Choosing a Kayak for a Woman

Hello, I am new to kayaking and wish to buy a kayak, preferably sit on top as I love to fish. Any suggestions? I am female, 5’ 2" weigh 123 lbs.


– Last Updated: Aug-24-09 8:04 PM EST –

I'd think that boat weight would be a major consideration in looking for a SOT for someone your size. If it's difficult to load and carry you won't use it as much. The Hurricane Phoenix 120 is lighter than many similar-sized SOTs, and might be worth a look.

At your size many SOTs will seem huge. The RTM Disco is narrower than many SOTs, and might be more comfortable to paddle.

Ocean Kayak has the Venus which they claim is a woman-specific design. It's light, but seems short and wide.

SOT site:

Fishing site:

I had the same thought. Most SOT
are tanks with maybe the exception noted.

Solo canoe?
Mine only weighs 25 pounds, very stable, very fast, use double blade paddle, lots of room to carry stuff.

I’m small, too, and at the end of the day the light weight is a joy.

RTM Disco
My paddling partner is your size, and if she was looking for an SOT fishing platform my first thought would be an RTM Disco. It has reasonably good performance so the paddling can be as enjoyable as the fishing - and not as much of a barge as many others popular with the fishermen.

Using thigh straps as shoulder strap, and learning some loading tricks, gets you mostly around the weight issues of the plastic SOTs. Some of the thermoformed ones are a bit lighter, but maybe not enough to bother with added cost.

For significantly lighter, you might look at sit-ins, as you’ll have more options, but that depends on your needs/preferences.

I’d suggest trying some of the
12 foot SOT models from Wilderness Systems and Native Watercraft. Ocean Kayak also sells a pretty pink SOT called a Venus.


Choosing a Kayak for a Woman
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I’m currently checking them out. I decided that as suggested, lighter is better for me.

Phoenix 120…
…isnt a bad choice. A lot of ladies in our kayaking group find the weight of most poly SOTs to be a problem for loading/handling solo. One bought a Phoenix 140 and found it much to difficult to handle after 3 attempts, so traded it on a 120. The 14 lbs apparently made a big difference to her. She likes it far better for handling solo and paddles often in Force 3/4 Ches Bay conditions.

Although it’s not a SOT, the Eddyline Sandpiper also finds a lot of favor with ladies in our group looking for a nice rec kayak that is stable, light and large enough for fishing.

Just to ask
Why has a canoe been left out of the picture? Are you thinking ocean or similar?

The reason I ask this is that it’d be as easy or easier to find a lightweight canoe than a lightweight SOT, and a canoe could be a lot easier to load and unload alone. Cartopping a hunk of plastic or alternative that is pretty smooth all around can be harder that something with interior points to grab.