Best Kayak for slow-moderate river?

I’m in search of a kayak for slow to moderate rivers - would like plenty of storage. I’ve been told I should stay under 12 feet, but the boats I’ve found at that length have few features. any price range OK

thanks in advance - I’ve searched online and can’t make a decision. I’m hoping someone has some favorites they can suggest.

What sort of features
Are you thinking you want?

Lot’s of different boats out there.

Storage for
multiday trips? It will be a challenge to store enough for multiday trips in a 12 foot kayak, but not impossible if you pack light. Are you talking deep, wide rivers or rivers that are more like creeks?

Thanks for
your response. I had looked at the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140 and really like the features on it - Phase 3 seat, lots of rigging bow, stern and day hatches. I like this boat, but was told by several people that its really not suitable for rivers (might be a little long to be maneuverable and maybe a little tipsy). I was hoping to find a 12’ boat with similar features, but have been unable to do so. Any thoughts? thanks again…such a difficult decision.

here is a link to the Tsunami

Don’t be so concerned about length
I have a 16 foot tandem kayak that I often paddle solo. I’ve never had any problems negotiating the rivers I’ve paddled, which have been slow to moderate.

I’ve taken several trips with it, the two longest being 3 day [65mile] and 4 day[95mile] and had no problem. In fact, I was glad I had the extra storage space that my larger kayak provided.

Just my experience.

I’ve been paddling a Perception Illusion on rivers since it first came out. That includes class 4. Don’t do with 12’ because you’ll find it wanting for multi-day trips. Why have a boat and they back like a backpacker.

If you like the Tsunami

– Last Updated: Apr-16-05 12:24 PM EST –

also look at the Prijon Calabria. It is a high volume boat. I picked mine up at the dealer yesterday and took it for a spin and it felt great. I won't write a review until I've had more time with it in different conditions. The WS Tsunami 140 and Calabria were my two finalists and I probably would have been happy with either.

Tsunami 145 for river use
I have a Tsunami 145 that I use consistantly on the Clinton River in MI. I have also used it on the Huron River and went thru the rapids at Delphi with out much problems at all. I wouldn’t use the Tsunami on anything more than Class II water though. Great boat overall, with some minor issues that are acceptable overall. It would depend on your body size which Tsunami you get. Smaller body, get the 140, bigger body get the 145. Even though I bought a 145 I had to do some customization to the boat for better fit. I think everyone has to do that at least a little bit

prijon calabria
Thanks everyone for the responses. This is helpful. Bruce - I checked out the Prijon Calabria - nice looking boat. What made you choose it over the Tsunami? Thanks again

JD- On the Calabria
I liked the foot rests and the adjustable thigh braces. Also, I instantaneously felt very comfortable sitting in it. I did not demo prior to purchasing it because the water was iced up in the Upper Midwest. The reviews on this site were very helpful. I also thought it might be a little more seaworthy on Lake Michigan in non-threatening conditions. The Tsunami 140 was also extremely comfortable with the Phase 3 seating. Both boats are sort of multi-purpose between recreational and entry-level sea kayaks. It’s probably a matter of personal preference between these two. WS makes a great boat; I have one of their tandems. They are both about the same length and weight and made from quality polyethylene. The Calabria is a little bit more expensive at approx. $1,000-$1,100 which as one dealer told me “is a high price for Tupperware”.

Good luck whichever you choose.

Why would you want a kayak.
Now i’m the first to agree that kayaks are better than open canoes for ocean, big rough lakes, and white water, but why would you want a kayak for slow rivers. I’d get a smaller canoe like the Mad River Explorer 14. It loads easier and turns easier and alows more comfortable paddling positions and with a doulble blade you can paddle it as fast as any 12 foor kayak.

I had a Wilderness systems Pungo that was 12 feet long and while it was good for coastal bays it didn’t turn as fast as my canoe and its deep V in the front caught on every rock in the river. I’d be dragging it while canoes would still be paddling. It was just the wrong boat for a shallow slow river.

No matter if you chose a kayak of a canoe you want something that turns easily and has a round or flat bottom. Stak away from boats with deep v’s or deep keels.

The Phoenix Vagabond
is 16.5 ft long, 29" wide and 49lbs. It turns reasonably well and can be paddled by 1 or 2 paddlers. I had no problems on the Middle Fork river in Vermillion County Illinois keeping up with canoes of various sizes & designs. That river varied from 10’ to 80’ wide navigable channels and had trees down. The water was kind of fast that day and the boat maneauvered pretty well - as well or better than the other boats. This boat doesn’t track real well, so If you stop paddling to pick up the binoculars for bird watching, it will turn on you. I find the factory seating to be uncomfortable and it took me some experimentation to find a seating system that worked for me. My boat is over 20 years old, so maybe the seats are better now. I’m 5’6" and 150lbs and find the Vagabond to be a fine down river boat. I bought mine used two years ago. New boats are about $2000.

Why not a MR Freedom/Guide if you are
going to double-blade? I do not know why they would bother with a MR Explorer 14. Nobody in his right mind explores anything in a wide 14 foot canoe. At least the Guide has some capability.