Plenty of Questions From a Complete Newb

My wife and I have been discussing kayaks. We have probably about a $300 price range, and here’s what we’d like in a Kayak:

We each want one. We’d like to be able to carry both on a Thule rack on our Prius.

We’d like them to be on the biggish side, as each will also hold about 30 pounds of gear and 70 pounds of dog.

The gear is our camping gear, as we’d like to be able to kayak someplace and do some camping. We have some really good lightweight backpacking gear, so it’d be pretty minimal.

We would also be interested in fishing from the kayaks, if possible (but wouldn’t bring the dogs on a kayak fishing trip.)

So… I think that’s all our ‘requirements.’ We were interested in knowing if anyone could give us some advice about any kayaks that might meet all these. Someone brought up the idea of inflatable kayaks… dunno anything about them, but it’d be easier to transport in our little Prius (I’m assuming?) Any help would be greatly appreciated!

If the kayaking part of your adventures
are not too distant, or are on slow moving water, a used, better quality, large cockpit recreational yak may work for you. Something like a CD Kestrel OC, or the like. May keep the pups forward enough and away from your paddling, and with something like a section of cheap yoga mat to grip and sit on they may stay still. Would rent a couple of this style yak first to try it out with them though. A bigger single or small tandem sit-on-top could also work but they are not always easy to paddle any distance and are pretty heavy. Just thoughts. R

One example that may work

I can’t imagine a world in which I would want a seventy pound dog in my single kayak. I just don’t see how that would work. And since you have two I don’t think a tandem would hold two seventy pound dogs. Maybe I’m just not getting it. Good luck.

Ryan L.

Should clarify:

Two dogs, two kayaks :wink: One for me, one for my wife, we’ll be splitting the dogs. We’re less than an hour from about a million lakes… slow moving water indeed =D Don’t see us doing much ‘river rafting.’ These would be for tooling around on lakes, fishing from, and throwing dogs off of (they LOVE to swim, and we have life-jackets for them :wink: ).

Think used, solo, “canoes”.


Tandem canoe
And a decent capacity one. 70 lb dog in big cockpit rec kayak with person just a poor idea.

tandem kayaks?

– Last Updated: May-23-11 3:06 AM EST –

how about 2 wilderness systems tandem rec kayaks - like the pamlico or pungo line. They're almost like smaller plastic canoes with huge open cockpits and you can even take out one seat. I certainly don't think you'd find a new one for $300, but it looks like someone already posted a CL link for 2 used ones.

Native watercraft makes these hybrid canoe/kayak boats that might work.

Native ultimate 14.5 solos
there open kayaks well above your price range but what the hell … spend some money on yourself man they will hold you and the mutt and have some leaway …go fer it

I can’t imagine paddling with a large

– Last Updated: May-23-11 12:25 PM EST –

dog interfering with my paddle strokes.

How are your dogs for being behind you and quiet? Often dogs of that size and kayaking don't mix. I have met people who have spent many hours training their patient dogs onto staying on back decks.

If you want the glorious opportunity of having your dogs in front of you be warned that that compromises boat steering unless you move your seat back and do some modifications to lighten the bow.

Also your dogs getting back in is no doubt occasionally capsize you. How are your low braces and your self and assisted rescue technique?

This all is not to say that it cannot be done but the scenario you have described is not only about purchasing a particular boat but having the appropriate skills.

And are you sure your dogs love being in the boat as much as you like having them there? Getting a big dog back in is not that easy. They derive most of their power from their hindquarter muscles. How are yours at dragging themselves onto a floating piece of wood like a door? Try it. Mine requires assistance and prefers a swim ladder so that she can use her rear muscles.

I do paddle with my Golden in my RapidFire as that is a trim insensitive boat. Its not three hundred bucks though and the Golden has been trained not to leave the boat.

Might be safer if you were in one boat
…so at least one of you can “adjust” for when one or both dogs suddenly move.

I once paddled in a canoe with a guy and his HUGE dog (dog probably weighed 100 lbs). I had almost zero canoeing experience but could still shift my weight quickly enough to prevent the canoe flipping when the dog lurched around.

If you really want kayaks, look for a used rec kayak. My first boat was an Old Town Castine, which actually had two sealed bulkheads. Should be big enough to keep a small dog in front of you. My husband put our dog in front of him in his Old Town Loon 138. But although the dog fit fine, that boat is a real flooder–no bulkheads, so if this is what you want, you should stuff the ends with float bags.

Both these boats are fine on sheltered flat water, but they cost considerably more than $300 each, new. You might be able to find one used at a good price.

Look at Pakboats
Pakboats makes a line of hybrid inflatable folding frame kayaks (the Puffin series) that can be collapsed into a duffel bab, set up easily in about 20 minutes and paddled either open like a canoe (good for hauling the dog) or with the closed deck velcroed on. Best of all they only weigh around 20 lbs each so even hauling them set up is pretty easy. The PVC decks are tough and patchable but it would be a good idea to throw an ensolite pad or closed cell yoga mat in the hull under the dogs to keep their claws from damaging it. A bit more than $300 each (maybe $600 to $800) but sometimes you can find them used for less. I blew buying a new one last year for $320 on Ebay. We have one of their larger kayaks (XT-15) and it is a very neat boat, sturdy and much more responsive to paddle than any inflatable I’ve ever tried. Even though it is 15’ long we have carried it on the roof rack.

You can find some youtube videos of Pakboats in use on line.

decision time
do you want to paddle with big dogs?

  • get a canoe

    do you want to paddle a kayak?
  • leave the dogs at home


    but if you do decide you want to paddle around in a $300 kayak with a 70 lb dog, please, please get video and post it to youtube for us.

Get a tandem Sit on Top , or 2,
but that won’t happen for $300 unless you get very lucky.

I think…
I think the issue here may be in my ignorance regarding the difference between a Kayak and a Canoe. As I read more, I’m definately agreeing that a Canoe is more of what I’m looking for. Thanks for your patience and replies, all =D