Choosing a kayak

A few buddies and I are going on a kayaking trip this summer. I am looking to buy a kayak but I don’t know what to look for. We are planning on being on a river with light Rapids for around 5 days. We will pack some food but we will fish for most of our food. I need a kayak good for fishing and mild Rapids with enough space to safely pack everything needed for a 5 day stay on the water. We are camping on the bank at nights and traveling/fishing during the day. I need some help choosing the right kayak for this trip. I have a budget of $600 or under. Any help would be great! Thanks!

Don’t know where you are
Don’t know what size you are.

Don’t know how much experience you have…

And a budget which says shop craigslist and get really lucky.

Fishing, rapids, camping all call for different boats.

Why kayak rather than canoe or raft?
Is there experience kayaking that you haven’t mentioned, or have you just decided that a kayak must be better? If you guys don’t have experience as paddlers you might be better off going with a multiple person open boat, especially with that budget.

$600 is unlikely to get you a kayak that you are going to love being in for five days and that will haul the gear you want. But $1200 might get you a decent used canoe to manage the trip. And higher multiples a raft.

more detail

– Last Updated: Mar-07-15 8:32 AM EST –

You'll get good information here IF you provide more detail. Tell us the name and location of the river ( so we can assess what you mean by mild rapids), also what size you and your buddies are and what your experience level is paddling.

I have to agree with Celia that your trip descrition has canoe or raft written on it. I both canoe and kayak and I would absolutely choose a canoe for such a trip. Two guys with $600 each could afford a decent used 16 or 17 footer. Have you also budgeted for paddles and PFDs? If you tell what city or region you live in we can see what used boats are for sale nearby, too.

Also, as a former outfitter trip guide and experienced multi-day trekker, I have to question your intention to provide "most" of your food through fishing. Are you that confident in the bounty of this river and your own fishing skill? You really should bring enough food to provision yourself and consider firesh fish a fortunate bonus. At the end of a long day of paddling, perhaps one where it has been raining or you had to recover paddler and gear from a capsize, you are going to be tired and famished and probably not going to want to wait an hour or more to snag enough fish for dinner, clean and prep it. And what do you do if you get no strikes?

Fish followup
I have to wonder about the fish idea too. Two things occurred to me right away when I read that part. The first is the same as what Willowleaf said. I think it would be a rare river (and probably only certain times of the year) where the fishing would be so reliable that you could count on that as the main part of one’s food. Even if the river is that bountiful, the weather may change things. Second, I wonder if the original poster has combined river tripping and fishing before. It’s certainly possible to do both, but if one wants to cover a good amount of distance there won’t be much opportunity to put serious effort into fishing along the way, and visa versa. I think if the group really wants to spend a decent amount of time fishing along the way, the daily mileage will need to be pretty low. A person really needs to experience this to understand it. I myself am often amazed how a brief stop just to take a well-composed photo means that the rest of the group is now out of sight around the next bend, and catching up takes far more time than that needed to take the photo.