Need advice

Hello everyone. Just caught paddling fever after renting a kayak during a recent trip to the lake. Plan to purchase my own within the next few months. I’m 5’9, 145 lbs and will use mainly in lakes and slow rivers to start. I would like to spend less than $500 if possible and I’m definitely great with the popular advice of buying used. I own a mid-size SUV (Isuzu Trooper), but don’t currently have a trailer or rack.

The vast number of kayak choices is intimidating for a newbie, so I would greatly appreciate any make and model advice to point me in the right direction. After brief review of the message board, I became a little intrigued by the Old Town Heron 9xt, especially since it might even fit inside my vehicle and is in my price range.

Thanks in advance for any help!

used bost

– Last Updated: Jun-15-16 6:59 PM EST –

Go thru used kayak list on Internet. Visit every 3-4 days and Friday/Thursday.

Read Current Designs hull descriptions

If lakes are the goal, try for a light hull near 16'. Spend $800.

WAIT for a buy

Padnet has reviews herein, read there.

If you want to improve your skills, go
longer and less beamy. Two sealed bulkheads.

My first (foolish) purchase was a ten foot fat kayak two summers ago. Aside from the fact it had but one sealed bulkhead (like your choice) and would essentially sink had I capsized, within six weeks I hated it because it was a PITA to paddle.

Worse, I could never improve my skills with that boat because the cockpit was so huge (and wet).

You’re doing yourself a disservice if you make a buying choice based on whether it will fit inside your vehicle.

As DK suggested, read the classifieds here and your local Craigslist.

Hope you find something soon!


– Last Updated: Jun-16-16 9:42 PM EST –

Purchasing a kayak is more than purchasing a kayak...

First, of course, the boat. You can indeed get a shorter, wider rec boat, but, as noted above, and in the majority of cases of P-Net vets, you'll very likely want a faster, sleeker boat that paddles "better".

e.g., We started out in a 12'x34" heavy, slow, tandem SOT. We moved up to 14' & 14'-9"'x 26" SOTs for each of us -freedom, easy paddling, faster. After getting left in the dust in conditions on a group paddle,, we moved on to a 16'6" x 22-3/4", and 17'7"x 21-1/2" SINK, respectively. (And boat weights happily went from 65#, to 48# & 55#, to agsin 48# and 55# respectively.) And also as noted above, our current boats have bow and stern sealed compartments.

In addition, we have dramatically upgraded our paddles from clumsy, heavy, starters -something you should think about from the get-go. Something in the neighborhood of $125 should get you a good model to begin.

We have also improved our PFDs from good but somewhat uncomfortable starters to far better ones that are comfortable to wear, so we wear them.

The last basic item is your transport system. Do not buy a boat because it will fit in your vehicle.

If you want a decent boat for the generally flatwater paddling you're looking to do, buy THAT boat. You're likely doing yourself a disservice by setting this 'boat fitting into a car' limit on your paddling.

Get a rooftop system and bring a much better boat to the water. We started out with a foam and rope tiedown system -it's not ideal, but when done properly, will tote your boat "OK". A made-for-your-car roof rack is ideal, sturdy and secure, basically should last close to forever.

Other things that we consider essential but some others don't include a pump and a paddle float. A skirt is nice, as is a large sponge. Dry bags, a waterproof, floating GPS, and appropriate shoes round out the list of basics.

And, surprisingly enough to most starters in our sport, all -yes ALL -these items can be bought used and be good to superior quality.

As great a feeling as it is, there's more than just jumping into a boat and stroking off -especially as you progress in paddling. Starting out as reasonably well-equipped as you can will make it a much more enjoyable experience as you


-Frank in Miami

I really appreciate all the great advice. Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for taking your valuable time to help me.

useful intro video

– Last Updated: Jun-16-16 3:18 PM EST –

Pelican (a Canadian company that makes a range of lower and mid-priced kayaks) has a very useful little cartoon video that covers some of the general basics of kayak differences that could help you get started:

I would also suggest that you fill out a profile if you are going to participate on here. It's completely up to you what information you do or don't include, but it helps folks help you to know what part of the country you are from and what your paddling experience and objectives are. In fact, we can check what used boats might be available in your area and make recommendations of what might be appropriate to check out as well as steering you to outfitters, paddling groups and events that might be handy to you.

Pelican video
That’s a nice little video.

It should be recommended watching for anyone interested in getting into kayaking with no prior knowledge of the technology and terminology.

I’m a Newbie Too
My husband and I just bought Ascend kayaks at Bass Pro. We looked at all the retail shops in KC. I am not going in the ocean, and I did not want to spend a fortune. Having rented and researched the Ascend brand, I feel confident that we made the best choice. I bought the Ascend D10T sit on top. It’s a little heavy which means I am not breaking speed records, however, it is VERY stable. And I am a huge klutz! Good luck.