Light weight kayak suggestions?

-- Last Updated: Nov-03-12 9:44 PM EST --

Hello everyone. From WI and wanted to introduce myself. I've been happily married for 6 yrs, a proud father of 3 boys, owner of a black lab and enjoy the outdoors.

I am new to the kayaking world and wanted to get some suggestions on a kayak. I'll be using it mostly to access hard to reach spots to fish and hunt and I will have gear along with me.

I realize that a light weight canoe such as the Wenonah Fusion 13 in kevlar would be ideal, so if I can't find anything in a kayak, I'll go that route.

However, I'm interested in a kayak. I am open to sit-ins and ROT. My requirements are as follows:

8 or less - 10' in lenght (want to toss it in the bed of my truck)
40lbs or less (give or take a couple lbs)
Max weight capacity - 280lbs minimum
Stable if this means anything. Ive got great balance.

****I should have mentioned, I am 5'6" and 200lbs. This craft should also be able to take a beating.

My trips usually go like this; craft gets loaded, then dragged to the water, sometimes over gravel and even railroad tracks to think wooded areas. I would use a hauler when possible, but this is worse case. Then I paddle to where I port. The craft (loaded with gear) gets draged and pushed through cattails, over fallen timber, in knee high muck. This muck is the the stuff that will take you a while to unlodge your feet once you plant.

Another scenario, floating small rivers/creeks to jump shoot ducks once ponds/lakes freeze over. I will ocassionally paddle through thin layers of ice and over shallow areas where the bottom will scrape over large rocks. I try to avoid these but it will happen (again worse case).

Also, I can do any style of paddling or seat position (this is secondary to the info above for me).****

I've done research ahead of time but I don't want to miss any other manufacturers. Thanks in advance.

Seems to me you are not

– Last Updated: Nov-03-12 5:52 PM EST –

looking for a recreational kayak but a pack canoe.

Used to get to hard to reach places for hunting and fishing. Not saying these are the only boats you should consider but what do you think of them?

Eight is simply too small for your weight. Ten is marginal. 12 -13 would be better. These boats can be loaded into the back of a pickup with a little ingenuity.

Look at the weight.

These are canoes. Adirondacks have a long history of double blade canoeing.

Swift also makes pack canoes.

Little more pricey.

The Liquidlogic Mist 9.5 (used to be the Heritage Featherlight) is one of the few kayaks that meets your requirements. I never paddled one and not sure if I would recommend it for you. But something like the Mist is what you are looking at with those specs.

Overall, most small plastic rec sit in kayaks around 10’ long will claim weights between 40-50 lbs. Sit on tops usually weigh more then a similar sized sit in kayak. If you are willing to have a slightly heavier kayak you get a lot more choices.

When you say you want a min weight of 280lbs is that your weight or your weight plus the gear you are thinking of bringing. For a kayak people really need to know your weight and height to help make recos.

Since you have a black lab (me too) and children, I would wonder if you would be better off getting a canoe that you could take the dog and children with you as well as paddle solo. That would mean a lot longer than what you are thinking.

I carry a 14’ boat in my P/U all the

– Last Updated: Nov-03-12 7:09 PM EST –

time with a bed extender. 60 + lbs is no sweat as long as you don't pick it up. I slide my boats on and off.if needed,I use a cart to and from.

Thanks for the suggestion!
Thanks for the quick response and that kayak would be an option. I wasn’t even aware of that manufactuer. That gives me some more options.

I am 5’6" and 200lbs. The 280lb minimum would be a combination of myself and gear. Do you think I am pushing it witht the weight?

I have often thought about bringing the dog along. However, I have a heavier 14ft canoe for that. This kayak would be used for solo spots only. Something to get me and my gear to the location. Often, that means, a long paddle, then through muck/cattails where you sink up to your knees. The kayak/gear will be pushed or dragged along.

I forgot to mention durability. It would also float rivers once ponds freeze up to jump shoot ducks. Some of these rivers get shallow and I may hit or scrape right over rocks. I may break ice with it too. So durability is a must.

I like but won’t work.
Sorry. I should have been more clear. My trips start with dragging the craft loaded with gear to the water. Sometimes thats over gravel, train tracks. Then its a paddle, then through muck/cattails where I sink up to my knees. I would like to be dragging/pushing 60lbs once said and done.

I have looked at the commander and it is a sweet ride.

I’ll research these.
These look good. My only question is how durable are these and will they stand up to the test. I did update my op because I was missing some key info.

The weight on the hornbecks are excellent. I’ll research on how durable they are.


– Last Updated: Nov-03-12 10:03 PM EST –

If you want to shoot from a kayak, you probably want to stick with the fatter SOTs for the stability, plus they will easily handle the weight you are giving them.

The angler versions are probably going to have the type of outfitting you want plus most of them come in a non-angler version so you can add what you need. These poly SOTs are usually very durable so wouldn't worry about damaging but they are going to be heavy.

Native Watercraft and Wilderness Systems are going to have the most choices for these types of kayaks.

I know some paddlers who like the pedal drives for hunting and fishing. Gives them the ability to keep hands free while moving the kayak. Downside is they are better for deeper water so they don't get stuck in plants or mud. From what you are saying might not be the best option.

If you want to window shop checkout,

The print version of Canoe and Kayaks Boat Book magazine just came out which is good if you want to see lots of kayaks and some specs. Good bathroom reading.

Malibu Mini X

Heritage Featherlight 9.5
I have one and it does most everything you are looking for. It is stable, wide, comfortable, and easy to work out of with a good size cockpit and a small open area behind the seat. The one thing I cannot say is I’ve never dragged mine thru your described path to your hunting/fishing areas. I bought mine used and use it now for my friends that accompany me. Great little boat so if you can find one it might fit your bill quite well. I’m 6’1 and 225 and it is no problem - floats like a cork!

Not the answer you’re looking for…

– Last Updated: Nov-04-12 12:06 PM EST –

Seems to me that you're looking for a hardware solution to a software problem. No 10' kayak is going to do the job you're describing well. Your 14' canoe might, if you learn some different ways to use it - assuming the canoe is of decent design.

Kayaks just aren't practical for pushing through the muck anyway. Too low of a profile and a lack of convenient hand-holds. If you think you might go with a pack canoe, you can get one light enough that you can carry it while packing your gear on your back as well - rather than dragging.

If you really want to upgrade the boat for your described use, look into a decent recreational tandem canoe, ~16' in length. Expect it to weigh about 60 lbs. Learn to paddle it well solo with whatever technique and whatever paddle works for you. Learn to pole. Push it through the muck and cattails to your heart's content - standing with a pole or wading along beside or behind it. Cart it where you can. Drag it where you must. You will find it far more versatile than any lightweight kayak.

I hear ya
I have a 14’ oldtown sportsman that I have been using for the job. It is cumbersome to transport with my midsized truck. It also comes in at 60lbs. It does not trek as well due to its width, but its sturdy and gets the job done. My real issue is once I hit the cattails, it another 100yds. I get out and alternate pulling and pushing it. I take alot of breaks. I think the canoe and gear is right around 80-90lbs at that phase. I would like to be around 70-80lbs.

I just may look at the sportsman’s little brother the pack/disco. I really like the weight of the higher end pack canoes, but I’m not sure it will take that kind of abuse.


I love looking at new models of anything for the next year. I was looking at the Native and wilderness brands prior to this and really like them. However, I would be hauling around even more weight then I do with my current 14’ oldtown.

That feelfree moken 10 lite looks nice. Crossing my fingers that there is a dealer close to me that actually carries them where I can test one out. Thank you.

I really like these
This one may fit the bill. But more importantly, I just checked out there line up and love their kayaks, especially the Sierra 10. I’ll have to check on pricing and specs. Thank you.

Love their line up. The sierra just may be the one. I’ll have to take a closer look at the specs.

When you are in the cattails…
…is the boat still floating? Or are they so thick that you actually have to drag over the rushes? If still floating, standing with a pole and pushing off the bottom may be a lot easier than pushing the boat while you wade through matted cattails. Your OT Sportsman should be okay for that.

Completely above water level
The canoe is completely above the water when pushing/pulling through cattails. I should have been more clear as terms may vary from one subject to another. By push, I mean, get out and push from the stern. Using a pole to push in this situation wouldn’t work.

Very close to a solution.
After googling kayak vs canoe. I was brought back to a article on this very forum. After having read it, I will be getting a canoe.

Just wanted to say Thanks to everyone.