Need to find a shorter boat.

-- Last Updated: Apr-15-06 9:50 PM EST --

My wife and I purchased a pair of Necky touring kayaks recently (she a Chatham 17, myself a Looksha V), both very lightly used. We absolutely love the boats. We have been out in them every weekend and about once every other week during the week (we're both workaholics). I'm overweight as of the last few years (6'2 / 238lbs) and I am enjoying the upper body workout and hoping that my weight loss will continue.

That said, I have a few places around my office that I can paddle during lunch (flatwater lakes and rivers mainly, SW Washington). However, I have found that my only option for going paddling at lunch is to bring along a friend from work so that we can get the large boats off the truck, from the parking lot and into the water and back.

So I am in search for a weekday boat. Something I can throw onto my car (instead of taking the gas hog IH Scout to work every day), get off and down to the water easily and have a good exercise in. I have long legs, so the looksha is a very comfortable fit. I have been looking around and I have found the following:

Old Town Dirigo 106. Curious if someone my size is a decent fit with the 106.

Necky Manitou Sport. Worried about the cockpit size and my ability to get in/out. Necky's website describes the cockpit as larger than my Looksha V but the photos do not support that information.

And plenty more. The liquid logic 'trekreation' boats seem to be interesting. Old Town Otter would be a nice size, light, etc. Now that I have looked a little more I think 10' length would be a maximum.

Most importantly, I am curious where i should start in terms of boats that are my size in the 8-10 foot range. I'd like something that is light with good creature comforts, but hatches are certainly not as important as function on the water.

Curious what everyone else here thinks. I've got an on the water demo day coming up in two weeks.



– Last Updated: Apr-15-06 10:49 PM EST –

Not shorter but lighter.. It would cost a bit more but you could easily reduce the weight by about a third.

Then I would have two identically functioning boats at two radically different weights. The criteria that are pushing me toward a shorter boat are a) weight, b) cost, c) function. If the boats in the class i’m looking at are slower it just makes me work harder and increase my fitness value of the trip.

After a little more looking, I have found the following to add to the list of boats to test:

OTC Loon, Perception Swifty, Perception Sundance.


Rec boat
I have a Mainstream Streak, which is about identical to a Swifty. It is short, a little over 9 foot, and I can carry it by myself to the water. It is a good boat for just paddling around, although I don’t recommend it for longer trips, as it is wide enough to be pretty slow. But if I get that you just want a Kayak to paddle around in, it is a great boat.

Try a used solo…

I trip and recreate in sea kayaks but I fitness paddle a small pond and the North Platte river in a little Sandpiper, 39# and 13.5’.

Most prefer the stability of the slighlty longer Vagabond but both are often available on the used market for reasonable dollars.

For fitness paddling I use a kayak paddle which is really a good workout when going upstream.

Something to consider.

Pleasant waters.


Of the boats you mentioned…
I don’t know about the third, but you definately won’t get the same type of work out in the first two that you will get in your long boats.

I am not refeering to their slowness, but to their tracking.

I have a Keowee which is the same as the first two, and you will spend most of your paddling keeping it on a straight course.

I agree with Grayhawk. Get a lighter boat and just paddle it faster.



Necky Manitou
My brother is your height and just a few pounds lighter. He loves his Manitou. Might want to demo one.


– Last Updated: Apr-16-06 8:36 AM EST –

I also paddle a sea kayak where there are waves, but for flatwater a canoe just feels more appropriate. There's something elegant about it.

On the other hand, the CD Kestrel 120 has gotten good reviews from folks who usually paddle sea kayaks. Maybe the HV version?

long boats on the car?
Why do you have to use the Scout to haul your current boats?

I haul boats as long was 21’ on a Saturn Ion. Just need a good rack. Most racks can accomodate two kayaks. I’ve had three race boats (skinny and light) on the Ion.

I can understand the desire to go lighter for the ease of loading and unloading. But, from experience on the paddling end of things, the longer boats are better for an aerobic workout. Short boats end up forcing a slow cadence and make it harder to get the heart rate up, for me anyway.

BTW: Which Scout do you have? I had a 1976 Traveller from 1995-2005. That truck was awesome. When I was in college I could fit all of my possessions in it and just up and go anywhere. Once I finished school though and was living on the coast I no longer had a use for the 4wheel drive and the poor truck was wasting away so I sold it. If I had some spare income I’d have another one just to have it.

you got a good deal on a used boat?
then pass it on and find te boat you love.

If you cna put a boat on a car, then you can put the boat you hvae on a car. Use good lifting technique and get a book or get a lesson on putting the boat on a car. You can do it!

Whe you are paddling properly it is more of an ab/lats/pec workout than an arm workout. Again lessons are a big help.

Too bad
you’re in Washington! I’ve got an Epic GP for sale for $1200 (Negotiable). 12.5’ long, fiberglass, 33 lbs., good balance of tracking and maneuverability. Long waterline length gives it good speed for its length, great glide. Local pick up in Huntsville, Alabama!

Nice light boats. Take anywhere.

small car
I have a toyota echo that holds a Tempest 170 rotomolded at 62 lbs, a 55 lb Outer Island 18 footer, and a 19.3 foot Sik on Frame in between them. Lots of room! Just get a longer rack is all…

Personally I would recommend a sit on top for good workouts. The Phoenix 14 or the Kestrel are great choices. I have the Scupper Pro TW which is plenty fast and allows me to get a great workout. also a Sit on Top would not be an identical boat to what you already have…Plenty of fast sleek ones out there…


If you want something different for your fleet, how about one of the lighter sit-on-top designs? Hurricane, Epic, and Current Designs all have nice-looking SOTs this year, and I’m sure there are others. It’d also make a fine guest boat.

Short knockaround boat -a different view
I have an 8’4" Necky Jive whitewater boat that fits inside my car. It weighs 45 pounds but you can throw it on your shoulder or wear it like a hat and it’s pretty easy to carry. You are not going to win any races paddling it on flat water but its fun to go out and see how fast you can make it go in a straight line. Paddle cadence as fast as you want and have the skill to make the boat track. If there are waves you can surf it. If it’s really choppy you can get some fun time on the water. Rocks or shells on the beach, no problem. Nice to have a boat for crappy surf and whitewater around, nice to have to explore streams etc while traveling. They are very cheap used, similar older whitewater boats would work.

Loon 111
Try Demoing a Oldtown “Loon 111”

I’m 5’11" and 220 and use this boat for just Fishing and kicking around in. My other is a Necky “Zoar Sport”…think you would be satisfied with the Loon for what you want to use it for?

Just get anything comfortable
For a simple day boat you can use anything. There are lots of rec boats for sale used as folks often try kayaking and either upgrade or abandon the sport.

Also small rec boats are available Bass Pro shops and Dicks and many other places starting at $300. Some walmarts even have them. In the store you can try it out enough to find something with a comfortable seat and a big enough cockpit.

solo canoe
idea is very good. Mine only weighs 42lbs in royalex and the composite ones weigh even less. Use a kayak paddle and get the footbraces installed and you can get a pretty good workout and stay dry as opposed to an SOT. I have a friend that paddles an Epic GT carbon SOT that is only 12’ long but it is pretty fast and great for workouts too. However, you may be too big for the smaller SOT’s that are well designed for just paddling. The larger SOT’s are designed for fishing and are pretty sluggish in my opinion. That’s why I thought the solo canoe option was a good one given your weight and height.

Either that, or get a trailer
I too keep a short, light, plastic kayak for when I don’t feel like dealing with transportation of longer boats. It also forces me to pay attention to my paddle stroke because it doesn’t like to go straight.

BUT another option would be to buy a trailer and haul any length/weight of kayak you want to on that. Lifting onto/off of a trailer is very easy. It depends on your workplace parking situation. Some of these trailers can be folded up for storage, so you don’t have to have extra parking space at your home.

At work now, have a swifty on my roof
I am at work right now, and have my swifty on my roof…

As far as easy to get off the car and into the water, as well as not an issue driving around town, its a great way to go.

Currently its my only boat, so its pretty simple, but when i bought it what you describe was one of my main buying points.