looking for a kayak, need suggestions

Hi everyone! I’m looking to purchase a new to me kayak. Hopefully used, maybe new.
I’m 5’6", 175 lbs I have a little paddling experience in canoes, some white water canoes, and a few times in kayaks. Mostly, class 1-2 and some playing in white water.
What I am looking for is a kayak that will hande class 1-2, but tracks well when I just want to go to a calm lake camping. I will be using it for overnighters. I pack pretty light, but storage and comfort is a must.
I did see a Tsunami 120 for sale locally (couple hours away) for a pretty good price that looks to be in great condition but I can’t find anywhere that talks about if it would be good in light rapids. Maybe someone on here knows?
Would like a sit inside style that could use a skirt.
Any other advice would be appreciated!

I’d think it would be just fine in light rapids. I’ve been known to use a Kevlar 17’ sea kayak on them. Is it ideal? No, but it was fun!

Ya, I know that whatever I get is not going to be ideal for everything that I do with it. Unfortunately I have to try and find one that can do several things good, but none of them great since I want it for an all around kayak.
Thanks for your comment!

I’ve used a 17’ closed cockpit boat for these same purposes (class 2/3 water and multi-day camping) and it worked fine. Shorter boats will tend to track less well than longer ones, but if you are going to camp and carry gear, the longer boat will serve you better in more situations. I can pack a 16-18 foot kayak for several days of travel and live pretty comfortably. I’m not sure I could do that in a 12-14 foot boat unless it was really wide and a pig to paddle.

Some longer open cockpit designs can work well and hold a lot of stuff without losing much stability or handling, but I still prefer closed cockpits for the additional protection from water and generally better handling.

There are a lot of modern designs to look at, but you didn’t mention price, storage requirements, personal preferences, etc. so I’m guessing you haven’t tried a lot of boats yet. Save money for now, rent some hulls and try to find what fits (your personality, economy, and preferences) best. There is no perfect boat, as you’ve mentioned, so you might wish to find the flexible craft that does what you want best.


Thanks for the comment, Rick!
Sorry I didn’t mention those prefrences. I just figured that since I said that I was looking at a used one that would suggest that I’m economically minded (Read cheap) but I don’t mind forking out a little more for something that I like. I didn’t really think about the storage too much…I live in the country and have a shop, barn ect to store in. I forget some people are unfortunate sometimes and have to live in smaller places. But as as far as other requirements go I think I hit them in my original post. Stability is a big one because my wife will be using it sometimes. Comfort, at least a little storage for light camping. I’m a light backpacker. I’d also like to stay as short as possible without giving up too much tracking capabilities. It will be used some at small inland lakes just to cruise around with, but will also be used in small running rivers. Class 1-2. That would be the longer trips, so tracking wouldn’t be as much of an issue other than the occasional deep hole.
Unfortunately, renting around here is not really an option. They do rent kayaks up on the river that I go to, but they are small, cheap, no storage, and really uncomfortable. I have a canoe up at our cabin but that I usually use but I would just really like a kayak for easier portability, maneuverability, and just an overall better feel in the water.
Thanks again for the comment and I hope this helps out a bit.

It has some good features. bulkheads, perimeter lines, bungees, a rather generous 19x35 cockpit, 275 # capacity. (you and 100 # gear?) At 12’ long you’ll get enough but not a lot of camping gear. The 25.5 inches beam isn’t a lot in the sit-on-top or canoe worlds but in a touring kayak that is wide enough to be a stable ride. Note they are all “tippy” until you get used to it. Especially if you lay back over the rear deck. Something the seat back will make difficult. Length/width ratio is somewhere in the 5 or 6 so it won’t be a speed demon unless you got a big “engine”. It could work as a knock around boat.

Thanks a lot Overstreet. I’ve about made up my mind to go ahead and get it.
I think it will do for what I’m wanting it for, at least till I can save up a bit for second one. I’ll probably look into getting something like the Jackson Rogue 10 or the Liquid Logics XP10 later on. I’ll have to end up with 3 eventually for me, my wife and son.

“crossover kayaks” were designed for what you want to do. Go to the manufacturer websites for ww- Jackson, Dagger, Liquid Logic, Pyranha and check out their offerings. My crossover is a bit old (Liquid Logic xP10) but it is versatile although pretty slow on the flats. Besides speed consider comfort an important criteria.





Thanks! Yep the xp 10 is one that I’m concidering. Looks like a great yak.

Forget the XP10 there super slow. I owned a pyranha fusion which is just like the XP10 but has a hatch that doesn’t leak unlike the XP10. Both super slow in flat water. For class 1 and 2 PLUS flat water kayak camping get something like a tsunami maybe a 140 for more storage. If you must have a cross over get a Jackson Karma RG. Way faster on flat water as I have one of those too. Even though that has more storage I wouldn’t want to camp out of it. You could also consider a dagger alchemy 14. What ever you get get plastic.

@tdaniel said:
“crossover kayaks” were designed for what you want to do. Go to the manufacturer websites for ww- Jackson, Dagger, Liquid Logic, Pyranha and check out their offerings. My crossover is a bit old (Liquid Logic xP10) but it is versatile although pretty slow on the flats. Besides speed consider comfort an important criteria.

I second tdaniel’s response that crossover kayaks would be better.

Touring style boats could be used in class II by people with some serious skills, but not something I’d recommend for someone who says they have only paddled a few times in white water.

Just a note on touring boats in up to class II. I find a rudder really helps in the river when you are paddling a loaded touring kayak. I now use my Stratos L as my river camper but when running my Delta 18.5 down river I really appreciated the over stern rudder to allow me to skirt the edges of the big stuff. Good cheater for someone like myself without serious skill…