SOT kayak suggestions?

-- Last Updated: Jul-22-12 10:32 AM EST --

Suggestions appreciated.

For info. I'm a senior 63 with some slight mobility issues that affect my getting in and out of a kayak. So we are looking at a SOT kayak for me.

We(my wife and I) have decided to get a SOT(single not tandem) kayak. Price is open but good back support is a must...stability is a bonus as I have some issues getting in and out of our kayaks. Price to be paid is open...I'd rather spend a little more to get something that works.

We live on a (relatively) gentle flowing river in western Minnesota.

Our kayak would be used to take trips on the river and some of the lakes around here.

I think the longest trip we will take would be a few hours to a day trip.

So, in summary, I'm looking for good back support, some comfort and since we are talking about river kayaking(gentle river) some manueverability.

Any suggestions are appreciated. I would like to thank all of you that helped out with suggestions on the tandem kayak we were talking about. We will investigate the SOT's mentioned in that thread and those suggestions are appreciated.

We decided on getting a single kayak first and two SOT's if we like the first one we get.

Thank you all again.


Check out this website

The site itself has a ton of information about SOT kayaks and this particular page has good information about outfitting the kayak for physical problems.

I like the Jackson Riveria
The Jackson Riviera might be an inexpensive and comfortable choice if you want a built in seat and back support. Perception makes a lot of sizes of sit on tops as well that are easy to outfit if you want to put in your own back support.

The topkayaker site has a lot of information about outfitting sit on tops. Basically you can order the seat with the type of back support you want and just strap it in to most sit on top boats.{keyword}

Topkayaker is a real good site
I’m enjoying my Phoenix 120 SOT–weighs 38 lbs, just right for me.

I also like the Tarpon 100, but it is a lot heavier, about 55 lbs. The Perception Pescador is made from the old 2008 (I think) Tarpon mold, and costs less.

The Perception Tribes are a less expensive alternative, and also nice, but noisy. No dry storage, but they have a nice elevated dry bungeed area in the bow, and with scupper plugs the rear well stays dry.

SOTs are certainly a good option for hip problems, and other mobility problems as well.

tx all
Thanks all for the help. We’ll be checking out your suggestions and are open to any other thoughts anyone would have.

I really learn a lot with this type of exchange and it’s very much appreciated.

Tx again.

Second the Topkayaker site
Try this search engine of theirs

Look for the lighter weight boats, there’s a box to check in Topkayaker’s search that says “less than 50 lbs”.

Also want to second the Jackson Riviera. Great river boat and the seat and back support were originally designed by an orthopedic surgeon. Very comfortable. And, it’s a good buy at $499.

wet seat
I don’t know if it is discussed on that top kayaker site, but I suspect some SOTs are better than others in terms of keeping your seat dry. Because you are in the north, this could be important in terms of comfort and in terms of how early and late in the season you might want to paddle. The same holes that make the boat self-bailing will allow water to come up and into the passenger section. Just something else to keep in mind – always trade offs!

The WS Tarpons are great boats

– Last Updated: Jul-22-12 10:47 PM EST –

with great seats but really heavy.They are very dry rides. Necky has a SOT called the Vector that is a quick boat with good back support.
I like the looks of that Jackson boat. You can find a Pescador at Academy for < $500 that is the old Tarpon hull.

I have been doing a lot of research based on what info I have gotten from you all…very helpful. I’ve been researching topkayak as well and a lot of good info there.

We may have to pay a bit more $$$ to get a lighter kayak than some I have seen listed.

Any thoughts on some of these materials lighter than a plastic hull?


Consider a cart
Light sit on tops are rare. The Phoenix and the Riviera are pretty light as far as kayaks go. To get lighter than 50 pounds you will have to get a kevlar or fiberglass sit on top.

I have a light composite Current Designs sit on top that is supposed to be 39 pounds. They are available on occasion on the used market for about $1200 when you can find them. Other brands of new light composite sit on tops are available to import.

Unless you come across a used one, I would get a light plastic boat and a cart. With a cart you only have to lift half of the boat at any time.

Eddyline, too
They have a new SOT, 12 ft, that weighs 45 lbs. Thermoform, like the Hurricanes.

Phoenix and Tarpon are dry rides; the Perception Tribes need scupper plugs in order to keep your seat dry.

With my Phoenix 120 (only has two scupper holes) I plug the one in back so my gear stays dry. I’ve never needed to plug the forward one. Seat stays dry, a little water comes up through the scupper hole, but not much.

another option
Since you are new to kayaking, let me suggest another option to consider. I’m 62 and my partner is 64 and we kayak quite a bit. Even though we are quite fit we find as we are getting older that a key factor in selection of the boats we want to use is weight. An option that many newcomers to the sport are not aware of is folding kayaks, which are often half or less the weight of similar sized hard shell boats. They do tend to cost more, but it is hard to emphasize too much the convenience and pleasure of having a kayak that you can lift as easily as a lawn chair. Some people are surprised to learn about folders, but when you consider that the original native kayaks were skin fabric over a wooden and whalebone frame and the earliest versions popular in the West in the early 20th century were wood frame with canvas covers, this is a well tested and proven design for a boat.

Some of the best known manufacturers are Folbot, Feathercraft, Klepper and Long Haul, but probably the best value is with the Pakboats:

Go beyond the first page of the site link to see photos of them in use, with the decks – the boats have a removable deck so they can be used as both a covered kayak with cockpits or paddled open, like a canoe as seen in the photo with the father and child. The seats are inflatable and very comfortable and they have both a breakdown metal frame and inflatable side walls.

These are not flimsy boats – we own two models by this company and they are very durable and good performing kayaks that can keep pace with people in more conventional craft. The best thing about the boats is portability – notice that the tandem Puffin Saranac weighs 28 pounds (lighter than most bicycles). I can carry one over my head alone. And they set up in about 20 minutes and can be dismantled in 10 and carried in a duffel bag.

You could easily carry a couple of small dogs in one – I would recommend laying ensolite or other closed cell foam pads in the floor to protect the shell against the dogs claws and to give them better traction. I keep ensolite in mine just for my own comfort.

If you do decide to stick with two solo boats, the 12’ Puffin Saco only wieghs 21 lbs (24 with the deck)and can be used the same way, open or closed. Even with the deck on it is a spacious cockpit that is easy to enter.

These light boats are so easy to load and launch. They also have a nice feel in the water since the flexing skin allows them to absorb some wave force instead of being buffeted around. Very enjoyable kayaks to own and use, with the added bonus of being able to take them on vacation, either stashed in the car trunk or checked as baggage on a plane.

If your budget is great enough, Feathercraft makes an inflatable tandem sit on top kayak called the Gemini.

At $3,800 it may not be your cup of tea, but it can be taken out in almost any waters. At 48 lbs it is heavier than the Pakboats but is a faster more high performance boat and still lighter than even most solo hard boats.

There are also ultralight skin on frame non-folding kayaks that you can have custom made for a reasonable cost by many small manufacturers around the country. This guy’s blog has great background on them (I own an 18’ version of this type of boat also, that weighs 31 lbs.)

Whatever kayak(s) you end up buying, welcome to the sport!

I have a Kevlar SOT that was made
by Seda , the Revenge. They stopped making it around 2007, but it still isn’t that light.

Would a canoe work? Like a Placid Boat Works Rapidfire. 30 lbs and less.

Along with a cart, I’d add
that side handles on Sit-on-Tops are useful features to have, particularly for car loading. The OP did mention that they live by a river, so perhaps portability will not be a big an issue, but weight is always important to consider. The Tarpons are good designs, but are just too heavy for me. The Emotion Temptation (10’4", 44lbs) is another nice little boat the OP might consider.

I also support the idea of
as this site will have the best info. As always, try before you buy.

tx again
Willowleaf and all,

Thanks much for taking your time to respond. This has all been very helpful for us as we look to another style of kayaks.

Willow, I didn’t know about the pakboats but they do look interesting.

Cost is an issue, but we would rather pay more to get a kayak(s) that works for us.

You all have given us a lot to research.

I do have a question about two kayaks available locally but I think I’ll make that a separate post.

Thanks again.