OK, then what would be the perfect kayak?

Suppose you live in Denver or Grand Junction and, every year, you like to take a trip down one of three sections of river; the Green River from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom, the Green from Mineral Bottom to Spanish Bottom or the Colorado from Potash to Spanish Bottom.
Further suppose you are paddling solo.
A good argument could be made for a solo canoe, but keeping a solo canoe going straight with a canoe paddle can take a lot of concentration and, if you are going to use a kayak paddle, you figure you might as well use a kayak. Or, maybe you’re just a kayak type person.
Here are the requirements.
I usually take a relaxing five days in a canoe, but a kayak is faster, so lets say four days.
There is a joke about rivers like the Green and Colorado. Too thick to drink, too thin to plow.
So you need to carry all the water that you’ll need for four days, in addition to four days worth of food and fuel, and all your camping and paddling gear.
So, you need a kayak that can carry a substantial weight. Without going into the complexities of hull shape, there are two basic ways to increase the carrying capacity of a boat. Make it longer or make it wider. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
Probably the ideal kayak would be a compromise of the two. Not too long and not too fat.
You are going to have to get in and out of your boat fairly frequently, to explore side canyons and Anasazi ruins and petroglyphs. So do you want a fairly large cockpit opening? You might have to paddle up some of those side canyons too. It’s hot and dry, so you want easy access to fluids.
So, what boats would you consider? How long? How wide? Rudder or no rudder? Skeg or no skeg? How big a cockpit opening? etc.

So you know what the rivers are like.

We all need hobbies. If you can afford the money and space to collect kayaks and not use them, more power to you. It doesn’t really matter what kind you get.

You do not need a large cockpit opening in a boat to be able to hop in and out of it for breaks etc. That is a personal problem you apparently need to work around. But it is not a universal criteria.

Keeping a boat going straight is a matter of paddling skill. The paddler can choose to acquire the skill set or be limited in their options. Single or double blade is just picking the right tool.

There is no perfect boat for all potential uses. There are boats that are an acceptable compromise in each. What constitutes an acceptable compromise is something a person has to figure out for themselves.


Don’t forget the “groover.” Required by regulation on the Green, if I’m not mistaken - and something that doesn’t fit so easily in many kayaks. So if learning to paddle a canoe straight is too much hassle, don’t forget to bring along a canoeist with a boat to haul a groover for you. Or maybe a little rubber raft to drag behind you.

Perfection in anything is a very personalized mental construct. The perfect kayak exists in the imagination only. Reality will always have its drawbacks. Sorry 'bout that. I didn’t make the material world. I just try to live in it.
PS: I’m not a kayaker but I’ve known several who used a Pungo for kayak camping and they seemed to work out pretty well. As a word of encouragement, I think you could find many worse kayaks for use on those locations.

It’s on the shelf next to all the other perfect toys. The shelf is empty.

The perfect one is the one you’re actually paddling.