I need help choosing a kayak

Eddyline Rio, as Willowleaf suggested. People who have them seem to love them. Might be 11-1/2 feet, though. Light, fast, nimble. I have a Skylark and love it, but the Rio gets more rave reviews. I know people also love their Sky 10s, but I envision those being more of a tugboat (no personal experience) - short and wide.

Our OT Trip 10 is also around 45 lbs. and I took a pound or so off it with removing the anchor rig we never would use and added a pound or so back in with the yoga ball for bow floatation.

I agree loading a 45 lb sack of potatoes on to the roof of a high car by a small person can be an unpleasant task. I’m a good size guy and it is not my favorite thing to do as well and when ever possible we load it together and that is very easy. There are solutions for aiding in getting it on the roof some are pretty expensive that are store bought and some DIY methods are quite simple and low cost.

For us 10’ was a good length as it was long enough and the keel shape was good enough to be stable and still track very nice. The cheaper kayaks we had tried didn’t track as well I believe because they put too much trying to design a stable short light cheap boat the hulls were way to flat.

Right around 45 lbs it seems in a roto-mold hull you get a pretty much bulletproof hull if you plan on dragging it and running shallow rocky places. So there are lots of trade offs to conceder.

I don’t see where anybody recommended 15’ kayaks to the OP. We’ve tried to suggest shorter models (or more easily stored types) with some good performance features and reasonable weight.

As an average-sized woman who mostly solo loads her boats on a roof rack, I try, as a general rule, to only own boats that weigh no more than 3 pounds per linear foot of length. I have found sticking to that metric makes for much simpler handling.

In fact, I just checked the math only my solo canoe and RM sea kayak just hit the 3 pound mark. The rest are under well under 3 pounds and the longest kayak in my current fleet weighs less than 2 pd/ft.

Knowing your price range would help.

The things you’re trying to balance are cost, weight, and size. Actually, safety should be at the top of your list. The ultimate safe kayak has two hatches (with sealed bulkheads), front and rear, and perimeter lines. The hatches prevent the kayak from sinking if you capsize and give you lines to hold onto if you fall out.

Most short kayaks don’t have two hatches, but if you’re willing to go to 12’ you will find two hatches. You will find a much better quality selection at 12’ than at 10’ or 11’.

“Light” for a woman loading a kayak alone means 45 lbs or less. The easiest way to load a kayak if you lack the strength of a larger man is from the rear. You only have to lift the bow, not the whole kayak, and set it on the rear of the car, then slide it up onto the rack. (It’s more difficult than it sounds as you don’t want to damage the kayak or your car.)

So far we have 12’ and 45 lbs. Next comes price. To get the weight you want you should consider thermoformed plastic rather than rotomolded. That will save you about 5 lbs, which is actually significant when you’re loading the kayak on your car alone. Thermoformed is more expensive, so you can see that it’s hard to meet all 3 of your priorities of length, weight, and price at once.

I recommend looking for a used Delta 12.10—a small, light kayak that can go almost everywhere and is very stable and safe for a beginner in rough water. It will fit your size well. Should cost you about $1000 or $1200. If that’s too much look for a used Hurricane Sojourn.

These two kayaks are hard to find. Try Onecraigs at http://www.onecraigs.com/ to search all US Craigslist ads at once. Here are the results for the Delta 12.10: Onecraigs - Search all of Craigslist nationwide

Do you happen to live near any of those places? This one would be perfect and the price is negotiable: 2020 Delta 12.10 Kayak OBO - boats - by owner - marine sale

It’s pretty difficult to find a good used kayak on Craigslist right now. There is a shortage of new kayaks that’s causing high demand for used kayaks, but now is a good time to look, at the end of the season. If you let us know where you’re located we can check Craigslist for you.

Can you post a link to that? In my opinion a day hatch is unnecessary and sometimes even an impediment—you can’t fit a small duffel bag under it to hold things like a rain coat or fleece that you need on the water.

Kayaking is two things: the action of paddling with strokes and leans & the act of being with beautiful spaces frames with sky and waves and shorelines. At first the boat is something you sit inside of and float around in. It carries you down small slow moving rivers. The old town otter will get you where you want to go with a few paddle drippings or splashes or raindrops sloshing in the bottom of the boat. A dry bag stashed behind the seat will meet your needs for a snack or dry set of clothes. When that stream meets larger, more open water, you will fit better into a larger, tighter fitting boat. The ability for the boat to hold a course and keep the water out side of the boat will become more desirable. Perhaps you will be in the eddy line or the wilderness systems 15 foot boats. If the wind over the water continues to call you from farther away and you need to carry a tent and other gear to respond to her call, you will choose a different boat, perhaps the Current Designs Solstice or an NDK explorer. Today you own more than one coat. In the future you may own more than one boat.


Huh? My day hatch always has the following in it, to get to on the water. One maybe 2 cags, 2 if leading a group, small bag of snacks, white light, forlorn, neo hood, often a spare pair of gloves. A bit more nearer the bottom. In all of my boats including the low volume ones.
I don’t understand the crisis in having a spare jacket etc etc available in the day hatch in your boats. It has not been a problem for me ever.

If you are talking about those shallow things they have put in front of the boats more recently they are quite shallow. But they are also not a traditional day hatch.

Me too, Celia. The day hatch is something I can get at … typical contents: cagoule, tow line, maybe cell phone (vhf on my pfd), snack. I actually consider the cag to be a safety item. If present, the typical fore deck pod can be useful, but is actually an impediment for me unless more shallow than most so it doesn’t encroach on my leg room.

Without a day hatch, I would probably use the less preferable deck bag.

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And @Celia , Can you get to your day hatch and, also securely replace the cover on the water? I ask as I am a new owner (yesterday) of a NDK/SKUK Explorer LV and is my first kayak with a day hatch. I’m not sure if I have enough twist to open it by myself not to mention closing it. also, that compartment is rather large.

(other kayaks that live with me are a Delphin 150 & a Pygmy Arctic Tern 17’ - no day hatches there)

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At one time I had a NDK/SKUK Explorer (not the LV). I could open and replace the day hatch cover on the water. It is a bit awkward and therefore worth practicing. I do lubricate the fitting surfaces with 303. Ensure that the hatch cover has a restraining cord in case you fumble.

I don’t have any serious issue accessing my day hatches while on the water. Hatch covers that have the hard rubber center are easier to put back on (SeaLect and Kajak Sport) than soft rubber covers (Boreal Design and Point 65), but even the soft ones aren’t particularly difficult. A little 303 on the inside lip helps.

The ‘whisky hatch’ (or several other names for it) is just a small, convenient hatch for those who can’t (easily) access the day hatch (not a fan).
The day hatch is ‘safe’, in that, if getting to it in bouncy seas, and it gets compromised (flooded), it does not endanger the integrity of the kayak (though you may lose some gear).
I also access the rear hatch occasionally, I prefer the round ones (like the NDK boats or the Sterling Progression), but also will get to the ovals in other boats. (will not access these in seas very much above calm). (reason - on long day paddles, maybe in colder weather, I can’t (easily) fit all the gear I may want to get to in the day hatch)

The best advice, try them and see which one fits you best. What’s good for me is not a good fit for you and everyone tends to recommend the kayak they use.

PS, same goes for PFDs

Re day hatches: In the fall and spring I find I might need a fleece jacket and raincoat (possibly both at the same time). Sometimes I want to eat while paddling. Often I carry two extra pairs of bulky gloves in those seasons. Sometimes there’s no place to land so I take a long break in the kayak, eat lunch, read a book, etc. Hence my need for a duffel bag (actually a fishing tackle bag) stored at the front of the cockpit.

I’ve never seen a day hatch (on kayaks of the type that I paddle, which are of transitional length—your experience may be different) that could hold a fleece and raincoat plus extra gloves, food, a camera, binoculars, book, etc.—all the things I want to have access to without getting out of the kayak.

Trouble is, if the day hatch is too deep (e.g., Delta kayaks), you can’t slide a bag under it. So you put that stuff in the hatches and have to get out and fetch it. That is inconvenient, possibly even dangerous, if there’s a sudden cold rain and you can’t get to your protection quickly. On a camping trip, I might need the front of the cockpit for things that won’t fit in the hatches, like a gallon of water. (I’m not talking about rough water or ocean camping, when it’s best to have nothing in the cockpit for safety reasons.)

I think a shallow day hatch is good, but not a deep one. Also note that not all day hatches are totally waterproof, so you can’t necessarily put a camera in there. Another question is whether the day hatch impedes entry and exit. I just like to have that space clear for my body anda tackle bag.

That is one of the two things that I need to address on this kayak. The covers have a small tab with on hole on the inside. I could punch a hole in that tab and then, maybe, glue on a pad eye to the hull for the other end of the cord.

Are the hatch rings glassed in or bolted on? If bolted, just remove the nut on the inside and install a cable clamp of the appropriate size for your cord.

Yes, in fact the NDK boats are the easiest that way. My Vela hatch is a different brand and can be a little tight unless l remember to pull it off and replace once shortly after launching.

But l don’t understand why twisting is involved. Position it so that the easiest point to grab an edge is about where your right hand would go, just pull it off and slap it back down again. If you are working w the SeaLect covers rather than Valley just takes a little more practice to properly slap it down again.

If it does not float, of course tether it. When l replaced my hatch covers w SeaLect l went for the floating ones.

I’d tether it even if it does float. I’m clumsy enough that I could drop the hatch cover in to the sea and, in rough water, it might be difficult to retrieve it in a timely manner.

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No, no day hatch on any boat l have ever been in impedes reentry or any category of self rescue. If someone is having a problem there are larger issues going on.

I generally dress for the weather and the water, so additional fleece layers are not needed once l have launched. A good waterproof cag that comes around the coaming and has a hood creates enough warmth to get home.

If l have misplanned badly enough to need the additional layers that are in the dry bag in a bulkhead l will land and get into safe clothing. On the ocean l usually have a three person emergency bivy in there.

If l want to read a book l am going to plan a shore stop to do it. If l need a big honking camera l would have it in a deck bag. That is what my husband and l did in our earlier days when we paddled with a good one, we bought a waterproof case for it. No need to have to drag it out of the day hatch if you get the equipment to support that. I am on the water to paddle.

I am wondering if @WaterBird is confusing day hatches with those pods that are in front of the cockpit. The day hatch is, of course, behind the cockpit and has its own bulkhead and has a height equalling the kayak depth. As you say, it does not impede reentry.

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