Hatch== Storage?

Hi, I’m looking at getting into kayaks and have previously posted questions regarding different ones. I’ve had my eye out on an Impex Mystic for mostly day trips on lakes and perhaps protected water. However, assuming that I don’t find one used, two of the many boats that I’m looking at are similar in size, but perhaps not in design. I’ve recently came back from Campmor’s retail store and saw they had a Perception Sonoma 13.5 Airalite for about $500, compare this to the $2000 fiberglass Impex Mystic and I’m wondering whether I should be looking at this (baring I don’t find an impex used).

Sizewise, initially, it wont matter, the Mystic has 2 hatches bow/stern while the Sonoma has only a stern hatch. If a kayak doesn’t have a bow hatch, does that mean you cannot store anything up there, I presume the bulkhead (and foot pegs) would prevent stuffing small stuff from the cockpit opening. I didn’t get a chance to actually take a look but as I was walking past the Kayak section, I noticed they had a bunch of boats on sale.

I’m just thinking that now, the small one hatch Sonoma would suit me fine and the price is very tempting. Both of them weigh in the low 40lbs, the Mystic would probably be stiffer being a full composite and is a little longer at 14’.

Performance wise, how would the two compare?



– Last Updated: Feb-23-04 9:24 AM EST –

They may be the same length wise but beam and depth are different. The Sonoma is very high volume compared to the Mystic. I like the Mystic but won't touch the Sonoma, not because it's necessarily a bad boat but because it's too big for me. Also, depends on your paddling goals and where you paddle. If you're a smaller paddler, the Sonoma may hinder skills development because it's way bigger and has more initial stability that will work against leaning and edging.


PS. Hatches are not just about storage but having closed compartments that minimize water intake in a capsize. Sonoma needs float bags in front.

My Bad…
Realized that I had confused the Sundance with the Sonoma. Saw the first in a shop. Haven’t seen the latter.

Looks good in the pics. Still need float bags.


Few Comments
- When I was shopping for my first a couple of years ago, a dealer offered me a Mystic for $1500. 2K seems like alot

  • If you are new to paddling, you really should try out the Mystic. It’s really great for the small paddler, but could be tight for someone bigger. It may feel a bit tippy at first.

  • I haven’t tried the Sonoma, but my guess is that if it doesn’t have a front hatch, it probably doesn’t have a front bulkhead. Ever since I forgot to fill the airbags on a boat in pool class and ended up paddling underwater I decided that I liked 2 bulkheads. I bet the Sonoma is much wider than the Mystic.


My wife is comparing these boats.
My wife’s “squall” has become too heavy to contend with. She is looking at a used “Mystic” and a new “Sanoma”.

She is going to paddle the Sonoma on Saturday. She won’t be able to paddle the Mystic as it will be purchased through the internet.

I would really appreciate feedback from those who have had the opportunity to paddle one or both of these boats.



I do! I do really like the Mystic on paper but I just happen to see the price tag on the Sonoma and was wondering the differences. Paddlesport in NJ is in about a month from now and hopefully I will get a chance to actually sit in some boats. I am only 5’4 130lbs so I am definitely in the market for a kayak for the smaller person.


I Have The Mystic RM
I like this boat. It’s fun in waves, chops and current because it’s so manueverable. I have the plastic version. The composite is an inch narrower in the beam. The only think going against it is the lack of hull speed. I was having a heck of time making good time back to the launch against a 20 plus head wind.

I am 5’3" and 140 lbs. I find the Mystic fine for putzing around and playing in waves. If I were to go on a long distance day tour, I take along a longer low volume boat. If I were to go out for camping/overnight, I think the Mystic’s bigger sibling, the Montauk, is a better boat. The Montauk is a pretty nice boat in terms of leaning/edging/rolling. It is higher volume relative to me and needs some payload in the hatches to reduce windage.


I’ve been shoehorning myself
Into Chris C’s montauk and agree with what you are saying about it. It is maneuveragle and with 235 pounds in it flatwater winds are no influence. A gas of a boat for the right paddler. The dollar is falling folks, prices of canadian made boat will be going up. I do not know if this boat is made in canada though.