I recently moved to a house with a nearby small lake and I’m in the market for a kayak. I’ve been out on one a few times before and have really enjoyed it. I’ve been looking at the Potomac pathfinder from Dicks for $199 because it meets a lot of my criteria but there seems to be some mixed reviews of it online. I’m looking for 3 main things in a kayak.
Weight, the lake is short walk from the house less than a quarter mile but I have to store it at my house so something lighter is appealing. In not sure how hard it would be to carry it to the lake.
Size, I’m 6’2 ~ 240 so I want to make sure I can fit into it. It looks like most people say a 10’ boat will be fine.
Price, I’m really just looking for something to go out and splash around the lake on and maybe do some fishing but I’m a beginner at fishing too so I don’t need anything fancy. Id like to stay under $300, $350 tops or ill have to save up for another season. I like the idea of the pathfinder at $200 b/c with 2 very young kids I don’t know how much time I will have to use it. Also $200 leaves some bufget room for paddles jacket, axcesores. I was thinking at $200 I don’t have a huge investment and can “test the waters” if you pardon the pun. If I do get into it, I’d plan on getting a nice boat and having the pathfinder for friends or the kids when they get older.
I’ve looked at a few other entry level and they seem to be about te same or much heavier than I think I would like. Please let me know what you think!
May be a good match
A lot of people buy cheap, not realizing how they will be limited, or that they will probably be buying another boat, later. It looks like you know what’s what. Two things: Verify that your weight is not pushing the boat’s stated weight capacity. And, consider taking a look at used boats; you can often buy more boat for your budget, that way, though the process would take longer.
The listed weight is 275 so I figure with some light fishing gear and a beverage or two I should stay under 250 which gives some wiggle room. I’ve been checking craigslist for used but there hasn’t been much other than really nice whitewater boats that are out if my price range (and ability level too!).
Oh I forgot to mention I was looking also at the future beach trophy 126, b/c i would like to fish, but I don’t know if its worth the extra $130 for all of the fishing features and that’s really the top of my budget so I’d not have much left for a good paddle.
Swim from the middle
If it flips in the middle of the lake,
can you make it back to shore ?
Betting it's made by Pelican due to the
Ram-X ™ hull material in the Dick's brochure
Thin polyethylene sheet sandwich with foam core.
Pelican skirt might even fit
I’ve got one of those and I’m 240
It was one of my first boats, bought for my wife. Too low in the water for me, I would not recommend that boat for you. I bought a Potomac 12' that I don't think they sell anymore and I paid way too much for it. Craigslist runs in cycles, there were a ton of those for sale last fall, mostly at retail price with a $20 lifejacket and $40 paddle included. It's a hassle rushing out to find either it's a beat up pos or it just sold before you got there.
Carry it like a hat or get or DIY a kayak cart, you'd be surprised what you can carry a couple blocks.
Regarding buy cheap to test the water, That's what I did and have since upgraded. Just go into it with open eyes that it is what it is. Others will disagree.
Don't get too wrapped up in the reviews. All cheap kayaks handle the same IN MY OPINION.
I also have a couple perception 9.5 swifty. That's a nice beginner boat that will hold your weight and worth the extra hundred bucks.
Don't be in a rush to rule out a canoe, should one fall into your lap.
Edit to add- I was talking about the potomac pathfinder. I have no experience with the future beach trophy
Just a note re beginner kayak
It sounds like a rec boat, the kind of one you are looking at intended for flat, quiet water is the right start for your use. Have fun with it.
But I wanted to caution you on the concept of a beginner kayak - as in a kayak that will keep a beginning paddler from harm in some way. There is no such thing.
There are rec boats like you are looking at which are as wide as a barge and usually more difficult to capsize than narrower sea kayaks. But they can be capsized, and I have a brother-in-law and a friend who have proven that more than once in calm flat water. And these calm water, shorter and less equipped boats can be a death trap in big open water with waves. Narrower sea kayaks tend to capsize more easily in flat water, but are immensely safer in waves.
In sum, the boats are what they are. Some are designed for calm flat water, some for whitewater, some for waves and some for racing. Beginning paddlers tend to gravitate to the first category because they don’t know how to handle the more challenging conditions.
But putting a more skilled person into a rec boat won’t suddenly turn it into a sea kayak, nor will putting a less skilled person into a sea kayak make it into a rec boat. The difference between the two is how much risk they can take with the boat’s inherent weaknesses.
The more skilled paddler will be able to stretch the capabilities of the rec boat into challenging conditions better than a beginner could. The sea kayak’s narrowness will be less of an issue for a more skilled paddler than a beginner because they will likely have learned how to rely on the hull’s stability and be able to self-rescue on the water if needed.
In sum, the risk is mostly in the paddler and their preparation - skills and the appropriateness of their equipment. As the skills increase the boat is more secondary. Though there is an economic relationship - the better you get, the more boats you want.
You can return it
Nice thing about Dicks Sporting Goods is you can try it and if it does sit to low or what ever you can return it.Get a PFD of course and always wear it, too many stories of people drowning in small lakes.
If you decide to buy used make sure you test paddle it. I once had a guy selling a kayak on craigslist and he wouldn’t let me test paddle it. Said it was a liability issue, LOL.Most likely leaked that’s why he wouldn’t let anyone test it.
I don’t think it’s realistic to expect to test paddle a used kayak being sold by a private party. If a person can, that’s great. But, logistics are usually highly impractical. As kayaks are specialty items (rec boats less so, admittedly), they are often purchased by people who may be from out of town by several hundred miles or more, which – along with time constraints – makes identifying and getting to test locations even harder.
I’ve bought several kayaks used, and sold at least 10, as well. No one has asked for a test paddle, and, none of us were ripped off.
A person needs to know what to look for, and accept the inherant risk of buying anything used.
And, there IS a liability issue with letting others paddle your kayak. We often ignore it, but, the risk is higher when dealing with strangers.
"I don't think it's realistic to expect to test paddle a used kayak being sold by a private party. If a person can, that's great. But, logistics are usually highly impractical. As kayaks are specialty items (rec boats less so, admittedly), they are often purchased by people who may be from out of town by several hundred miles or more, which -- along with time constraints -- makes identifying and getting to test locations even harder.
I've bought several kayaks used, and sold at least 10, as well. No one has asked for a test paddle, and, none of us were ripped off.
A person needs to know what to look for, and accept the inherant risk of buying anything used.
And, there IS a liability issue with letting others paddle your kayak. We often ignore it, but, the risk is higher when dealing with strangers."
I totally disagree, I have test paddled EVERY kayak I bought used and ones I didn't buy. I wouldn't even consider buying a kayak I never paddled before. When anyone here asks about buying a NEW kayak the number one rule is TEST paddle it. So why in the world this wouldn't apply to a used kayak purchase is beyond me.
But to the OP at least he can return it if he doesn't like it.
The “test paddle rule” you mention is to paddle the model of boat you are considering – not necessarily the specific boat. Many of us have had new boats shipped to us.
One expects to save money buying used, and one of the things we most likely will give up for that saving, is the expectation of test paddling.
If I was buying a high dollar used boat, I would try to arrange a test paddle. $300 or $800, not so much. I understand the risk, and am confident in what I’m doing.
A guy buying a $150 used rec boat may not have the same level of experience. So, he would come on here and ask what to look out for. We would mention UV damage, missing fittings, deep gouges, oil canning, hogback deformation, straight keel line, bulkhead and hatch integrity, etc. Then, he goes out and gets some experience with the market. What he’s probably NOT going to get, is a test paddle.
No floatie - no purchase
The sport would do well to get MORE people into
a boat before they buy it; to gain "some"
ponderousness of knowledge concerning kayaks
before their hard earned cash disappears into the void.
There would be a lot less used boats on the market
if people bought something that really worked well for them.
that’s what he was asking YOU to do
Nice job. Maybe next time you could help out.
Can you read the prior posts
I helped him determine the actual
manufacturer, what it's made of,
where to get a skirt, etc.
YOU merely attacked me - providing nothing for him.
That speaks volumes
My first yak was a Swifty 9.5. I’m 6 foot about 225. It works for me. Since then I’ve gotten 2 more yaks, bigger, faster, more expensive. But I still take out the Swifty when I just want to grab and go for a quick paddle. If this one is all you can afford and it gets you out on the water, then go for it. Learn its and your limitations. Above all have fun.
article to read
Issue #6 of California Kayaker had an article on how to choose a recreational class kayak, which is what you are looking at. Was written by a guy who works for an independent kayak dealer, so sells more expensive boats that Dicks and the like, so is slightly biased, But worth a read none-the-less. Starts on page 22.
Can be read online for free at http://www.calkayakermag.com/magazine.html
The current issue (#10) has an article on the different types of boats (SOT vs sea kayak vs rec vs white water vs etc.) that may also be worth checking out. Starts on page 6.
To play devil’s advocate, if everyone waited until they knew exactly what they wanted, no one would ever buy a boat.
The only way the used market would be significantly reduced is if everyone got locked in to one form of kayaking.
OTOH, the used market is a great entry point for people who can’t afford new boats but want a quality kayak.