Light touring kayak for multiday trips

I’m looking for a kayak that I can use on relatively calm (at most class I) rivers and some lakes in northern MN, with enough cargo space that I can do overnight (2-4 day) trips. I have a lot of experience with recreational kayaks, but most that I’ve used don’t have the space/weight capacity for multi-day camping trips (I’d prefer 350+ lbs capacity). I’m more concerned with maneuverability and stability than speed, as I’ll also use it for birding/fishing. Any suggestions, maybe for a light touring/day tripping kayak?

I was recently looking for exactly the same thing. I demo’d a few yaks in the 12’ - 14’ range at California Canoe and Kayak in Oakland – the Current Designs Vision 135R, the Venture Islay 14, the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 120, and one or two others I’m forgetting. I was leaning toward the Current Designs Vision 135R…until I tried the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140. Wow. It handles really well, tracks nicely, fit me like a glove, and has plenty of cargo space for camping gear. I bought two of them (used) on the spot.

The Wilderness Systems Tsunamis have narrower cockpits than many yaks of similar length. I am a small guy, so the narrower cockpit is perfect for me. We’ve taken the boats out for a couple of trips already, and I am very happy with my choice.

Good luck.

Thanks! I was looking at the Tsunamis, and thought they looked good except for the narrowness of the cockpit. I’m pretty hefty, so I’m not sure they’d be comfortable for me.

The Tsunamis with 5 as the last digit in their model numbers are designed for larger paddlers. You may want to look at the Tsunami 145 and 165. Longer gives you more flotation, better tracking and more cargo space. Another good big guy touring boat is the Venture Jura HV (for High Volume) if you can find a dealer. I find Venture boats are a little more sleek than Tsunamis - a bit faster. Also made in England rather than China. But then I’m prejudiced since I own a (smaller) 15’ Venture.

You could also look at some of the shorter and wider “crossover” kayaks like the Dagger Axis 12 which has a 350 lb capacity and is shorter and wider, suited for photography and mild whitewater as well as having a spacious cockpit. I know at least 2 pretty big guys who have that model and like it a lot. With the skeg dropped in them they track fairly well on windy lakes, I’m told.

Two things: It would be easier to make suggestions if folks would give some of their personal dimensions and an approximation of their boat budget.

I’d like a cockpit of 22" or more wide. I could probably do slightly narrower, but it would be tight. My weight is ~250 lbs, height 5’8". If I can find something with higher weight capacity, that’d be ideal so that I can bring along gear without worrying too much. Hoping to find a used one of <$1000.

One of the guys I know who likes his Axis 12 is about your proportions. Cockpit is 38" by 21" but he seems to fit OK. He’s a professional photographer and uses it for a platform for nature shots as well as running moderate whitewater and overnight touring. Even new this boat is only $900.

You’re considering used, so be on the lookout for Current Design Pachena, Breeze or Whistler. These are all transitional kayaks that are similar in size and capability. I have a FG Pachena which is perfect for the usage described. The model is discontinued, but there are sometimes used models in FG or kevlar. Breeze and Whistler are both still available, but only in plastic.

PS – I found this ad pretty easily – if it’s still active, it’s a good deal. I’m around your size and spent 1500 on a used model and still use it with pleasure after 10+ years…

I too could not get comfortable in a Tsunami 135… so I went with a Perception Carolina 14 ft.

I am 5’10 and 190 lbs.

I love my boat and it has great storage capacity.

If you still feel cramped, try a Wilderness Systems Pungo… they have a more wide-open design.

FYI Wilderness Systems are not made in China, they are built in the same South Carolina factory as Perception.

Would also help to know about how much you pack for a multi-day trip. As a backpacker I can do 5 days and 4 nights in a 70-liter pack so my space needs might be different. I can do 2-3 days easily in most kayaks, unless I need to bring a lot of fresh water.

I’m about your size: 5’10" and between 240-250. I’ve owned a Perception 15’ Carolina since 1998 (when I was much thinner) and am now cramped in the cockpit. Looking for a new boat I found it hard to find a cockpit that fits me. I got a good deal on a used 2009 Wilderness Systems Zephyr 160 Pro (fiberglass) and that fits me fine. The Tsunami fit me as well but I liked the Zephyr’s maneuverability better. I tried 3 Wilderness Systems boats (Tsunami 165, Zephyr 160, and Tempest 170) in the last couple of years and found them to have cockpit room in the order I listed them. I jumped on the Zephyr when one popped up on Craigslist locally.

After poking around, I’m actually starting to think a solo/pack canoe might fit my needs better. Some of the rivers and streams I’m interested in are pretty small, so having the option to do 1 paddle would be good. Plenty of room for gear. I don’t really care about speed, and I don’t mind a little wobble as long as there’s good secondary stability. Thanks for the recommendations, though!