Newbie: advice

Hi there,

I want to buy a kayak that will mostly be used on lake or calm rivers, either for short periods or for

2-3 days camping expeditions. I dont expect to use it much on the sea or on big rivers.

About me: 5’11’’, 190 lbs

I would like something that is not to difficult to carry and store, and that can be transported on a mazda3 or civic.

Budget: 500 - 1000 $

In store, I saw the Strait 120 XE and the Strait 140 XE, the manitou 13, the tarpon 140 (a bit more pricy) which all look to fit with my needs.

I’ve also scanned some local ads for used kayaks:

  • “Pelican Strait 140” for 500 $ (cdn)
  • Edge riot 11 for 1100 $ (cdn)
  • Excel R5 for 500 $

    Any recommendations ?

not the R5
The R5 is a hybrid for light touring and whitewater – like most hybrids it only does a fair job of either one. No storage or bulkheads – you would need flotation bags.

The Pelican Strait 140 is the same as the Elie Strait 140 - Elie is a division of Pelican. The Edge Riot looks like a decent boat but the price is not all that great for a used boat and it’s a little small for somebody your size. In fact, REI is selling the Edge 14.5 with a rudder new for $800 right now. That would be a nice boat but it’s about 10 lbs heavier than the others.

Your best choice, given your needs. would be the Pelican/Elie Strait if you can still get it – that’s a good deal for that boat (unless it’s trash) and it won’t be available for long at that price.

140 vs 140XE ?
is the Strait 140 an older version of the current 140 XE ?

$1100 CDN for the used Riot Edge 11

– Last Updated: Jul-04-14 7:46 AM EST –

is way too much, unless it is in thermoformed plastic (there are some) or carbon fibre (ditto) and/or comes with a bunch of other stuff (good paddle, spray skirt, pfd). The last couple of years it has been possible to buy rotomolded Edge 11s new for 600-700 CAD before tax (here in QC anyway). You might also consider the Riot Edge 13 as a better alternative to the Manitou 13.
I have an Edge 11 BTW, It is a nice boat, easy to transport and store, but I'm not sure I'd want to camp out of it, as the storage space is quite limited relative to the other boats you mention.

Riot Edge 13
I’ve seen a barely used (has been 3 times on the water) Riot Edge 13 for 800 $. Is that a decent deal ? (couldnt find a local store selling it new)

The Manitou 13 $ is around 950 $

New, around here, you can buy a new
Edge 13 for $850 + 15% tax. You would probably also get some other discount, like ~ 15% of the value towards a paddle and other equipment.

Therefore at $800, the second-hand Riot 13 is not really a GREAT deal, unless additional equipment is being included. If it is, then then $800 for a nearly new boat is pretty good. You might also be able to shave a little off the price.

what about the 120XE vs 140 XE ?
What’s your opinion on the strait XE kayaks if you know them ?

I’ve seen read good reviews for both the 140XE and the 120XE. It looks like the 120XE is usually chosen by women (?), is more responsive as you would expect from a smaller length boat, but there is not a huge sacrifice in terms of performance.

The weight difference is also not that huge: 47 vs 55 lbs. I would mainly loose in terms of storage capacity I guess.

Do you always recommand to go with the bigger length ?

I have never paddled either Strait boat,
like you I’ve heard good things about them, but also comments about their robustness. If you are serious about camping, then the 14ft boat is obviously the best of the two; it will carry more and paddle faster. That said, it’s better to pick the boat that best fits the paddling you will most often do. If like me your free time and storage space are very limited, then a shorter boat for shorter trips on smaller water, may be preferable.

In any case, it is better to paddle than to agonize about what boat to buy. No boat is perfect; The used Pelican Strait is at a good price, it is surely worth checking out. If you don’t like it, then you’ll be able to sell it on at a similar price…

basic principles
Basic principle with kayaks is longer and narrower is faster and handles rough water better, also easier to keep padding straight at constant velocity. Shorter kayaks have to be wider to give you enough displacement. And since you talk about multi-day trips you will want the storage capacity they offer in front and rear hatches. For a guy your average size a touring boat ought to be MINIMUM 14 feet and 15 to 17 would be more the norm. Whitewater kayaks are short and have more rocker (curvature) in the keel so they turn quickly. This makes them not so good at tracking – the hybrid boat would have that problem. If you haul a lot of gear camping a short boat with less displacement will change the boat’s performance noticably. Women sometimes pick shorter boats because they have lower volume for their lighter weight. I’m an average sized female but prefer longer boats (nothing under 14) because I can get a narrower one and prefer that performance and ease of paddling they give.

Fit is important too – you need to sit in any boat before you buy it. If you have large feet (11 and up) or a longer inseam some boats don’t have comfortable fit under the deck. Heavy muscular thighs can be a fit issue in some models too.

You don’t mention where you live. A 14 to 17 foot boat with a standard cockpit (around 34" x 19") and bulkheads you could use in any flatwater river, the Great Lakes and even the seacoast. Much more versatile than a short boat. If you look at weights, many longer boats are not that much heavier, and are sometimes lighter than short ones. Same amount of plastic, just stretched out. Even I, a 145 lb “old lady” can solo carry and load a 50 lb kayak, and have tackled 65 lb ones (though not without a lot of swearing). You’ll have no trouble.

wish I could report experience with the Elies, I’ve been intrigued by the 140XE and have heard good reports on them (have you looked at the user reviews on here?) They don’t sell the Straits down here south of the border under the Pelican name (they are a Canadian company). I would suspect the outfitting might not be as good with the ones under the Pelican marque. Might be a discount version, like the Perception Sport models are down here, cheapened versions of the standard Perception models with crappier seats and less features.

Would be worth going to a kayak dealer and talking to them about products and what to look for. There are legitimate dealers all over Canada (I mean independent wilderness sports and kayaking specialists, not the generic big box sporting goods stores.) Most don’t mind at all if you browse and ask questions, even if you don’t end up buying a boat from them first time out. Some even have a demo program where you can test various models on the water.

The Pelican Strait pre-dates
the Elie brand name. For a short while (one season?)Pelican sold an “Elite” series that rapidly morphed into the Elie line. The hull for the Pelican Strait is probably identical to the later model, though the outfiting may be slightly different.

pak raft
inflatables and kayaks an internal folding/separable structure are useful. Not for sticky waters or alligator infested swamps n bottom lands but useful.

Pak rafting where the raft…raft as a paddled kayak shape…is backpacked into the put in then floated to take out. Links in the trips forum.

Adventure as who else would be there ?

In fact the difference between 47 lbs and 55 lbs is quite significant when it comes to loading and unloading the kayak on your car. But perhaps if you’re strong you won’t mind the weight of the 14 footer.

You should call the manufacturer and ask the weight of the 120 and the 140 with and without the rudder. The weights at their website make no sense at all.

Normally a 12’ kayak shouldn’t need a rudder, and many 14 footers don’t need one. The rudder adds weight, usually about 3 lbs. The reviews aren’t detailed enough to tell whether these kayaks need the rudder.

Advantages of the Elie Straights: stiff material and excellent seat.

Be aware that many reviews mention leaking hatches, so get yourself some drybags.