Kayak/canoe for family trips

Friends told me about their very positive experience with the Russian inflatable kayak-canoe cross “SCHUKA” last summer.

Now me and my wife are thinking about purchasing a 4-seats version of “SCHUKA” (to travel with 2 kids). Do you have any comments about this boat? By now we’ve found only one web resource about “SCHUKA” - the official site of their company (www.emkodar.com). Could you add some inofficial information?


Agree on two canoes
The problem with any boat that seats four is that it isn’t very flexible as your children grow. By necessity they are long, big boats and they really need 3 or 4 people in them to paddle comfortably. Sooner or later you will want to paddle with only one child or with only the adults.

My husband and I frequently travel with 2 children (we have four!). We use two tandem canoes, one 16 foot and one 17 foot long. Once the children were big enough to sit without wiggling too much (one of them about 6, the others could do it at 5) we would put them in the front (bow) of the boat and we would paddle from the back (stern). They will play at paddling, but you’ll really be paddling solo! With a good boat this really isn’t too hard. It is even easier if you can paddle from the front seat while turned around facing to the back. This puts your weight closer to the middle of the canoe and makes paddling easier. Due to the set-up of our canoes, we can only do this with one of them, but it is a nice thing to have.

My youngest child is now 12 and she is irritated as having to travel with me at all; she really wants to paddle the solo canoe by herself!


Mike and Pam’s advice is very good.

These craft certainly look interesting on the website. They look essentially like inflatable kayaks, and as such probably have their uses. Look into the limitations and advantages of inflatable canoes and kayaks, and it should give you a good feel for these boats.

They look like they’d be very slow and have poor tracking on lakes and the flats of rivers. In my only use of an inflatable canoe the wind pushed me all over the place. The Russian craft’s spray covers may help with that problem. For strickly down river use with little slow water they might be dandy.

Service and support is a consideration, too.

Good luck.

What kinds of water did your friends…
…use the Schuka on? From the website pictures, it looks fairly adaptable. Please keep us informed if you get one.

Low price of SCHUKA
Thank you and Mike & Pam as well. I agree, that a tandem is a good solution? however, the SCHUKA’s price is much lower than that of even one canoe.

However, I’ll think about your suggestion.

Experience with Schuka
OK, as far as Schuka goes, here’s my two bits from a person who tried it:

It does have a harder time tracking in the large lakes than the solid-bodies - what do ya expect without a keel? It does, however, keep up as far as speed goes; and with two or three people, you don’t have to have everyone paddling at the same time, so if you are in for a long leg this is better than single kayaks. It will definitely excel in the small rivers - whether whitewater or not.

So it’s best for those versatile trips, where you go lake-river-lake, or the trips when you want to take some stuff with you. Oh, and it’s the family thing as well: try putting tent, food, clothing, and gear for a family of 3 into a single kayak. NO way! Into three kayaks, maybe, but then the price issue comes in.

galyans (bell northwind)
I don’t know where you live but if u have a galyans sporting goods store by you , they sell 2 boats with their name on them that are manufactured by bell. The one i purchased was the 16.6 ft (Northwind), they call it a woodsman. Check reviews under bell. They usually have pretty good sales going on and I picked mine up for 540 us. Not bad considering a Northwind goes for over 1000. The only difference is the color( olive)and the seats are a little different. I had myself, my 8 yr old son, and 2 12 yr olds in the boat and we were fine. I wouldn’t recommend this setup for anything dangerous but in a lake or river without much rapids you’ll be fine.