Looking for a good kayak.

-- Last Updated: Jun-23-12 7:31 PM EST --

Hello. Im sure this question has probaly been asked quite alot but im having trouble deciding on a kayak. Im looking for one around the 10ft range that tracks well, easily manuverable, light and durable with a comfortable seat. I would use it alot in slow rivers and streams. I like to explore so theres usually alot of tight shallow streams with lots of logs to cross over. Also tho it would be great if I could use the same kayak to go fishing in small lakes. I was looking at the perception sound and the perception rythm, also the prodigy but would like opinions and suggestion please. Oh and im 5'8" 165lb and like to spend about $400 for the kayak (sit in). Thanks :)

Tracking well…
and being 10 ft are an oxymoron if you get out into wind. If you are on squirely little streams, you don’t need good tracking. And 10 ft is easier to haul over beaver dams than longer.

I had a 12ft wilderness systems and could paddle it fine in the wind. Woud 2 ft make a big difference? I got rid that kayak cuz it warped pretty bad. Not to concerned about alot of wind but thats a good point.

but there is an upside. If you do a good forward stroke that minimizes side to side yaw you can coexist with a ten footer.

Tracking can come from the boat. It can also come from the paddler. I learned a great deal from my nine foot rec kayak.

Yea. Im no expert, but I can paddle.

Got any suggestions on what rec kayak you would recomend?

I would look at a Dagger approach if small streams and the ability to manuever is your thing. It also has a drop down skag for better tracking when you need it. if greater comfort is important you can go a little more higher end and get a Liquid Logics Remix 10.

Emotion Glide
Can’t say how this little boat would do on the rivers you describe, but on lakes, sloughs, and anything but rapids or open ocean, this little craft is very good!

9.5’ long, about 36 lbs., well built and equipped and tough. It tracks well, can do 4 mph, and edges. Buy it on sale for under $350, including one float bag for the rear, then buy another float bag from Emotion for $25 for the front. That and a paddle and PFD and you’re on a roll. (Yes, you should have other equipment like a paddle float and pump too.)

They make it in several colors, and more importantly for you, they make a fishing version of it as well.

Stable craft. Large cockpit, so you can get in and out easily. Somewhat adjustable seat that I find to be comfortable.

Check it out. They sell them at Cabelas, REI, etc., and you can buy direct from the manufacturer on line too.

Two I have used
I started with a Perception Sundance (one step up from their base model)- it has a very open cockpit and was a lot of fun. I also paddled an Old Town Loon - which had a hatch (nice addition) - and tracked a little better than the Perception.

They were both really stable boats, easy to load on the car, and tons of fun.

I would recommend getting a used boat (at an outfitter or from Craigslist) - you get more boat for your money.

Watch out for the seat
I do a lot of the same type of kayaking as you do I would recommend that you take a hard look at the seats. In my experience the under $500 kayaks the seats are barely comfortable and for longer trips you can feel some pain. Look for seats that have adjustable back supports, have good padding in the seat and hopefully offers a way to lift your thighs.

Looking at the seat of the Glide I don’t see how that is going to feel good after an hour or two.

Otherwise, I would recommended a boat with rear bulkhead and “dry” storage (few are 100% dry but at least come close).

I know people who really like the Dagger Zydeco 11.0 and the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100 they are priced more around $500 or so. I view this price point as being entry level – boats cheaper then this are usually lacking in someway.

I personally am I big fan of the crossover boats for this type of kayaking. You would get a great seat, better outfitting options, and overall a sturdier boat. Boats like the Dagger Axis 10.5 or 12, Dagger Approach 10.0, or the LiquidLogic Remix XP10. I have Dagger Axis 12 and it is a great rec boat for streams and tracks very well on lakes with the skeg dropped.


– Last Updated: Jun-24-12 11:38 AM EST –

I was looking at some of those. They look nice, some are a bit more than what id be willing to spend on a kayak. $500 is the absolute max. Otherwise id might as well start looking for a used boat...lol. Ive been checking CL for a few weeks now and havent found anything thats really peaked my interest. Most are pretty used and beat up old rentals that people are still asking $400 for. A glide was one that I looked and didnt really have anything that I was looking for. Are Daggers about the same as Rythm? The Dagger Zedco looks nice and affordable... Is there a big difference in quality in Dagger vs Perception..ect?

Oddly enough
The Glide’s seat is definitely comfortable for me for 2 - 3 hours at a time. Haven’t found it uncomfortable at all. I originally thought it might need a seat pad of some kind, but find that totally unnecessary.

But we’re all built differently.


– Last Updated: Jun-24-12 10:10 PM EST –

I have used the Perception Sport Swifty 9.5 (Only sold at Dicks) and the Old Town Vapor Angler 10, as well as an Old Town Otter.

The Vapor, surprising for its length, tracks very well. It is also very, very stable, both initially and secondarily. (I think I spelled that incorrectly)
However, it is not exeptionally fast.

The Otter and Swifty are very similar, being both stable and tracking decently well, but the Swifty's bow seems to swing back and forth when paddling hard (which doesn't sound like what you're going to do). The Vapor is a bit better on speed and tracking than these.

I have not used it, but the Future Beach Fusion 10 (only at Dick's) is very inexpensive, but reveiws say that it performs quite well. I have sat in it in the store, however, and the seat is pretty uncomfortable. Same deal with the Trophy 126, one class up. Also to consider, (again only at Dick's) is the 12 foot Feild and Stream Eagle run, wich seems to be stable. The added length should make it a little faster too.

I have heard the the Rythm 11 does not track very well from many reveiws, and if you plan to do much fishing, i would suggest a fishing kayak.

Also, I have not used anything from Emotion, but they seem to be very good boats.

Perception, same parent company. Same quality, pretty much

Does anybody look for a bad one?
Look OUT that you don’t get a bad one, though.

Yak Pad
I have an older Old Town (that is 12’ so I wouldn’t suggest it to you) - the seat is hard molded plastic.

After my butt fell asleep after a 2 hour paddle - I ended up getting a gel Yak Pad (seat and back) and it’s great. Better than swapping out the seat.

(just in case you find a kayak that has a hard seat - this is a nice alternative).


– Last Updated: Jun-25-12 12:13 AM EST –

Ok so perception and dagger are made by same company. Cool. I cant find any stores near me that carry daggers. I found a dagger black water on CL but it sounds like those dont paddle well or easy. I think im still looking at the prodigy 10 or the sound 9.5. Also was checking out a future fishing kayak from dicks the vapor was nice looking to I think it was about 10ft... oy so many to chose from.
Why do longer kayaks go faster? More surface area on the water so you sit shallower or something?

Narrower usually, but it’s about shape.
The sea or touring kayaks are usually made narrower in the beam than rec kayaks. Also, speed is a function of what is actually in, on and under the water line, so the actual shape of the hull down there matters.

In wave, wind and tide, the shape above and below can determine how much effort you need to put into keeping from being blown or pushed sideways and backwards. That effort can’t be used to go forwards too. So the shape of sea or touring boats is designed to combat those factors, which are normal for sea conditions, without robbing you of your foward motion.

Just being longer by itself doesn’t translate automatically into faster at all.

Blackwater 10.5

– Last Updated: Jun-25-12 11:03 AM EST –

I have a Blackwater 10.5 -- the Axis is replacement for the Blackwater. I still use this boat either as a lender or if I am doing a really tight stream and need to go small. All my friends that have taken it out enjoyed it and found it very comfortable. The few "experienced" rec kayaks liked it better than the Pungos they are used to paddling but didn't like the smaller cockpit. Ironic since that was probably one of the factors that the boat handled better for them.

The seat was comfortable with padding and back support but I did need to add the Sealline thigh support bag so my butt didn't fall asleep. I have always had problems with my legs falling asleep fast anyway, so this may just might be me.

Skeg up you had a very easy to turn boat and turns amazingly well once you learn how to edge and sweep. Skeg down and it tracks straight. Boat is probably a bit faster then other recs the same size but these are not fast boats to begin with. It does seem that this boat may handle better under more weight as it seems that light people complain about it pushing water and heavier paddlers don't.

Can you link the ad? The Blackwater was around for awhile and there are different versions out there. The earlier design seemed to have the most complaints and really bad seats.

Yak Pads are great
I have one of these as well. Usually use it for most long paddles and well worth the cost. It can make a bad seat comfortable enough and a good one so comfortable you can sit in the boat for most of the day and not notice.

I did the same Craigslist checking when I bought my first boat and either find junk that looks 20-30 years old or “boats that only were used 1-2 times and never left the garage comes with a PFD and paddle” with a price that is barely 5%-10% less then new, plus the paddle is junk.

Hard to find the right boat that way. I check Craigslist a lot and maybe find something I would like a few times a year. It is a shame because a new boat is new for like car ride home and somehow you will get two scratches. I ended up buying new just because after months of searching I never found anything that worked for me.

If you can wait until the end of the season, stores like REI and EMS usually have some great clearance sales on new boats. Have to be quick, as the good kayaks vanish in a few hours. Check out the rental places – they also will clear out boats at the end of the season. Some just seem to rent Otters and Loons that are heavily abused but others rent out nicer rec boats (Pungos seem to be popular).

You can always buy the boat online – Austin Kayak doesn’t charge much for shipping and has a good selection and I don’t think Outdoorplay charges shipping at all.