Kayak volume

how does one know if one’s kayak sits too low in the water when fully loaded? I weigh 195 and paddle nordkapp RM. Personally, I feel I am good when the boat is unloaded, but when the boat is loaded for overnight trips, it seems to sit low and I am considering getting another boat for overnight trips- the etain 17.7. On a recent trip, I couldn’t keep up with someone else who seemed to be paddling at a leisurely pace in his unloaded prijon kayak. It got me wondering if maybe my nordkapp doesn’t have enough volume when fully loaded.

How much slower should a loaded kayak be vs a unloaded one? what does it mean if the boat sits low? I see some other people in non-loaded kayaks (some of the more performance tiderace boats come to mind). Any thoughts on whether the nordkapp rm is not right for me when fully loaded? Pls consider:

–nordkapp rm Load Suitability: 150-240lbs/ 67-108kg as per valley website

–my weight 190 to 195

–acceptable loading: 240 - 195 = 55 lbs.

If the ideal loading is 150 + (240 - 150 ) /2 = 195 lbs, then how would speed and performance be at the upper limit of 240? And what about if you go above the upper limit?

FYI, I am 6’2 195Lbs and paddle in puget sound area and on lakes. I am planning on keeping my nordkapp for day trips and getting an etain 17.7 for overnight trips

Don’t know much about sea kayaks, but
I have noticed with certain ww kayaks and canoes that a full load may cause the bow to be pushed down so that it plows more, cuts the water less. It’s design dependent.

So you are correct in thinking that “more boat” may mean easier paddling when carrying more load, but it’s a complicated issue in some respects. Boat designers can do things to the bow, and sometimes to the stern, so that loading a boat doesn’t spoil its speed or handling.

For what it is worth
I paddle a QCC-700 which is a fast 18 foot sea kayak.

If I am racing I can hold a speed between 5.5 and 6 MPH, (used to be faster, but my age has slowed me down)

We recently did a 5 day four night kayak camping trip, and my boat was fully loaded with gear including five gallons of water. It paddled like a slug. We did sixteen miles each day and our average was 3.3 each day and the total came out to the same. Naturally we were not trying for speed, but that was a comfortable pace for the loaded boats. My boat sat lower in the water then with it empty, but that was expected.

It still handled excellent, and on two different days we were in a moderate chop with breaking white caps.

Hope this helps a bit

jack L

Thanks Jack,

That’s interesting that qcc style boat also is affected that much by weight.it suggests that the speed difference possible of a qcc over traditional sea kayak like a nordkapp might not be as great when both boats are loaded for expeditions.

Bear in mind that the “standard” Nordkapp (not LV version) was designed as a long distance expedition load carrier, not a day boat. Overnight gear should be no issue. If someone paddles a loaded Etain faster than you in your Nord, I suspect it has more to do with the paddler rather than the boat. I’m not trying to be critical of your abilities. That’s just my take on those two boats.

Effect of a big load

– Last Updated: Apr-09-14 12:01 PM EST –

In my experience anyway. I experienced more of this with my old plastic CD Squall than any other boat because I started out with my dreadfully inefficient packing habits. So for a single overnight I had as much crap in the boat as a lot of people carry for a few days or more. The boat could haul a prodigious amount of stuff so a fat pad and a 3-4 person tent were part of the kit. Also most of any last minute overflow since my boat had a higher deck than my husband's.

There is also no water on the islands and it is Leave No trace. We discovered that in terms of weight, you are carrying out nearly as much fluid weight as you carry in.

What I found was that it was a very secure version of driving a big truck. It took more work to get the boat up to speed than unloaded, probably because I was sitting low enough to be pushing some water. But once I got it up to speed it was as fast as unloaded. And it was considerably less bothered by waves - stuff that would have me setting an edge unloaded took no effort from me at all. The fully laden boat just kind of rolled into the right angle with the water and resisted all urges to leave a safe spot. (actually, one of the characteristics of the Solstice series)

So stopping definitely slowed us down. Churning along was fine.

One factor is that the Squall is a bear of a tracker. In a boat with a more fluid directional response to waves, I would have spent more time getting up to speed again, the slowest aspect of the loaded trip.

(And I finally did some proper research later yesterday - the Nordkapp RM has more rocker and and more apt hull for day tripping than the original Greenland-expedition style Nordkapps. It does stay upright with more enthusiasm than the LV...)

This is the RM
The RM is similar shape to the LV, not the “standard” Nordkapp. The RM already sits fairly low in the water with 200lb paddler and gear total weight. And paddles well without additional load, so great for a day boat, in fact. I personally don’t think it will be slower than most other 17’ or so plastics when loaded more, to let’s say 250lb. But I have not paddled it loaded beyond about 210lb total (and I had absolutely no issues with it being slow then).

Maybe it was plastered with remoras
hoping to get in on the leavings from your meals.

You must be thirsty
when you get back if you bring back all that you take out.

I love the last days of our trips when those eight pounds per gallon of water are almost all gone.

Jack L

You may have missed my meaning

– Last Updated: Apr-10-14 9:45 AM EST –

I do drink plenty of water, much more than most by the end of the day. Not something I can skimp on with less than half the gut of most. I dehydrate way faster.

However the islands are leave no trace, including no cat holes. Unless you want to abuse the ocean itself during low tide, a discussion that is too complicated to have here, whatever went out with you comes back home. It just comes back in transmuted form, for example what got drunk might be in a plastic container of deodorant crystals.

So - the result of our unintended scientific experiment the first times camping was that the cells of the body scavange far less from the water and tea etc that you drink than you realize, when measured by weight.

Those long and seemingly extraneous elfin ends of the NDK boat were much appreciated the first time we packed to come back to the rental cabin after a night out.

No, I think you missed my point
If you bring a gallon of water out with you, do you bring that gallon of water back with you ?

Jack L

I’ll get more graphic

– Last Updated: Apr-10-14 2:39 PM EST –

I am guessing that most of your camping is not leave no trace.

I/we found out that a person pees out a significant amount of the water we drink. On the leave no trace islands in Maine, which is a significant number of them, whatever comes out of of your body has to come back home in the boat with you. More so for me with a short gut.

So yes - if I haul out and drink a gallon of water, I carry back well over half of it. It is just that it came out the other end.

Of course dump water we don't need. If there is a reason someone would not shed that weight, please share. I don't know of one.

I did a quick check online just now and someone with a fancy set of doctor initials after her name had this information up. From this information, if I am keeping any of that gallon of water it means I got too dry. If tings are right you lose as much as you drank.

When your body is in a state of optimal hydration, the amount of fluids you take in matches what you lose through your skin, lungs and kidneys. Therefore, if you drink 8 ounces of water while you are well hydrated and in a comfortable environment, you will excrete the majority of this extra water in your urine, with small amounts also being lost in your exhalations and through skin evaporation. In other words, your body retains very little additional water if you already are fully hydrated."

By the way, I would be happy to delete this level of detail because it is probably not fun for someone to read. But you have the starting counterpoint, so I can't do much about it myself.

All of our camping is leave no trace

– Last Updated: Apr-10-14 4:29 PM EST –

and we adhere to it all the way. the rules are made by the National Park service
But if you think taking a leak in the ocean or Gulf is leaving a trace, then you are over doing it, or whoever makes your rules is overdoing it.
Ooops I forgot your ocean water up there is nasty cold.
So just go slightly above the tide line and you won't have to step in the water, or if the tide is high, hold it until the tide goes out a bit.

jack l

The rules

– Last Updated: Apr-10-14 5:34 PM EST –

As I said a few replies higher, the ocean's edge is a can of worms. But since you opened it up - it is not always as easy as you indicate on these islands. The (not many) camp sites are often clustered together to protect the rest of the island from traffic. The shorelines are often quite rocky and it is up to 12 feet of rocks to manage.

Getting near the tide line on some sides of these islands can be between challenging and dangerous to your health. One little site is perched on top of a dome rock sided with seaweed that is variously sticking 5 feet or 17 feet out of the water. One of the extremely popular public islands has several campsites overlooking the only safe place to manage what you are talking about. The shoreline that a campsite is not overlooking is between marginal and only safe for a rock climber.

Obviously people do not always play by the rules.

You can argue about impact on the ocean because it washes away visible signs. But there is a fair amount of LNT camping where there is not such a sponge of a body of water nearby, like some areas in Adirondacks. So if you do enough LNT, at some point you are going to encounter a situation where you will find out that the ratio of input to output is surprisingly constant.

Also, I am likely incorrect in the use of the word rules. The Maine Island Trail system is a completely voluntary program regarding the behavior of the campers using the islands. No one even exists with enforcement authority over camping. The closest you get is some private islands where the owner has given MITA campsite(s) on the island they own, and can stop by to demand things from being the landowner. It has worked remarkably well and for the most part you can go to a camp site that was in use just 48 hours before and not find any signs of use other than the log.

Interesting topic, I have been paying attention to volumes and waterlines for a little while now in search of those “right” boats for my wife and I. I appreciate it when manufacturers list volumes in their specifications. That gives me a ballpark figure to start with. The rocker, width and hull shape will affect how that waterline works out with that volume though. At 275lbs, I find I’m liking boats with 400+ liters of volume at the 17+ foot mark and about 23 inches width. I find the 23” width gives me what I assume to be a similar stability to lighter paddlers in narrower boats. I’ve seen some designs where they list the inches of waterline for a certain weight and then how many lbs per inch of waterline after that, very nice. Finding that right fit is difficult, it always surprises me how little some manufacturers do to market their products. How about some waterline pictures? I tried an Etain 17-7 end of last summer after seeing it suggested here. For me it rode lower than I would have liked but I’m just outside the suggested paddler size. You and 50lbs gear should have a nice waterline though. Have you tried one yet?

For what it is worth, I own a RM nordkapp and I have never found it to be a speedy boat. It is great on rough water and is speedier in chop, but in flatter conditions I think it plows vs slices the water. Fully loaded I don’t have trouble keeping up but find other boats in my collection to be faster. I do like to surf in the nordkapp but that is more of a function of its up swept rocker, than its overall speed.

Etain so far so good

I bought an etain 17.7 rm yesterday. Prior to that I had paddled a composite boat for few weeks. My concerns were that it is too roomy in the cockpit, as if made for a bigger person. However when paddling I could not discern any problems caused by that extra cockpit room. I think the 17.5 is probably more my size, but It figured I wanted the extra volume for camping trips to make up for what I see as a deficiency for me in the nordkapp rm. (Even if the nordkapp is not too low in water when fully loaded, space is very limited in its sleek, compact hull and I think I would have to invest in some backpacking style camp gear to make it work). With the 17.7 I can put my camping gear into its roomy rear compartments without any trouble. Will it be fast when fully loaded, probably not, but I don’t know what other plastic kayak out there is any better. I like the valley heavy duty multi ply plastic and I like their hatches. Other aspects of valley boats, including quality control, I find could and should be improved. I want too see Brit boats keep market share. The other day I was paddling solo back to my campsite on Blake just before dark in my unloaded nordkapp rm and there was brisk winds at my back and following seas. It was a blast the way that boat handled the roughish conditions. And why wouldn’t it. These are boats that are designed to handle the Scottish coast.


going to be pretty hard to convince me
That urine breaks the without a trace rule.

Depends on where
I just looked at your area, and see you are in the southeastern US. That means a lot of sandy soil and likely overall decent cover.

The islands in Maine, like some areas of the Adirondacks, are a thin layer of soil that has accumulated over the years on top of rock. And if you yourself go there and pee, agreed there is likely no damage. But if a guided group of 20 plus people occupy the entirely of a skinny little island like Crow, on back to back weekends, it is an entirely different matter. Aside from the visual impact from fellow campers - the island is not big enough to afford a lot of private pee spots for that many people - the cumulative impact can be measurably different. And some of these islands are really, really teeny - like one campsite and you’d better not plan on walking around at night.

No one is perfect here including myself. But as above -the combination of a shoreline that can be highly inaccessible - a lot of these islands have very little in the way of “just walk out in the water” shoreline - and the vulnerability of the surface vegetation means that it takes more than a passing thought.

Honestly, if it was totally silly no one would make devices to handle it. And there are a number of them out there.

more of a philosophical question here
We are a species member of the planet (in other words, we weren’t invented or brought here from elsewhere; we are not “invasives”).

Every other organism on earth expels its waste casually and without consideration. We are the only species to do so.

It’s tough for people to make the connection when thinking about one person peeing in the ocean, maybe a bit easier if they imagine a combined storm/sanitary sewer discharge into a small lake or stream.