expedition w/ SOT kayak?

I’ve been reading the book on kayak disasters (can’t remember the name, the well-known one). I’m wondering, just out of curiosity since I don’t kayak, is a SOT kayak appropriate for touring? The major disadvantages, it seems, relative to a sit in kayak are: gear would be lashed to the outside, exposed to the elements and the kayak can’t roll, you just fall off.

Maybe, not necessarily twice
If you could get your gear really, really down, or had a boat carrying it similar to a sag wagon in bike tours, and had good clothing for exposure it would be possible to tour in a decent SOT. Obviously that is a lot of if’s, hence you usually see people do distances in sea kayaks or canoes.

There is some storage inside of SOTs, the good ones. A rec SOT not intended for more serious use will have less.

SOTs can be rolled if they have thigh straps and they are not total barges. That said, there are likely more people who can roll a SINK than have expended the same effort on rolling a SOT.


– Last Updated: Oct-02-15 8:48 PM EST –

The bigger issue is generally that SOTs are shorter and wider, so not as efficient covering ground. But if you can carry yourself and gear, you can tour with one. Longer and narrower SOTs would be better than the more recreational ones.

The Tsunami Rangers often did few day coastal excursions with their custom built SOTs. They used SOTs because they were easier to remount when you fall off (issue when they played in the rock gardens/surfed). They also used thigh straps, so they could try to roll.

Some thoughts:

– Last Updated: Oct-03-15 10:29 AM EST –

1. There would be no problem with the gear being lashed to the deck. that is what dry bags are made for.
When we do expeditions in our long skinny touring kayaks, even though the gear goes in the compartments. It is all in dry bags.

2. On a capsize. I would imagine it would be very hard to get the SOT up right with all that gear on the deck.
I have a short fat SOT, and it is hard to get that up right with no gear on it when it capsizes.

3. I am sure they must make some touring SOT's, but all of the ones that I have seen are much wider than a touring sit in one which would make them much slower.

4. On "the roll", I wouldn't even put that in the equation. I don't roll, but do a self rescue instead, and the majority of paddlers don't roll, regardless of what you will hear here on P-net.

5. The biggest draw back that I can see, would be the fact that you would stay pretty wet in rough water, vs. being able to put a skirt on and stay dry.

I have often thought that if I lived in south Florida, or the Keys, year round that I would prefer a SOT, (if they made a 17 or 18 foot long one)

Jack L

Exped kayaks
Nearly all SOT kayaks are short, beamy and top heavy. They are not suitable for an expedition. They are too wet, do not have enough load capacity and are not seaworthy enough compared to large touring kayaks with a cockpit.

Jon Turk
Didn’t he do some crazy expeditions on a double sot in the south Pacific? People are touring sups, not sure why you couldn’t tour a sot, although it might not be the optimal craft.

Sure why not…make it happen

– Last Updated: Oct-04-15 4:29 PM EST –

I had two friends last year paddle 6-months on SOT's down North America's longest river system. They traveled nearly 3800 miles from MOntana to the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a short video on their journey in Vimeo. It's really well done. They are the fist Americans to travel the 4th longest river in the world all under human power.
Check it out.

Great video!

Same boat I think
that Rob Lyons uses:


Not my thing, but it is a well designed and serviceable hull.

Paddle To The Sea
Terrific video! The Hobie kayaks they used are smartly engineered, well built and versetile.

Wish I could do what they did!

enjoyed that
thanks for sharing


thanks for posting a thoughtful video. Pushing the limits of SOTs.

Audrey Sutherland
paddled a SOT, and an inflatable one at that. She packed very sparingly did pretty serious solo tours. I find her books fascinating. RIP, Grande Dame Audrey.

Epic V6?
The Epic V6 is almost a touring grade hull at 16’ x 23". if it were 1’ longer and 1" skinnier it would be on par with many expedition kayaks.

Sitting for many hours without back support may get old after a while though.

yes. You can

– Last Updated: Oct-08-15 10:43 AM EST –

Both Epic and Stellar make long surfski hulls with small hatches. Seaworthy and faster than most kayaks that the respondents in this thread are paddling. It all depends on how small you can get your gear, how much you mind getting wet, and how far you want to go.


Epic V6 touring review here:

This guy packs much heavier than I do. I’ve seen this boat and I think I could make it work for a weekend trip, with little to nothing on deck.

Some people’s minds close when they hear a certain boat, because they have a preconceived notion of that type of boat.

Tarpon 16
The wife and I both have first generation Tarpon 16’s which can carry more than my Valley aquanaut by far, are reasonably fast, stable and seaworthy. They have huge front and rear hatches that have been very water tight (at least in our case) Virtually nothing has to be carried topside. The newer Tarpon 16’s with tank well in back and different front hatch are not as suitable for touring in my opinion.

Water line length is longer than some
17’ expedition kayaks.

The V6 storage is quite large.
As large as any sit in of similar length and width.

believe me, I’ve been tempted
I keep thinking:

Surf ski, or

Kayak with fast hull, or

Epic V6.

Do you have one (V6)? If so, how do you like it?