Newbie looking for input

I’ve never sat in a kayak. I’ve been in canoes a few times. I’m not a hardcore outdoorsman, but kayaking is something I’ve been wanting to try out.

Problems I usually run into:

I’m tall - 6’4", 35" inseam

I’m big - 300# (built more like a football player).

I’m a strong swimmer with no problems in the water.

That being said, I would like some input on an appropriate kayak to try out. I am NOT looking for whitewater excursions. Mostly slow moving rivers and small lakes/reservoirs, sight seeing.

The little bit of research I’ve done so far points me towards a 11-12’ boat with a 300-350# capacity.

I live in central Wyoming. Is there somebody that has rentals in this area? Clubs/groups?

Sierra Trading Post

– Last Updated: Feb-13-14 10:40 PM EST –

Sit on tops(SOT) are great big guy kayaks. The Tarpon 160 may fit the bill. Sierra Trading Post is located in Cheyenne Wy. They typically ship kayaks cross country for ~$100. This place maybe a pickup option for you.

sit-in vs sit-on?
whats the difference in purpose/benefit between a sit-in and sit-on?

Check an article in California Kayaker Magazine on different types of kayaks (SOOT vs SINK vs Rec vs whitewater, etc.). Starts on page 6 of the Spring 2013 issue (#10). Can be read for free online at

Here’s one that will fit ya.
Take a look at the Current Designs Isle at It’s bigger than what you are asking about, but also more appropriate to your size.

Check out the Eddyline Fathom, full size. It’s a bigger guy kayak.

More on that idea
Magooch is on the right track. Most boats are not much fun to paddle when carrying something close to their maximum rated load. The maximum rated load is usually pretty generous, meaning it’s a load that’s not really unsafe, but a long way past that which allows the boat to handle reasonably well. You will probably enjoy paddling much more in a boat that carries you without being so close to its rated maximum.

Sit-on might be more what I’m looking at
Excellent write up in that magazine. Thanks for the tip on that, Peter-CA. The stability and maneuverability of a SOT might be more fun for what I’m wanting to do. Also sounds like a SOT is easier for a wookie (ahem Rookie) to get back on, and less likely to sink it. I found a Jackson Daytripper 12ft locally on Craigslist that’s in the price range to let me experiment this summer, so might try that before investing in a higher end boat.

Thanks for all of the excellent input everyone.

One thing worth considering -
- and as I’ve said before, I haven’t much experience with a lot of different kayaks - but it occurs to me one would want a little room to grow. That is, while you want to start with a boat that fits your current capabilities, you also want a boat that will fit your needs as you transition from rank newbie to novice to intermediate paddler. I have literally zero experience with SOT’s (I’ve not even seen one in the water), but I have been given the impression that the entire class is entry level.

Speaking only for myself, I can’t afford a new boat every year, nor every stage of my growth. When I bought my first kayak I purchased slightly better than I was ready for. I’m now ready to move up to another boat (not likely to have the cash anytime soon), but the one I bought four years ago has been good for a lot of growth. I would be concerned that a truly entry level kayak would only last you a season before you outgrew it.

best way to get the “hang of it” is to
take a few lessons(usually group lessons). No better way to find out what size boat you like than to develop a few skills while trying out different size kayaks…over a couple days, and then simply do the rental-thing for a little while. Think you’ll find out what you like before purchasing.

I’ve been out of the loop in the kayaking world, but ~14’+ used to be for weights up to ~200(skilled paddler), while you’d like a higher volume boat ~16’+…$.01