New Kayaker

Hi all.

I’m a fairly experienced in a canoe, but am looking to get my first kayak for some solo trips.

I’m 6’2 and around 275 lbs. I’m looking for a sit on top kayak in the $400 - $600 price range. I know a good kayak will cost a bit more than that, but I’m a beginner and don’t want to make a heavy investment in my first kayak until I get a little more experience and see if I take to the sport.

I’ll be mostly on slow-moving rivers that have some shallow riffles that occasionally have a strong current. The rivers may also have some occasional obstacles such as downed trees and large rocks.

I’ve never run into any problems canoeing these rivers.

My intent is mostly recreational paddling & exploring, but may also do some fishing, and an occasional overnight weekend trips.

There are also some small to moderately sized lakes nearby and I plan to explore those as well.

I’ve done some initial reading and looking around and have narrowed down my choices to three kayaks and wondered if anyone can give me any advice or share any knowledge you have on these.

  1. Ascend FS12T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak
  2. Field & Stream Eagle Talon Kayak
  3. Perception Sport Caster Angler Kayak

    All three look good and have features that I like.

    The Ascend has a 350 lb rated capacity. I like the placement of the cup holder and dry box on the Ascend, and it looks like it has the most capacity for storage. I actually like this one the best, but although I travel pretty light, I’m not sure the 350 lb capacity is going to work.

    The Eagle Talon has a 400 lb rated capacity, looks like it has good leg support and looks like it has drain holes at the feet. The ‘screw-top hatch’ has a mesh bag, so it’s really not a dry box. Looks like it has plenty of storage in the bow hatch. I also don’t like being limited to yellow for the color. I’m also wondering if there’s a reason it’s $100 less than the other two.

    The Perception has a 400 lb rated capacity. The cockpit looks like it has a deep ‘well’ where your feet go and I don’t see any drain plugs there, so it looks like my feet would be sitting in two or three inches of water most of the time. I like everything else about this one, though. It has two dry boxes and a pretty fair bow hatch - a bit smaller than the other two, but as I said, I’m not planning any extended trips so I travel fairly light. The kayak itself is also about 10 lbs lighter than the other two, so I’m wondering about the durability.

    So, what are your thoughts? Any opinions or advice would be welcome. Feel free to also chime in on recommendations for paddles or any other gear I might need.

If you do not have much money
Look for used Ocean Kayak Frenzy or Scramblers.

Very tested, seaworthy and rugged kayaks, that will work fine for what you want to do.

Capacity Ratings
I think you’ll be happier with something with a much higher rating like a used wilderness systems ride or a cobra fish and dive.

The maximum rating on a kayak is much higher than the weight with which it will paddle well.

Keep looking for something used that is very wide like the ride or in the 14 foot or more range. For $600 you could find a Tarpon 160 that would paddle very well for your weight plus gear.