Let me summarize what I’ve concluded from the advice on this board given by some thoughtful paddlers in response to my questions about upgrading my cheapo plastic 10 foot recreational kayak, for use in a shallow, rocky river and on small creeks.
- Get a plastic boat. Fiberglass/Kevlar/carbon/composite are for paddling only on water where you will never bump into a rock or scrape bottom. Live with the stupid-heavy weight of a plastic boat for the sake of durability.
- Get a short boat – 10 feet to maybe 12 max, since a longer boat won’t be maneuverable on creeks and my river outings aren’t more than 15 miles/day and I’m not racing and don’t need the better tracking or speed of a long boat.
- Upgrading my $200 Pelican Potomac 100es recreational kayak to a $1,000 10ft/12foot rotomold recreational or transitional kayak won’t yield much benefit to me, since I have expressed satisfaction with my existing kayak for the last 3 years of 3 to 4 day/week, 6-months/year paddling season, including overnight kayak camping.
Please agree/disagree with those conclusions, and elaborate on anything I’ve gotten wrong. I’m wondering if it would make sense for me to get, let’s say, a Current Designs Vision 120 transitional composite kayak, at 12 feet and 29 pounds, for paddling only on deeper stretches of my local river and on local lakes, where I’ll never hit rocks, and keep my scrappy, cheapo 10 foot recreational boat for everyday use on shallow stretches of the river where I am likely to scrape bottom and bounce into a few rocks, and for local creeks where a short boat is advantageous and the occasional rock will present itself?
Thoughts? I’m reading as much as I can and studying as many posts on this board as I can and trying not to make my typical mistake of throwing too much money on something that is more than what I need just because it is fun to buy new top-of-the-line gear. I’ll also be visiting various kayak outfitters to ask their advice and paddle some demo boats when the ice melts.