I am having a hard time figuring out what kayaks I should be looking at. Our kayaking is on a flat lake that can be a little windy. We had an older perception dancer (I think) and a coleman hooligan. The dancer worked very well. The hooligan (I think 9.5 feet) was hard to get to keep going straight. Seemed like alot of paddling to keep in a straight line. Both kayaks were stolen, and now I need to replace them. Is the going straight thing just a factor of length? I’m basically looking for a couple boats for leisurely paddling. Does anyone know anything about future beach vs potomac vs perception. And am I looking at a minimum length of 11’ or something? Or is there a smaller (cheaper) boat that will keep straight? These are just for fun, I don’t care about speed or maneuverability, or taking long trips. Affordable and straight would be perfect. Any advice is welcome.
What is affordable to you?
What range of cost is within your budget?
I would like to stay under $400 a piece. I know that is on the lower end of rec kayaks, just wanted to see what the best of the cheaper ones is, in people’s opinions. They are just for paddling around with the kids.
if you had a dancer
If you actually did have a Dancer and thought it tracked straight, you are not going to be hard to please. We’ve got an old one and consider it a horrible drunken dog on flatwater. It’s a whitewater kayak made to turn quickly in rapids and through rock gardens – tracking is far from its talents.
Your best bet is going to be to look for a couple of used boats. Avoid Future Beach (cheap flimsy junk with a bad reputation for seats breaking loose and hardware falling off.) Potomac is not much better. Perception is a good brand BUT it sounds like you are looking at their low end “bathtub” rec boats that they make for places like Dick’s.
Straight tracking (and being able to paddle easily without being worn out by constantly correcting a wandering boat) is not just a function of length but of hull design. Flat bottomed boats are slow and tend to be hard to propel forward as well as not tracking well. For under $400 I have often found nice touring type kayaks (12’ to 17’ long) on Craigslist.
It would be easier to help you with advice on this if we knew the sizes of the persons who will be using the boats and the area you live in. Post that information and I will be glad to look at the CL ads in your area and make some suggestions for boats that might suit your purposes.
Sounds like a Pungo would do
Wilderness Systems Pungos are a good first boat for any family member. Huge cockpit, very stable, and tracks well.