Beginner needs advice on kayak

I go camping on the southern rivers and am looking for a comfortable kayak…I’m 6’4" and weight about 220…I’d like a good tracker…don’t plan on extremely long trips so minimal cargo space is ok…what brands/style should I look for…my wife MIGHT go along, but infrequently…Is there alot of trade-off going from a single to double??? thanks


– Last Updated: Dec-15-09 9:13 AM EST –

Hi Doc.....lots of decisions to be agile are you? Can you get in and out of small cockpits easily? educate yourself on the different cockpits openings and hull designs. wider is more stable but slow..narrow is less stable but faster( aka, easier to paddle). less weight is easier to paddle. Plastic boats are tougher,take more abuse, and weigh more than composite boats. composite boats weigh less and are therefore easier to paddle but don't take abuse well and are typically 2x the cost of plastic. how much can you afford to spend on a boat? Tandems boats come in lengths from 14' to 20'. how much gear are you bringing? I have a Pamlico 135T (tandem) that i have rigged for solo use..took the xtra seat out...1/2 hrs work to put it in/out. As you start to decide what works for you , the choice of boats will naturally narrow down to a few. As is the caveat: always,always test paddle a boat b4 you buy it ,if at all possible. A lot of us have been thru the "bought it 1st ,then we're sorry we did " routine.Also, you have to decide: rudder or no rudder? i favor a rudder, i'm not a skeg fan. Also, check the local Craiglist ads for used boats. Good Luck

Read this

– Last Updated: Dec-15-09 12:00 PM EST –

To get a sense of boats and features in general, take a look at this (don't be put off by the title):

As to double or single, doubles can have their place but are heavier. I cousins who went to singles after a couple of years of hauling the much heavier double on and off the top of their car - it was killing their backs. Especially if your wife's interest is shaky at best...

If sea kayaking
With your size go for over 17 feet.

Try to stay over 23 inches wide with a shallow V hull.

Get ready to spend $2,000.

If you are rec boating just look for something you are comfortabe in.

Personally I would not go for a double, just me.

no need for a sea kayak
Check out the Old Town Dirigo 140, Wilderness Systems Pungo 140, and Hurricane Expedition. All of them should have plenty of leg room for you and enough storage space for a night or two of camping per person.

Do not buy a tandem. They only make people quit paddling.

Don’t forget the Sit on Top
If you wife wants to go buy her a seperate boat or rent one until she decides what kind of boat she likes. Find a local club if you can they are a great resource and I’ll bet you can try out a lot of boats for free.

I think sit on tops make great first boats so look at the Wilderness systsms Tarpon and the Hurricane Pheonix 140. 14 feet is a great size for a fist boat so get one this size or longer so it won’t be too slow. 12 boats are much slower.

get a paddle that fits, if they only have 220’s and 230’s try another store. ask if they have rental paddles you can try before you buy the wrong size paddle.

Why not a canoe?
Lighter, more comfortable, carry more stuff.

Prettier, too ;^)

If sticking to rivers…
and you wife is a maybe at best, go with a solo kayak, and rent one for her when she agrees to join you. That’s how I did it and my wife now happily accompanies me in her Pungo120. For your size, the Pungo140 is a good choice. The Tsunami125 or 165 would be better if you want a little bit more performance while staying in the plastic. I also paddled a Necky Manitou sport14 on florida rivers and bays and it was ok. If you think about paddling together in one boat, go with a canoe. There’s a reason they call tandem kayaks “divorce boats”. They are also generally heavy as mentioned, as well as lousy in wind. I just bought a Wenonah Solo Plus canoe that is perfect for solo paddling or the occasional two person paddle with some gear. There are other canoes I’m sure that do the same thing, but I am not as well versed in that area. Good luck!