So I bought my first kayak early this summer, an old (I believe 1997) Old Town Loon 160T. I thought it was something my wife and I would do together, but I’ve been out about 30 times, and she’s gone with me exactly twice. Since I DO really like this behemoth, I’ll be keeping it, but I’d like to also have something a little more nimble and a lot easier to load. I have never paddled anything else, so I don’t know what other kayaks are like.
I think I’m interested in a Pungo 12’ or preferably 14’, a Jackson Journey 14’, a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 14’… Not wanting to spend a ton. I’m obviously looking at used boats, since no one has any in stock these days. Plus, used boats are CHEAPER!
One thing I’m concerned about is speed! I’ll be really disappointed if I buy another kayak and it’s slow compared to my Loon. I really have no idea if the ones I mentioned are faster or slower. I feel like I can get this 160T moving pretty good.
Any advice? I do 90% of my paddling on a pretty calm 400 acre lake. Thanks!
The waterline determines top speed so I would look for something in the 16’ or greater range.
Thank you for that… but aren’t the shape of the hull, the width of the kayak, and even how high or low it sits in the water also big determining factors? Other than about a foot and a half at the bow and stern, the Loon 160 is fairly flat on the bottom, and is over 30 inches wide.
They all factor in on ease of paddling and efficiency but water line is the main one for top speed.
If you want speed now you’ll want it even more later. For speed look for something longer than 15 foot length on waterline and 24" wide or less. You don’t need rocker on a 400 acre lake so a sea kayak is not necessary, and sea kayaks tend to have pointy bows at the cost of length on waterline.
In a 14 foot I was always climbing my own bow wave. If you try to paddle faster than hull speed you just make your bow wave into a steeper hill to climb.
A comfortable cockpit is critical too, watch out if you are tall.
In general the longer the waterline and the narrower the beam, within the limits of stability, the faster and easier it will be to paddle and cover distance. The less rocker, the less maneuverable but the better it will track straight. So for speed and distance, you will want a longer and narrower kayak with a non-rockered keel.
Tandem kayaks are generally faster than single kayaks of a similar shape, but unless racing, they are often described as “divorce ships” Your wife might be a lot happier in her own boat. I would definitely not still be married if we had been paddling a tandem. I met my wife kayaking.
I’m 5’ 9", so no fear of being tall! About 200 pounds, though, so not exactly light. Is there such a kayak that is 24" wide, 15’ long, and not a sea kayak?
I thought “divorce ships” came from the husband sneaking in some fishing in the back while the wife is paddling in the front!
I’m actually doing all the paddling, while she just goes for a ride. I enjoy having her along, but it’s rare.
Most are sea kayaks. Try “touring kayak” or “racing kayak”.
I paddle a Pungo 140 and it moves along nicely.
A boat you can take photos from, or fish with good stability. It handles wind and some mildly rough water very well.
Good luck finding one.
String, there was a Pungo 140 not long ago on Marketplace about 2 hours away for $650. I wish I had jumped on it, but it’s long gone. There is an Epic 18X on there now for $2300… Looks awesome, but I’m not ready to drop that kind of cash. Not yet, anyway!
I had an S18S but have forgotten what I paid for it. Both those prices sound high to me.