Low Volume Plastic Day Boat for Lakes

Dear Folks,

My last inquiry was too vague so I ll try to be more specific. I’m looking for a low volume plastic kayak to paddle the lakes of the midwest. (Duration of between 2-6 hours, good storage not necessary). Something that will not be outgrown easily as skills improves. A kayak good in wind/waves and that won’t feel like a barge on calm water. Easy to roll and put on edge, in the 16’ “range.” Thanks again to the kind folks who respond. (I’m 5’8", 155)


These three?
Valley Avocet

Tempest 165

P&H Scorpio

They are around used, I think you should fit in any of them and they meet your other criteria. Watch the hatches for dryness on the Tempest, but it’s a great hull and the hatches are better in the newer boats.


– Last Updated: Apr-07-10 12:17 PM EST –

Sheeesh. You didn't like any of the boats mentioned in the last thread? ;-)

Let's narrow it down...

If you want to roll and develop skills you 'll be doing self-rescues and group rescues, which ar a whole lot easier if the boat has fore and aft bulkheads. You may not need the storage, but you'll want the flotation.

Full perimeter lines are also good for safety.

You're a bit smaller than "average", and want a snug-fitting day boat, so you're looking at "smaller paddler" or "LV" boats.

Fast and easy to roll at your size probably means a beam under 24", with 21-22' probably about right.

You want 16' or less, but less than 14' will probably feel slow.

The problem is that many(most?) low-volume easy-rolling boats are made for experienced paddlers who are willing to spend the money for composite. Low-volume plastic small-paddler sea kayaks is a small niche.

I'm very close to your size, and have happily paddled an Avocet RM for many years -- including on Lake Superior, Michigan, and Huron. It does sometimes seem a bit big for small inland lakes but it's fun on the big ones. I demo boats every chance I get, and have yet to find one that makes me want to get rid of the Avocet (but there are several I'd like to add). The Avocet gives up some tracking for maneuverability compared to the other two that Celia mentioned -- I like it, but some folks think it's too loose.

Demo day season is coming. Try as many boats as possible and start to figure out what feels right to you.

a few Midwest resources:

per request

– Last Updated: Apr-07-10 1:31 PM EST –

Necky Chatham 16

Necky Eliza - 15'3" the roto differes from the glass -beamier & ruddered as well.

Current Designs Squamish 15'8" skegged

P&H Capella 160 (161 is the glass version) skegged

P&H Scorpio - try the reg and LV versions. Your body size is good for either. Your body type will determine which fits you better. Scorpios are skegged

Necky Elaho DS (the skegged version) 15'9"
there is also a ruddered version at 16'
Neither is in current production.

worth trying also (performance 14 footers w. skegs)

Dagger Alchemy (the S version or the regular)
Necky Manitou regular or Select version.

Edit: if price is driving the decision to go w. plastic, it is entirely possible if not downright easy to score a very good used fiberglass boat for the cost of a new plastic one. For an older one in good condition the asking price is often below the cost of new plastic.

Fiberglass is lighter, plenty durable (but repairs like new if done properly) and does not degrade as quickly at rotomoulded plastic.

others in the size range

– Last Updated: Apr-07-10 1:22 PM EST –

Perception Tribute 14
Hurricane Tampico S
Venture Easky 15 LV
Prijon Catalina

There are some great deals in used boats. For example, from the classifieds here:

WI) Current Designs Slipstream yellow and ivory. Lightly used 2 seasons very good condition $1400. North central Wisconsin. Great kayak for smaller person.

(CT) Valley Avocet RM (plastic), 16', turquoise color, skeg, aftermarket backband. Amazing handling. 2 seasons of use, normal wear, hatches watertight. Stored indoors. $900 or B.O.

Necky Chatham 16

Wilderness Systems Tempest

Dagger Alchemy

Perception Essence 16.5

Easky 15