NDK Explorer vs Necky Chatham 17

I am thinking of buying either an Explorer or an Chatham 17 fiberglas but I have a hard time making up my mind between these two kayaks…

I like both… From what I have seen, the shine is much better on a Necky boat which is why I initially was drawn to it… I know…, looks shouldn’t matter but… On the other hand, in our area there seem to be way more Explorers on the ocean and Explorers have a reputation of beeing very robust as it has more layers of fiberglass which is good. Any input is welcome!


Incredibly comfortable seat. The most comfortable I have ever tried (vs. WS, NDK, Valley, Impex, CD). And comfort counts for something on a long trip. Get the extra white water thigh hooks and roll and roll and roll. Lighter than an NDK. Lower back deck. No-kink skeg wire. Oval hatches.

Easily the superior boat. Hands down.

In what sense?

if you have to ask
it doesn’t matter.

Similar niche boats
Both of these are pretty much do-it-all boats, the only diff is going to be in specifics of how they handle. There is the diff between the hatch sizes, but if your predominant use will be day trips or weekend camping that isn’t a big issue - worst that it comes to is that the tent poles go in separately from the rest of the tent, that kind of thing.

As to seats, that can vary person to person. The Chatham seat is comfy but I find the NDK seats as much so. Others don’t.

The best way for you to decide would be to spend some time on the water, see if one of these boats feels like “it” more strongly than the other.

I Fixed NDK Backband
Anyone who comments the NDK seats are comfy needs to spend some time in my queen pillow-top bed :wink:

Just kidding…

Anyway, I took that damn, cheap-ass backband out and replaced it with foam. British seats suck…

Seems like I posted the same question a couple of years ago. Do a search and see what you turn up?


NDK Backband

– Last Updated: Feb-19-08 7:42 AM EST –

I agree that the NDK backband is awful - we replaced that with someone else's, I think Bomber Gear but I'd have to look, before the boat left the dealer's lot.
But I was not really thinking of the backband since that's easily replaced, just the seat. As I said this varies and I find the NDK seat very comfortable for long term paddling. The unaltered P&H seat, apparently supposed to be more comfy, has my back hurting badly and my sciatica acting up by 4 hours out every time.
And there is always the option of a foam seat as well.

The boat handling is another matter, only way to decide that seems to be to get the boats wet.

Deluxe NDK backband…

– Last Updated: Feb-19-08 10:08 AM EST –

I'm always shocked when I see one still installed. Both of our NDK boats have Bomber Gear backbands. Though the embossed Welsh dragon is neat on the NDK bands, I have't figured a use for mine.

I like the seat in my Romany.

Chatham vs Explorer
Seats and backband are a matter of personal comfort. The Chatham is similar to the Explorer but differs in a few important ways: the Explorer is more lively and turns on edge more easily. The Chatham is just a bit too stiff in the primary and is one of the reasons I traded up to the Explorer. Oh yes build quality is superior in the Chatham.

My take
The Explorer would get my vote for a bigger expedition boat that is very forgiving all round, and can haul tons of gear.

The CH 17 is a lower volume boat that does track very well and has good on-edge maneuverability, but not quite as much as the NDK. It favors forward efficiency. It seems a favorite for Greenland rolling types due to it’s low profile. It won’t carry as much as the Explorer, but may be more fun as a day boat for some, or weekender??

Both excellent kayaks, both compromises,

Look closely at your use profile, paddle them and others, and buy what makes you grin.

Have fun with it.

Also check out Valley Aquanaut
It’s in this grouping re functionality etc. Might as well give one a spin if you have a chance.

the Chatham backband
needs to be lowered/is too high; not a question of personal taste