First sit in river kayak purchase questions

Morning, first post here, I live in florida, have been looking at Kayaks and used for river and lake recreational leasure use.
Mainly I’ve been comparing a kayak such as this
Evoke 10”4 brand new for $300.00 from tractor supply.

Vs something such a this used with scuffs Hurricane Sojourn 12”6 . For $500.00. Are these scruffs something to worry about? Good value being higher end kayak yet used? Have attached photos for reference.

I am 6 foot 180 lbs. long legs. Would enjoy actual dry storage and most likely bringing a waterproof backpack I’ll strap to the top of the kayak. I have storage for either and a truck to move either- shorter would be better due to weight and carrying but far as enjoyable kayak experience overall
Which would be recommended? Buy used higher end vs upgrading eventually?

It’s a little tough for me to tell how the scruffs are. Others with better knowledge will chime in.
Personally I would spend a little more rather than the big box store boats.
A 10’6” boat is going to less stable and slower in most aspects compared to a 12

Given I’m a new member. I could only upload one photo. Am I able to private message more photos for better inspection?

I think it’s safe to say that most of us would advise going for a higher quality used boat vs a lower quality new one. There are several people on this site with extensive kayak repair and restore knowledge who can help determine whether the scuffs are anything more than cosmetic.
Agree with @Tracerbullet re 10’6 vs 12’. Also, your weight + pack and other accessories (paddle, pfd, etc) will be pushing 200 lbs. That’s rather a lot for a 10’6" boat unless it’s quite wide.
Also, consider resale. You’ll likely get more interest and a better price for the Hurricane (or another recognized brand) than the one from Tractor Supply. If you decide kayaking isn’t for you, you’ll want to sell, and if you really like it, you’ll probably want to upgrade sooner or later. Either way, resale matters.


Your body does not belong in a 10’ boat.
Can you paddle the Sojourn? $500 is a bit steep and you can probably get the price down.
The scrapes on the bow are normal wear unless they are deep enough to leak and you can buy some keel strip to cover and protect them.

If you’re mainly a river paddler, you’re going to want an agile kayak, so going too long can cause some issues… ideally maybe the Dagger Stratos 12.5L, or if you feel you’re going to mix up your paddling a little, go for the 14.5L.

As far as a more versatile all around kayak and a great deal value wise… how does a Dirigo 120 for $350.00 sound, seller states hull in excellent shape, watertight hatches ? Compared to that sojourn?

Others here have you covered on model information, and I agree - a used boat of better quality is preferable.

I just wanted to chime in to say that you’d be better off stowing the backpack in a hatch, rather than strapping it on top. A small deck bag, maybe, but you want the bulk of the weight as low as possible, for stability. You can keep snacks and immediate-need stuff in a small dry bag, in the cockpit. But putting excess weight on top will be noticeable.

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The Dirigo 120 is a good candidate for your intended uses, IMO. Stable, sufficient capacity, not too heavy (52 lbs according to OT), and comfy seat. They’re $1100 new; used boats in very good shape tend to go for about 50% of MSRP in my area, so the price seems attractive.
I have no experience with Hurricanes, but I would check the age as others on this forum have mentioned durability issues with older models (> 5yrs). Durability of poly boats like the Dirigo is excellent.

If I did go with a used $300-350 Dirigo 120, what would be a quality replacement seat that would is highly recommended for comfort?

Seat comfort is an individual preference, but I have found Old Town (“Active Comfort System”) to be quite comfy. I can’t quite tell from the picture what is in the Dirigo but you can get Old Town replacements to fit that boat at (Rochester, NY) among other places.

If you buy the used Dirigo (and I agree that is a better option than either the Tractor Supply thing, which is badly designed and too small for you, or the Hurricane, as used ones can have damage issues due to the material used for construction) I can see in the photo you posted that the deck bungees are all stretched out. You will need to replace them – not a big deal. I would also add a perimeter line of NON-stretch cordage like paracord around the edge as a grab line for self rescue.

Any used boat is going to have at least superficial scratches and scuffs on the bottom. Unless they are deep gouges or if the plastic looks dry and cracked, I would not worry about them. Since you live in a state with hot right sun, you do need to look for UV damage on plastic boats that may have been stored outside, also oil canning (deep dents in the hull due to storing in heat while resting on a flat surface or roof rack for extended time.)

Is there a way to know if the plastic is beyond repair due to sun scorched damage or oil canning- can either be repaired or reconditioned?

Oil canning is an easily avoided risk of deformation in rotomolded boats when the polyethylene softens in the heat.Can oil canning be reversed? Maybe. There are dozens of websites and videos that purport to show you how. Some work, some don’t. The exact composition and thickness of the hull matters as does the severity of the deformation. The name comes from the sound that is produced when you press in the deformed hull and it pops back out again.

If minimal care has been taken the hull should not be oil canned.

Oil Canning 2

Thank you for the in-depth explanation. Helps better understand what I’m gonna be looking for

For sun damage, look for the deck or hull to be faded in color versus other parts of the kayak. The hull inside where the sun can’t get to it can give a good indication of what the original color is. For a plastic boat, I would avoid anything that shows more than just a little bit of sun-fade. More than that can degrade and weaken the plastic.

Here’s an example of a badly faded hull versus un-faded deck that I came across on Facebook marketplace. This kayak was apparently stored upside down , baking in the sun for a long time.

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The best place to check for fading from UV is under hatch cover straps and bungees or around hatch covers. Pretty much everyone that I paddle with that has a composite or plastic boat, the boat will show some fading. My Kevlar boat is 25 years old and there is definite fading. I don’t think UV is much of a factor with composite as far as structural issues. After all, most of the fiberglass boats you see in a marina are out in the sun all year around, many for decades.

I’m not that familiar with plastic boats. I imagine that the hull and deck might eventually become brittle after many years of exposure to UV, but I have never heard of anyone complaining about it. Most of the issues I hear about are cosmetic fading. Unless that boat is exceedingly old, I don’t think it should be an issue as far as safety or functionality.

As far as cosmetic fading, it’s a boat, not a fine piece of furniture as far as I am concerned. Some have a different view.

Bungee replacement is a fact of boating and generally has to be done every few years. My boat needs new bungees now. Agree with @willowleaf about adding perimeter lines. I had to add them on my boat. With luck they will often fit under the existing hardware that secures the bungees and hold both.

Bought the 120 today


Thank you for letting us know.

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Thanks to all for the helpful info that aided my decision