Need help choosing kayak please

Newbie needs advice please. I used to rent kayaks to explore Florida waterways and decided to get my own. Cannot choose. I am perfectly happy with these cheap rental molded kayaks (I prefer sit-on-top) but kayaks like these are too heavy for me, I cannot get them on car roof alone. Need something that I can load myself. What I need: single kayak (I am 162 lb) for Florida swamps/springs/rivers. I will never go to the ocean, I don’t fish. But I need sometimes to go through overgrown vegetation when I labor through inch by inch or sandy shallows with 3" of water. Sometimes sharp turns on small creeks with swift currant, so it shouldn’t be too long. I do not want the inflatable, I know I am not going to be comfortable in it. I got stuck often on submerged logs with sharp broken branches. I was thinking about foldable kayak. So it must be able to survive a lot of abuse and it must be light and cheap. Thanks a lot.

Prefer sit on top…not too heavy…durable and don’t mind rotomolded…and cheap.
IMO, I think a Crescent Ultralite may be worth checking out.
I have the CK1–but I wish I had the Ultralite.
It is tough, paddles very well for a SOT and is also very stable both primary )of course) and even some secondary, is 49 pounds, and is $799 brand new. Plus the hull has a lifetime warranty and is much better than a big box store kayak. Nice features and lots of flexibility.

In fact there are also a couple nice used ones out right now.
I’d offer my CK1 model to you for a great price, but it sounds like it would be too heavy at 60 pounds.
So here is one on in NC:

And a review that may be helpful:

If you decide you want a CK1, let me know :slight_smile:

Good luck!

Well I responded but it had a link to an on-water review on you tube and got rejected by spam filter. It should appear soon, but I gave a rundown of the Crescent Ultralite–seems to me a good match for your stated needs. Good luck!
I have had a Crescent boat for over a year now
49 pounds. 10 ft 2 inches. 30 inches wide so certainly a manageable lift, unlike my CK1.

50 lbs for a 10’ boat, is awful heavy. There are better choices to be had.

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Light and cheap and durable don’t really go together with boats. If you have a low budget you need to be looking for used boats. Sit on tops have a double hull so they are always going to be heavier than single hulled canoes and kayaks.

I have owned folding kayaks for 22 years (8 different models) and they would not work for what you describe. Because the hulls flex (like the inflatables that you are already familiar with) tgey will get hung up on shallow gravel and sand bars and drag in weedy and mangrove narrows, You want to stick with hard shell hulls.

Consider a pack canoe rather than a sit on top kayak. They are short (10 to 13 feet usually) and have lower sides than a regular canoe, you sit low inside like in a kayak and use a double bladed kayak paddle. Depending on your budget, you can gwt small canoes from companies like Hornbeck that are under 20 pounds. They are costly in the lightest materials. Regular Solo canoes where you sit higher can be cheaper — I have a 13’ solo made of fiberglass that is only 33 pounds (a vintage Curtis Lady Bug I bought used for $900). Curtis is now called Hemlock and sells many light small canoes. Small solo canoes, both kinds, are great options for winding narrow streams and rivers.


Sure, SeaDart…I didn’t say there weren’t, but I did offer a suggestion/option. And your better choices are… :wink:

As Willowleaf said, the OP is looking for cheap, durable, light, and OBTW prefers a SOT–not an easy combination. And 49 pounds is 49 pounds, regardless of the length.

Ha ha I know…I want everything, right?

Thank you everyone for suggestions. I’ll look into all of them for sure. I don’t mind used one, even prefer. But I need something I can lift on my SUV roof by myself and I don’t think I can lift 50 lb there.

I saw in some UT video a kayak that was assembled on the spot with few screws in 5 min. and looked sturdy. But I cannot find thing like that for sale. Do you know where I can find it?

Only 38 pounds and has dual bulkheads (something you will find to be a very welcome feature)
Thermo-formed. Not as hard to destroy as a rotomolded kayak, but that the trade off. Still Thermo-formed seems to be quite good and tough enough for about any use but maybe white water

Also a very good choice, but 3 pound heavier.
And one of the lightest sit on top kayaks I know of. 40 pounds

And one more you might like;

And at 45 pounds;

Was it the Pakayak, a multi-section kayak where the sections stack inside each other for transport?

I would consider a solo pack boat if you can find one in your budget. They are very light, around 25 lbs. in kevlar. Open top. I think they would feel sportier and be more fun to paddle than a sit-on-top kayak. A kevlar hull can take more abuse than a foldable, but not as much as molded plastic hull. I don’t know if anyone makes a solo pack boat in molded plastic though.

There are modular kayaks (3 or 4 sections that bolt together) made by Point 65 and Pakayack. But they are brutally heavy once assembled. The advantage is that you can take them apart to load inside a vehicle but you need to have room inside to do that. They are not cheap.

Also, short boats can be a pain to load on a roof rack because you don’t have the leverage you do with boats longer than 10’. I’m a 5’ 5" older woman and I can load most of my kayaks up to 50 pounds on the rack myself because I just lift one end up to the rear of the car then lift the back of the boat up and slide it onto the rack.

People are suggesting boats that are going to cost you well over $1000 new, which I suspect is not in your budget. There should be a lot of used small sit on tops for sale anywhere you are in Florida. Keep checking Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and when you see something in your price range, do some searching on owner reviews and the manufacturers’ specs for weight and performance. Even here in SW Pennsylvania where I live there are dozens of short sit on tops posted for sale every day from spring through fall.
I still think you would be better served by a pack canoe but they are not very popular in your state so unlikely to turn up in your area on the used market.

You didn’t mention where you live, but there’s a 17 pound Oru plastic folding kayak for sale in Gainesville, Florida, for $300. Might work OK for where you plan to use it. You won’t find anything else this light for under $2000.

A little more information please…

@EarlyBird when you say “on the roof” do you have rails, or just putting on the roof? basically I’m asking how do you mount it or intend to.

second is this a Car/Truck/SUV?

advising on a kayak without this information is well putting the cart before the horse.

There is a Point 65 modular for sale in Beverley Hills, Florida. This one can be set up in 2 pieces as a solo or add the middle section to make it a 2-man tandem. Good price for this at $995 which is half what they cost new. But still heavy: 48 pounds for the two piece solo. There is so much extra plastic when you mold separate sections.

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The advantage of buying something like that $350 Oru folding kayak is you could probably sell it for what you paid for it if it did not work out. I understand these are fairly popular with large power boat owners since they can fold up and stash in a closet.

I have Subaru Crosstrek (small SUV) with kayak rack on top (not mounted right now). I was going to put it there upside down and just tie.

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Another vote for Eddyline.

I’m not a fan of the low end ORU’s (never seen one of the higher end ones). No inherent floatation, no deck lines or bungees, and they act like a kite in even light wind. Not sure how resistant the hull is to being punctured. They’re wide, slow, and track poorly.

There must be some lightweight short kayaks or canoes.

Definitely consider the used market. A new boat can lose up to 50% of its value once it hits the water. You can almost always sell a used boat for about what you paid for it if you change your mind. With minimal care a kayak can last for decades. Kayaks and canoes built over the last 15 year or so change little from year to year. They’re not like cars.

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A huge factor in using a kayak a lot vs leaving it to sit is having a way to get the boat on and off the car as quickly and with as little strain as possible.

A roller will make a huge difference for loading and unloading. Stick it onto the back window in such a way that it gets the boat over your rear spoiler, and you can run the boat up and over the back end without having to lift the entire kayak at once.

I have these two models from Amazon, one of which I use with my hatchback, the other which I use with my wagon.

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Not a big fan of Orus either, but considering the OP’s use in shallow inland streams and emphasis on lightness and cheapness, the options are rather limited. Most newbie paddlers are not going to drop a couple grand on a carbon fiber ultralight. And the lightest inflatables and folders are non-starters in shallow weedy waters due to the drag factor.

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@EarlyBird I also have a crosstrek so I can assist you with this greatly.

SO you obviously have some cross-bars, whose manufacture are they (Subaru, Yakima, Malone, Thule) Do you know?

also the Kayak Rack, is it a flat rack (“V”) type rack, J-Hooks or T-Hooks?

Or are you just envisioning putting the boat on the cross bars?

There are several outfitters who do reviews of inexpensive kayaks on YouTube. Here’s one that might be useful. He covers some basics on features, performance and fit that you should be considering in choosing a kayak.

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