Day Tourers: Best Value in Kayaking?

A kayak should fit the paddler and the mission. No argument there.

Nice summary
of kayak design principles :slight_smile:

Day Tourers: The ‘Gateway Drug’?
Reading the responses, it seems slightly odd to me that some would think of this in terms of transitional boat/day-tourer VERSUS expedition boat/true sea kayak.

I mean, think about it… you have these boats now that are around $1000 new, yet, in their better examples, are considerably more capable than a rec 'yak. They have front and rear bulkheads, reasonable width, reasonable flotation, can be edged, can be rolled, have decent speed, decent carrying capacity, etc. etc.

So, unlike a rec 'yak, which may be a dead end (‘glorified floating’, and that’s about it), you have these boats that can give the new folks a taste of sea kayaking, weekend trips, etc. It can pull them more deeply into the sport.

And THEN, they might buy the full-on, 'glass $3000-4000 expedition boat.

So if you love your 17-19 ft ‘true’ sea 'yaks, and wish that everyone else could enjoy same, seems like day tourers/transitional boats are your friends/recruiters, not the enemy.

Just my take. But what do I know, I’m a newb. :wink:

Reading into things too much
I don’t think the transitional boats need to be defended. They just have some limitations that don’t suit for people who have specific requirements. But many of them, like ourselves, eventually acquire a shorter boat even if just an old school WW jpb for days that you just want to get wet.

This will all make much more sense in a year.

2-way street…
:: Celia wrote: This will all make much more sense in a year.:

Oh, I’m sure. But, by the same token, I think some experienced paddlers sometimes forget what it’s like to be new to the sport.

It seems a bit like cycling (a sport I’ve been in for over 20 years)… all the veteran guys want the newbies to buy a $3000 carbon fiber bike with Ultegra and up.

Never mind that that’s not be where the newbie is at yet, and is pricey to boot.

i remember
We want you to get a boat that you want. I have spent and continue to spend a lot of money on paddling. If I knew then what I know now I would have saved a lot of money. The key is to make sure you want to do this. If you do buy something nicer that you will keep, in the long run you will save money. Of course people are on budgets so buy in your means. But getting a boat you will use later is wiser. if you’re not completely sure buy something entry level. If you like it you will be hooked regardless of what you paddle first. On fact the worse your first boat is the nicer your second boat might be.

For me difference came when I went from plastic to composite. I wish I had a slightly smaller plastic boat as well, but I can’t really think that I would go back. I would buy one and then probably not paddle it much.

Good luck, remember the worse that can happen is you have a boat.

Ryan L.

plastic vs composite
Sound advice, thanks for sharing it. =]

But pls, tell me more about your feelings on composite vs plastic… why specifically was this the big difference-maker for you? Glide? Weight? Feel? Looks? Something else?

Fact is, I can afford any boat I want… but I’m thrifty. I don’t spend emotionally, I spend 'cuz it makes sense/fits my needs.

You are talking racers often with that bike setup. You can find sensible folks who think the 105 group or Campy’s equivalent are fine. Some of it is who the guys are.

I do spend emotionally. But selectively. For me, I paddle inland lakes and wide rivers. I wanted a boat that would paddle straight and fast. I like composite boats because they are lighter, generally faster and silent in the water. Unlike a carbon bike frame they are repairable. A good boat really will last for long time, where as a plastic boat will degrade. If your going to paddle water were rocks and the bottom don’t come into play, I would suggest it. But both are fine.

Once I find something I like I pretty much focus all my energy on getting it. The key is just to wait and learn. And of course I have to limit my hobbies. One often over looked aspect of a boat is its awesomeness. After all paddling is in the want category not the need category.

Ryan L.

You can actually have carbon bikes repaired sometimes (though ironically, I prefer steel):

Btw, thanks for the ‘awesomeness’ point you made about boats. That’s so very true, and a nice way to think about it. =]

The biggest advantage of composite
is that there’s so many more models to choose from.

The second advantage is the weight… which you’ll mostly notice carrying it to and from the water.

Note that some models come in both composite and plastic versions, but they’re rarely the same, just similar. Poly plastic is limited in ways it can be shaped (so I’ve been told).

Composites should be handled more mindfully (imo) and are more prone to small dings and scratches. Some paddlers prefer plastic just so they can give 'em hell.

steel is real
Steel is the greatest bicycle frame material, bar none. And my Surly LHT is pure distilled “awesomeness” in the shape of a bicycle.

I suppose that old-fashioned fiberglass (no kevlar or carban fiber, etc) is the paddling equivalent. Durable. Repairable. Not the lightest. But not the heaviest. Not the cheapest. But not the most expensive. Tried and true.

same thing goes for the rec paddler
So we should be careful how we describe those boats and boaters as well.

Not everyone progresses. Not everyone should be expected to progress.

Otherwise I couldn’t agree more with you on smaller “day tourers”, “low volume” kayaks, and the like. To be clear, I’m thinking of a shorter craft that is capable in the sea but doesn’t have the storage capacity or waterline beneficial for longer outings. I repeat, I see people positively swimming in large expedition kayaks they may never utilize fully. I think this has the potential to turn off prospective day sea kayakers as much as crappy rec boats turn off newbies.

I only wish we had more choices for and a greater emphasis on these types of kayaks.

Just need some time
There are lots of interesting boats out there - tons more, in more sizes and varieties focus than even 6 yrs ago let alone a decade. Especially for small paddlers.

If there were very few, you’d have already found your boat. :slight_smile:

day tourer is whatever I take out for the day

they used to be known simply as a “kayak”

mine is fiberglass
After weighing all the options fiberglass made the most sense to me. That said one day I will own the lightest stiffest but probably brittle carbon boat. I’m young and big enough to carry 55 pounds to the water and fiberglass really is pretty flexible. I tested my last week when I rolled over a stump that deformed the underside by about two inches. No cracks. I know kevlar is bullet proof but no one shoots at me. You will hear this a lot when you are looking.

Also don’t over think this too much. When learning you will adjust to the boat you are paddling. Then you can decide if that is what you want. Of course get a boat that is comfortable for you. But a few test paddles will not really get you familiar.

Ryan L.

So it’s all about money?
Not about boats!

There hadn’t been a lot of medium length, two bulkhead, somewhat sea worthy (when the sea is calm) kayaks until recently. So I’m glad there’re more offerings now.

But to say these transitional boats are “better value”? It’s stretching it.

I know this sound elitist. But come back after you paddled a Romany for 20 miles a day for a week! And tell us if it’s worth the extra couple thousand!!!

There’re different boats, for different purposes. Unlike bikes that weights nothing costing a fortune in their lightweight material alone, there’s not a direct correlation between boat design and price. It just so happens the higher performance boats tend to cost more, which is really an acknowledgment of the considerably smaller potential market.

But if you often paddle in condition that NEEDS the performance, the money is well worth it! And by the same token, a kayak fisherman’s best value is in a 30" beam floating bathtub (I’m serious about this)!

The BEST VALUE is in a boat that suits YOUR PARTICULAR NEED!