Newbie at 222 lbs looking at Manitous

I’m looking at getting into recreational kayaking… mostly lakes, maybe some gentle rives that occasionally get fast… nothing much in the way of rapids, though. I’ve been looking at the WS Pungo, Perception Acadia and Prodigy 12, Dagger Element 11.2 and Blackwater 12, and Necky Manitou 13 and Manitou Sport.

I’ve pretty much ruled out the Pungo and Perception kayaks. I don’t care for the larger cockpits for starters. After trying the Manitou 13, I definitely prefer a kayak you “wear” versus on you just sit in. I haven’t had a chance to try the Manitou Sport since my outdoor store won’t be getting them in until next week. I haven’t tried the Dagger ones yet since the other store where they are is a little hesitant about letting folks try things out in their pond at any time other than their annual demo day. That and the Dagger ones look a little on the flimsy side.

I really liked the Manitou 13 and will be going back to try it again when I can compare it to the Manitou Sport… which I think would fit me better in terms of transportation considerations, storage considerations, and budget.

The thing that has me a bit concerned is Necky’s reluctance to publish their load capacities. I’m about 222 lbs… higher on days I haven’t drank a lot of water, lower on days I have and when I’ve been more consistent with getting out on my bike. My weight is going down, but obviously it won’t be anything like 190 in the near future.

The Manitou 13 seemed comfortable enough… it was lower in the water than the Acadia, but I didn’t feel like I was sinking it.

Does anyone have any experience with the Manitou 13/Sport kayaks with heavier paddlers plus gear? The girl at the outdoor store ran some numbers and said her estimate was the capacity was probably around 300 lbs. based on its dimensions, weight, etc. Another one said her father was 250 lbs. and about 6’2" (I’m only 6’) and she said he was great in the Sport.

I don’t figure I’ll really be doing any day trips that would require a lot of gear other than camera, lunch, and odds and ends like a rain jacket and all. If I was ever doing a longer trip, it’d be in a rental canoe since I’d be with my wife. Still, I’d like to have SOME idea of how my weight fits into the overall capacity of the Manitou 13 and Manitou Sport.

Any ideas?

Most Rec Tourers
have anywhere excess volume to handle anywhere from 50-100 lbs over a paddler of 200 lbs. You are well within that for a daytripper.

Having said that, if you are not in a rush, you should go demo again the 13 and the sport. You want to be sure that you’re happy with that purchase if you are buying new.

My peference is generally to get the volume most suited to my general paddling as opposed to getting a higher volume boat intended for a big load that I may not carry except for maybe once a year.


Manitou Sport
I used to have a 'Sport and sold it late last summer. At the time I had it, I was 220 lbs. It handled my weight and some extra gear, no problem, plenty stable.

My thoughts…
Here are some thoughts…I’ve test paddled most of the boats you are looking at.

Necky - The Manitou Sport cockpit is more open and roomy then the Manitou 13, you don’t wear the boat as much. That being said it s a comfortable and roomy boat, comfortable seat. Personally I don’t care for the hatch cover design, the neoprene cover is VERY hard to get on, especially from inside the cockpit. Also no one makes a neoprene sprayskirt for the Manitour Sport cockpit.

Dagger Blackwater - Nice boat, comfy seat, good hatches. Liked the feel of the cock bit, but again a bit open. Didn’t like how the boat handled, did not carve through the water like the Necky’s, flatter rounder hull on this boat was more barge like. Did have great secondary stability though! Didn’t test out the Element, ruled it out early on. Also the daggers did not seem to be built with the same quality as the Necky or Wilderness Systems.

I’d recommend that you also look at the Wilderness Systems Tsunami line. Their cockpits are more like what you are looking for, you wear the boat, and they have real actual thigh braces that are adjustable. The seat is very comfy and very adjustable. Nice foot braces, great dry hatches, and the bonus is that they hall have hatches and bulk heads fore and aft. At 5’10" 160lbs I have a Tsunami 120. For your size I’d say you should look at the 125 or the 145. The 145 is not much longer then the Manitou 13. The Tsunamis are great boats, they have very good tacking, and their hull design provides awesome secondary stability for maneuverability. As a newbie I feel very comfortable and confident in this boat. Here’s a link to WS website for the Tsunamis

Like you I wanted a good comfortable boat for similar paddling environments. But I didn’t like the big wide open rec boat cockpits, I wanted something that I could wear and control more. I also wanted a neoprene sprayskirt, and most of the rec boats out there have cockpits too large for them. The Tsunamis all have a cockpit that will take a neoprene skirt. Also my 2 cents, I wouldn’t buy from a dealer who won’t let you test paddle. If they don’t want me to try their boats then they aren’t interested in earning my business.

Keep trying them out till you find the best fit for you. Good Luck!!

Manitou Sport cockpit
The cockpit of the Manitou Sport is way too large if you want to wear your boat! The Manitou 14 is a very nice boat and should carry your weight - you may want to put it to your list to check out. Front and rear bulkheads and hatches, drop skeg, great deck rigging, thigh braces, and comfy seat.

Thanks for the feedback to all that replied. I will be trying out the Sport when my outdoor store gets them in stock. Since they’ll let you take several out at a time, I’ll be taking the regular Manitou out for a spin again as well. I want to compare the two and I want my wife to get the chance to try them out as well. Since she has wider hips than I do, I’d want to make sure she’d be able to use the Manitou if I decided on that one. If the Manitou Sport is more comfortable for her, and I like it well enough, I’ll probably opt for that one.

I might go to the other store that has the Blackwater and try it just for the sake of trying it, but from what I’ve read and seen of it, it’s not likely to be a contender against the Neckys.

Thanks again for the responses. Between these ones and some feedback I got from REI, I feel confident that either of the two would work, provided my wife and I both agree on them. Of course, this is largely my purchase… but I want her to be able to use it as well if she was inclined to do so.

Just consider the Tsunami…
I think it’s closer to what you might be looking for.

I totally agree
like I said in my first post the Tsunami is an awesome boat, and lots of great features. I started out looking at the Manitou Sport, and darn near bought one until someone turned me on to the Tsunami. I didn’t think I’d want a 12’ boat, but I’m soooooooooooo happy I chose to give the Tsunami 120 a chance. I’m very happy with it so far, and have had it on small lakes as well as a narrow, brush and deadfall choked, windy creek.

Looking forward and a lot of happy paddling in it!