Replace Pilgrim with Explorer?

Hello paddling friends.

I have an NDK Explorer which I do enjoy, but I am 5’8", 170 (+or−5) and the boat feels really big on me. Highly unlikely I would ever have to pack a boat for camping more than 4 days. Maybe 5 days tops. Will the Pilgrim hold a 170 man plus 60 pounds of gear? I have paddled the Pilgrim and it’s a really good fit if I remove the hip pads. But I can’t find max capacity specs for that kayak in any website or publication.



Other way around
You are asking about replacing the Explorer with the Pilgrim. Or are you wanting to replace it with the Pilgrim Expedition? That’s a better comparison, lengthwise, because the latter is 17’ whereas the regular Pilgrim is 15’9".

Grammar aside, the regular Pilgrim was designed for–and works great with–lighter paddlers than 170-pounders. I have rented the regular Pilgrim twice and own a Pilgrim Expedition. I’m much smaller and lighter than you are and only got the latter because I wanted one kayak for both daytrips and longer camping trips. The dealer I bought from and another dealer I talked with (both of whom have paddled both lengths of Pilgrim) say the Pilgrim is targeted at people in the sub-140 lb range, and much above that they’d be better off in the PEX. Going up yet more in weight, a well-known paddler who enjoys longboat surfing and (I estimate) weighs at least 170 lbs was paddling the PEX in fall 2010 and only later decided he’d be better off in the Explorer after all.

If you demo, maybe you should add the Explorer LV to the mix. Same hull as the standard Explorer, but the very small keyhole and lower deck on the LV made it useable for myself due to good body contact. However, for me that boat really was too big; hence, the Pilgrim Expedition when it became available. Big difference in how they feel despite the “family” resemblance.

Yup, I meant the Pilgrim Expedition
I tested the Explorere LV some years ago and opted for the Cetus LV instead. I did paddle a Pilgrim Expedition once for about 30 minutes. Not enough time to have a full experience but I loved how it rolled and most of all, how responsive it felt. My NDK Explorere is great but feels big. All in all, the bottom line is since I am not crazy about the Explorer due to size, I want a playboat that will surf as well as be camping capable and meneuverable. My Cetus LV would have hit the mark to perfection had it surfed better.

Tiderace Xcite-S or Valley Gemini ST/SP?
Those are two or three other boats that might work really well for your size and specific stated goals.

Maybe the regular Romany
More maneuverable than the Explorers or the Pilgrim Expedition, enough room to take a short camping trip. Should be a good fit for your size and weight.

Seconding a Romany
For you desires, it seems a standard Romany might fit the bill very nicely.

Ends of the spectrum
I’m not sure what your Cetus isn’t doing for surfing but if it’s a shorter more playful surf specific boat then cut out the SUV (Sport Utility Kayak) parameter go with the P&H Aries 150 or 155 (depending on your weight)

As to pack for 4 days, yes, provided think in terms of loading a back pack not a station wagon.

The Aries, like it’s plastic Delphin counterpart, maneuverable as a river runner whitewater kayak but maintains a good cruising speed on an even keel. Skeg down and it feels like a 17’+ long boat in it’s tracking.

I know where there’s a couple of 3 hatch 2012 FG models that would enjoy FL.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

No way…
Xcite s is way too small for his stated usage…even Xplore s would be really awash with 230 lbs. total payload. Pilgrim expedition would be a maybe…Explorer lv would fit the bill perfectly, as it is the same as regular Explorer, but a snuggier cockpit…but will not work in the stock configuration if your inseam is over 32".


– Last Updated: Feb-12-13 1:32 AM EST –

Tiderace says suitable paddler weight for the Xcite-S is "60-80 kg" which works out to a max paddler weight of 176 lbs. The OP's weight is below that, albeit slightly.

Also, since the Xcite boats are billed as 'rough-water touring sea kayaks' by Tiderace, one assumes you can take a fair amount of gear with you on top of that, i.e. they're all-arounders, not just playboats.

So what it'd likely come down to is, "Can the OP comfortably get his 5'8" frame in there?". The only review of the Xcite-S on Pnet is a 5'9" guy who said the S fits him 'like a glove'.

If the OP digs that kind of fit (and many of us do like 'wearing' our kayaks), then it may well be a good choice. Only way to know for certain is to try one out.

Even if it did wind up being slightly too small or close-fitting, he might like it enough to try the regular Xcite, and fall in love with that.

It's always tough to predict what someone you don't know will want or not want, but there's certainly no harm in him trying stuff out.



– Last Updated: Feb-08-13 5:23 PM EST –

Reviewing this thread, I really think you should try a Romany. I've paddled many boats (though not Delphin or Gemini)and found the Romany to be the most playful of 'all-round' boats. It surfs wonderfully, rolls much easier than most, and is a lot of fun to paddle.

I know a current popular trend is boats like the Cetus. I have paddled 2 sizes of Cetus plus a Scorpio and am not personally impressed. I do not deny that they are good and very forgiving boats. I simply prefer the feel of a number of Valley and NDK models. The one P&H boat I found seductive was a Sirius...

But Gil already has a Romany
so, I guess you’re all set!!!

Maybe Gil’s just itching for another…
“My boats, in order of paddling preference: The Cetus LV, Romany, Tahe-Marine Greenland LC & Explorer. Paddle board: Yolo Displacement and Riviera/Ron House. Novorca GP and Werner.” - from GilH’s profile.