Looksha 12 on rivers?

-- Last Updated: Sep-25-16 6:56 PM EST --

I am considering a Looksha 12 and was wondering how they handle on rivers? Im planning on doing everything from gentle, slow, wide rivers to "swift current and plenty of sharp bends" with a few smaller class 2 short sections.
Im looking for a kayak to go camping on lakes and rivers which is why Im considering the Looksha and may have found a real good deal on one.

Looksha 12 for camping
Necky is a reputable brand and I´ve paddled several different models, but not the Looksha 12 so I can only give some general thoughts. I had the Necky Santa Cruz for river paddling and camping and I liked it a great deal and it has some similarities to the Looksha 12.

Camping in the Looksha 12 will be doable, provided you think about camping like a backpacker. Not that you have to be ultralight conservative, but you do have to consider each item in terms of want versus need.

The storage capacity in front and rear hatches of the Looksha is about two times what you find in a one-week capacity backpack for three season use on a trail like Appalachian Trail.

Meaning your tent, tarp, hammock, sleeping bag, air mattress, clothes, food, toilet kit, cooking kit and first aid, safety, bottled water if you need it, and all your other stuff. Then add the bulk and weight of your skirt and paddle and PFD.

The cockpit is fairly large so you can also store things in there, such as bottled water if you are in salt water where you can´t filter. Anything you put in the cockpit needs to be secured so it doesn´t float up and interfere with a roll or wet exit during a capsize.

The hatch openings themselves are very good size. You can fit anything you need in there, including a folding chair and a take-apart portage cart if you are using those.

The width of the kayak and the sharp keel will give stability side to side, so you should feel comfortable in the kayak even in moderate chop or in Class I and II rapids.

The weight is not onerous, 48 pounds is much less than some other boats in that category, so you will be able to pick it up and carry it easily for portaging or for carrying it to the put in.

My only concern is the very sharp and pronounced keel, while it aids in stability and tracking, it impedes turning quickly unless you lean the boat way over during the turn.

The pronounced keel will also hang up on boulders and rock ledges in bony rivers. But, its a poly boat and they are somewhat hard to damage so a few hang ups will be only annoying as compared to highly disconcerting if you were in a fiberglas or carbon boat in the same conditions.

If it is at all possible I recommend you try the boat for an hour or two in moving water before buying it. I know that is sometimes not possible when you are buying used and its not near a river.

The retail price of the new Looksha 12 is about $1200, depending on dealer and time of year and promotions, etc. In my opinion if you can get a fairly new one that has been used properly and isn´t banged up or damaged excessively then go for it, especially if you can get 50% to 75% off the retail price depending on the model year and if it has the latest refinements in seating and outfitting. Just my thoughts. Good luck with your decision.

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