Novice looking for a kayak

I am wanting to get into kayaking and I’m not sure what type to get. I have a honda fit, so I will need something that I can fit in my car. My dog will also be my passenger, so I need something with room for him(50 lb dog.) I live in central/west TX and will be in calm water and doing some camping on the weekends.

“In” yer Honda Fit?
Or “on” yer Honda Fit? Not much yer kin git in yer car exceptin’ a rubber boat. Now “on” yer Fit, well dats somethang else…

Fat Elmo

On or in
In would be better considering that I’m only 5’4 and will be by myself most of the time. I’m not looking to drop $1000 on a kayak though.

You are probably outta luck…
…if I read you correctly, you want a kayak that will fit inside your Fit and allow for carrying a 50 lb dog.

First you will likely want a kayak that’s 12 feet or more in length. You are going to need to rooftop it.

Also I wouldn’t want to try to squeeze a dog into a sit inside kayak. Consider a sit-on-top. There are plenty of choices but unless you find something used, you will be breaking your budget by the time you buy the boat, gear, and a rooftop rack system.

Additionally a SOT kayak will probably be rather heavy for getting up and into a rooftop rack.

Fit is 13.3 feet long

– Last Updated: Aug-09-14 8:29 PM EST –

That's the exterior length. The Honda website claims with the back and front passenger seat down, you can carry gear up to 7 feet 9 inches long inside the vehicle (with the hatch closed).

Now, you might be able to fit a longer kayak inside by dropping the front passenger and both back seats and setting the kayak at an angle. You would have to secure the kayak inside as well as securing the hatch so that it didn't pop open. And attach a red flag to the end of the kayak sticking out. But there would be no room for the dog.

As noted, your only real option is to car top it. The Fit is not a tall car, so that's in your favor.

canoe would work better
a 50 lb dog is quite a load for a short kayak. You would have little or no room for camping gear. A solo or pack canoe would be a better choice for everything you are describing you want to do. A 12’pack canoe will be half the weight of most sit on top kayaks too. Longer boats are also easier to load on a roof rack than short wide ones. I’m a 5’ 5" 64 year old woman and i manage to load 15 to 18’ kayaks on my Subaru, so you will be able to handle it.

Roof racks, kayaks, and big dogs

– Last Updated: Aug-09-14 9:59 PM EST –

Here are a few thoughts.

Good roof racks are pricey, but they are the only decent way to carry a hard-shelled boat. Loading boats on a roof rack won't be that hard, especially with a car like yours. Not only is the car roof fairly low, but it should be easy to slide the boat up onto the rack from the rear, which eliminates any need to lift the full weight of the boat any higher than your hips. You can just tilt one end onto the rear rack (or a rubber-backed bath mat placed on the car just behind the rear rack), set the low end down on the ground, pick up the low end, and push the boat up there. When lifting up around rooftop height, you'll only be lifting a tiny fraction of the boat's weight. There are other easy-load methods too which are more suited to mounting the boat on saddles or J-hooks (you can cross that bridge when you get to it, so I won't write anymore about easy loading).

You need a boat that's much bigger than anything that would reasonably fit in the car, with one end sticking out the hatch. You'll tire of that carrying method quickly, such as when you end up driving to or from your destination in the rain. It's really common for beginners to see the more versatile "short" boats (12 or 13 feet) as bigger than they need. With experience, you'll see why a 12- or 13-foot boat is just about as short as you can reasonably go and still expect to carry gear for an overnight.

The dog complicates matters even more. Check out this discussion...
...and the response by pblanc about kayaks and dogs. 50 pounds is a lot of dog to put in anything except a big tandem kayak (or a canoe, as suggested in that other discussion). Like a lot of folks, you may decide that bringing Pooch along just isn't going to work out, since it doesn't sound like you'd be too fond of the kind of boat you'd need to bring the dog comfortably. Actually, I partially retract that statement, because as pointed out in the reply above, pack canoes have a lot more doggy room. However, trim (front-to-rear weight distribution) will be a real problem with the dog along since pack canoes don't have seats that can be moved a great distance for load balancing. On a camping trip that won't matter as much, as you can put all your packs as far behind you as necessary to counterbalance the weight of the dog in front of you, so the seat need not be moved. A 12- or 13-foot pack canoe is actually even lighter than described in the previous reply (they are actually less than half the weight of "most" standard kayaks, let alone those super-heavy sit-on-tops), but they aren't cheap when bought new, and probably hard to come by on the used market in Texas. A regular solo canoe might be a lot easier to find, but depending on the hull material, may be a lot or just a little lighter than "most" kayaks.

Solo canoes are not preferred by very many newbies, and are at a disadvantage in wind. Nowadays people grow into solo canoes more often than start out in them.