Manitou 14 and smaller paddlers?

Hi all!

My wife and daughter and 5’4" and 5’2" respectively and weigh 130 lbs. What are the chances that they would find the Manitou 14 suitable for first kayaks(I think for myself and my sons that they will be great)? The double bulkhead construction is what is drawing us to them. Reviews on this site seem to suggest that the Manitou 13 might be more suitable?

Our schedules are not working out to be able to travel to demo boats. There are no local dealers. Time is passing by!! I want to just ring up REI and get a couple of boats coming our way!! We can correct our errors on our next ones!! Thanks

Buy one of each
and do a long term demo. Let us know which works best for your needs. Just add a bow float bag to the 13, almost as good as a bulkhead. Get out there and paddle.

Good for all
I can’t think of why the 14 wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit for your wife and daughter. It’s a relatively shallow cockpit and a relatively narrow boat so reach and paddling shouldn’t be a problem. The footpegs adjust all the way back for folks with shorter legs. At 50 pounds most folks should be able to lift and carry it (at least a short distance). For the extra $200 you get the extra bulkhead and storage, the skeg and an extra foot plus of length…a heck of a deal!

another perspective

I’m female, 5’6", 140 and recently tried a Manitou 13 and found the cockpit didn’t fit me correctly. When I couldn’t make contact with the thigh braces, I tried shortening up the distance to the foot pedals. The consequence of that was that the seat attachments, which are situated rather high on the Manitou then began to interfere with my knee caps. Ouch! It just didn’t seem to matter how I positioned the foot pedals- nothing worked. Either I had no contact with the thigh braces or I was bumping my knees. Another problem for me was that the paddle shaft kept interfering with the side of the boat whenever I took a paddle stroke. Ultimately, I decided the boat just wasn’t a good fit for me and I brought it back.

Also, it took trying this out in the water to discover the issues of fit. Sitting in the boat on the floor of the store didn’t provide me with an accurate picture of fit, although I thought it did at the time.

Hope it’s helpful to hear a female perspective.

Good luck to you.

My first yak was a Manitou 14.
I think it’s a very nice kayak to start out in. I’m 5’2/160. We do easy rivers and small lakes, and for that it works well. Probably could handle tougher water than that, but I’ve never tried it. It tracks well, and handles small rapids/riffles well. It might be a little big for them, if they want a good/tight fit. If just going for a nice relaxing paddle trip that might appreciate the extra room. It depends on what you want from the boat.

Initially, I loved the roominess of the cockpit. I was afraid of something tighter - the old “afraid I’d get trapped in the boat” feeling. But as time went by I found I wanted a better fit. With my short legs it was a reach to get my knees up into the knee pads. I also found the seatback too high - though very comfortable. I like the bow/stern hatches. I’m not a big skeg/rudder fan, but the skeg is nice when windy.

If I hadn’t have found a used kayak that fit me better, I’d still be in the Manitou & had planned to use it for a couple more years. I was considering replacing the seat back and adding braces until I found the other boat. Just my experience with the manitou. Good luck & happy boat hunting.


Thigh Braces
If the inside of the 13 is the same as my 14, there aren’t any real thigh braces. They are more of a thin pad that helps hold some of the seat adjustment straps up and out of the way. It’s 1/4 inch thick at most. Supposedly you can get true aftermarket thigh pads or I’ve heard that the ones from some of the Necky touring boats do the trick.

If you like Necky check out the new
Eliza - made for smaller people.