Lower-budget Single day-tripping touring kayak

My wife and I have a couple double(tandem) kayaks. One is a higher volume loaded/touring boat (CD Libra-XT) and the other is a lower volume day tripper (North Shore Atlantic II). We go on some car trips each year where we are Car-camping on an island in the Great Lakes - and we have our dog with us. This precludes us from taking either of our doubles with us - as we haven’t been able to get the 73 lb dog on-board (pun intended). We’d like to get a low-mid budget, low-mid volume single that we could take with us for situations where we can’t always use a double. Each of us could take turns taking the single out on some great water and not feeling land-locked while we are there.

We don”t want a rec. boat - but some type of mid-low volume touring boat greater than 16^ long. Both of our doubles are composite - but for this less frequently used single we are debating between a new roto-molded boat and a used composite boat.

My understanding is that roto’s degrade over a number of years. Does this fact point to a used composite being a better choice? We want a boat with a skeg, We”d like something with a back-band and a day hatch (although these could be retrofitted). We are both 155-160 lbs and I am 5’10 and my wife iis 5’’6. We are willing to put up with minor fit adjustments that we’d make when switching paddlers.

We are looking for somewhere near (or below) $2k USD for new roto or used composite (versus near $4k USD new composite) boat - and would like a boat made in North America or the UK - preferring a boat not made in a low-wage, poor human-rights country.

Looking for some thoughts from all of the experienced paddlers here - as the folks here typically bring up points of view that we may not have considered.

We would use this single mostly on the Great Lakes and occasionally in the Outer Banks, NC, USA

Thanks for your help/guidance.

We have been kayaking for about 3 years and have been through ACA Level 1 & 2 kayaking courses (in both singles and doubles) and have attended the GLSKS once. Although all of the skills aren’t transferable - we”ve also been canoeing for 30+ years and have an 18-1/2’ composite touring boat.

You both would fit a lot of boats fine and your needs are not fussy aside from needing the basic components of a sea kayak. Two bulkheads and perimeter lines. In other than a pandemic year you could easily be finding something at end of season sales.

4 inches of leg length to accommodate in the foot pedals should work for most boats for smaller to average sized paddlers. Cockpit fit might be your most difficult thing to adapt on the fly. Poke around the whitewater sites, they used to have hip pads you could pull in and out of those boats rather than having them glued in.

Composite boats tend to be lighter weight hence more pleasant to carry around. But I might disagree about the composite issues. I have a second year Elaho that has lived in the basement and the boat is just fine. The issue has been my getting off my posterior to rehome it, and replacing the day hatch that I stole off it as my Valley hatches rotted out.

You can get a strap-on compass that would do the job for the paddling you describe.

Thanks for the reply Celia. We already have a strap-on compass that we use on our our doubles - so we”re good there. The removable hip pads are a good suggestion.

Thanks again,
Steve & Linda

Looking at our local (northwest) Craigslist, there are few ‘decent’ kayaks on the market now. But last mid-spring through mid-summer there were plenty that would fit your needs - composite and rotomolded. The kayak market was much more active than in the last few years. Maybe your area behaves similarly and next mid-spring would be a good time to look.

Thanks rsevenic. I’ll check out our local lists.

Check with Trey at the Power of Water. He has some used boats available, including a CD Prana.

I don’t think that’s anything t worry about; a lot of them are made with UV inhibitors that help with longevity. Just store it out of the sun and it will be fine.

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Just checked our hip bone width measurements and we’re within a 1/4” of each other there - so I assume the same fit setup should work for both of us there. Our floor to hip-bone measurements are Within an inch of each other too - so it seems doable to outfit the boat such that it would be a reasonable Fit for both of us, with just mainly foot-peg adjustments required. I have a semi-significant larger shoe size than my wife - so we might need to make provisions for hull/floor to foot-peg height adjustment.

As Celia says, there are lots of options out there. The one that I can speak to is a P&H Delphin 150. Trey at the Power of Water dropped a new one off to me this May so it is its first year with me. I’m in your size range - 5’ 8", 155, 32" inseam. The foot pegs are set for me about in the middle of the track. Deck height is quite high so shoe size might not be a problem. The weight of mine is a couple of ounces below the specked weight of 55 lbs. Note that this is the newer Corelite X material that is significantly lighter than the original material. The 150 does not have a day hatch but the 155 (for larger folks) does. Both have the pod in front of the cockpit but that is NOT water tight.

The hull is designed as a play boat so it is very responsive with the skeg up. Speed is actually quite good. I don’t have an issue keeping up in our group paddles but its not a QCC or an Epic. I can paddle it straight in most conditions without the skeg but I do drop it some when I need some speed.

second what @greyheron said - the rotomolded kayaks are built with UV stabilizers which mean it takes a lot of sun to damage them. A place I work for has a fleet of Necky kayaks from the 90s which are stored on open racks (partial shade from other kayaks) which are still going strong.

That said, more recent kayaks have improvements over older, like more comfortable seats, larger cockpit openings, come with deck lines as standard, etc. So even though a 90s plastic kayak may not have degraded and could still be used, getting a newer kayak still has advantages.

Thanks for the suggestions and feedback. I’ve looked at the P&H boats. They’re included in the Paddling Mag. Buyer’s guide. They seem well-priced too. Quite a few folks at the 2019 GLSKS had these. I don’t have huge feet or anything - mainly mentioned shoe-size in that my wife”s smaller feet make the foot peg distance to hull-bottom distance a long reach For her - in our North Shore Atlantic II double.

Thanks for the information concerning UV resistance of the roto-molded hulls too. We are able to store our boats in an attached garage - so not much UV and not too great temperature extremes.

We met Trey at the 2019 GLSKS. He seems like a great guy. We’ll probably contact him.


You were paddling a tandem at GLSKS?

Trey is a great guy; a paddling Ninja and coach.

Venture is P & H’s moderate priced rotomold line. They make a number of models that would suit your parameters and are made in the UK with sone nice outfitting. I am your size and have been happy with my Venture Easky 15 LV for 10 years. No day hatch though. Sone of the longer models have them, I believe. And I am pretty sure there is no Venture model over $2,000 new.

I’ve owned numerous older RM boats that I bought used that were 20 or more years old and in quite good shape, having been well cared for by prior owners. RM kayaks are not inherently frail with age. Also, a neglected composite can be in rough shape and degraded. So it is more about how well a boat has been treated and stored than either material being superior.

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Buy a used composite boat. I got many CD boats near new for under 950. I got a two year old solstice fir 1800. Two or three scratches on the bottom. Also a bunch of gear. New it was worth 4100 with no sales tax. I got a Libra XT for 900 few scratches on it. Two grand us plenty of budget money.

Covered and a little 303 roto’s last for many years. Have an Hobie Quest and 15’ Ocean Trident 12 years old like new.

New RM Boats we’re initially interested in:

P&H Scorpio LV
Valley Nordkap RM
Valley Etain 17.5 & 17.7 RM
North Shore Atlantic LV RM

Haven’t looked in detail at the differences/similarities between these boats. Any general comments on the relative +/-‘s of these boats is sure appreciated.

Nordkapp is not a boat that loves to turn without giving it a lot of edge, and has traditionally been a boat that behaved better under a load. The newer ones are a bit more user-friendly. but honestly I think any of the other three would be a better fit for your use.

The Nordkapp LV turns more easily, but is also less fussy about whether to be upright or upside down. Great boat, my husband had one and I swear it is going out this coming season with me, but I don’t get the sense that you want a boat you have to think about for this use.

Check out fit for your feet in the Atlantic, but a solid enough boat.

We were paddling an unloaded CD Libra-XT - which made us realize that we needed a lower-volume double for non-loaded touring. We got a North Shore Atlantic II for this.

There is a photo link to the 2019 GLSKS where you can see our tandem in a few of the shots from the drone.https://ejb11.pixieset.com/glsks2019/?fbclid=IwAR0CRI-OvIpb60YRrrplAS4tNFD-thWKEG3t7Ga_m83t3LFnL1kD6vPZ4oE

A friend from Chicago took a Scorpio solo down the Pacific coast last summer. That says that it can handle most anything.

I see your point, regarding the Nordkapp, after doing some reading. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. We aren’t really looking for a multi-week expedition boat.

I also attended GLSKS in 2019. I think we exchanged a few words in the harbor as you were paddling over to your rental unit. I think you may have mentioned you had to leave early that day.

It’s a great symposium. Also attended in 2018, but opted not to this year because of Covid.