New Guy advice

Looking at 1st kayak purchase - Im a big dude, 6’3" 310lbs. Looked at a couple of Wilderness Systems boats - a 135T and a 160T. I like the tandems as I want to take my 5 yr old with me sometimes…I sat in some and liked the roominess of the 135T

Usage will be calm water Northwest CT lakes and rivers. Just looking for a fun way to get out on the water and a new hobby.

Any experience with these? especially operating them solo. Other reccomendations? good local dealers? Im in the Danbury CT area.


The problem is that you only want to take you child out “sometimes”. The rest of the time you’re going to be to working a lot harder than you need to be, trying to work that tandem kayak around by yourself.

I’d get a single kayak for you, and maybe something like a cheap sit-on-top with enough room to take your kid out. (Or the dog, a cooler of beer, whatever…)

Just my tuppence, of course.


American Terraine
of White Plains , NY is having a boat demo this coming wkend in Mamaroneck NY , a chance for you to actually try some boats on the water Which IS the best way to form an opinion afore buying . There’s also the Little Boats Shop in CT. , I think they are listed in the outfitters directory on this site , they will let ya demo boats at their on water site . Welcome - be safe -M

stated, a tandem will make ya work harder. If your child is only 5 I think you can get away with a single seat Wildreness and let the 5 yr old sit on a cudshion on the floor. Most Wildy cockpits are large enough to do this. Then as your kid grows he/she may get to paddle this boat with you in a new 1.

I would go with a Pungo or Loon 138
A single will be much easier to paddle as others have said. My 8 yo daughter can sit in front of me in my Loon 138. The Pungo 140 will do the same. Old Town makes a jump seat for the Loon so your kid can have a nice seat.

Also check out the Adventure XL-139
I weigh 270 and started kayaking in the Old Town Adventure XL-139. It is a rec kayak, with more sea kayak styling. It also has front and rear bulkheads and hatches for dry storage and flotation. It is available with or without a rudder. Mine did not have a rudder, and I never needed one. It tracks well, and turns easily.

It is 13-9" long, by 28" wide. “I Think” capacity is 350 Lb, or so. You can confirm that on the Old Town Web Page.

The Loon 138 might also be an additional choice, but it does not have any bulkheads or hatches, so you will need to put flotation bags in the bow and stern to keep the kayak safer and afloat well enough to be easier to get back in should you spill over.

But depending on the size of the 5 year old, a Tandem might be better.

Happy Paddling!

Welcome to paddling with kids
I have been taking my grandson paddling with me since he was a toddler sitting between my legs. Last summer at four years old it was getting to be a rather tight fit. I bought him a 12 foot Percection Carolina. He is now five years old and paddling it himself on small lakes and slow rivers. We always have a least two adult paddlers along to paddle next to him. He does well on short trips. On a longer 18mi. trip this spring his mother had to tow him for awhile. Met another couple last weekend with five and eight year old daughters paddling their own child size kayaks.

In answer to your question

– Last Updated: Jun-09-05 1:25 PM EST –

Candlewood, I have a 135T and love it. I am not your size (5'9 and 150 lbs.). I paddle with my wife and not a child so maybe the overall weights are a little closer.

It is stable, fast for a rec boat, and tracks well. The front seat moves back so you can paddle solo. The only problem I had paddling solo was that I couldn't bring the back foot rests forward enough and vice versa for the front ones so I didn't use them in a solo capacity.

I did this until I bought my solo this year. My feeling is that tandems, no matter how much you like them, are not optimally designed for solo paddling.

We just sold ours
My wife and I had a Pamlico 145T for five years. Just traded it in on 2 single boats. I often used it single on lakes for fishing. Just pull the front seat back, reposition the foot pegs, and it becomes a very roomy single with lots of gear room. Handling it as a single was very easy, though not the best tracking on windy days. It also weighed in at 65lbs and getting it on and off my SUV was awkward until I invested a Thule rack with a roller. If you buy the Pamlico you wont dissapointed.

My dealer
I don’t know how far your willing to travel, but I purchased my original boat from Matt’s Sporting Goods in Havestraw, NY. He is taking my boat in trade-in in a few weeks so he might have the used on for sale, if he didn’t already sell it. If you want to test paddle a tandem Pamlico, Paradise Boat rental in Piermont NY has them. You can paddle from Sparkill Creek, to the Hudson and the Piermont and Sneedens Landing marshes

big guy with kid
I don’t want to freak you out but PLEASE think paddling with a kid in your lap over hard. Two years ago a man drowned after he and his nephew capzised on totally flat waters. Big guy had unzipped his PFD so nephew could sit closer and not interfere with paddle stoke as much. Big guy got kid back in boat but after a lot of effort and his PFD had slid off and he couldn’t keep afloat. nephew watched his uncle go under. Sad thing is every weekend I see adults with kids on their laps not wearing a pfd and I guess it’s to allow more room for kid and to stay cooler. (Every parent knows kid’s are little furnaces on your lap) So for godsake get a tandem. The advice about testing out boats at the demo’s are the best you’ll ever get since you need to be sure you can get in and out and sit upright if you have a spare tire around your waist. I really hope you follow through and get a kayak since paddling is easier on the joints for big guys/gals. Just be smart about it.

You should be fairly close to Collinsville Canoe & Kayak.

One of their three big demo/sale weekends is coming up next week, June 25 and 26. Check the Calendar of Events. I’ve never been to the summer show, but the spring and fall shows attract lots of folks, so I would expect it to be busy next week as well. Get there early.


Devil’s Advocate
I’ll play Devil’s Advocate and go contrary to most of the advice above. I think you’re on the right track. I have an Ocean Kayak Malibu II that I can paddle solo no problem. In a rescue assist, I’ve even given a ride to a full grown adult while staying in the center paddle seat and handled it solo even with the extra weight.

One tandem I looked at buying before being given the Malibu II was the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145 tandem version. It has a sliding seat that allows you to adjust the seating positions. In a short on-water demo, I found it to be an easy paddling boat whether solo, with a small front occupant, or with a full-grown one, just by adjusting seat positions.

My best advice is to read everything folks tell you, then make up your own mind based on what sticks. All the advice is well-intentioned, but not all will apply equally well to your situation.

  • Big D

I paddle a pamlico lite
somone is selling one used for abot a grand on a bargain. Get a cart to move the boat unless you are wicked strong the thing will be heavy and tandem wil tend to be except a pokeboat tandem.

at 360 pounds a pamlico, even the hugest plastic model, is is as full as you want to get it. Putting 360 in a pungo no way get the tandem seat, put your child way in front if they can behave, with you closer to the center, I’m sure you would have fun in a old town. Until you can trust your kid to swim (and or not to jump in)put off the sit-on-top

As to the pfd, wear yours like yo want your chile to wear hers. My daughter and I put ours on before the boat goes into the water.

I have weighed as much as 235 and with my 50 pound daughter the pamlico has been a joy for us.