best all-around 16 footer?

Just pondering, what would be your pick for a 16 footer that will be good at :

#1 fit 6’1/180/ size 12 feet.

#2 fit enough gear for a long weekend, including a warm sleeping bag and 2 person tent.

*Must also be good in rough water for a upper beginner/lower intermediate paddler.

#3 be quick/efficient enough to do 10-15 miles a day without being too much of a chore.

#4 as little weathercocking as possible.

#5 be reasonably manouverable and not rudder dependent.

#6 be a decent/good roller.

My personal preferences are skeg over rudder,however i much prefer 2 neoprene/hardcover hatches and not 3 rubber lids.

I had a plastic Elaho rudder for 2 seasons, liked it a lot but traded for a chatham 17 to try something different. nice,but lacks the gear space i want,and while by no means a slow boat,it’s not ‘fast’ either.


– Last Updated: Mar-25-08 11:56 PM EST –

fits your bill, except it is 18' long. For your weight plus gear I do not see you fitting a fast kayak under 18'.

Why the hang up on 16'?

british style boat

– Last Updated: Mar-26-08 12:24 AM EST –

I would say a Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 or Necky Chatham 16, based on yuor desire for 16' (both are about 16.5) and other needs, but both may be a bit small for you (I am 6' and 200#, and can't get my hips into the seat). Tempest 170 or Chatham 17 would likely fit you better (though they are 17').

Avocet et al
There are many many good boats at 16’

BTW why 16’. Many day boats are over 16’ - e.g. Chatham 16

My favorite 16’ boat is my Romany, but I think your feet would be squished - my size 11s just fit. A Romany S (aka HV & Poseidon) should accommodate your feet.

At your size
There would be a lot of candidates as you approach 17 feet. The P&H Capella 167 is one. WS 170 and Currituck are also there. Most people your size would be looking at something between 16.5 and 18 feet for all around use.

At 16 feet, most of the best performance boats are meant to carry a smaller person - you are too big for the Avocet. The Aquanaut and Aquanaut LV are longer, and might not have enough stability for you.

The Eddyline Fathom would be a good candidate, and has lots of room for your feet.

to Peter, i already own the chatham 17, i traded the elaho for it in a straight swap deal. It only falls short in one department and that’s space for gear, it’ll do for some trips but really more of a day boat.of course a composite version would have more space(foam bulkheads in plastic version i got eat up A LOT of space), but chances of finding one on my budget are slim-ish.

chatham 16 sounds slow from everything i’ve read, the 17 isn’t particularly fast either.

I’m not hung up on 16 feet,just seems like a good size where you can have decent volume and hull speed and still have some maneuverability.

Sadly QCC and Eddyline are out of the question, i shop local(vancouver,bc) and used, and frankly never seen either for sale in years.

WS Tsunami 165
seems to be closest to your stated requirements.

My size 14s fit in a Romany
At 185, I’m a bit heavy for the boat, but it’s a perfect day boat for me. It fits all your requirements. I’ve even camped for a long weekend out of the boat, but this requires thinking like a backpacker. I mean really thinking like a backpacker! I scrutinized every item for weight, but I had more than enough room in the boat. Based on space alone it could handle 2 or more weeks of food and gear. You may wish to consider the Romanny S, Posieden or Romany HV. These are all higher deck variations of the Romany that NDK made throughout the years. The S is their current version.

I also have a Tempest 165 in plastic. It’s a great boat, but I find the Romany to be just a bit more fun to paddle. Either boat deserves a good long look.

NF Legend? Seaward
You should be able to find some Legends used locally. I’m around your size and find it a nice compromise between size / speed / maneuverabilty.

The other Seaward designed boats would seem to fit your descriptions of hard covered hatches and may closely resemble your Elaho.

room for long weekend?
certainly the 17 has that.

Dagger Meridian
If you can find one used, this 16 foot boat was getting excellent reviews!

i would check out the new Wilderness

or go with a strip/stitch and glue that you can change as you need to…

I agree

– Last Updated: Mar-26-08 11:50 AM EST –

My girlfriend and I did a 10 day kayak camping trip down the Columbia last year, she in a Chatham 16 and me in a Looksha 4. We carried everything we needed in our boats. Only thing we restocked on the way was water (we carried about 4 days worth with us) and some fresh fruits/veggies. Completed the trip with about 2 days left of food.

The amount of space in other boats isn't that much greater. The Looksha 4 had a rudder, instead of a skegg, so did have more space in the rear for larger dry bags, but the Chatham carried its fair share of the small bags and loose gear.

The red boat in the pictures at is the Chatham 16. There is one picture that shows her hatch stuffed.


– Last Updated: Mar-26-08 3:09 PM EST –

NO SUCH THING, and any opinion is just that.
Believe it or not, you are a unique humanoid with your own nervous system, physical shape, sense of aesthetic, and subconcious models. The best all round boat for YOU is the one that YOU enjoy paddling the most out of SEVERAL you've spent time in.

Don't look for an answer, because it's far too subjective and the best you can get is generalizations based on others perceptions...others you don't even know!

All the boats listed above are compromises of variables...that's it. The one that is best for you is the one that fits you best and best matches your paddling requirements. The more specialized a kayak is toward one objective, the less well rounded it becomes. The more general it is the more variables it will achieve well, but few to none great.

For example, the CH 16 is a very specialized kayak that is superb in rough seas and high winds. An Eddyline is a more all round tourer, whereas a QCC is an efficient, directionally stable tourer. Among similar boats like the 165, Romany, CH 16, the one that's best is simply the one that subjectively feels right for you.
Three great coastal paddlers may each choose one of those, and they'd all be right! "FOR THEM"

sub 17 footer
Maybe try a CD Gulfstream. I am bigger and have bigger feet, it is roomy. Not record breaking fast by any means, but two weeks of gear will do that to you.

it’s slippery
not fast but for average cruising speeds it feels very easy to move through the water

Just curious…
Why your preference for the hard cover hatches with the neoprene covers? You just cut down your choices by 95%. The world has moved to VCP or VCP imitations because they work well.

I Hate This Type of Question
Does anyone besides me find the “What is the best boat for me?” subjects and absolutely frustrating. Ask 20 people this question and you will get 20 different answers. Of course there are always a bunch of idiots who will go way out on a limb and say “Try before you buy.” I personally find that advice only good if you are buying a floating lawn chair.

This guy layed out his set of criteria, and guess what. He is just describing a typical sea kayak. I don’t know why he limits himself to 16 ft. That was probably some bad advice he received from some “expert.” Every manufacturer out there has more than one model that will meet his goals. The overall differences between them are minor. If I worked in a shop there would probaby be at least 3 or 4 boats at hand that meet his needs all within a couple hundred dollars of each other. Ultimately it will be color and/or price that are the biggest factors in which boat he buys. Oh I could convince him to buy one over another becasue of some sillly difference in hatch design, or some marketing gimmick. That would be my job to sell the boat the boss wants to move that day.

Here is the best advice you are gonna get: Unless you are smart enough to do a little research on your own about kayak design parameters and how they affect a kayak’s performance, you should take the safe route and go to your closest kayak shop. Tell the guy everything you just told us. Buy one of the many kayaks they will have in stock that meets your needs. The differences between them are not great enough for you to care. Perhaps the one on sale is the best one for you that day. I guarantee the one you buy will be the best sea kayak in the world for your needs. You won’t understand why anyone else would buy any kayak besides the one you purchased.

A year from now when some newbie asks the same question, you will jump in and tell him how your kayak will be the best choice for him.

Nighthawk 16

– Last Updated: Mar-28-08 11:59 AM EST –

Very good in rough water, fast, decent storage, skeg, under 50# in weight. Looks pretty good too. Good luck in your search.

Trying boats

– Last Updated: Mar-28-08 5:02 PM EST –

As one of the try first folks... we tried lots of boats for both purchases, and it's a good thing we did.

For the first sea kayak purchase, there was one boat that the kayak shop person sincerely thought would be right for me based on the word of the manufacturer. Everyone was being totally honest, but it turned out to be perfect for my taller and somewhat heavier husband. A couple of months later Sea Kayaker reviewed the same boat, and it turned out I was dead on when I came back from the try-out saying I was 30-40 pounds too light to get to the waterline. (This boat hull wasn't going to turn for squat until you were on the first chine, so the waterline really mattered.)

For the first composite boats, my husband saw a boat on the rack that was not on our list of "gotta demo" boats. None of us expected this boat to be it, but it was there so what the heck.

Jim made it all of 40 ft from shore in this boat before the dealer, myself and his partner all said that's "his" boat. He was so comfortable in the boat that you'd have to be legally blind to have missed it.

And frankly, the good dealers I have encountered won't sell someone a boat without making sure the customer has gotten one wet. It's no less of a pain for them to have to deal with an unhappy customer than being the customer.