Kayak for me and my son

I am looking for a used kayak for my son and myself.

He is 4.

This would be for lake and calm river trips.

I am looking for something affordable, and portable without a rack.

I see a Stearns B522 inflatable kayak and a Seyvlor inflatable kayak for sale on our local craigslist, both tandems.

Are these kayaks of reasonable quality? Would they make good starter kayaks?

If not, what would you recommend?



Look at used tandem sots
Malibu II by Ocean kayak, Hobie Oddysey, you can improvise a rack with a foam pad and straps.

I would not do an inflatable for what you are wanting. Look at something LIKE this.


This one isn’t the best but it may do since it seems you are on a budget.

I would recomend this because the little guy will like the deck up front to put his legs under so he doesn’t get sunburned. We put a big hat and a long sleeve shirt on ours so they never got sun. It also gives a little security for them. The hard boat will also allow you to go somewhere. The inflatables just don’t have the speed you will want.

You will likely get other opinions but that is mine because it is what worked for us.

Old Town Dirigo
I just purchased an Old Town Dirigo tandem for use with my girlfriend. We tested several tandem kayaks and liked this one the best, by far. It is reasonably priced – around $1100. I think you can still get it on Amazon for around $920. It is well made and easy to paddle – good for lakes and flat rivers. We have had it out several times and are quite happy with it.


– Last Updated: Mar-28-12 2:44 PM EST –

Here's a good resource on inflatables.

If you don't have place to store a hardshell and/or don't want to car top then inflatables makes sense. Fine for sheltered calm waters.

Sorry I don't have any experience with those brands. I used to have Advanced Elements Convertible tandem before we got a hard shell. It has rigid front and back which cuts through water better which was nice.

Advanced Elements Convertible tandem
I see that a local store has a used Advanced Elements Convertible tandem for $250.

Would you recommend that model of kayak?


Downsides to Inflatables …
When you are paddling with a small passenger the bow is going to ride high exposing the boat to a lot of wind, inflatable are already less friendly in wind. The two boats I mentioned let you paddle from the center by moving the seat and are very, very good with small kids.

The other downside is that when the boat is wet it is not as easy to transfer and store as you think. You need to dry it out before storing. The last point is durability. Used boats are very likely to have issues of separation and leakage. Very easy to see if a boat leaks if it is a hardshell but be very careful buying a used inflatable. Don’t pay much for it.

Malibu II by Ocean kayak, Hobie Oddysey,
Thanks for the tip.

Unfortunately, I do not see any of these kayaks for sale used around here.

Thanks again.

This looks like a great boat.

Unfortunately, at $500, it’s a little too much for our first boat. Maybe our second?

There is a used Stearns B522 for sale locally for $180. We are considering that.



Unfortunately, it’s a little too much for our first boat.

Thanks again.


I would love to get one of those boats right now.

It seems that the used Stearns B522 that I have my eye on lets you paddle from the center.

Yes, I have heard about the issue with deflating a wet kayak.

The Stearns B522 is listed at $180. I am going to take a look at it in a couple days. It seems like a good deal…

Thanks again very much.


– Last Updated: Mar-29-12 4:35 PM EST –

If the OP doesn't have place to store a hard-shell yak (such as living in an apartment) or doesn't want racks to car top it then inflatable or folding yak would be the only choice.

To answer question on AE convertible, yes it's a good boat. The cockpit is all open so the rear paddler could easily shift more toward middle of boat to paddle and equalize weight. Wind is usually only a problem if you paddle in open waters.

Inflatables do of course require a process to inflate and deflate.