I am new to kayaking, (have gone about 10 times). I am looking at getting a boat of my own and was not sure what to get. I paddle down mellow rivers(class 1&2) and would use it on flat water as well. I would like it to accomodate a weekend over night trip (3 maybe 4 days). I can get a great deal through work (dicks sporting goods) on old town products. I was wondering what you suggest (length, ect…) if it was a old town boat, that would be more preferrable…

thanks for all of the help.

look forward to paddling with you soon!

can’t vouch for them personally but they’ve been out for awhile and have a good reputation.

Here is a link which features four different lengths.

The Cayuga family is wide and stable, has good safety features, useful storage. Seem beginner friendly. IMO where you plan to paddle you won’t require a rudder unless you like to fish or take pix, in which case slowing down and steering w. your feet is very useful. But learn boat control without the rudder so that you develop all your skills.

Downside is they are heavy and large cockpits can be a bear to right when they’re swamped. Would be cool if you could demo, say, a 146 and a 130 and see how they fell, right side up and upside down…

There are many Cayugas reviewed on - click on Product Reviews, search by mfgr and model.

I agree that a kayak between 13 and 15 feet can be the most versatile. My most versatile kayak is a Hurricane Tampico 135S which, when skirted, will go in any kind of flatwater except the big lakes when they are active. It’s 23" wide with great thighbraces, two hatches, only 41 lbs and keeps a very straight course without skeg or ruddger, which is why I liked it, and still do.

Happy Hunting! Some folks who own Old Town Loons will probably stop by and post about them.

A problem w/ newer Cayugas…
I test paddled a 2006 Cayuga 146, made of Poly 3, it was GREAT! So I orderd the Cayuga 146 last year, not realizing they had switched materials to variable layer poly…which I found to be absolute junk.

The problem…the coaming would literally collapse inward when you leaned on it for entering or exiting, leaving a very pronounced dent in back of the seat. Old Town was less than helpful…they did nothing, claiming it was a first quality boat so there should be no problem (I didn’t appreciate the attitude that I was lying about it)… so I ended up returning the kayak (3 hours away).

I have seen other reviews mentioning this problem, so just beware of the kayak you purchase because the thickness of the poly varies from boat to boat…gee, I guess that is what “variable layer” means to OT.

(I now own a Tsunami 140…love it!)

Depends on how
you will spend your time. If you are sportsman, and want to carry gear for several days out, and want to stay with Old Town check out this:

It’s basically the old Loon design with some mods toward fishing and hunting. It is a reliable, stable, and time proven design.

Good boats
I’d second the Cayuga recommendation. Old Town has a lot of good products. My son has the Loon 120, and it is a quality boat and good value for the money. For carrying more stuff, in addition to the other boats mentioned, look at the Loon 138. My wife has a Dirigo 120 and a friend has a Dirigo 140. Both have the variable layer plastic, but we haven’t had any problems with ours. But the Polylink3 is clearly sturdier (and heavier). Dirigos are Good fishing boats, but not as good for carrying several days work of camping supplies.

Old Town also has a Voyager line, which are stripped down version of some of their other boats. Cheaper seats, and thinner plastic, but same molds. I’d recommend buying above the Voyager line if you can afford it–especially if you can get a good employee discount.

Whatever you get, make sure it has adequate flotation in the bow and stern, whether they be bulkheads or inflated float bags you place in there. Many kayaks of the type you’re looking at don’t have them, or at least they did not used to.

My first kayak was an Old Town Castine, 12’9" long, 26" beam, two bulkheads, rudder. Would probably meet your needs, but I’m not up to date on what’s available.

I have been researching kayaks this spring also. I have paddled open boats in the past but this will be my first kayak. I had been looking at a 10 ft or so recreational, just because of the weight and size factor. I have decided that for me and what I want to do, I need something that tracks better. I have owned and paddled Old Town open boats so that is where I started.

Where I ended was with a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 135. It is new this year and made for women/smaller paddlers. Otherwise I would have went with the Tsunami 140. They track well, much more adjustable seat, and I purchased it from REI, who has excellent customer service if anything should go wrong.

Cayuga 146
I had started with a new cayuga 146 last spring. 3 months later I sold it and upgraded to a prijon seayak. The cayuga 146 is a good recreational boat for flat water. It didn’t do too bad out on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario either, it seemed to be ok for light waves. I had mine out where Niagara River enters Lake Ontario - that is a weird area full of variable currents and waves - it was a blast. However, I would not want to be out in either Lake in rough water. The hatches on mine leaked, even with extra care taken when closing and sealing them. The day hatch was nice. I was able to carry enough in it for a weekend of paddling down the Allegheny River in PA from the base of Kinzua Dam to Tionesta. In the end though, the cayuga 146 just didn’t do what I wanted well enough. I wanted something bigger for multi-day paddling trips and I wanted something that could handle Lake Erie and Lake Ontario when conditions weren’t “smooth”. I basically outgrew it in about 2-3 months. However, if you aren’t worried about cargo capacity for multiday trips, this really isn’t a bad kayak. For the occasional paddle on the Great Lakes it wasn’t bad (when conditions were smooth) or for day use on rivers it worked well. Just don’t trust the hatches - use drybags and extra flotation.

I did notice that the boat gave quite a bit when any weight was put on it, probably due to the variable layer thing. The variable layer means that the thickness of the plastic changes depending upon the stresses upon that point, this is too help keep the weight down. I didn’t like this either, as it gave the boat a squishy feeling. Also, you need to be careful when tightening straps down so as not to “cave-in” the hull.

Second the WS Tsunami
great place to start, gives you a more “transitional” boat, not really a rec boat. Easy enough for a beginner, or someone who’s been out a handful times like you, to be comfortable in and get comfortable quickly. Will grow with your skill progression better then a wide and open rec boat. Provides front and rear bulkheads/hatces for dry storage and saftey in all sizes. Comes with adjustable thigh braces, and a very comfortable and fully adjustable seat. Provides excellent tracking with a good mix of maneuverability thanks to the multi chined hull design, some moderate to aggressive edging will get it turning easily, but keep it flat and it tracks nicely. That hull also provides tons of secondary stability, leaving you feeling confident and rock solid.

I have the 120 - I’m 5’10" 165lbs, 32" inseam. I found this size most appropriate for my uses, did’t want a boat over the 12 foot area for the smaller water ways I like most of the time. The 140 would be a good option for you if you want a longer water line and some more storage.

If you are about my size then you should be looking at the 120/140. If you are taller or rounder you should check out 125/145.

Whatever you do - go to a real shop that has many makes and models in stock, and demo the boats you are interested in and a few the sales staff may recommend. Buying a boat without trying it out and seeing how it fits you could be a costly mistake.

Figure out your best deal …
from Dick’s on a boat you think you might like, then take that same amount of money and buy something else from the used marketplace. You will get a lot more boat for bucks in the used marketplace - even accounting for your employee discount.