Kayak Purchase Q's

We recently visited the Frio River and my son (12) kayaked the whole trip. We are now wanting to purchase a kayak for all of us. What kayaks are best for that type of paddling? My sons is a destin 10.4 and it seemed to work ok except it seemed a little long for some areas. Any suggestions?

You do realize that most of us have no idea of what river you are talking about… I can mention the Messalonskee Stream or the Kenduskeag and that would mean as much to you as your river to me.

I apologize for not being more specific. The frio river is located in Texas. It is in the Concan, Leakey area. It’s a spring fed river with rapids and small waterfalls that most people enjoy tubing.

Are you talking about wanting one kayak or more? What are the sizes of “the rest of us” ?

One for my husband he is 180lbs, my daughter who is 90lbs and myself at 117lbs.

You haven’t paddled enough. When you have these questions tend to answer themselves.


Here’s a starting point: http://www.paddlesafely.com/kayaks/

Loads of other valuable reading information at that site.

You need to do a LOT of reading, looking, sitting in and paddling. But, it’s all fun.
Please don’t rush out and wind up with boats and equipment you will regret. I think it’s wonderful that your whole family is interested.
Be aware that sometimes paddling can be a lot of work.
For instance, I have 3 grandsons I’ve taken paddling. One is completely hooked , one enjoys it but just once in a while, and the 3rd lost interest after a quarter mile. Their parents were the same way.

Thank you all for the wonderful information. I will definitely take my time in any purchase and read as much as I can about the subject. I realize we are newbies but you do have to start somewhere. I do want more paddling time for my daughter before making a purchase for her. I appreciate that being pointed out.

Quite exciting. Getting into kayaking does take some research and testing, but the energy is well spent. Most newbies are focused on choices for themselves but you have the added mission criteria of outfitting multiple people.

The data points you need is the size, weight, height, foot size for each paddler, the kinds of water you will be paddling in and the water temperature. How will you transport multiple kayaks? And then there is the budget for the kayaks, PFDs, paddles, safety gear, spray skirts and clothing.

Buy used when starting out. This sounds expensive but keep in mind that once the purchases are made your spending stops. No greens fees or lift tickets, etc. But if you really connect with paddling you will be upgrading your kayaks and or expanding the fleet…

Second what has been said - rent a few more times. Preferably different makes, models, and sizes of boats to try different ones, so might involve going to different rental places than before.

There is an article in California Kayaker Magazine on different types of kayaks and what they are good/not good at. Can be read online - issue #10 at http://calkayakermag.com/magazine.html. The Destin 10.4 is a sit on top class kayak.

Given kids still in growth stages (so can outgrow boats quickly), when you do buy boats, you may want to buy used. This saves you on average half the price, and assuming you don’t damage them, you usually can resell them for the same amount you bought them when you are ready to move to the next boat. Truthfully, used for the parents might also make sense, as few people find the first boat they buy is really the right boat for them. Takes a lot of time in oats to figure out what is best.

My son bought his destin on his own a year ago. He typically uses it for bay fishing in the coves. I was worried about him paddling the Frio which is rated class II-III. He actually did very well. He is a Boy Scout and my husband and I are leaders. Being on the water is not new, the purchase is new however. Unfortunately we live in a small town and our only options of trying something out would be Walmart or Academy. I think we should try Dicks, REI or even Bass Pro to try out a fitting. I think that’s best before even buying used. We are all very excited about starting a new hobby together. My daughters interest is the only thing that worries me. She did enjoy paddling around but I am unsure if she can do the 2+ miles a day like her brother did.

How close are you to the coast or a large city or lake? Those would be places to find more boats to sit in. We live in an area where there are lakes, paddlers, and Outfitters. But, REI and Bass Pro carry the lowest common denominator type of kayaks, built to sell but not necessarily to be user friendly.
That said, for a small river in a warm climate, sit on top kayaks are fine.
What you can’t learn in those places is how well a boat goes through the water.
Have we exasperated you yet?

Haha, not yet! We are 30 min from the Gulf Coast. We have several rivers and lakes near us. We are in between Corpus Christi and Houston. Most of what I find in my area are kayaks better suited for bay fishing. Austin may be my best bet for an outfitter though. I will have to do some research on that.

One more and I will quit.
I would look at recreational kayaks made by names like Dagger, Perception, Wilderness Systems, and Old Town.
Recreational meaning generous cockpits, comfortable seats, and stable .
WS Pungos come to mind since I’ve owned a couple. The photo is my grandson in a Pungo 140.

And his younger brother in a Hurricane Skimmer.

Do a search for “houston texas kayak rentals” https://duckduckgo.com/?q=houston+texas+kayak+rentals.&t=ffab&ia=web Looks like quite a few choices.

@TreeA10 said:
Do a search for “houston texas kayak rentals” https://duckduckgo.com/?q=houston+texas+kayak+rentals.&t=ffab&ia=web Looks like quite a few choices.

+1. Definitely try out a bunch of different ones by renting them from a local shop to get an idea. There are a lot of different boats, some better than others, some more specialized than others, some very light, stiff, fun and fast but fragile as all heck and tippy or lousy in wind and surf, others go over like lead balloons and tip at the sign of the first wave but are more stable in certain situations like flat water fishing.

Just avoid the cheapest offerings from big box stores, they tend to be of poor quality, don’t last long and have poor and sometimes unsafe characteristics like not enough flotation or inability to carry more than modestly sized adults.

Thank you all so much. It looks like I have a road trip in the near future. I love the idea of renting and trying different brands out! I appreciate all the positivity.

My only other suggestion would be to buy used the first time because the big hit, just like in any item, is buying it new and then selling it used. As long as the boat(s) you resell are in more or less the same material condition for which you bought them then you can more or less sell them for the same. So if you decide you don’t like the sport any more, or you want to trade up and put the old boat to a trade in, your loss is minimal.

What I mean is most good boats brand new won’t sell for much less than $1,000. Any less than that and you’re not getting something very good; there are exceptions but like I said avoid the $400 box store specials. That said most of those kayaks that demanded $1,000-$1,200 brand new can be found used at a local dealer, or on Craigslist 25-50% off, sometimes even less. It pays to do your research, get lots of experience, measure twice cut once that sort of thing.