On cusp of purchasing a P&H Icefloe

'Evening All:

I own an older Necky Looksha Sport RM. I love it but I feel it’s time to change it up a bit. I’ve been surfing the internet and have “test driven” different used boats throughtout the summer. Financial constraints limit my choices. While I have not yet tested it there’s a reasonasbly priced used P&H Icefloe. I know it’s an old design but has it stood the test of time? I am a day-paddler (would love to overnight but can’t since embarrassingly, I’m told I snore VERY loudly!)who can edge a boat and am trying to learn to roll. I paddle along the shores of LAke Erie and Huron and a small inland lake nearby. I’m 5’11" and weigh about 185.

Any thoughts?


makes great boats. However based on what I read here


Its probably best as an expedition boat due to its volume, otherwise it needs ballast, which would have to be secured to be safe. I guess I’d be certain this is really something that fits your needs. Otherwise it might be better to wait and save some more $$. It does not sound like the kind of kayak I would want (way too wide for me), but I am not you.

It may not be the easiest boat to roll at 24 inches, but I’m sure it can be done.

Many Choices
You are the target size paddler for most sea kayaks. There are many used boats always available. For your stated uses, a ‘day boat’ might be a better choice than the Ice Floe.

You might look for and try such boats as: Romany, Avocet, Tempest 165, Chatham 16, Meridian Sk/S, etc…

If it is a good deal
and the boat is in good shape, buy it and paddle it. Sell it later if you do not like it.

2nd that

– Last Updated: Sep-15-11 7:21 AM EST –

If primarily doing day paddles, purchase a boat that is designed for paddler around your weight + limited kit.
It would be helpful if you mentioned how much money you have available for the boat - people will be able to make better suggestions. Also, are you interested in a composite hull or will plastic boat satisfy your needs?

Regarding tripping - you need to find other paddlers that snore, your problem will be solved :)

Edit- just read reviews. You'd better spend money on something else. If camping folks say it can swallow a lot of gear, it is way too big to paddle unloaded. Take heed to statements about requirement for ballast when empty. If DH calls it expedition boat, it has to be big.

How much are they asking?
I figure you’d need to get your money back out of it at some point given your constraints. It’d have to be quite low, perhaps lower than reasonably priced in the seller’s eye, for you to be able to do that. If you mention its price and condition here you could get some feedback on that.

FWIW, willowleaf and some others have been outstanding at spotting good deals in various areas on sources like Craigs List. This is also near the time that outfitters may be selling off some of their rental/demo boats, if you are within driving distance of a good place.

how much?
Supposedly Derek didn’t even like the Ice Flow, something about the integrated skeg causing it to lee cock?

If it’s around $500 and you like the way it paddles I would say ok, but it’s an old design that wasn’t very popular. You’re better off with an Orion, similar boat and many available used.

Saw pictures of an Iceflow on CL
in Lauderdale about 6 months ago. It was clean, in good shape and the seller was only asking $325…it still didn’t sell as the reviews made it sound SLOW, though it was a high quality kayak when it was made.

Hard to beat that price but the thing hung around on CL for months.

Try the kayak…if you like it, you can’t lose. For a little more money, you can probably find a boat you like even more.

Built for comfort…
Derek Hutchinson’s boats of that era (I’m thinking especially of the Umnak and Icefloe) always struck me as barge like: cargo carriers designed for comfort and to be “reassuring” when the conditions got tough.

To me (small, wanting a bit of responsiveness) they were all seriously barge-like: about as far from my beloved Anas Acuta as one could get… and not a patch on the Nordkapp.

Decades later… I’d suggest that the Valley approach has won out: at the top end of the market we’ve a choice of responsive sea kayaks that are great fun for rock-hopping, exploring shorelines and playing in tide races / surf… and all are about as far removed from the Icefloe as it’s possible to get.

Depends what you want, really :slight_smile:

I owned an Icefloe about 20 years ago that I bought after taking a class from Derek

I agree that it was built to carry a lot of gear and handled better with ballast Dereks sea canoeing book even mentioned adding ballast to it for stability in filming

It was very sturdy but unless a great price you can find old British kayaks with skegs that may be more suitable for you

Cusp of Icefloe purchase continued
Thank you one and all for VERY helpful input. Based on the overall advice, I walked away from the Icefloe. Just by the by, I tested a demo IMPEX Outer Island earlier today. Exaclty what I’m looking for so I bought it (end of season and fair price). Thanks again to everyone!

a much better choice
I think you’ll like that much better than the Icebarge.