good starting kayak?

-- Last Updated: May-12-08 10:38 PM EST --

i am looking at getting into kayaking and i am looking for a kayak under 500$ to get started with. i need to keep the price down because i will be earning minimum wage this summer and i am not sure how many hours of work i will get, and i may need to buy a kayak trailer if i cant modify the one i have. i have been looking at this kayak for a while
but i also want to look at other options, such as a hardshell, the problem is, there are plenty of lower priced kayaks, but i have no idea which ones are a good buy and of decent quality, and what is total crap. i know i will probably be told to read reviews, but there are too many options to look at, so i am trying to get some advice.

Here is some info that may be helpful in finding what i need.
i want a kayak to exercise my upper body and core, but i also want to be able to last for a few hours so i can get a cardio workout, and enjoy the scenery.
i am 6 feet tall, 175-180 lbs
my arm span is 6 ft, and a 26" torso (while seated from floor to shoulder)
i want a closed cockpit kayak, so not sit on tops or open tops. i do not want anything longer than 15ft long because transporting it on a bike trailer would be too difficult with one longer than that. i will be using it on slow rivers, flat water, but possibly in a little chop, in the BWCA here in minnesota (not a gear hauler), and not necessary but would be nice to be able to use just offshore in lake superior. any positive input is appreciated. i am going to an rei demo on the 24th, but those will most likely be high end boats. i do not have the option of going to various small shops around the state because my parents work alot, and at 17, i still do not have a license (i at least have a permit though). thanks to all who help me out, because i only get an hour a day on the internet because i have dialup that blocks the phone. i highly value all your expertise.

craigslist for minneapolis/st paul

Checked your link…
and for the price, that looks like a good start. It certainly meets all the needs you listed, most especially the portability issue.

The best kayak to get is ANY KAYAK. That way you can get out there. Don’t worry, be yakin’!

Most important for any Lake Superior trips will be Weather/Marine forcast. On a nice calm day there is no reason the yak you linked can not be on the Big water.

Bookmark this link to check Marine Forcast:

And this one for local weather:

Also, be sure to check with REI for a “starter’s kit” (or some similar name) to ensure that you have safety equipment and a PFD before heading out. Frequently the chain stores and some shops will offer you a discount for the “bundle”.

i have been told that the inflatable has no glide and is rather wide at 34". and i already plan to get a pfd and paddle. i never go out on the water without a pfd on because i had to teach myself to swim and can pretty much just doggy paddle, so the extra buoyancy helps. i am not afraid of tipping, but would pefer not to. i look at alot of the cheaper hardshells and they have no rigging to speak of, and i am always hearing that you need it for re-entry.

Keep checking Craigs List

– Last Updated: May-13-08 12:27 PM EST –

I grabbed a Wavesport Godzilla with a paddle and a skirt for a buddy of mine who wants to get back into kayaking. The guy was giving it away. Advertise at some local clubs asking for an old school white water boat cheap. You will be able to get set up for about $200.

short kayak?

– Last Updated: May-13-08 2:16 PM EST –

aren't white water kayaks kind of short for open lakes? i hear that they track horribly. is it possible to get a rudder or skeg for a white water kayak? also, how much of a speed differance is there between a white water kayak and the one i posted? if i could get some names of kayaks to look into that would be great. i can look at craigslist, but i am clueless about what to look for. and i do not know of any kayaking clubs in the middle of farm country in minnesota. and i do not have any long distance transport at the time.

I’m sorry, but the one you posted

– Last Updated: May-13-08 2:33 PM EST –

is a pool toy.Some owner who has paddled one for a mile or more in a wind , please correct me.
Whitewater kayaks are made to turn, not go straight.(maneuver) An experienced paddler can make them behave a little better than a pool toy on a lake.
Touring kayaks are made to go straight (track).Find yourself a good used touring or sea kayak.
Haven't we been here before?
Names of kayaks: Perception Carolina,Dagger Savannah, Necky Zoar Sport.
Have you considered canoes?

I posted this some years back…

Granted, I still use this boat for camp/paddling only, anymore. Other than that I really don’t use it much at all. I am so far out of date anymore (having just came back to after a three (3) year hiatus)I couldn’t even tell you if composite boats are still the “best”…LOL. Anyways-

Depends on what you are gonna…

Posted by: coffeeII on Aug-12-03 10:12 PM (EST)

Use it for… Are you going to do rivers? Slow or fast? Lakes? Big or inland lakes? Ocean? Camping? Fishing? Hunting? Sport? Speed? Cardiovascular? Touring? Racing? Goofing around?.. See what I am getting at? There are so many reasons to get a particular boat for you. I origionaly wanted to get mine for a “new twist” on camping, fell in love with it & now me & my friends all have em (almost all of em’). We use them for paddling rivers & lakes, swimming from them, Myself & another friend are gonna hunt from them. Figure what you want it for & go from there. If you want to do mostly “big water” paddling get a longer boat. If you’re gonna be going down twisty-turny rivers or smaller inland lakes, get a shorter boat… Everyone has their own prefences on what type & brand of boat to get (mostly because they own what they are praising). Get what works for you!!

The following is a “shorty” on a camping/kayaking trip me an acouple of friends went on. It was the “maiden voyage” for the pungo & the america.

Critter’s and shorter boats

Posted by: coffeeII on May-14-03 10:16 PM (EST)

I have a critter. It is absolutely a dream for camping while you paddle. It holds all 40lbs of gear I take + myself & food and water. That’s almost 250lbs. The waterline barely changes with that much weight in it. I can manuver excellent. We went on a three day trip afew weeks ago and my buddies used me more or less as a scout for upcoming falls & tribtaries and rapids, becuase of my ability to go “anywhere” and “get out fast”. They had a Pungo 140 and an America, both of which were atleast 12 footers, so my 9’ boot was perfect for checking out the “up & coming” for the long guys. Even with my “load-out” (gear), I was paddling through water only afew inches deep with little effort even when hanging up on rocks. While they were having…let’s just say alittle trouble and alot of frustration at some points. I was mauvering through downed trees & having to shore my boat and go help the longer boats get through what I just went through. All in all, It was a good trip for us all!! But back to the point at hand , I love it! I can effortlesly put it up on my blazer and throw it into “practicaly” any water source and paddle!!!

Paddle easy,


Sometimes I have…

…trouble getting my kayak started too.

and another

The Acadia has been around for several years.My first boat and it took me just about anywhere I wanted to go.

Second on the Acadia. I had one and
liked it. It’s a rugged boat that will take some time to outgrow.

what about this one?

– Last Updated: May-13-08 6:14 PM EST –

tell me what you all think of it, and i will look more on craigslist.

and if i got a short kayak i could easily make a rudder if needed. i could mount it with bolts and a gasket to keep out water, and get the necessary joint and some stainless steel or aluminum for the rudder. and i could possibly install cables to hinged foot pedals for rudder control if i wanted to. i am very good at fabricating things, and metalworking. any reccomendations for a shorter kayak that will still be able to handle the open water? my problem with whitewater kayaks is that they have so much rocker that it looks like more of the boat will be out of the water than in it. correct me if i'm wrong.

my suggestions
here are a few that I think are both in your price range and they perform decently.

here is a list. I left out the shorter models becuase they dont tend to track as well. dont worry, these are all very stable. First time in any kayak might feel scary or tippy, but youll get used to it.:

-Old Town Voyeageur - $500

-Emotion Bliss- $500

-Wilderness Systems Pamlico 120- $550

-Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Expedition- $580

I know the Advanced elements is an inflatible, but it is a decent length. I know some are above you set budget, but its not a whole lotta difference. Also, I demoed the voyageur, and it tracked good, just wasnt very fast, but didnt have any problems with making it go in a straight line. It turned real good, too

tippy kayaks

– Last Updated: May-13-08 6:35 PM EST –

i am hoping to get a narrower kayak if possible, i am not afraid of tipping and can learn quickly. if i can avoid it i would like to try and stay below 28-26 inch beam.
also, i think the bliss's weight limit is a little low for me being 175 lbs and and in certain waters is 180 lbs capacity. if i have a little gear with me i would be at or above 180lbs. i think it is designed for smaller people.

i looked into emotion kayaks and found this one
what opinions do you all have about it?
is it better than the pamilico 120 by wilderness systems?

The 12 footer is a better choice.
at your size, I would stay away from anything shorter.

whitewater kayaks
so should i stay away from whitewater kayaks then? i hear that they are good for teaching you to paddle straight. and they are cheaper. once i get a car i will go for a better quality kayak, but for now i just want to get out on the water, but still want it to be decent.


the kayak i posted in my first post is not a pool toy. some people have taken it through class 3 rapids. everywhere i look owners are praising it. i have seen it as on of the best sellers on many sites. just because it is inflatable does not classify it as a pool toy. i think i will actually go with the advanced elements advanced frame, the one i posted or the 13’ expedition model. it may be wide, but i am not going for any records. once i get a car i will upgrade to a higher quality kayak, but for now i do not want to spend money on a kayak that cost half the cost of a decent first car. i have my priorities, and buying a 1500$ kayak would be rediculous before i even have my first car. also, i do not think i would want to bike around with a high priced kayak behind me. i pass through the small town of 2300 people i live outside of on my way to the lake, and although i live in farm country there are still many wanna be “gangstas” that like to steal stuff for fun. and a guy with a 12 foot kayak beind his bike is a fun and easy target. i think a small trailer will attract less attention.

Good luck. We all started somewhere.

I have never paddled a Pamlico 120,
but I own a Pamlico 140, which you probally dont recognize since its out of production. I have heard that the seat is too high up on the p120 but have heard good reviews about it as well. My experience with a wilderness systems has been good. Very well made and durable kayaks, except for the duralite.

sounds like you’re screwed