how much easier it will be - where there is a will, there is a way!

Before you buy anything, get to a rental place and try a sit-on and then a sit in.

good luck,
jack L

I have yet to see or paddle one of these in the “flesh” but it might be an option to consider.

Lower sides than most solo canoes, 21" wide seat, 460 lb capacity at 13’ and 49 lbs.

Old Town canoe with Tumblehome
WOW,… Old Town doesn’t have much history in using tumblehome in canoe designs (don’t talk about that half-decked Ojibway thing) so this is a great departure from the norm. Kinda compares to a Mohawk Solo 13 with a different seat set-up except the Solo 13 is(was)much lighter. 49lbs is pretty heavy for a solo 13ft canoe but that 3-layer poly is tough!

I’ve been reading about the OT Next
Over the weekend I ran across it, actually an ad for it had come in my email last week so I went online to read about it last weekend. Then I saw people speaking of it here as well and now this thread shows it. It looks like a good boat, cross between familiarity in the canoe part of the boat and kayak in the bottom design . It’s a good compromise but alas I have not paddled one either so I can’t suggest one to the OP yet. Maybe Kittery Trading Post will have one of those demo days and I can hop in one.

market target

– Last Updated: Aug-12-14 9:33 AM EST –

I was surprised to see their promotions for the Next too. Quite a departure for staid Old Town, including the unusual colors ( acid green? dark purple?). My hunch is they are going after some of the huge market for rec kayaks and sit on tops with the price point (under $1000) , fancy seat, weight and square-jawed GQ model ads with splashy graphics. I admit the boat appeals to me but then I'm like a pack rat in being dazzled by brightly colored objects.

Matching paddles, no less. Supposed to start shipping in October, retail is $999. Wonder if they'll end up making a cheapened stripped version for the big box stores, like MR used to do?

OT Next

– Last Updated: Aug-12-14 12:07 PM EST –

I see several answers from OT with Next. Yes it addresses a different market. If it takes off I see a spin off of the design. I also see something in it still being Poly. It gives headroom to answer the Royalex issue now that Royalex is out of production.

What I'm anxious for is where OT is headed with that last issue, they have so many models based in Royalex I'm waiting to see the answer. I'm guessing eventually some kind of weave will appear, kind of like Tuffweave maybe. They can't possibly change all their current Royalex models over to 3 layer Poly can they ? That seems like suicide. Anyone for a Penobscot in a Tuffweave type substance !!!

Bad knees
Thanks for the reply grubfish. I can sit on the floor and get up but, with great difficulty. I had total knee replacement on right knee and left will need replacing at some point. The problem is I only have about 100 degree bend in both knees. Thinking a canoe may be a better option.

Bad knees
Thanks Jackl

I am in the process of losing weight, down to 285 from 302 in 7 weeks. Will reward myself with canoe or kayak when I get down to 250. The boat would be used mostly for fishing the marshes and bayous of southwest Louisiana. Thinking now that I may be better off with a solo canoe.

Bad knees
Yes I am now thinking a solo canoe may be a better option. The boat will be used in the marshes and bayous of southwest Louisiana so a canoe would be fine I think.

At 73, my knees are going bad, and
kneeling in my canoes is getting harder.

I think you should consider kayaks, carefully chosen for comfort and control.

Is the pain in the joint, or elsewhere as in sciatica?

Bad knees
Thanks for the reply. The pain is in the joint. why do you think a kayak would be better than sitting in a canoe?

You don’t have to kneel in canoes!
I sit most of the time in my solo canoes.

Adding foot braces adds control and comfort for sitting in canoes.

Pretty heavy for a 13’ canoe.
On the positive side, at 29" wide, it’s much narrower than the Pack or Discovery 119.

I couldn’t discern tumblehome in the
pics. If it’s there, that’s a good thing.

different molds
Canoe manufacturers can’t just change production of their erstwhile Royalex models over to composite. Royalex hulls were molded by drawing the heated sheet up over a male mold and applying vacuum.

Composite boats are made by laying cloth into a female mold.

So a new mold would have to be made for each model which is a huge expense.

Esquif claims that they will have a thermoformable plastic foam cored sheet material available next year that has the potential to replace Royalex, and that they will make it available to other manufacturers. We will see. In 2008 Esquif claimed Twin-tex would replace Royalex.

Three layer rotomolded polyethylene boats like the Old Town Next have been around for a long time.

Pretty heavy for a 13
Ya but pretty light, I thought, for a 3 layer Poly canoe.

The tumblehome is there

– Last Updated: Aug-12-14 3:45 PM EST –

It's not real pronounced but it's there. With it's width it doesn't need a whole lot anyway.