Kayak recommendation?

My wife and I are looking to buy a couple of boats for paddling, sometimes with and sometimes without our 9 year old daughter. (I don’t think one boat’s going to do it, as our daughter is growing like a weed…)

We live in CT and like to paddle in the summer on lakes, ponds, easy class I-II whitewater, and occasionally along the coast (Long Island Sound) on calm days. My initial thoughts are 1 single and 1 tandem boat. I’m leaning towards sit-on-tops, but would like to hear opinions for and against.

  1. we typically don’t haul a lot of gear (this’ll be for day trips) 2) generally paddle only on warm days, and 3) would possibly like to bring our golden retriever, who wants to swim more than sit in a boat. If it’s just the two of us paddling, are there any tandem sit-on-tops that wouldn’t be a total barge for me to paddle solo? I’m open to any suggestions/recommendations.

Don’t recommend the tandem
I was coincidentally shopping a few years back for boats for me, my wife, and my daughter 9. I also looked at tandem boats although SOT was not an option for me because of personal taste. Tandem boats were sometimes called divorce boats because you are forced to work together with the other person constantly. You can’t go a different speed or direction then the spouse and you probably will get frustrated when the front person decides to skip a stroke or does something to force you to get out-of-sync.

Also, if you don’t get a proper second single boat then you are stuck with no good boat for paddling alone. That turned out to be my biggest issue since I paddle three or four days a week and my wife and kid paddle once a month.

Good luck.


1,2,or 3
I don’t have much experience with tandem kayaks or SOTs, but what you’re describing – 1,2,or 3 occupants, flat & moving water – could be done with a canoe.

Horses for Courses…
Angstrom said it…and I’ll second it…give some serious thought to a canoe.

We canoed a lot when we had two daughters and a dog, and it was definitely the right boat for the job. Easy in, easy out, simple to load, stable and capable of carrying a load; canoes are incredibly versatile craft. They’re sort of the water-borne equivalent of the family station wagon…

Now that the girls are on their own, tho, we seem to spend most of our time tooling around in kayaks/sports cars ;->^))

Unless there is no wind, paddling a tandem alone really isn’t an option, it’ll weathervane in any wind because your weight it too far to one end.

Bill H.

since nobody has mentioned it already -
How about three singles? If your 9 year-old is interested, then she’ll probably be happier in her own boat at that age. (if she’s not interested, she might be doubly so when stuck in a boat with dad).

My 6 year-old is pretty impatient with paddling in a double with me, and is recently much more excited about going out in her own boat behind me. A week ago I hooked my towboat to her bow, and she paddled a smaller sea kayak next to me on her own power for a ways, and then when she tired out I took over. The most fun I’ve ever had on a 30 minute, 0.5 mile trip! :smiley: