Need advice on TouringKayaks

Hi everyone, first time poster.

I am going to enter the MO340, I am not looking to win this race , I just want to compete and have a fighting chance of not being last… Now I am on a search for a used touring type kayak for the job. I have a low budget $1500 max (for boat only) and this boat is probably going to be used for this event and then sold because my common float trips are done on slow rivers with sit-on tops or my Ram-X canoe, so keeping a touring boat isn’t really useful.

I spend a pretty good amount of time on sit-on’s and short sit-in’s during the summer, but I have never spent anytime in a longer touring type boat, I am sure some are more stable then others, but I don’t know where that fine line is between stability and efficiency.

I am large framed 6’2" currently 240lbs, my goal is to be 215lbs before the race so I am sure that will come into play while boat shopping. My main concerns are stability and wind drag while on this event…

I have run across a local used 17’ Perception Eclispe, the price seemed a little high, but again I am use to the short cheaper boats.

Is this model a decent choice for my plan? any other models to look for?

Is there a good place to shop for Kayaks on line, or somewhere to get a good idea of going prices for different models?

Thanks in advance for all your advice

Good luck
Don’t know about the Eclipse. WS Tempest 170 is another big guy kayak. I picked one up for $700 and have seen another go for about the same. That’s not a recommendation for a race boat, just saying it will fit you.

There is a boat sale page here, and here’s another place

Good luck

Where and a caution
It might be helpful to know what part of the country you’re in. The caution is that if you do find a boat that suits you, touring kayaks can be very addicting and going back to your SOT, or canoe might be a problem.


– Last Updated: Dec-21-13 11:35 AM EST –

I would suggest a QCC 500x or a Swift Labrador Sea. They are essentially the same John Winters design and are made for larger paddlers. They should be relatively fast but still have plenty of stability which you may need at first if you are used to short, fat sit on tops. I would suggest trying to find one with a rudder. There are several for sale around the country now with a couple of the Swift kayaks currently on the classifieds here. Also check out or for additional listings.

Also the MR340 is more about staying in your boat and paddling than flat out boat speed.


Are you in a location that has a decent kayak shop? maybe you could make some agreement with them to sue a rental from them? Package into the agreement a self-rescue class, if you don’t know how to do so in a touring kayak. Also package in a bunch of time in the boat before the race.

In general, the longer and narrower the waterline of the boat, the faster it will go. Some boats have a lot of rocker (bow and sterns stick up), and this makes them turn better, but shortens the water line. There are exceptions, but if a boat has a skeg it generally has more rocker, and a rudder has less rocker.

I don’t know the MR340 to know how squirrely the water can be. Presumably there isn’t any white water. if it is squirrely water, then you may actually want to consider a more maneuverable boat over that long, narrow, low-rocker one built just for forward speed.

since you are running a race in Mo.
I am assuming you are located in that area. KC paddler in Peculiar Mo. is a good kayak/canoe shop that is more interested in growing the sport, and getting people into the right boat for them, would be a good place to start.

$1500 will get you a pretty decent poly kayak new, or a good used composite.

In a race like the mr340, it is not speed so much as having the ability to keep moving. Outfitting the cockpit for long term comfort, and the ability to carry and have easy access to water and energy food mean more than out right speed, (in my opinion).

Being able to sit in a lot of different boats is going to serve you well in getting a boat you feel good in, giving you the ability to concentrate on paddling and not constant adjusting, to fix your painful butt.

If it is the older model Poly Eclipse:
I have one and have had it for a long time.

I used to race it all the time prior to my getting a Kevlar QCC.

It is a stable do all kayak, but it is heavy and I wouldn’t want to push it that far in a race.

You didn’t say what the price was, but I wouldn’t pay any more then $700 if it is an older one.

I think you are making a mistake entering that race with out a lot of experience in racing a long distance race in a kayak. Your butt is going to hate you!!!

What ever you decide- Good luck

Jack L

current designs solstice
Maneuverability should mean nothing for that race. An efficient, stable, strong tracking kayak that comes in sizes to fit larger folks would be one in the Current Designs Solstice series. I bring them up as they can often be found available at a very reasonable price.

Every little bit of efficiency will count, whether that means forward traveling efficiency that matches your ability, or just the fact that you’re not trying to counteract a hull’s tendancy to weathercock. It’s a fine hull for the casual racer looking to cover fairly extreme mileage with efficiency and reassuring stability.

In my collection of kayaks, all of the maneuverable, more highly rockered kayaks would not even be considered for this type of thing. It makes a difference.

So just a suggestion for something you may find more readily available on the cheap- that I figure may meet your needs quite well. I love maneuverable kayaks, and rockered kayaks for playing in the waves and just squirreling around. But for a purpose like yours, I like something along the lines of a Solstice much more.

Good luck.

Thanks for the replies…
Great responses guys THANK YOU very much!!! I live about 20 miles west of STL MO, the only shops I know about around here are REI, Alpine Shop, Cabelas, & Bass Pro.

I have always lived within 30 minutes of both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Grew up fishing and hunting those rivers along with all the Ozark streams, and the last couple years spending a lot of time rowing an aluminum jon boat up and down the White River in Arkansas for weekend fishing trips. I’m kind of known for “off the wall” adventures, I’m no stranger to long river trips I took a round trip boat ride up the Mississippi in a 16 foot (powered) jon boat from St. Charles MO, to Fort Madison Iowa on a long weekend, just to do it (little over 330 miles)… I understood what a sore butt and back felt like, sitting on that hard bench seat with no back… I use to take a yearly bass boat ride from St. Charles MO to Kentucky Lake and back until about 3 years ago when my other friends moved on to other hobbies. I am not saying any of these things qualifies me to do this race, it’s just that I am comfortable with traveling on the water. I’m pretty familiar with the Missouri river from Hermann down to the Mississippi confluence (fished that area a lot). I think once I get to Hermann (last stretch) will be enough to keep me going…

I agree this event is all about not stopping. To finish this race in the max 88 hours you have to average 3.9mph, heck the river flows 3-5mph so with a good steady pace and minimal stops, I think the biggest obsticals will be lack of sleep, and july heat.

I like one of Walt Disney’s comments, “If I have a new idea and everyone in the room agrees it’s possible, then I haven’t thought “BIG” enough”…

Thanks again for all your advice and links… I was about to pull the trigger on that Kayak, but it sounds like it’s a lot more over priced then I originally thought… (they guy was asking $1200 for it)… I’ll keep looking, I figure I have about 3 months for shopping then I better get something so I can start training, and rigging for the event…

If you have anymore ideas or see a good potential boat for sale, don’t be afraid to reply back…

expensive over there
Wow. A quick look at St Louis craigslist, and they’re asking the new price for that Expedition and Eclipse. I would expect the price on both

Of those to be cut in half as a listing price around here.