I need help choosing a kayak

If manufacturers are going to lake a mess of a term that had a consistent meaning as far back as 1990 there is little we can do.
HOWEVER, some involved in this debate purport to be seasoned kayakers. Not newbies who just read this first descriptions of kayak features in the last few years.

My only purpose in raising the front day hatch/pod question is to give some food for thought to new kayak buyers (the OP) who might be assuming that such a hatch/pod is always advantageous. While I like the idea of a small hatch up front, I found Delta’s execution of this hatch problematical (I haven’t examined other brands because I stick to thermoformed kayaks). I’m a Delta fan, but for me the day hatch is a weakness. It may work well for some people.

I don’t think we need to pick apart people’s clothing and other preferences. They are what they are. These are highly individual choices.

An example of when you need the space in front of the feet for camping gear is when the front bulkhead is placed quite far forward, restricting the space in the bow hatch. I wouldn’t put a sleeping bag in the cockpit, but there are other items that can be placed there without too much risk. Hence the desirability of easy access to that space.

In a 2019 thread on day hatches (front and rear), some people commented on this loss of space:

“A front deck hatch may work for you and is more convenient to access but takes leg room and I’m usually short on that so I’m not a fan of these things.”

“The combination of the [rear] day hatch and skeg box so greatly reduced the usable space in the boat that we sold it for a kayak that had neither.”

“Day hatches are a p.i.t.a. Without one you can use that valuable space close to the back of the cockpit for heavy items when packing camping gear.”

After reading that thread I’m glad I don’t have a front or rear day hatch. Here’s another interesting take on (rear) day hatches robbing space: Paddling Otaku: I hate day hatches

Add to that list of manufacturers, organizations, etc. who call the front “thing” a “day hatch”: Eddyline, Rockpool, Seaward, Lettmann, Sea Kayaking UK (owned by Nigel Dennis).

Like the day hatches that are behind the cockpit in both of my NDK boats, our Necky first year Elaho and the Nordlow. All of which were sold with “day hatches”.

If someone is a newer paddler and hitting these terms with no past experience there may be a reason for obstinancy on recognizing the traditional day hatch. I see no reason why someone who has been paddling for a long time should have such a problem, as seen by the many responses where people understood exactly what l was talking about.

And by the way, l found a couple of listings where NDSK Pilgrims were listed w “rear day hatches”.

I have no problem with whatever you want to call anything, what you prefer to wear, or where you prefer to store things. Let’s just acknowledge that others use other terms and have different clothing and storage preferences and get back to helping the OP.

Dear Original Poster, have you gone into information overload yet? Or is it opinion overload?


Yes, back to the OP. I just scanned thread and see that people have proposed boats that fit the desired dimensions and have more to them that the three rec boats originally listed. I did not see if a weight limit was also something hard and fast.
Do not see any replies regarding availability or sticker shock related to those boats.

Unless l missed something?

In my post to the OP I addressed weight, availability, and price. Some more information for the OP:

For a woman loading a kayak on a vehicle alone, 50 lbs is quite heavy and definitely is not in the “light” category you seek. 45 lbs is reasonable. Under 43 lbs is great, but expensive. The perceived weight also depends on how you load the kayak. I find that loading from the rear is the easiest.

The pandemic has disrupted the materials supply chain for kayaks, leading to limited kayaks for sale in stores and on Craigslist. You may have to order and pay for a new kayak in advance, sight unseen. Owners of used kayaks seem to be asking for inflated prices.

Prices: Thermoformed used $1000–$2200; new $1300–$2800. Rotomolded used or new $400 to $1200.

Hopefully the OP will come back and let us know approximately where she’s located so we can check Craigslist.

They are probably never coming back. It is a lot to digest.

Celia, what brand/model cag do you recommend? Also, I want to extend my condolences to you on the death of your husband. Being new here, I don’t know when this happened, but I’m sure you still grieve him, and I am very sorry.

I have not one but two, since Jim had one, of the Kokata Packlight cags. Not entirely certain they still have them, will check now. But they are hooded, huge so fit over the pfd and go around the coaming over the skirt. Makes a nice wind break.
Just looked. Kokatat Storm Cag, only now they are orange. Gulp, $250. You can find similar garments and/or patterns to make them on Greenland paddling sites.

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Thanks. I love the idea of being able to toss it on over everything, and take it off just as easily. But $250 does seem high! I can sew - perhaps I should figure out how well?

The Greenland folks often make their own. In fact the Inuits probably used glue. Worth checking it out.

I got a cagoule pattern from Green Pepper Designs (via Seattle Fabrics) a few years ago which I have been planning to use to make my own storm cag by extending the hemline tracing the sprayskirt for my largest cockpit, . I have a stash of Goretex-like breathable fabric I can use but will first make a “muslin” (rough draft practice mock up with cheap fabric) to work out the torso and skirt design…

I checked and it looks like they dropped the cagoule pattern but their Coast Range Anorak is pretty similar and could be extended the same way. I plan to use the largest size and sew on neoprene cuffs instead of the tunnel elastic.

I considered buying a Kokatat and tracing it, then returning for refund before using, but what fun would that be?

Looks like the Kokatat one is not currently available anyway even if you wanted to shell out $250 for it.

Looking at the pic of it, I think it would be pretty easy to sew a similar one without a pattern. You could customize the size of the bottom to the size of your coaming. If you used something like ripstop nylon instead of breathable fabric it would also be very inexpensive. If I try making one I’ll report back :slight_smile:

The Kokatat Storm Cag is available on the NRS site:

Kokatat Hydrus 2.5 Storm Cag | NRS

Many (but not all) of the Kokatat products are now available on the NRS site.

Also, when I was looking at such items recently I found this one on the Reed Chillcheater site:

Rip Stop Cag - Dry Cags - Reed Chillcheater

It is a little less expensive and (I think) somewhat warmer… which maybe good or maybe bad, depending on the conditions you paddle in. About $165 at current rates. It is also said to be in stock.


I also have that cag. I don’t use it much, but when I need it I really need it.

Reed is generally a good product line. The Chillcheater is I think a well respected product.

That Reed Chillcheater is a pretty good price. With ~$35 for US shipping and no sales tax or vat, it’s about $175 (in today’s conversions).

I also found a video where someone made a super low budget one out of a rain poncho, here:


That DIY poncho-cag is a great idea. The Frogg Toggs products are made out of an interesting material, almost like Tyvek, that is stiff and lightweight and would probably be very easy to cut and sew, or even glue. Of course the poncho doesn’t have real sleeves, but if you wanted to get fancy you might be able to use the extra material you cut off the bottom and make extensions for the sleeves out of it, maybe with an added elastic or lycra cuff.

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