Outer Banks

Visiting the Outer Banks next month and looking to kayak some of the backwater areas opposite ocean side. Not sure my kayaks are best suited for this–an Old Town Vapor 12’ and a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 15.’

Not looking to get out into open water, but still a bit apprehensive about my equipment. Any suggestions appreciated.


Think Lake on a Windy Day

– Last Updated: Jul-01-14 7:31 AM EST –

If you've paddled those boats on a big lake on a windy day and done OK then you're probably fine in the sound. However I've paddled the south end of Pamlico Sound with a north wind and the swells were very ocean-like. Keep an eye on the weather and avoid inlets. Water at inlets moves really fast depending on the time of day / tide.

Outer Banks
Thanks for your response. I’m looking more at the backwater marsh areas than beach side. The Wilderness Systems kayak is a tandem that I use as a single. Sits fairly low in the water, fast, but not the most stable boat. I’ve had it in lakes with wind and swell and as long as I’ve kept the bow into the wake, no problems. I’m just a little concerned about this different environment. Thanks again for your reply.

Salt Grass and Muck
A lot of the sound side has no beach. If you plan to paddle very far you may want to make a waypoint on a GPS to get you back to the take out. I’m basing this on my experiences in areas that aren’t developed.

If you’re going to paddle salt marsh

– Last Updated: Jul-01-14 8:49 AM EST –

try to get some local knowledge of tides in the marsh. If you're not watching, you could end up getting stuck waiting for the water to come back or getting real muddy.

I can't really add anything to what Kudzu said about the appropriateness of your boat slection.

You should be OK.
Several good places for boats like that…Kitty Hawk Woods, there is a nice area at Corolla light if the wind isn’t blowing all the water out of Currituck Sound (really shallow there, so wind is more of a factor than tide), the causeway over to Roanoke Island has a put in spot, further down Pea Island at Salvo is a good spot and even further at Avon/Buxton for Canadian Hole, or take them across to the mainland and explore Alligator River NWR. Most of the sound water is extremely shallow. Wind will be your big issue.

^^ What he said ^^
One thing about paddling in coastal areas with shallow water…you’d BETTER know the tides or you may find yourself enjoying a mudflat for about 4-6 hours. Currituck sound is bad for this, further south toward Salvo or south of the Roanoke Island causeway not quite as bad. You can also put in at the Fishing Center just before you cross the bridge to Pea Island and paddle back up north in the saltwater “creeks” toward Bodie Lighthouse (look at a chart, it’s pretty obvious). Just don’t go east toward Oregon Inlet in the boats you have.

Alligator River NWR
Excellent paddle trails, you could definitely spend a couple of days in there, especially if you add Lake Phelps and searching for ancient canoes on the bottom.