Seeking kayak for 1.5 people

I want to buy a sea kayak that can either be solo or include a small seat for a child. I want it to have a rudder that will function well and last. It will be used primarily on bayous in south Mississippi. I am a petite female, so the lighter the better. Any suggestions? I have found the following possibilities so far:

Eddyline Shasta

Perception Prodigy 13.5

Manatee 13.5

Thanks in Advance!

Other suggestions

– Last Updated: Jan-12-14 7:55 PM EST –

Hmmm, the $800 kayak or the $2800.kayak? Guess it depends on whose paying! Haven't paddled either one but know someone who uses a Wilderness System 145t as you're looking to do but all these boats are over 60 lbs and seem like a lot of boat for a "petite female"to paddle solo.

I suggest you go see Kevin at Everything Kayak in Ocean Springs on Lemoyne, see if you can test paddle one of the tandems. He had some discounted NuCanoes last time I was there, which are more of an open kayak than a canoe and may suit you.

You can get some better boat recommendations if you give your height and weight and what have you paddled before, what's your experience level, and how old is the child you want to paddle with.

When you get your boat, get on and look for Mississippi Kayak.

South Mississippi Paddling Company in Ocean Springs rents tandems, maybe you could try one out before dropping a lot of money.

I have a ruddered tandem, and IMO a rudder keeps you from throwing full power into a stroke which would make paddling one solo even tougher.

more info
Yes, I was hoping someone would know of a more moderately priced suggestion. I could theoretically afford any of these (though is may be a stretch). The Manatee is appealing simply because it weighs in at just 55 lbs.

I’m 5’4" 115 lbs. I’m used to the long, sleek, high-end kayaks provided by the Canton Kayak Club in Baltimore. I have not paddled much since I was an active member or this club 9 years ago (has it been that long?!). Using those kayaks definitely spoiled me. Part of me does not want to get a clunky kayak (like the Manatee?), but perhaps I could eventually pass it along to my son (who is now 3.5) and then buy myself a nice new one :slight_smile:

I’ve visited the Ocean Springs kayak shop. Still looking around…thanks so much for the advice!

how about 27 pounds?

– Last Updated: Jan-13-14 5:55 PM EST –

An alternative you might want to look into are folding kayzks. Pakboat's Puffin Saranac is a convertible solo/double that is now available in ultralight material (27 pounds total) with a built in skeg, which will serve as well as a rudder in bayou paddling, in fact it could work better.

We have two Pakboats and they are great boats. The Puffins can be paddled with or without the removeable deck -- you could even use the smaller 12' Puffin Saco with a small child by leaving the deck off and adding a seat ahead of you. With the Saranac you can use a single or double deck and move the seats wherever you like. These set up easily and can be stored and transported in their own duffel bags. They are not toys, and are well designed to withstand serious waters. There are a number of videos on YouTube of people paddling the Pakboats around the world. Just do a search for "Pakboat videos" and you'll see that they paddle nearly as well as the average hardshell -- in fact they are superior in rougher water because a folder absorbs the water movement instead of fighting it and the inflatable sponson tubes along the length of the kayak give it increased flotation.

Prices are comparable to mid-range hard boats. It's hard to beat the portability and light weight. I've used folding kayaks for 12 years now and paddled them from the Atlantic to the Pacific in all sorts of conditions. I have hard boats now too, but folders will always have a place in my heart as a favorite craft, especially as I get older and dread loading and hauling 50 plus pound boats.

The renowned long distance kayaker Freya Hoffmeister (currtntly circumnavigating South America solo) started out kayaking when her son Helge was a toddler -- she used a solo folder and took him with her.

There is an ad in the classifieds on this site selling a used Folbot Greenland II tandem folder for $875 -- a good value for a boat that is $2800 new. The large open cockpit would work well for sharing with a child -- not sure how well these paddle in the solo position, though. You can always put ballast like filled water jugs in the unused seat to help the boat track when you paddle it alone.

Question on soft boats
How do they handle stumps and branches lurking just below the surface? I have never seen a rock in the water in Mississippi, but I have several gouges in poly boats from stumps and sawyers. I don’t know anyone who paddles an inflatable on the coast and have wondered how thy would hold up.

There are a couple Hobie SOTS on CL now.

Also just to throw it out there, The Fairhope Boat Company in Foley is just across the Mobile bridge.


– Last Updated: Jan-13-14 9:13 PM EST –

A folding kayak is actually amazing idea, especially considering that I have not yet made the investment for a workable kayak transportation scheme.

Anyone know of other folding kayaks that would support roughly 1.5 people, track well, and hold up well in bayous?

Have you sat in a
Hurricane 126 w long cockpit?

Seriously at 115lbs you should be looking at small boats

All my folders (Feathercraft and PakBoat) have had “skid plates” (bonded on extra layers of rubberized material.) I’ve run into a range of submerged objects including rebar, stumps, rocks and concrete. Have also taken the boats through Class 1 and 2 streams where I had to push them over gravel bars, slide over rock ledges and bump them off rocks. Being flexible, they tend to give and bounce off obstructions rather than “fighting back” and sustaining damage. In 11 years I have never had a puncture from an exterior collision (only repairs have been from a ruptured sponson I forgot to deflate on a hot day and an interior puncture from an incorrect frame alignment). Even if I did have a tear or puncture, repairs are easy and I always carry a compact patch kit. Certainly easier to repair than any hard boat. I’ve seen vintage Folbots and Feathercrafts where nearly the entire bottom had glued on patches over various wear spots and holes (owned by people far tougher on their boats than I am.)

I’ve also got a skin-on-frame Greenland kayak made with 8 ounce nylon ballistic cloth coated with polyurethane. You can smack the skin with the nasty end of a claw hammer and it just bounces off.

“Soft” boats are far tougher than most people seem to be aware of. After all, inflatable whitewater rafts are made of similar materials.

What is your budget?
Feathercraft makes top of the line folders and inflatables. Their Gemini and Java inflatables are fantastic, but we’re talking $3,000 or more (they are handbuilt in Vancouver, Canada, and rarely come up for sale used.)

Advanced Elements makes quite a few models now that are more in the moderate price range. These are primarily inflatables but some have a rigid backbone that keeps the keel line stiff. Especially for two people in the boat having this sort of rigidity will help make it easier to paddle. Unreinforced “soft” boats can tend to sag under the weight of the paddlers and create drag. We have a friend who brought a Russian made 3-man inflatable kayak on an outing. The thing sagged so badly under each of the occupants it was almost unusable. They had to kill themselves trying to keep up with our leisurely pace.

You can find more info on folders and inflatables over at the forum They also have a used boat classified ad section.

Another option that I had not thought of that you might look at is the Point 65 modular kayaks like the Tequila. This is a sit on top style in plastic that breaks apart into several sections that you can throw in back of a car – kind of like a Lego kayak. And you can add center sections to make it a single or a tandem. This would work perfectly for while your son is young, and you can paddle it solo with a single mid-section. When he gets older, just buy two more ends and you both have your own kayak. Only drawback is that these are kind of wide and not really good for open water, but would be OK for swamp and bayou exploration.

AIRE possibilities
As long as we are talking soft:



another suggestion …
Have a look @ the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 tandem boat also. I would also browse Craigslist in your local area for boats. A used boat could save ya $$$'s