My second time paddling a SOT

To recap, I bought a Pelican Blitz 100x, took it out for a paddle and felt like it could flip at the slightest provocation. I hated it.
I made some modifications, notably adding some foam blocks to press my knees against, and put a six litter water bag in the rear trunk.
Today, I met with the canoe club for a paddle at a local res. Very calm conditions.
Huge difference. Did two laps around the res. and never felt in danger of capsizing.
I can’t really say this proves that the problem was entirely the boat and not me because I’m sure there are people reading this that would have thought the boat was just fine the way it came from the store. But, obviously, with a boat that has more stability, I do just fine.
Now I have another problem. I’m really uncomfortable in this boat. I could never spend six hours in this boat. Now I need to see if I can fix that.

As I mentioned early on in your other thread a lot of the guys I know around here have similar SOT kayaks and they find them not as comfortable as say a canoe with a higher seat height for long amounts of time mostly fishing. Most add a piece of plywood and a stadium seat back to give them a more comfortable ride for long days on the water. The height increase messes with stability and for that reason most also add DIY outrigger pontoons. Doing that is fine for fishing but touring I don’t know how well it would work. This was my main reason in going with a canoe for myself. :canoe:

One thing I did, which was a mistake, is take out the seat that the boat came with.
Part of the reason I did it was because I thought it might be raising my center of gravity.
I also made the mistake of wearing a PFD designed for kayaks, having floatation in the back that only comes down half way. If I’d worn a regular PFD the back flotation would have acted to pad my back and made me a lot more comfortable.

This boat was always intended to just be something to see if I’d like an SOT and get me through till I got a better boat.
The question I still have is, would I like a better SOT? This boat really hasn’t answered this question one way or the other.
Here is a much, much better SOT. Would this boat make me happy?
Eddyline Caribbean 14 Sit-On-Top Kayak | REI Co-op
It would cost a lot to answer that question.

Sounds like you will never be happy!


I don’t want to be a Hobie shill and they are stupidly overpriced, but they are really nice fast and very comfortable SOT’s. I have a Revo 16 which is their longest and narrowest solo boat (sadly now discontinued in favour of the shorter version), it will happily cruise at 4+ kts and since it is pedal driven you have foot power, a regular paddle and in my case a sail, so you have lots of redundancy. Heck the mine even has a removable daggerboard :slight_smile: The seat has adjustable lumbar support, raise/lower and tilt. Their pro-angler series has a better seat but that is very much a fishing platform whereas the revo is very much a touring one.

The biggest cons are weight (mine is 80lbs unladen) and cost. And being realistic if you don’t want or use the pedal drive they are not the best pure paddle boat.

I don’t know if this is the right boat for you, it’s a lot of money to find out you hate it. As others have suggested, if you can find a store or club that lets you try out some different boats maybe you’ll find something you love. Although with the kayak market the way it is right now you can pretty much buy anything, try it, hate it and sell it again for the same if not more than you paid for it.

Just for comparison, here is my Hobie seat and my greenland kayak seat:

And the Hobie rigged for sailing and stability and another taking the scupper cart with me for a portage further on.

Maybe I’ll never be happy with this boat. But you can’t make that statement about boats in general. I’ve owned eight other canoes and kayaks and this is the only boat I really disliked.
I like canoes. I’m OK with seakayaks. Not sure about SOTs yet.
My only issue with canoes, right now, is getting them on top of my truck. I’m not as young as I used to be.

Maybe change your username to SOT-con :upside_down_face:

If you have done fine with canoes and sea kayaks, and your only issue with canoes is getting them on top of the car, why haven’t you tried a pack canoe?
Double blade paddle, more like a kayak and can get them in nice light weights.

I am confused why you would spend all this time struggling to make a SOT work with the pack canoe option available, unless you are paddling open water like ocean.


I guess am prejudiced against pack canoes.
I would never consider one.
I was considering an NRS inflatable, but they won’t be available for months.
I went looking for an SOT, because I thought I might like one. Very few boats were available for sale. The pandemic made boats scarce. I bought what I could find. The SOT I wanted still isn’t available or I might buy one, even if I have to put it on top of my truck.
Despite the problem getting a canoe on my truck, I think a rigid canoe is my best choice and I still plan on buying one but I won’t be able to get the one I want till next spring. I’m not helpless yet and there are things that might help with cartopping a boat.
Buying a boat is emotional, not just rational.

What is your issue with pack canoes?

They are fast, and if you can spring for one with kevlar often come in at around 20 pounds. Just looked at Hornbeck and Adirondack Cane Company.
Northstar Canoes is run by a guy who got his hands on the Bell molds, at least a lot of them, also has very lightweight canoes. Probably renamed but the older really well loved designs are likely in here.

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I actually got a chance to try out the Blitz 100x on mildly choppy Tahoe water this past weekend. That thing is not stable. Full stop.

We have a Hobie shill in here so I’ll be an Ocean Kayak shill. It’s absolute night-and-day going from a < $300 big box boat to even a $600 Malibu 9.5. My wife, who is admittedly not terribly coordinated, can basically throw herself into the 9.5 without a second thought. We had nephews climbing in and out of our OKs with zero concern of flipping or even coming close.

I think you’re putting in a lot of effort to get results that a cheaper mid-range SOT could get you.

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You don’t know that the Caribbean is a better boat than the pool toy you bought. I have owned a half dozen SOT including the Caribbean, a Hurricane Skimmer, a Necky Vector, a Tarpon 140 and 3 Tarpon 160.
I still have the Tarpon 160.
I weigh about 220-230 and have a high COG . It is the most stable of the bunch for me and I’ve had it in some really bumpy water.
Tarpons are only made in 14’ now.

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To make sure I wasn’t judging the Pak Canoe unfairly, I just watched the assembly video.
I could see buying one to fly into some remote river in the Yukon.
I can’t see taking one out for a day paddle, unless it was already put together, and then why wouldn’t I use a solid canoe?
Costs an arm and a leg. If I bought one of those I wouldn’t be able to buy the North Star.

There are a ton of SOTs that I would have rather bought, had they been available.
I only found one place that had any SOTs at all and they only had very cheap boats.
I bought what was available.
If you watch the REI website, various boats become available, then sell out in short order.

Ah, you may be confusing “Pak Canoe” with pack canoes. The pack canoes that @Celia is mentioning are a style of canoe from the Adirondacks that, in general, are designed to be paddled with a double blade while sitting low on or close to the floor. Prices seem to range from ~$2,000 to $4,000+

Slipstream: Welcome
Placid Boatworks:
Swift: Pack Boat Category - Swift Canoe & Kayak - People Who Know, Paddle Swift


As above, pack canoes ARE SOLID CANOES. It appears you need to update yourself on canoes. Look at the links above. Regular canoes, no assembly involved.
Bell had a nice pack canoe, l think Kevlar available, that if you can find one would be used now. Hence lower price than new.

Then: Bell Bucktail. Now: Northstar Canoe ‘ADK’. Bucktails track well, are stable and handle well and stays fairly dry in light chop (Not a whitewater boat, I think. I have no experience with that, so I really can’t say). ADKs would be the same. They weigh as little as 19 lbs as I recall.

Edit: Celia, it just occurred to me you may have been thinking of an older Bell solo that Northstar now produces as the ‘Firebird’. They are very lightweight too. Haven’t seen one, but it looks like a wonderful, highly capable river boat.

By solid, I only meant they didn’t need assembly, not a comment on comparative strength. Though, looking at all the small diameter tubes, it’s hard for me to believe a Kevlar canoe isn’t stronger.
After watching the video, on assembly, I can’t believe anyone is seriously suggesting a Pak Boat for my purposes. The guy in the video, on their website, was an expert at putting the boat together and he still made it look like a major project. I’m picturing myself, beside a lake, in a strong wind, trying to put that together. I would have to shoot myself.
You guys like your packable boats, that’s great. I don’t see it for me.

Is that what Celia is talking about?
If it is, I am looking at light boats. The North Star, Northern Light solo I’m looking at is pretty light. But lightness isn’t my only criteria. It has to have the room I need. It has to be a efficient. It has to handle well.
Maybe not as light as some you gave links to, but, hopefully light enough for me to handle.
I looked at a carbon fiber boat that was super light, but I’d have to sell my house to buy it.