Kayak for bad back

I have a bad back so I am looking for a very light weight, comfortable for my back while in use, Kayak with excellent efficiency and tracking for the lake.

Someone suggested the ones by Lincoln. I looked at the reviews and althought the Chebeague is the lightest, it does not seem to track well. The Eggemoggin looked the best. There were also remarks about the Chebeague’s hatches leaking.

Any thoughts on these Kayaks or something better?

More info…
More info like your size, the use for your kayak, and how much you can spend is needed… Yesterday I carried a friend’s Kevlar Current Designs Caribou S down to the beach one- handed by the side of the coaming, like a briefcase. Definitely a very light sea kayak. Has a skeg and sure tracks stiff. You can put whatever back rest in it to suit your comfort level. Give the boat(s) a good long try before you buy. Kayaking might help strengthen your back, it did mine.

Well if money’s no object…
My wife wanted light because of her bad back - loading & portaging are hard for her. She just got a Necky Elaho in the carbon fiber lay-up. In addition to being very light (in the mid-forties) she finds the adjustability of the seat/pedals/braces a huge plus. She’s in love with its handling & stability, though we haven’t gotten to surf yet. A bit slower than my Solstice GTS, but less weathercocking (she hasn’t used the rudder yet). It’s pricy, but I have to confess to being very impressed with it so far…

Good luck healing - we know where you’re coming from!

help on 3 Current Designs models
I am 6’, 170#, and will use it on the lake. My back has a high priority over cost.

I studied all of the reviews and design specs on all of the Current Designs models.

Based on this, I narrowed it down to the Andromeda, Caribou S, and Gulfstream. The Gulfstream seems wide which would make it slower (?) and there were problems with leaking hatches.

The Caribou S seems ideal but no day hatch.

The Andromeda seems the fastest and has a day hatch. There were only 6 reviews but they were all 10’s.

Can anyone compare and contrast these 3 Kayaks?

Thanks much.

I have been looking at getting a boat 40# or under for my wife as her back is getting worse. the paddling helps but we are getting older. She is paddling my Caribou S, 43# but it is a little too big for her although she does very well in it. She needs one about 6% smaller. I am 165 and 5’10" and the Caribou works great for me. Also worked well when I was around 190. Lincoln has a boat called the Isle Au Haut at 39# in kevlar. You might also look at the Arctic Hawk by WS. It is one of the lightest. I thought about the Vela for her but the weight seems high for its size. Tideline makes some interesting light weight boats. Look for a large demo day or symposium where there are lots of boats and mfgs to try.

It’s more about outfitting and technique
It’s more about outfitting and technique than it is about the boat.

Light weight helps on land of course, but on water in any touring boat:

No high backed or cushy seats.

Good back band (IR, NSI) positioned low - more on hip bones than back.

Comfortable and properly adjusted foot support (bad position and/or small hard uncomfortabe pegs with affect everything from your feet on up).

Upright posture. Vertical or slight tilt forward for most.

Rotation (keeps spine in line and lubricated).

Rotation (keeps muscles moving - not locked up).

Rotation (keeps blood circulating).

Rotation (spreads the workload).

Brent Reitz Forward Stroke video is worth a look if you don’t already have it.

The above - and about 2000 miles of paddling fixed my lower back problems (actually - the first 500-1000 miles did the trick).

PS - boat options
Loved the Caribou “S” when I tried one. Arctic Hawk is also a good suggestion. I have tried an EddyLine Falcon 18 which paddled nicely too (seemed light - but lists at 50 lbs).

After trying those, and several others, I bought a QCC Q700. You should consider that too. In carbon/Kevlar (44 lbs) or all carbon (41 lbs) it’s in the same weight class, handles great and is fasterthan others mentioned. 2" longer than caribou - 3/4" narrower, 3/4" lower foredeck. Very well made. I have made many comfort related outfitting changes to mine: Foam foot bracing (only works for non-ruddered boat) and back band being most relevant:


to kfsrm
I live in SC so probably will not get a chance to try before I buy.

My local dealer does work with Lincoln. Their top model comes with a forward day storage. The reviews (not many) say there are problems with leaking hatches.

I could not find the Arctic Hawk by WS or Tideline.

So far, on paper, the Current Designs “Andromeda” looks the best. Any other ideas?

Thanks much, neo

Liquid Logic
has one of the best seats around. Have a few lady friends who swear by them.

Best Seat?
Which Kayak has one of the best seats around?

Light boat
I have a Mystic Impex & just love it…they have other lines for larger people (I’m 5’3, 135#), also. You can check them out at their website: impexkayaks.com

More confused than ever
I have read the Guides, all of the topics, searched the archieves and I am more confused than ever.

It seems that it should be easy to build watertight Kayaks but I read about problems with hatches and bulkheads that leak. Who wants to paddle the weight of the extra water? Why can’t they build them to not leak?

The Current Designs Andromeda sounds like a fast efficient lake Kayak that tracks well. All of the reviewers rated it a 10. When I read here, it is poorly made, not that fast/efficient, too tippy, and the cockpit is too wide.

What gives? How are we supposed to find the best Kayak for our needs and that does not leak? People say you have to try them but in a place like SC there are not a lot of shows around.

Boats I like
are heavier: NDK and Valley. They have great leakproof, glassed in bulkheads and hatch systems that don’t leak; you asked for light. The Caribou is a great paddling boat. If you’re a beginner, stay away from the Andromeda, it has very low stability. Impex boats are lighter and well regarded, I have no experience with them or with QCC boats. Be patient and hunt around to find your boat. Lots of good boats out there to try.

In the reviews, nearly everyone
rates their own gear a 10! I ignore the rating and read the comments, which often reveal some weaknesses and quirks - even on so called perfect 10s. You also have to factor in the reviewer’s experience, size, and conditions they paddle in - which is rarely given. The reviews are better than nothing, but even the helpful ones may not match your experiences with same boat.

Don’t buy anything without a test paddle (except maybe a QCC as they’ll take it back at zero cost to you).


Above is the link for the Tideline boats and Onno paddles. If you are buying a boat you will need a paddle and Onno paddles are very good. The Arctic Hawk is made under license by Wilderness Systems and should be in the buyers guide. I wish they still made the Sparrow Hawk. I have not tried the Lincoln boats but there was some mention of them in the reviews. Check the used boats in the classifieds on this sight. There might be some bargains. Also dont go by the mfg stated weight. There is a lot of varience and some stretch the truth. My Carribou was lighter than advertised but my wifes boat was much heavier. Some mfgs list the weight for a bare hull but dont tell you that.

My Kahuna is 40 lbs with a rudder. My husband’s Khatsalano is about 45lbs. Most comfortable seats made for kayaing, period.

Quality & Weight + Stability

Is it not possible to get a boat that is both light and well made? I need light because of my back.

Does not stability depend on the person’s body type?

Thanks, neo

Boats I like

Posted by: akayaka on May-30-04 3:57 PM (EST)

are heavier: NDK and Valley. They have great leakproof, glassed in bulkheads and hatch systems that don’t leak; you asked for light. The Caribou is a great paddling boat. If you’re a beginner, stay away from the Andromeda, it has very low stability.

Feathercraft - Folding Kayak
This sounds like an interesting Kayak. The folding makes transportantion easy. It has great reviews. I like the idea of comfortable seats as so many reviews complain of uncomfortable seats.

Does it have watertight compartments?

Do you have the website?

Thanks, neo


Posted by: getlostkitty on May-31-04 2:38 AM (EST)

My Kahuna is 40 lbs with a rudder. My husband’s Khatsalano is about 45lbs. Most comfortable seats made for kayaing, period.


There are no water tight compartments, but the seasock will keep out most water and inflatable air bags provide protection.

Availability and Reviews, etc
I live in North Texas at the moment and still have had no trouble finding used boats or demo boats to test paddle. North Texas! I would wager that with a little patience you’ll find that South Carolina probably has plenty of opportunities for you to try out some boats–that was the hardest part for me, the patience.

I’ve been looking for a boat (used or new, didn’t matter) for over a YEAR. My search started while I was still in Austin (Central Texas) where there is an excellent outfitter, and concluded here (where there are NO outfitters that carry anything beyond Prijon plastics but there’s actually a very active and diverse paddling community). I finally found a great deal on a used boat in the classifieds here on P.net–It happens to be a boat that I’ve read reviews on and seen in action. So I bought it, and it’s being shipped all the way from Michigan, courtesy of a very helpful and professional community member here.

I’d also suggest ignoring the ratings portion of the p.net reviews. Almost EVERY boat here is an 8,9, or 10. If you can’t sit in it, you can’t judge it. Try before you buy, unless you can return (a la QCC). Just because the reviewers’ hatches leaked doesn’t mean yours will, and just because they said it weathercocks excessively doesn’t mean it will for you. Not all reviewers are professional, and not all people reading the reviews are professional. Skill, height, weight, experience, and priorities will alter your perception of the boat.

Stay patient and you’ll find a light boat that works for your back and is worth paddling. If you’re willing to look hard enough and wait long enough, you’ll find something that works well for you.