Can older lady do this?

Check out LL Bean classes…
If you live anywhere near an LL Bean, check out their “Walk-in Adventures”…for $15 they supply the kayak and gear, plus take you out in a group and give you very basic instructions.

As for age…I am 55, my husband is 65, and my aunt is 76…and we all love it.

It actually helps those aches & pains!

I don’t think I saw how you planned to get the kayak off the top of the car. You can get a small trailer, and if you go that route, perhaps a scanoe would be good. You can put a kicker (motor) on the back and it’s stable. You can get a seat for it. This is where ingenuity comes in. Then how do you get it off the trailer? You can get a rig that has wheels on it to get it off the trailer. Getting it back on may be a chore, but again, if you think it through, you can come up with solutions, but before you ruminate over what to get, realize what you can handle.

If you find you don’t think you can handle a kayak or canoe for medical reasons, birding from land or shore is always great. Areas by me, you can see sea birds from shore also, and you don’t have to be in the water to see ducks.

Perhaps you should try renting out a kayak anyway. See if you can kayak for any distance and not be uncomfortable in some way. Also, there is a whole different feel paddling a canoe (or scanoe) over a kayak, so you have to know what’s easier or preferable.

Perhaps you could combine birding and photograhy? Or you could do more extensive birding, by logging the birds you see if you don’t already do that, expand on what you’re already doing. If you don’t belong to a birding club, join and get out on more trips if you want to be more active or do some light hiking if you enjoy the outdoors.

I’m not saying to give up by any means, but realize other good options just in case.


first starting out
I started with an Old Town rush and that lasted for about 3 months before id ecided to upgrade as I developed a real interest.

I woudl recommend something like that Phoenix 120 which is a great boat and my favorite (even though heavier) is the Mad River synergy.

i definitely recommend a sit on top as it is easier to get into, is more stable, and depending on the one you get, can hold its own with hardshell sit inside kayaks.

Please do join a club, let members lend you different boats to try out, have lots of people give opinions and accompany you on short trips.


Ya sure come to Raystown
Hell everyone else is. Bring your kayak and 60lb. battery and something to eat. We need more wemonfolk to chase. You sound like an easy catch.

yakers of all ages
I belong to two groups both having paddlers of all ages and capabilities. A few going through chemotherapy and older members >70. Two really stand out. One women is 78 yrs. young maybe 100 pounds picks up her kayak (16’ at about 44 pounds) and throws it on top of her small suv (by herself). Another paddled up to the week before she lost her battle with cancer. The point is go out and enjoy you will be surprized what you are able to do.


older & paddling
I’m in the over 50 group but not at the senior discounts yet!! One of the first things I realized when I first started out was that I needed more endurence. So I looked up local excersize places and joined Curves. I try to go M-F and I walk almost 3 miles every day. I still can’t put my boat on top of my truck but I’m in much better shape and can keep up with much much younger people when I paddle. When I use my trailer, I don’t have a problem loading and unloading the boat. Someone here mentioned a dolly or kayak cart to use from trailer/car to water and I’m thinking of getting one of them, then I’d be totally able to do it all by myself.

A friend of mine has bad knees and she uses a “sit on top” kayak. Thing weighs a ton but she just asks for help and all these old guys (and sometimes even the young ones!!) come running (ok, walking) to help her. This year she bought herself a new (used but new to her) kayak. Seems that with all the excersize that she’s been doing, her knees are working better and she found a kayak with a larger cockpit that she could get into.

If you’re really into having a motor, look at canoes. Some of them will accomodate adding a trolling motor.

And look to see if you can find a local kayak club in your area.

I’ve met two older women
both probably in mid seventies who were each paddling a Wee Lassie, solo, very light-weight canoe, which is paddled from the center position (they each had build-in chairs) with a double bladed paddle. One was on the coast of Maine in the ocean (calm day) and the other was in a lake. It looked like a nice way to get out and enjoy the scenery. I think their boats weighed under 20 pounds. The light ones are kevlar or carbon, although they are also made in wood. They are very easy to propel through the water. You won’t need a motor.


I’m sure the company would help you find a builder.

Starting Paddling
Get yourself a starter boat- I bought a Heritage Featherlite - 9.5 feet. Nice and light and easy to get in and out of. It is more than adaquate for basic paddling. Also nice and stable for birding and photography. See if you like it.

Check for used boats on things like Craigs list and here. Watch the flyers for places like Dicks. No need to spend too much before you catch the bug!

I’ve fallen in love with kayaking and have moved up. However the smaller boat will get used plenty due to its ease of use.

Good Luck.

There are motors available

– Last Updated: Jan-26-09 12:05 PM EST –

and they're nifty. They are not that complex. If you can check the oil on your car, you can operate one of the motors. Far better to have you add that little bit of complexity than to forbear paddling entirely. Bad back and pumps - not so great. When my back has gone out, there is no way that I would be able to operate a dual action pump. No way. A foot pump would be problematic from a balance perspective. A motorized pump - no problem. Good ones run about $100 or so. You don't want a Coleman or something like that designed for mattresses. Nothing wrong with them for their intended purposes, but they don't have the ooomph to get a boat fully inflated. has a variety of electric pumps, and also hand pumps that would work OK for a small inflatable kayak.

Thanks to the poster about the review on the Advanced Elements kayak. I've been looking at those.

Personally, I think you're on the right path with inflatables. You will get better performance out of a hard shell kayak or canoe that you'd lift to your rooftop, but if 20lbs is your limit, then I'd worry about you being able to transport them. The hard part of the inflatable would be moving it into the trunk of your car once deflated. Good ones can get kind of heavy. Still lighter than a hardshell in many circumstances, but heavy enough to matter.

If cost is not a huge consideration, I would recommend that you look around on this site for information on inflatables.

Good luck. I detect a little note of the blues in your initial message. Maybe I'm wrong. Nevertheless, I don't know a better solution for the blues than getting on the water. And if you go nice and easy on protected water, I think that you'll find yourself getting stronger if that's medically possible for you. I am assuming that it is else you may be past the point of considering a new physical hobby.

Nothing clears my head better than a paddle. Another thought. Look around and see if there's a paddling club in your area. Post your intention and desire. Most paddlers are eager to help others learn, and you could gain the opportunity to show up at an event and get to sit in any number of different crafts and maybe do some test paddles in a safe and fun environment. Eco-tours are another option.

Edit to mention that my step-mother was paddling canoes and kayaks up into her late 70's. She could still do it now physically, but has lost interest in favor of other things.

- Big D

I don’t think you want inflatable.
Keep it simple. A hollow shell like the Old Town Pack. Short, 9 to 12 feet. Light. If you can afford it, get the lightest materials made.

Wide ( I will probably catch heck here) for your first boat, which you say is your last boat. You loose a touch in performance. Big Deal. You already have in mind what your journey will be like. You do not need mile cutting performance. You need flat stabile, get my camera out of the case comfort.

I suggest a canoe, even though I am a devoted kayaker (with canoes).

Go on calm days initially until you become mildly proficient.

There is no better way to bird watch and photograph.

And finally but most importantly, did I mention to stay away from inflatables? There are a host of reasons one might want one, but you listed none of them. They are not light weight, not fast and easy to set up, they eat up a lot of your lake time just setting up and down, and not really cheap or durable. If you can squeeze in a couple of hours, you don’t want 30 minutes of set up and again at tear down.

Keep it simple. Something short that you can even stick half of it in the trunk with some straps to hold it. Drag it out and let it drop and drag it to the shore. That means plastic, small, rugged, light. You will use it instead of look at it in the corner wishing you had someone to help you with it.

You don’t have to be athletic. You will become stronger without trying, because you love your canoe and the places it takes you. Just go easy at first so you don’t hurt and don’t go.

55 yrs young here and hoping to paddle for life, which I hope is another 55 yrs.

I generally use a footpump to blow up my inflatable. Takes about 10-12 minutes tops and is far easier on the back than a double action hand pump.

bad advice
Mary I wouldn’t take any of the criticisms about inflatables in the post above at face value. As with any other boat there are a wide range of different types. Some easy to setup and take down, some harder. Some light and quick to dry, and others heavier than a plastic kayak and will take very long to dry.

From what you’ve described as your interests in getting on the water I think an inflatable could make a very good choice. Especially one like an Innova Sunny, which sets up quickly, weighs only about 30lbs, is easy to get in and out of and is rock solid stable on the water and extremely comfortable.

Innova Solar

Light boats
My wife is 71 and we paddle a lot. Some things I learned as we got older. The older I get the lighter I want. Relax, you dont need to race anyone. Paddle with someone but not in the same boat.

Hurricane Aquasports has some relatively inexpensive boats that are light weight, good looking and safer than a lot of the poly rec boats. Their sit ins have bulkheads and hatches. Their 12’ SOT weighs 37 lbs. Their Santee’s are excellent boats. Here is a link to their website.

As mentioned above, get a good light weight paddle that is properly sized. The paddle is as or more important than the boat. Also get a good pfd that is comfortable. There are several that are made specifically for women. Get some lessons. They will make paddling more enjoyable and safer.


– Last Updated: Jan-26-09 5:56 PM EST –

I have no hatred for inflatables. If you have a problem with storage or transport they are great and there are tons out there to choose from. The problem I found with my inflatable was that the setting up and deflating it was really hard on my back. Advanced Elements doesn't recommend using an electric pump but if one can be found I suppose that would help.

I just found the whole process of dragging it into and out of the Jeep (even with a cargo rack off the bumper, which made life easier) and deflating it afterwards a giant pain. It exhausted me and I was always the last one to leave the parking lot after a club paddle. It got to the point where I wouldn't paddle for a just an hour or so because of the hassle.

Yes, there are other lighterweight inflatables out there but fact is you still have to blow them up, deflate them and put them away, unless you are like me and transport it or live right on the water and don't travel far and then why have an inflatable? I bought my mine before I got my trailer and thought it would work and soon found that it didn't and so I moved on. It was a great starter boat though..very easy to paddle and very stable.

I'm with the crowd that says go with a lighterweight canoe or kayak or as I said before, a sit-on-top set up for fishing with foot paddles. I still hold with my trailer. A good dolly will help you take it on and off the trailer and into and out of the water. I can't even begin to tell you how much easier it is!

Can't believe I didn't mention a club! DEFINITELY join one! You'll meet nice people, get to check out their kayaks and get a ton of feedback and you have access to classes and information. You can also check out other people's kayaks (Most are more than happy to let you paddle their kayak to check it out).

For you I'd say lightweight, shorter and wide is the way to go. Wide isn't fast but it's stable and that's a good thing! One nice thing about my 34" wide I can't tip it without real rolling in that baby! I can literally jump into it without tipping it over. Can't do that with my 22" wide sea kayak!

Nice to hear about so many older senior citizens paddling. My advice is just don't take on more than you can at first. Take it easy, paddle around and enjoy and you'll get hooked like we all are. :)

Is it any wonder
they show all those kids in those blow up boats? nope,… no wonder…

What makes Kayaks great?
Exactly what makes this ungreat. You are sacrificing the ultimate, shallow water experience you crave from backwater swamps adventure photo ops. You cannot pedal this thing through a swamp, period. It has it’s place. Not the place you mentioned in your inquirey for a proper boat for your vision.

It seems kind of right at first thought. But think a couple more times.

Just one old guy’s opinion.

don’t put the cart before the horse
join a club and take a course in beginning kayaking–on a rented or borrowed kayak—try different boats and then decide—and BTW I wouldn’t go with a motor on a kayak—if you want motorized by a small boat or a canoe.

If you want to get real serious…
What weighs 30 lbs?

Paddles like a kayak?

Could care less about wind?

Easy to get in and out of?

Carrys lots of stuff?