Need help choosing a kayak


My husband has expressed an interest in having a kayak. I would like to get him one for his birthday. I’m looking for advice on the best type of kayak for him.

He has never gone kayaking, altho he has canoed. He is not much of a risk-taker, so he’ll be sticking to the local smooth rivers and lakes–no whitewater here!:slight_smile: He loves to fish.

I have seen flat bottom kayaks that seem good for fishing and I’ve looked at inflatable kayaks.

The inflatable ones appeal to me because of the price and ease of storage. But i wonder how well these handle and if they are durable.

Also, can you give me an opinion about tandem kayaks?

We have three kids, ages 12-6, I think my husband would enjoy taking them with him on occasion, but how would a tandem work for him if he wants to go alone?

thanks for any advice!!

Good fishing kayaks here

– Last Updated: Apr-10-06 8:56 PM EST –

The WS recreational kayaks are great for fishing. If the kids want to go, just pile them all into a canoe.

While I don't fish, I would venture to guess that fishing hooks and "inflatable" could be a bad combination.

Large open Cockpit SINK or a SOT
Jynn, there are several choices for kayaks that convert from singles to doubles.

Inflatables. Can be good priced, but are subject to the wind blowing around. Set up and break down seem to be an issue. Storage and transportation can’t be beat.

Sit on tops, SOT’s. The seat can be positioned as needed for single or tandem paddling. They are shorter but wider than touring sea kayaks. Tend to be slower but more stable. Most ocean going kayak fishermen like SOT’s for their stability. Also no worries if flipped, since there isn’t a large cockpit to fill up with water and sink, just keep the hatches closed. Also, getting back on is considered easier after flipping into the water, rare. Generally considered a wet ride, but that will vary with conditions. See cobra kayaks:

A couple manufactures make large cockpit Sit IN Kayaks, SINKs. The front seat can be slid well back for solo kayaking. Old Town makes a Loon 160T and Wilderness Systems makes 2 sizes, Pamlico 145T and 160T. All fine choices for lake fishing. See Wilderness Systems linked above.

I have an Old Town Loon 160T that we get four of us in, a 2yo, a 4yo, my wife and myself. But it is pretty much filled up then. Will not be too different from your canoe. Not really a good choice for taking out to the ocean, if it gets flipped it will fill with water. Although floatation bags can be added to address that issue. But since you folks canoe, you probably well aware of those issues.

All of the above make plenty of rec kayaks, which will be fine for a canoe old hat. Although the sea kayaks are considered more sea worthy, be carefull if you want to purchase one. Some people find them very tippy at first, and they take quite a bit to get used to. So try before you buy a sea kayak.

Finally, cruise the classified adds. Always someone selling off an old Loon 160T and other Rec boats in my neck of the woods.


thank you
Thank you very much, your advice is very helpful!

Inflatable pricing can be misleading
There are a lot of cheap inflatables out there that won’t last long. Really, for a quality inflatable, you will be spending about as much as you would for a similarly sized plastic boat.

I am not much of a fisherman, but I have (2)good quality inflatables, mostly for the storage transportation reasons. Lots of people fish from them, but I would be a little nervous. These boats are tough, but fish hooks could definitely do some damage. I would want to spend more time worrying about snagging fish than snagging my boat.

Lots of folks around here seem to fish from Wilderness systems Tarpons (SOTs). They appear to hold an awful lot of gear in easily accessible places, and be quite stable.


– Last Updated: Apr-12-06 12:10 PM EST –

I'll just reply with what I know really.

When out family got the kayaks, it was first my parents who went out to the Bay of Fundy and took a sea kayaking trip there. They enjoyed it, so they came home and asked me if I wanted to try it, so I took a course at the local small craft aquatic center and from there we pretty much decided that we were going to get a kayak.

We now own two Necky Zoar Sports that we bought a year or so apart from each other, and they are amazing to take out on the local river\lake\coves.

So basically, my advice is to perhaps find a local touring group and try it there. I think most kayakers know that if you are really into getting a kayak, you're going to love it the first time you sit in one and you're going to want to get a fairly good one, even if you just plan on sticking to the local rivers.

But that's just what I think.

PS: And my opinion on a tandem kayak... I don't really like it myself. It can be very frustrating sometime to have to rely on someone else to help you with something when you just want to go out and relax, however it can be fun.

Find a local kayak store…
…and buy him a lesson first. Then, he can decide if he really likes to kayak. Next, he can try out different models, and when he finds the one he likes and it fits him, Happy Birthday!

Just my 2 cents…


inflatable…no no
I am novice kayaker but have the chance to tryout numerous kayak from Bass Pro and a near outfitter store. I also suggest that your husband do that cause of the different feel of every kayak. They’re like shoes…same size different feel.

If you do not have storage problems and/or traveling a lot, then don’t buy inflatable or even the foldable. I had my share of inflatable (not fun at all).

I finally picked up a nice one from They have an upfront price with free shipping and tax free. They even have packaged deal (half spray cover,paddle,pfd,& kayak). I purchased the Sundance 12.0 after reviewing ths consumers response for this product.It’s a very well made beginners kayak. See the “product review” section.

They also sell kayaks with fishing attachements.

Jynn – ugh. Can you say hernia!
Don;t forget, a plastic tandem kayak weighs 75-95 lbs (a single person plastic kayak weighs 45-55 lbs). One person cannot easily cartop or move a tandem kayak. Very impractical unless two adults available simply in terms of the hauling of it. Something to keep in mind.

I hope you are not going to try…
to surprise you hubbie with a kayak.

The surprise might just be on you.

Tell him what you are up to, and then drive him to various outfitters so he can try different ones ouit.

You might think a particular one is perfect for him and he might hate it…

If you read this forum long enough you will find that the criteria for getting a kayak is:

“Try before you buy”



My advice

– Last Updated: Apr-20-06 10:28 AM EST –

Don't get a tandem--they're very heavy and a huge hassle to paddle alone. And kids will always be happier in their own boats, unless they're very young.

Don't get an inflatable--the hassle of blowing it up each time means he won't use it very often. Plus it's not very easy to transport, because the blob of rubber is a lot harder to drag around than a plastic kayak. And as everyone else has pointed out, inflatable + fishing hooks=bad combination!

Do consider getting a plastic boat--fiberglass, kevlar, and wood make great boats, but for his purposes, plastic is probably better (not to mention a lot cheaper). Plastic is easy to transport because you just drag it along behind you from the car to the water, and you don't have to worry about dinging it, scratching it, or damaging the wood or kevlar. Sticking the boat on top of the car is easy; just get the paddle shop person to show you how. I'm a small woman, and I do it with no problem, with all different kinds of kayaks.

For his birthday, take him for a trip to a good paddle shop where he can try out different boats. The right kayak for fishing might be different than the right kayak for playing around on local creeks and lakes. But most importantly, everyone likes the feel of a different boat for reasons that are personal and subjective.

That said, beginners often seem quite happy in a Necky Manitou (not the sport version), which is more responsive than most recreational kayaks. I'm not sure if it's a good kayak for fishing, however. If kayak fishing is going to be his major goal, check out the websites devoted to kayak fishing. is a great place to start. This page in particular has a wealth of information:

Have fun!

Innova inflatables
are TOUGH, TOUGH, TOUGH! They use a 3 ply wall with 1,200 – deier polyester reinforcement. Almost bomb proof. I completely safe fishing in mine.

A Sunny would be a good choice. Super stable and can be paddled solo or double.

Some of the other high end inflatables use a very tough outer skin: Grabner, Aire, Advanced Elements.

Stearns and Seyvlor have tough outer skins too.

I love inflatables. They are very stable and comfortable and handle rough water well. I think one would make a very good first boat.

I would recomend Advanced Elements or Innova for price, quality, and fun.

In defense of IKs,
I second sharkbiter’s post. Good inflatables (NOT the kind purchased at wal-mart) are super-tough. Regarding setup time, at my first paddle this season, I had my Sunny ready to go in 12 minutes. Considering that I spent zero time at home strapping it to my roof, like I would for a hard shell, setup time is about the same. There are legitimate reasons to shy away from IKs, but if you have a quality boat, durability and setup time are not among them.