I want to start kayaking and wanted to hear if my choice makes sense.
Location: Madison, WI with 4 connected calm lakes (and possible other nearby waters)
Experience: very little with an 8’ paddle kayak on vacation
Local market: not many good used choices
Type of kayaking: only recreational (no fishing), exploring the wider water network, NO overnight or camping, getting wet occasionally is not bad (typically warm here)
Frequency: maybe weekly in summer?
Car: Honda CRV with the roof rails, but no roof rack (seems easy to add?)
Other sport: bicycling (fatbike, tours etc.)
Timeline: now, or wait over next winter depending on actual availability
Purchase type: don’t mind online, REI member (10% discount)
Quality requirement: should be OK for the purpose and have reasonably priced spare parts for parts that typically need replacement.
Me: male, mid-40s, 5’-11" @ 175#
Storage: have garage with other crap in, but can manage to squeeze a kayak in
I saw pedal kayaks and like the idea of more speed and alternating between legs and arms. So I thought I either get a used cheap used paddle-only kayak, or a pedal kayak. For long distance exploring the really may be useful.
I researched the propel vs. MirageDrive. For non-fishing (need to pedal forth and back without hands etc.), the mirage seems a bit better: less damage with kick-up fins and seems a bit more efficient and less susceptible to get entangled in plants. I can totally see myself drifting over shallower water and hitting the ground or logs.
I found the Mirage Passport 10.5 . I realize this is an expensive kayak for a beginner. But I’m talking myself into needing the pedal thing for more speed and endurance. I’m also planning to keep it long and think if I like it better and it works better, I use it more.
I realize I still need to buy the following:
- wet-sack to keep my small supplies and electronics dry
- life vest
- one of those dollies to roll the kayak from the car to water (not sure, if needed - our landings can be accessed by car)
- roof rack / straps
I also looked at the Oru folding kayaks and inflatable kayaks (Hobies also has inflatable version of the Mirage kayak). but figured they are less stable, possible less streamlined. Obviously not needing a roof rack and storage would be nice, but if they ruin my actual kayaking experience, I rather deal with a solid kayak. In case of the Hobie the inflatable version seems much more expensive and a roof rack seems cheap(ish).
- Am I on the right path or am I missing obvious flaws with this plan, or am I missing better options?
- Is the pedal mechanism really as great as it looks?
- any other things I need to buy? (the Hobie seems to come with paddle)
- should I look at a propeller instead?
- if the pedal-fins are the best, is Hobie the best since they invented them (or made them commercial first)?
- Is the 10.5’ length OK, or is the 12’ version better? Only advantage I could see is better hydro-dynamics and more speed.
- Looks like all pedal kayaks are sit-on kayaks. Is there an advantage to the sit-in? Only advantage I see for sit-in is lower center of gravity.
Thanks in advance.