First Kayak

-- Last Updated: Aug-22-11 10:02 PM EST --

Hello All,

I'm considering purchasing a Kayak and I was hoping you might be able to suggest a few models that would suit my needs. Here are my criteria.

1. Low Cost
2. Very low key recreational stuff. Flat lakes, easy going rivers.
3. Complete Amatuer
4. Semi-Tandem if possible (I have a son turning 5 in February of 2012)
5. Primary use: Recreatational one day trips, Lakes or very easy moving rivers. Solo, camping/hiking trips. Ability to carry my pack so I camp overnight on shore. At the most, short 2-4 day trips.

Summary: Do they make something that possibly has a cargo space large enough to sit a 5 year old child in (currently he's 41" tall) for short day trips around flat lakes during pleasant weather?

Then I could also use the same cargo space to hold my camping gear (I'm an ultralight hiker and typically carry a pack that is 15#'s or less for a 3-4 day trip, including all food and everything) for solo trips of 3-4 days in length.

My plan would be to use this kayak (if one exists) as my son grows and if we enjoy the hobby we would purchase him his own in few years once he is able to be self sufficient.

Thanks in advance.

Check out the Dirigo 140

It has a removable childs seat. I bought one to take my 5 year old granddaughter with me. It’s a fairly fast, good handling (to me) kayak. Has a roomy cockpit opening, great hatch, and I think they have the newer rediesigned seats in them. I got mine on sale for less than $800.

Canoes are good with kids .
You can paddle from the center thwart and child can sit in the bow.

Sit on top tandm kayaks can work well too, Hobie oddysey lets you paddle from the center too, when bigger you can move so child is in the bow, but with very small children it’s very hard to sit in a tandem seat in the stern, the boat does not trim well at all. The oddysey is kind of heavy to manage by yourself.

For what it is worth;
Our 20 year old nine and a half foot long Keowees came with a removable toddlers seat right in front of the paddlers seat.

It would be perfect for what you are looking for, if the modern version still has the seat.

They changed the name several times to “Swifty” and then to “Sparky”, (I am not sure what order).

If they don’t have the seat, but still have the support tube under the main seat, and you can find one, I would gladly send you the one I have left.

I already sent one to someone about seven or eight years ago.

Jack L

However it would be way to small to fit all your camping gear in

I second the Dirigo 140
Post wanted ads in your regional Craigslists. Maybe somebody has a 140 collecting dust in their garage.


– Last Updated: Aug-23-11 9:44 AM EST –

By this do you mean one huge open cockpit that'll handle two seats? (like the Dirigo...)

These boats do come with a caution about how far out you can go from shore, though they are a great boat for the right use. Once they capsize, they are very hard to re-enter and paddle on from the water. It's quite difficult to get and keep them emptied of water - we've had two grownups come out and try.

If you plan of staying within near distance of shore, so could swim in, less of a problem.

In general, the less the cockpit, the easier to re-enter on the water hence the more range you have. That doesn't rule out the boats like the Dirigo, but it does mean you have to think about your trip route more.

#3 and #4 may not go together
Be sure you know what you are doing before you take the life of your son into your hands. I narrowly survived my first kayaking mishap.

Pamlico 135T
Not an endorsement, I just happen to come across a deal on one yesterday and was contemplating picking it up. It would fit what you were asking for.

Perception Prodigy 13.5
seems to meet your requirements. (I’ve only seen the website so I can’t recommend it one way or the other.)

Pungo 14
Look at the Pungo 14

Thanks for all the nice replies. I’ll do some more research on the Old Town Dirigo 14. The weight seems to be a bonus at just 53 pounds.

Any brick and motor places that might carry one that I could see in person? I live in the midwest. Also, I’m at least two months away from a purchase. Do kayaks ever see price drops during the winter months?

Sea Eagle Inflatable Tandam

You may want to checkout an inflatable Sea Eagle kayaks,preferably the 370 model or better (e.g. fast track models). I own the 370 and it is made out the same material as white water rafts, and it can handle up to class 3 white water. The advantages of inflatable kayaks are portability, storage size, stability, and far more buoyant (less tipsy) than any hard shell kayak. The disadvantage is speed (any hard shell kayak can do circles around the model I have when it is at max speed, not sure about the fast track models) and very sharp objects, like pungees (sharp sticks in the water), sharp rocks, and the alike can damage it easier than a hard shell.

The 370 pro package that I have can apparently handle dog paws without taking damage, but I still would leave even dogs off the boat just to be safe. One its maiden voyage, my friend and I had a moment of ADD and crashed into tree branches when we were trying to figure out of a snapping turtle was alive or not, lol. Believe it or not, the branches snapped under the boat’s hull, no damage was taken. Its been dragged accidentally over sharp concrete rocks when my girlfriend and I were carrying it down to the Sacandaga, I was a little upset with that day, but it had taken no damage from it as I checked the bottom. Overall, despite the lack of speed, the inflatable kayaks aren’t bad at all, you just have to make sure that you buy a good brand like Sea Eagle (there are even better brands than Sea Eagle, but they are far more expensive).

I hope that helps.