Help in choosing a new kayak

Hey Everyone!



I’ve recently gotten back into boating after a few years and am just looking for some advice on what type of kayak I might want to look into buying soon. I’ll mostly be using it on ND/MN lakes but I also want the option to use it on larger bodies of water. I prefer a sit-in kayak. I’ll be using the boat mostly for fishing and camping trips. Anywhere from 2 days to a week at a time. I’ve mostly been looking at the smaller sea touring kayaks, such as a 14 footer. Does that sound like the best option for my situation? I’m on the fence whether that’s too big for some lakes but too small for larger bodies of water. I’m not set on any one brand if anyone has suggestions.



Thanks to anyone who helps.

A little more info…
…would be most helpful… as in your dimensions and skill level. And just how big might some of those lakes be? If you are going to be dealing with waves of any significance, you pretty much gotta have a spray skirt with a sit inside ride and that doesn’t make for a fishing-friendly boat.



Likewise a 14 footer is rather short for extended camping. Maybe you might be served better by a SOT like the Eddyline Caribean 14. Boats such as these would make dealing with fishing gear much easier.



OTOH, if you intend to get to a location and then fish from the shore, that becomes a non-issue.



How’s that for being non-helpful :slight_smile:

Re:ByronWalter
Thanks for the reply. I’m 6’2" and average weight, so I can fit into any kayak for the most part. I’m fairly confident with my skill level as I use to fish local rivers with a small kayak a few years ago and did attend a kayaking class in high school. I’d say I’m an intermediate skill level. Most of the lakes would be roughly 2-5 miles at their longest diameter, but I frequently take road trips to Florida to visit family and plan to take the boat there with me to use it on the rivers and ocean there. I also frequent the great lakes area. I’m more of a paddler that likes to fish rather than a fisherman who paddles, so I still think I’d be more comfortable in a sit-in based on my old kayak being one of that variety. Thanks again.

And following up…
“Thanks for the reply. I’m 6’2” and average weight, so I can fit into any kayak for the most part. I’m fairly confident with my skill level as I use to fish local rivers with a small kayak a few years ago and did attend a kayaking class in high school. I’d say I’m an intermediate skill level. Most of the lakes would be roughly 2-5 miles at their longest diameter, but I frequently take road trips to Florida to visit family and plan to take the boat there with me to use it on the rivers and ocean there. I also frequent the great lakes area. I’m more of a paddler that likes to fish rather than a fisherman who paddles, so I still think I’d be more comfortable in a sit-in based on my old kayak being one of that variety. Thanks again."



Well, at 6’2" you won’t fit into just any kayak. While getting the right sized kayak isn’t as demanding as fitting shoes, it still requires consideration in your selection. You are pretty unlikely to find a 14 footer that will fit your needs.



Likewise if you were going to limit yourself to small lakes, you would do fine with what we like to refer to as a recreational kayak. But you mentioned both hitting the ocean and the Great Lakes. What this suggests to me is that you need a ‘real deal’ sea kayak with all the toys… spray skirt, extra paddle, signal device(s), paddle float, etc.



You are probably looking at kayaks in the 16 to 17.5 foot range with narrowish beams and two to three bulkheads. These will also allow enough room for packing enough gear for extended camping.



It is virtually impossible to make a good first choice when kayak shopping. My first kayak looks a lot like my second kayak but the difference in rough water handling is like night and day. I might have not made a mistake with my first kayak if I had put in more seat time in a variety of boats.



So try to find a place giving lessons and/or a kayak demo day and get in some seat time in as many boats as you can. It’s worth it even if you have to put in some serious drive time. There just is no substitute for practical experience.



As for brands, it’s harder to go wrong with some of the big name companies such as TideRace, Valley, and P&H. They all offer some exceptional models in a variety of materials with boats scaled to a broad range of physiques…



…or, if you prefer, send me a check and I’ll pick out a boat for you. You just might have an extended wait while I give it proper sea trials :slight_smile:

if ocean and great lakes are not likely

– Last Updated: Apr-14-13 8:30 PM EST –

in the short term, a 14' boat might be okay. I think you could find one that fits you (vs. "fits your needs" as expressed in your posts).
If you really want to camp for a week, a larger volume 14' may be preferable (for example Tsunami 145); being wider in the beam, such a boat would probably be less twitchy when fishing. However, it is way more fun to paddle a 22' wide boat especially any distance.
For narrow, winding Florida rivers, a 14' could have some advantage over a longer one.
You do know, of course, that you really need at least 3 boats!
Try to be realistic about what you will actually use the boat for and as said try a bunch!

Two 14ft options
Dagger Alchemy 14L

Venture Islay 14



Haven’t paddled either of these boats so I can’t actually endorse them, but I’m currently shopping around for similar conditions (tighter winding rivers plus coastal exploring in FL)and those are on my short list to demo when possible (actually for me the Alchemy 14S and Islay LV)



Some links:



Alchemy Review (canoe&kayak UK)

http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/Reviews/Dagger-Alchemy-Touring-Kayak-Review/_rw3041



Alchemy Video (14s)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lo7FXPXU_U



Islay Review + video (canoe&kayak UK):

http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/Reviews/Venture-Kayaks-Islay-14-Touring-Kayak-Review/_rw3154_cat43



Manufacturer Islay video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu_S-Teh4xw


Consider an inflatable

– Last Updated: Apr-15-13 11:09 AM EST –

Look into Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak. I have one and I wouldn't trade it for $5000.00. It goes anywhere.

Also, I have Sevylor Rio, that is also indestructible, even in Class V Whitewater. They make a two seat version called the Colorado. You can take them anywhere, and they can be transported in your trunk.

I love mine.