Lighter kayaks for longer distance kayaking?

Hi: Looking for advice about a lightweight kayaks. I am a 64 year old woman, have kayaked for about 15 years- mostly lakes and rivers but some ocean, occasional camping out of kayaks in the past but probably won’t continue that so may not need as many hatches as we currently have. We have Necky Elaho kayaks- my husband has the hv one with a rudder and I have a skeg ( probably 60- 70 lb+ each) They are plastic, long (15-17 feet) and rather heavy. We just bought a taller car, and also like to do the 7 carries route in the Adirondacks every year with lots of through the woods portages, and I’m getting to the point where I seriously need to start looking at something lighter for the future. We don’t want fiberglass as we feel it scratches too easily for the types of kayaking we do. I’d like something a little shorter that can still be fast enough to go long distances, especially for our annual Adirondacks trip where we like to do long distances. Wondering if a 12 foot boat would work. My husband likes to fish off his kayak, so he definitely wants a rudder. I’m okay with a skeg or rudder. Looking for suggestions. Thanks so much!!
Cindy

Oh, I remember carrying around the Necky Elahos all too well. Good performing hulls but not light.

I’m thinking you’d be served well with an Eddyline or other thermoformed kayak. Likely in the 45lb. range.

Composites like Stellar would get you into the mid to high 30lb. range but you’ll wince more around rocks.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: www.the-river-connection.com
Store: www.the-river-connection.us
Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection
Instagram: www.instagram.com/marshall.seddon

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Check out Wilderness Systems Pungo series. I have a 140 , which is no longer made, but is relatively light and surprisingly fast.
Very comfortable and can hold a lot. I’ve done overnight camping with it. The 125 also gets good reviews.

Thanks so much! I’ll look into that!

Thanks for the advice. Do you advise against the stellar because it cant maneuver around the rocks or we’d be too worried about damage ?

Not advising either way. Stellar makes really good boats; I have one on order . But, compared to the Pungo , I will be very cautious around hard surfaces. Probably in part because of the cost difference.
Also, the thermoformed boats I’ve had were definitely slower than the Pungo, but they were both sit on tops so that is likely a design difference.

The Stellar kayaks in the Advantage layup work fine and if you scrape them, gel coat is easy stuff to touch up. I was erring on the side of ruggedness which is what the plastics provide if you were dragging hulls across rocks.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: www.the-river-connection.com
Store: www.the-river-connection.us
Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection
Instagram: www.instagram.com/marshall.seddon

And an opinion. A 12’ boat shouldn’t need a rudder or skeg. Boats like the plastic Pungos have molded skegs but can be turned fairly easily with a paddle. They are designed to track but I’ve had no problem navigating mild current or swamps.
My 16’ canoe and Tarpon 160 are a different story.

My husband needs a rudder to steer when he is fishing ( not using his paddle). I’m stronger on the right side so when there is a lot of current &/or wind my skeg helps me track better. I should be able to self correct with my stroke but it’s definitely something I use. So we definitely need a boat with a rudder for certain. His is the heavier one so even more important to probably replace.
Thanks! Cindy

We do a lot of dragging- especially uphill on some of those carries in the St Regis Canoe Wilderness! But I don’t know if that would change if we had lighter boats. The campsite we like to stay at there has a steep hill that we basically have to slide the kayaks down into the water and drag them up on the ground-one of the reasons we don’t want fiberglass!

Would a set of wheels/cart help with the portages? I regularly use a C-tug in beach settings and it breaks down nicely to go into an oval hatch. I know there are other models which may work better in your environment whether they are stored on deck or in a hatch.

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Just another possibility, they come in lots of sizes and performance levels.

From your description, it sounds like you are best off with plastic. And I think it’s great that you paddle together.

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What is the length of your portages? Wondering if a pack canoe would be a better idea, or does this boat have to do ocean and Adirondacks?

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You might want to rethink the aversion to composite kayaks. They are a lot lighter by huge factors. Stellar Kayaks make a 14 foot kayak that is a mere 33lbs. I own a Stellar 18’ kayak that probably weighs 10lbs less than your Necky. Just go out and scratch it up, they are hard to really hurt, tougher than you think. Another idea, since you are on inland waters. Get a small solo canoe. I just bought a nice old Kevlar Bell Merlin canoe, 15’ long that weighs 33lbs. I lowered the seat down to about 4 inches off the bottom, added foot braces and paddle it with a kayak paddle. It is a very fun way to go. I have seen some ultra light canoes that come with kayak seats and are designed for kayak paddles. Placid Canoes which has some details here on this web site has a nice looking boat that is 14’ long and weights only 26lbs!

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Hi: I do have a set of wheels which we use for longer portages. But we also bought a car that is several inches higher than our old one in order to have towing capacity for a pop up camper and it is getting harder to lift that much weight that high overhead. I do lift weights but I’m still getting up there in years! Bought a study step stool to help when the height but honestly I feel safer on the ground without the step stool lifting it straight overhead. I can still lift both kayaks but I know at some point in the future this will be an issue for me. I feel a lighter weight kayak will give me many years more of enjoyable paddling! But I don’t absolutely need one yet, it’s just getting a bit harder each year to get the boat on the car. So that’s why I’m looking forward recommendations- if we find a good used or demo boat we will probably purchase it.

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Those are good suggestions… I saw some folks in the Adirondacks with lightweight canoes using kayak paddles. Will definitely consider the stellar!

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Our Portages can be up to 1/2 mile… hilly through woods and over big roots and rocks. Most are less, but there are a decent amount of 1/4 and 1/3 mile portages on some of the routes we have done in past years. In the area I live, there are mostly shorter portages. With our new camper, we are hoping to get out more often further from home…so we could wind up in lots of new places! (I hope!)

I am right there with you regarding lighter weight. I turn 63 tomorrow and I get much more enjoyment from a light boat. Especially at the end of the day, lifting it high to load it on the car. Look for used Kevlar solo canoes on your local Craigslist boat listings. They pop-up from time to time and are moderately priced and easy to adapt for the kayak paddle. The one I got is about 30" wide. Its wider than a typical kayak but the gunwales are even narrower making it possible to paddle without hitting my hands on the side of the boat.

cindihope, with your camper you can come to places with fewer , or no, portages. And warmer weather although today it was 40 deg and misting rain in NW South Carolina.

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