I have a sit in , Need a sit on top , bad knees , legs , what should i consider?

Purchased 4 inexpensive Pelican , bounty 10 ft , Kayaks
Me & grandkids . Occasional use for kids , Perfect ME , another story
I am going on 73 , Legs & knees gone , 230 lbs I cant get out , when kids with me they assist in helping me get out , Other times I roll over at bank of river , crawling out on hands & knees,
My head thinks I am 25 , 175 lbs , Time is the equalizer ,
When I am in Kayak its ok , cant move , back hurts , cant reach behind
me too grab anything , wanting too retrieve an item from front difficult Tried fabricating DIY seat too give me more height ,
Beach chairs over molded plastic seat , NG
DIY foldable stadium seat mounted onto stainless bars that went over sides of kayak , Plastic too flimsy , Boat designed too sit in not on top
8 inches of foam on seat , No help
I am considering a better Kayak for myself
WHAT manufactures would you experienced Kayakers recommend
Prefer used . Pedal Kayaks ? some have battery operated kicker motors
Stopped off at a Kayak sports shop , Don’t recall brand but they had a number of sturdy , sit on top , $ 3000 up ,
Thank You

With mobility issues, you might find a modern sit on top fishing kayak to be a possible solution. They’re not fast (or light - most are 90 pounds or more), but they have high mounted frame seats which should help with getting in and out, and they’re designed for stability, so no worries of ever tipping it over. The Old Town Sportsman series offers paddling, pedaling, and electric drive options, but there also good boats from Wilderness Systems that also have multi-drive options.

Have you tried a Pelican sit on top? Easy on and off. Sold at many places: REI, Academy, Dicks, etc. for about $300.

I have many of your issues. I sometimes need help getting in the boat and always need help getting out. I have 2 boats that suit my needs.
A Wilderness Systems Tarpon , a SOT, and a WS Pungo 140, a sit inside. I also have a Hurricane Skimmer 140 SOT. I don’t care for the way it handles but my kids and paddling partner think it’s great. All are around $1K.
The lawn chair seats in the fishing kayaks interest me but the boats they are on don’t.
I have also had to roll out of a boat at the ramp and crawl into standing. A SOT won’t prevent that but makes it a lot easier to get out and stand up.

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A solo canoe might be a better bet. Won’t have a problem keeping up with 10’ kayaks.

Bad knees skip a pedal kayak.

I’ve had 3 solo canoes, all outstanding boats. I found them difficult to get out of but not as difficult as a sit inside kayak. Worth a try if the OP can find one to try.

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Not much one can do about creaky or blown out knee joints. But you can work on building up your arm strength to enable you to push your body up to slide backwards and sit on the rear of your cockpit coaming (provided you have a low profile seat back or, better yet, back band). I had a banged up knee one summer and learned to exit that way in shallow water near shore so I wasn’t making a floundering spectacle of myself rolling out sideways. Once my butt was sitting on the stern edge of the coaming I could draw my legs out, one at a time (I even used one hand to aid the injured one to pull out since the muscles were weak) and dropped each leg over the side of the kayak. Then I would balance with my paddle while I swung both legs to the same side. Leaning forward until both feet were on the bottom I could use my paddle like a crutch to lean on to lift myself to a standing position.

Later when the knee felt better, I would just leave both feet hanging out on each side of the boat, rest my paddle across the cockpit and lean over and push up on the shaft until I was standing straddling the kayak which I would then reach down and shove forward between my legs onto the shore. Then I could walk to the shore after the boat. I still use that technique most of the time now. Works as long as I keep exercising regularly to keep my arms strong – pushups are the easiest.


My first thought was a FeelFree Lure but the more open of a floor plan the better it might work. A pack canoe like a Stellar Dragongly has a solid supportive seat and adjustable footbraces. The getting out is dust bringing your legs over the gunnels to let the boat decant you into 6”-8” of water and bow in the direction you aim to go. Also 24lbs. Carry weight is quite nice.

Stay tuned, other options will be posted.

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: [www.the-river-connection.com]
Store: [www.the-river-connection.us]
Facebook: [fb.me/theriverconnection]
Instagram: Instagram.com/marshall.seddon


I didn’t know Stellar made those. The problem my lousy back had with the Rapidfire was the seat.

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Ooh, that’s a Stellar new boat offering, Marshall. Just looked at their specs and they’ve got two different beams listed, 25.6” and 28.2”. Doesn’t appear to have much tumblehome so that’s either puzzling or a typo.

They should do well with that little pack canoe especially in our “geezer” cohort of the market. (Though I did note they advise against using that layup in rocky shallows.) I confess I would be tempted myself if I hadn’t added a Curtis Lady Bug to the fleet last year.

Nice looking pack canoe1 Wasn’t aware Stellar had entered that market.

I have similar issues as the OP does and my RapidFIre pack canoe works. Not likely to be found cheap though.

There are other makers. Hornbeck seems to make the most budget friendly.

28.2" says the tape measure.

Like with the Surfskis, the Excel layup is made to paddle water not rock.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: www.the-river-connection.com
Store: www.the-river-connection.us
Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection
Instagram: www.instagram.com/marshall.seddon

I might have to check that little canoe out. We have a stocking Stellar dealer here in Pittsburgh who is right along the banks of the lazy northern terminus of the Youghiogheny River (the muddy rather than rocky part.) Not that I need one but I often encounter people who are intrigued by my various watercraft when I am out with them and I like to be able to tell them where they can find similar versions for themselves.

WL, any old reason will do when boat lust starts.

I love my feel free with the gravity seat, only issues might be weight when loading and unloading. Wheel in the keel is useful for short drags o the water, it’s super stable even with the seat in the high position, and it can have a peddle drive attached (which feelfree also sells a electric motor for peddle drive if you want that too). I’m 6ft1 (give or take) and roughly 230lbs and stability hasn’t been a issue for me.

I was going to suggest a solo canoe.

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