Kayak brands - budget vs quality & how to know

Mogeton, I’m new to Kayaking as well. I am close to buying my first Kayak and have recieved some great advice from some great people in the sport. My first question is what do you want to do, what type of Kayaking are you interested in, Sea Kayaking/touring, White Water, Lakes and other Flat Water areas etc/

Thank you everyone. I ended up sitting in some boats and trying some out. I liked a bunch, but couldn’t beat the end of season sale on a Riot edge at a local dealer, and in a comfy boat. I’m still not sure about whether its a “budget” boat, but it was in my budget for now, and I can take it into the calm local waters of the Kawarthas :slight_smile:

It looks better than the Pelicans. Wise choice. You have to start somewhere.

I have a paddling buddy who has a Riot Edge – it’s quite a nice boat and I think you made a good choice. Just make sure you don’t carry it on your roof rack with ratchet straps or leave it sitting out in the hot sun. She warped and oil-canned the hull of hers badly by doing both things and now it doesn’t track as well as it used to.

Thanks string and willowleaf!
Thats unfortunate about your friend’s boat no longer tracking.
What should I use if not ratchet straps?
I was warned about not leaving in the sun, so fortunately I have a shaded spot for it. For what its worth, the guy I bought from suggested that if you do accidentally get oilcanning, you may be able to reverse it by putting something inside to push it out, and it should go back to its original shape.
Thanks again!

@mogeton said:

What should I use if not ratchet straps?

Use cam straps like these…

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Oh, excellent! Thanks! I have a few of those but didn’t realize using them was better than ratchet straps. Im guessing it’s because you cant really overtightened those?


You just want them snug.

Really great to know! Thank you! I’ve used ratchet straps in concert with the cam straps only once, so hopefully I didn’t do any damage. From now on I’ll only use the cam straps.
Thanks again!

It is also protective to carry your kayak upside down on the roof rack rather than right side up. The plastic does soften on hot days and even using cam straps you can notice dents in the hull if the boat has been on the roof rack rails for a longer trip. But the deck is not only less likely to dent but even if it does, it won’t affect performance. Minor oilcanning can sometimes be pushed out but in many cases it is permanent, plus the plastic has a “memory” and it will be vulnerable again. So best to avoid it.

I prefer to carry my boats upside down on the roof rack for several reasons. They drain while driving (you always get some water in them when paddling), they can’t fill up with water if you drive in the rain, I feel it is more secure to have the cockpit coaming between the rack rails in case the boat gets loose and slides and I feel the load is more aerodynamic, though that may just be my imagination.

Also always tie off the bow and stern to the bumpers of the car or to straps or rope loops under the car hood if there is no attachment point up front. Just a little extra security for highway travel.

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Lots more good advice on bow and stern ties at

mogeton - I store my kayaks outside here in NH, but in the shade, “year round” for the last 20 years without a problem. When carrying my kayaks, all PE plastique, I have not had any problem. Although I do not leave my kayak exposed to sun in 90 F degee heat and avoid/recommend not purchasing black kayaks, mine have always been position upright (same position I use 4 straps, sans bow & stern lines, and have driven from NH to Bar Harbor without a problem. Having had had more kayaks of diverse brands than Richard Burton had wives, the best luck has been with Wilderness Systems, but I paddle coastal and lakes, coupled with fishing & photography. Can’t claim to be a skilled kayaker but I do paddle year round and while approaching 70 years of age, I always look forward to the next adventure.

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Hmm, the drives from any point in New Hampshire to Bar Harbor ME are only, what, a 2 to 5 hour drive? That’s really not a long haul. And your average daily highs even in summer rarely crack 80 F. I regularly transport boats on my roof rack on trips that take 10 to 12 hours and I live in an area where summer temps are closer to 90 F for days on end. In fact today (two weeks into Fall) it was still 87 F. I still hold to my contention that it is safer to haul plastic boats inverted.