Opinions Solicited

My wife was interested in getting a kayak to use on a variety of water. Some tight, twisty streams that contain strainers or river blocking log jams. Also, class 1-2 rapids, sometimes shallow and rocky. Also some lake paddling.

I paddle a canoe and cannot help her too much with boat selection, but she would prefer to use a kayak. She has used a Victory Blast, OT Loon and a Dagger GT 7.8 on WW in the past.

She is 5’-10" about 155. I believe she is looking for somthing that can carry overnight gear too.

Can anyone suggest some boats that might work? Are rec boats strong enough to paddle class 1-2, or do foam supports need to be added to boat? Thanks for any help.

One idea…

– Last Updated: Sep-13-06 4:54 PM EST –

I use my 14' SOT (WS Tarpon) for fairly tight and twisty creeks (as well as larger creeks and lakes) and it works well for me. It's a fairly heavy poly boat (about 60 lbs) so it takes licks from logs, stumps and rocks without any ill effects. It's flat bottomed so it's pretty manuverable and it can slide through shallows as little as 4 or 5" or right over partially submerged logs. It has a medium sealed compartment in the front, an open well in the back and 2 "day hatches" within reach of the seat. Despite being flat bottomed it tracks well, mainly due to it's 14' length. I've demoed the 12' model...it's a little faster but I didn't feel it tracked as well. I've never had it in any whitewater beyond what might be described as Class I "Light" so I can't address it's use there....would probably use thigh straps for extra control on 2 or above. I saw from your profile you like to paddle in Canada...a possible minus with an open cockpit and scupper holes (which can be plugged if desired) unless you layer and waterproof in the fall and early spring.

my experience
I have taken a 13’ Necky manitou on a mild white water trip, and it did OK, although its length and Sea kayak like behavior made it seem a little long. However, it’s a pretty fast boat with good manners that does ok on rougher waters. Plus it has a good sized hatch.

My favorite (only) answer

– Last Updated: Sep-13-06 6:33 PM EST –

to this very common question...
No boat is great at everything. That's why many of us have several boats. But if I could only have one boat, and it had to do a variety of tasks well, but no one task perfect, it would be my Prijon CombiTour. I've done Class I,II, and II+ WW, 2-3 foot rollers on open water, and 20 mile flat water paddles. Truly a good all around boat. And the quality plastic that they use is for sure the best out there.

Ditto on Prijon
Check out Yukon Expedition for overnight trips.

more info
Thanks for the help so far, I did a search earlier and we did notice the Prijon and Necky .

To give a little more info, the boat would be used mainly for day trips around the midwest with perhaps a couple over-nighters. We noticed a wide variety of kayaks rented and paddled around the pine river in MI. Also have paddled the little manistee and La Crosse, Brule and Flambeau few days each in WI.

One boat we noticed was the W.S. Pamilico or Tsunami around 12’-14’. Was not sure how they would work in rapids, or if a shorter boat work better? Will have to look again at the manitou 13.

Thanks for the ideas.

Liquid Logic Pisgah
Go to the Liquid Logis website and follow the links to the blogs on the Pisgah model. It’s a 14’ rec/touring hybrid that supposedly handles well in whitewater. There are also some film clips that show it in action as well.

Rec kayaks in WW
My wife and I have been paddling our little 9 foot long Keowees, (now called Swifties or Sparkies) for many years in WW.

Get a skirt that fits and make sure the yak has some flotation.

You mentioned “log jams” - Keep in mind that it is much harder to get in and out of a kayak at a log jam than it is with a canoe, unless there is a shallow beach on the side.



I second the vote for the Pisgah, it’s a great all around boat, very tough too. Mine flew off my roof rack onto asphalt, just a few scrapes and dents (that worked themselves back into shape)

The few boats

– Last Updated: Sep-17-06 10:21 PM EST –

we have used were all under 10', and we had a blast with them. Maybe no reason to change that. Didn't really like the tri-hull keel on the Blast for turning (gave that boat to my dad to use), and the OT Otter ( I mistakenly said Loon earlier)could have carved a bit better. Hoping to find a little improvement there. A canoe is not out of the question and much easier to get in and out of.

Thanks again for the tips, will have to try and test paddle a few more boats.