Good Creeking Kayak

If one were silly enough to go out and explore a “new” creek, what sit in kayak would you take?

I’m talking about narrow creeks 10-30 foot wide, shallow, and areas where you might have to carry the boat a 100 feet or so. All the normal hazards may exist, but no significant drops or canyon walls in the area. Relatively short trips (under 10 miles).

I’m thinking a short (9-11 foot) poly boat, under 45 lbs, with minimal draft.

I’m not ready for this just yet (they got the drought on), but it’s winter time and that means time to look for the “next” boat.

Jim (6’1" 215 lbs)

Just about any length would be fine

– Last Updated: Dec-14-07 6:22 AM EST –

But at your height and weight you might want to think of something slightly longer like a 14 foot Carolina.

I agree that a poly boat would make more sense then composite if you will strictly be on new creeks that you haven't explored.
Just the pull over sand bar and rock factor would dictate that.
We have nine foot Keowees that we use for creek exploration, but I don't hesitate to take my composite 18 foot QCC.
Your best bet is get to some different outfitters, (in the spring) and try as many models that you can.
Either rent them or get to some demo days


If you need to ask this question…

I sincerely mean no offence with this statement Jim but I’d say based on your question that you should probably hone your skills on rivers before venturing onto any creeks. Creeks tend to have more gradient and pin potential.


Canoe input-but
I love to canoe really narrow creeks in my 13’ sandpiper.When getting around the many trees that normally block these creeks I find that even 13’ is sometimes too long,also a relitivly flat bottom with little rocker seems to draw less water.Kayakers Climbing in and out on trees in the water is interesting to watch.Have fun!


Creeks and creeks

– Last Updated: Dec-14-07 11:06 AM EST –

"Creek" means a lot of things, everything from the general skinny little stream with low flow and little water to something that is prone to big flows and requires a high degree of skill and really tuned boat to get thru alive (WW). The fact that you see drops at all makes me think that you are looking at something that could change from a relatively safe pile of rocks and several inches of water to the latter very quickly come spring.

What and where is this, and are you really talking about something with a WW rating? If it is yes tot he latter, you should be thinking about a bunch of WW training before you ever put a boat in it.


– Last Updated: Dec-14-07 3:59 PM EST –

This is what whitewater folks think when someone says "creek". I know it's not what you describe, but if you walk into a store and ask for a "creekboat" this is what you might be offered.

For poking around slow, shallow creeks almost anything light and manueverable should be fine.

maybe not a kayak
If you’re not doing serious whitewater a kayak probably isn’t the best boat for what you want to do.

I do my creeking (class I or less) in a pack canoe.

The advantages a pack canoe has over a kayak are:

  • a lot less weight at an affordable price
  • ease of getting in and out
  • storage room for your all-important creeking tools (like a single blade paddle for those tight spots, a saw, machete, etc.)

in & out
In very shallow water, I find it easier to get out of a kayak. Pull your legs out, drop one over each side, and stand up. If the bottom doesn’t allow that I’ll agree with you about the canoe.

Another advantage of a solo canoe for exploring is that your eyes are higher above the water than they would be in a kayak – especially if you kneel. It can make a suprising difference when you’re trying to pick a route on the fly.

Good Creeking Kayak

Take a look at the Prijon Combi 359. I have paddled this boat and it fit me well (6’2", 210#). It might be a bit heavier then 45# but it is an extremely well built boat and very fun to paddle. I think it would be a good fit for the type of kayaking you are talking about.

Be sure to let us know which kayak you end up with.

Good luck;


Calm water
Sounds like any rec boat would be fine, or if you think you will be hopping in and out a lot go look at solo canoes.

Narrow creeks are
what I eat for breakfast…I’m about the same size as you. “Creeking” to me, means whitewater. Anything else on mild to moderate creek flows is just regular paddling. So if you want some boat suggestions, please indicate up to what class of water you might want to start with and/or think you’ll be comfortable at.

Your specs for a boat (for just regular creek paddling) are right on target.

Although I’m a big guy, for paddling easy-to-difficult creeks, I absolutely DETEST picking up any boat more than 50 lbs./longer than 11 feet. Portaging is a big part of the adventure. And schlepping a boat around a boulder-strewn 60 ft. waterfall makes even the most musclebound guys I paddle with very grateful they selected a lighter boat. (Remember: not so light that it’s too small for you.) Take a look at combo-boats like Dagger Approach/Dagger Blackwater/Perception Enduro if you will mainly be running NO MORE than Class I-II. If you think you’re gonna want to eventually grow into doing Class III or higher, buy a strictly whitewater boat with good rocker up front. It should be at least 7-8’ in length to comfortably accommodate your larger frame.

That’s my advice – and I’m stickin’ to it.

Addendum - kayaks listed above.
Prijon Combi 359 = Excellent choice for easy to moderate creeking.

(a touring boat)

Jackson “Rocker” series - Excellent choice for easy to most difficult creeks/rivs.

(a whitewater boat)

Just about any 9 and 1/2 half foot rec boat is okay on an mild, easy going creeks.

No comment on the canoes (You didn’t ask.)

I realize you specified a SINK
But SOT’s are ideal for this. They’re very easy to get in and out of.

Two kinds of “creeks”.

– Last Updated: Dec-14-07 2:55 PM EST –

It looks like there are two kinds of "creeking" being discussed:

1) Narrow, shallow basically flatwater/class I (maybe II) rivers (what the original poster is talking about).

2) Hairy, class V, narrow, fast flowing "creeks" with significant drops (like waterfalls) that are being run (not portaged).

To reiterate, the orignial poster appears to be talking about the FIRST kind of "creek". (At least, I sure hope so.)

Anyway, I think the original poster needs to be a bit more clear on what the heck he is concidering paddling.

He mentioned…
“areas where you might have to carry a boat for 100 feet.” -That’s portaging.

My choice is

– Last Updated: Dec-14-07 6:59 PM EST –

CD Kestrel 120 of WS Tsunami 125. I paddle these size creeks all of the time. Sometimes smaller/narrower and sometimes larger/wider. The kayak even handles well on lakes in rough water and fair size waves. When I get on bigger ocean waves I'll let you know how it does. If you have the heart and a good stroke you can put some of the 14' boats to bed. I'll be switching to the Tsunami 125 soon and have paddled it several times. This is the boat I'll be using in May for a 631 mile trip through Alabama. See you in May.

The Pungo 120 is also a good choice.


Prijon Capri. See reviews.

The creeks are slow class I or II at most. Right now they are class “MD” as in Mostly Dry. There are probably a few small drops in a 10 mile section, but the terrain is fairly flat, so this is not WW territory by any means.

I think minimizing weight is important and that’s why I wasn’t considering a longer poly boat or a SOT. Will think about the solo canoe option, but let’s stick to Sit In Kayaks for now.

I think the play boats and “creek boats” are probably a little too short for what I want (and I’m no small fella), but I’m also a little hesitant to consider a heavy 12 footer.

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I am looking into the boats mentioned to get a feel for what’s out there.


If you’re sticking with a kayak
something along the lines of Perceptions arcadia (12.5)with the larger cockpit, shallow draft and rotomolded plastic hull that-if it gets scratched-you won’t mind,might be the way to go.

climb the banks
I’m 6’2" and close to 300# and we paddle the sort of creeks you describe quite a bit. I was really happy with a 14.5 Manta Ray SOT, but I saw how much work hauling it up a sapling-lined 8-foot mud bank could be. The solution has been a Sundance 12. It has plenty of float for the gravel beds. The cockpit is very large, so I can swing out much like on the SOT, and the reduced length makes it much easier to handle on foot. Something like an Acadia around 12 feet might make you smile.