I’ve driven to ten different stores, done hours of research on the internet and I’ve come down to two choices for my first purchased new kayak. I’m 6’6", 270 pounds, size fifteen shoe. I was looking at the Carolina 16 or the Old Town AdventureXL 160. I can get a great deal on the Old Town ($800) or the normal deal on the Carolina (900ish). I’ve been out of this for a while and wanted to get an honest opinion on both boats. OPen water usage, nothing over class one on river, probably won’t be out for more than three days at a time. What is your vote and why? I don’t know much and need help.
you need to demo the boats first
If they won’t let you try before you buy then find somewhere else to buy. Otherwise you’d save money by finding a used one on the internet
the carolina would be a couple of inches narrower that the OT, thus faster. So that would be my pick. But I don’t know for sure as I’ve never seen the 160, only the 139.
You might find more room inside the 160, however…
Thanks for the info guys. I just got back into paddling and can’t believe how friendly everyone is. I ordered my new kayak today, hope to see some of you in the future
My husband and son have paddled both of them—and they always like the Carolina better. My son enjoys the responsivness of the Carolina and my husband just likes it. Sometimes you just like it better without a great deal of reasons!
As usual, we have poor advice about
demoing first. I’m 6’ 5" and 220 pounds. Even at this relatively mid-range avoirdupois, I have found it IMPOSSIBLE to demo boats because they usually require extensive MODIFICATIONS before I can get in them and be comfortable.
Also, usually one can gain only a very rough, and often unreliable, impression of a boat by the “demo” procedure.
I want to deliver a personal INSULT to all the people who keep giving out this stupid advice. I own over a dozen boats, NONE of them were purchased after demo, and nearly all have turned out to be excellent boats. Buy your boat based on reputation and specifications. Trying to demo boats is only going to waste a lot of time.
How much weight do you put on demo when buying a car, and how much on tests in CU, Road & Track, and Car & Driver? You are not smart enough to buy cars based on personal demo, and you aren’t smart enough to buy boats that way, either.
I was really glad I tested paddled the Carolina 14.5, I found it to be tippy, and did not feel very comfortable in it. I did in fact have my first wet exit. Exciting! Test paddling confirmed for me anyway, that I wanted something a little more stable.
So I purchased an Old Town XL160, so far I have had it out three times, once on the Hudson, and twice on the Rondout creek. It is very stable, not as fast as the Carolina, but for me thats not an issue. I like being able to stick my feet in the water and lounge. Also the cockpit in the XL160 is luxurious with enough space for a small dry bag between your feet, a gallon jug of water behind the seat along with my bilge pump, and paddle float. Also stable enough for me to access the rear hatch while on the water.
In my case I have been spoiled by the battleship-like stability of the Loon 160T I have been paddling solo. So for me the XL160 at 26.5 inches wide as opposed to 30.5 for the loon is just right.
I wouldn’t have bought my used Sawyer Summersong for the price the guy was asking if I hadn’t test paddled it first. Just looking at it and sitting in it didn’t pursuade me to pay his firm price. It was the pleasure of paddling it that sold me on the boat.
Some folks may not have the skills, time or money to custom fit boats like you do. Most folks can only afford to buy one or two boats or only have storage for one or two boats.
I envy your situation. I’ve been paddling for several years and didn’t have decent paddles until this year because all my money went to buying used boats when the opportunities arose. I have purchased boats site unseen and/or undemoed, but I had researched the specs and read as many reviews as I could find.
For you to scoff at the value of test paddling for beginning paddlers is completely irresponsible and a disservice to novice paddlers.
I have the Carolina 16.
Never paddled the OT so I can’t tell you about it.
I’m 6’5" 300# sz 12 feet. I have no problem getting in or out of the Carolina. It has plent of leg and foot room for me and the boat is very stable and comfortable to paddle for hours at a time. I’m not telling ya what boat to get, just my experiences with the Carolina 16.