sub 13 foot touring reccomendations?

been looking for awhile, and am trying to make up my mind, look to stay around 1k or below in price. Looking for something 13 feet or less with dual bulkheads and hatches. right now after looking at a tone of yaks online, the 2 best choices seem to come down to the wilderness systems tsunami (120 or 125) or the riot edge 130.

i can see the tsunami boats in person (no test paddles though) and the outfitting looks like its very comfortable and highly adjustable.

the Riot boats i don’t have anywhere within a day to even look at in person, but reading the manual and looking, it appears to have 90% of the same adjustability, with the addition of a skeg.

all of the differences seem small, i’m really wanting the best seating system to use for general paddling, flat lakes/slow rivers, but in ia we do tend to wind up with some high wind days.

spent the last 2 yrs in a pelican recreational(yes i know low quality, but low price allowed me to get in a yak and decide i really enjoyed it)

So, has anyone paddled both boats, and have any insight on the comfort and experience?

or am i missing any other boats in this length and price-range?

Need to know your size

– Last Updated: Mar-16-13 12:10 PM EST –

As you move up fit matters more, especially if you are considering gear. Height and weight?

Would you be trying the camp out of this boat?

And why this length limit? 14 ft or so gets you more choices, either new or used. Especially used, good chance you could get more boat and stay under your limit. I've known of 16 ft plastic sea kayaks to sell for 800, and in good enough shape to subsequently move on to a further owner.

Any reason not to go to 14.5?

length reasons and size

– Last Updated: Mar-16-13 12:19 PM EST –

Well, the length has more to deal with local registration laws. would like to not have to go register the kayak every year, and 13' is the limit there.

i'm 5'9 and 230 pounds
i could see myself doing overnight camps. wouldn't be the purpose of having the boat though

I was going to suggest the Delta 12.10 if you’re really determined to stay under 13 feet, over your limit though.

At your size, I agree with the previous posters that you’d be better off in the 14-15 foot range. You’ll get a lot more boat and a lot better quality on the used market at your budget.

Delta 12.10 cockpit fit?

– Last Updated: Mar-16-13 3:11 PM EST –

I too was going to suggest the Delta 12.10. It's one of the few short kayaks that has good volume in the hatches, good stability in rough conditions, and decent speed.

I'm not sure the Delta cockpit would fit you. It's 18" x 32." The width should fit you but I'm not sure about the length. Might depend on how your weight is distributed. "Fit" in this case means ease of entry and exit.

Another short kayak with a lot of hatch volume is the Swift Kiwassa. However, it's very expensive unless you find an old used one in trylon, and I personally think the stability is lousy due to the flat bottom. The Delta is much more stable.

Sub thirteen feet is not a touring kayak
Jack L

Touring = mileage

– Last Updated: Mar-16-13 8:21 PM EST –

Short boats "generally" are tougher to do any
real mileage in versus longer, more efficient, hulls.

Doing 30, 40, 50 miles in a short/wide boat is nothing
like doing the mileage in a long/skinny boat.

Long boats slice thru wave trains and glide a bit,
as shorter boats "bob" about and require correctional strokes.

It all comes down to - right tool for the job.
Only the OP knows where 90% of cockpit time will be spent.
You'll see more scenery on longer trips and efficiency
will play a role in how sore one is the next day.
Cumulative effect after multiple days of paddling.

re: touring
I don’t anticipate myself making 50 mile trips in the boat. here in IA, there are a number of “water trails” and a couple of paddle in camp-grounds, (none of which are more than a few miles from a put-in point)

while i understand the sentiment that a 13 footer isn’t a “touring” kayak, it is the category that all manufacturers list the boats i’m looking at.

mainly i am looking for the most comfort and best seat. with a touring cockpit design for proper thigh bracing and to cut down on all the water coming in the cockpit from a recreational cockpit.

I’ve paddled the lower end rec boats, and have rented current designs rec boats as well.

the only thing i see really lacking in the Riot boat compared to others i’ve been researching compared to the wilderness systems is true thigh support.

would the lack of thigh support worry anyone? or is it just marketing on some of the other outfitters?

otherwise the riot seems to have more features. i just can’t see one in person unfortunately.

Thigh support
Lack of thigh support wouldn’t bother me as long as I had good contact with my knees somewhere. I cut the thigh braces out of my kayak. Couldn’t stand 'em. I didn’t lose anything at all in contact because the kayak fits me properly. I use it for touring.

WS seats

– Last Updated: Mar-17-13 6:57 PM EST –

I don't know the Riot. The seat system you would find in a Tsunami is hard to beat (though I usually do add another 3/8 of medium foam, under the seat cover). I think you're referring to the WS thigh lift, that is adjusted with straps. Yes, that can be very effective in combatting tingling toes that some paddlers get. And, while the Tsunamis do not come with hip pads, they can be added:

Also, the Tsunami comes with a medium-high seat back that mounts to the seat pan. As you may get to where you want to learn more skills -- especially rolling -- you can swap out the seat back for a back band. It looks like less, but, it's really more:
(this has been available with the WS logo, and for less money; can't find it, currently)

I’d compare advantages versus the fee

– Last Updated: Mar-16-13 11:42 PM EST –

How much IS that registration fee anyway? We don't register paddle craft here in Wisconsin, but I have two small motorboats and for each of them I pay $22 for a three-year registration. I could save that same amount of money by eliminating just ONE "major" daytrip every three years (it's not hard to spend 20 bucks on fuel these days). You live in Iowa and decent water for paddling is likely to be a whole lot farther away from you than it is from me, especially once you decide you want some variety, and your registration cost is only $12 for three years, so even if you have a car that's cheap to drive, I'm betting that what you spend on fuel to go paddling will eclipse the registration fee in a very short time.

You can see where this is going. Why cram a 230-pound man, possibly even with a load of camping gear, into a boat that's likely to be a great fit for a 120-pound person for no better reason than eliminating a cost that's insignificant compared to everything else you spend money on to go paddling? My guess is you haven't experienced what that extra weight does to the performance of a small boat because you've never paddled one while weighing 50 or 60 pounds less than you do. I haven't read about the boats you are considering, but if they are like a lot of boats, it's likely that the "reasonable" maximum load is about two-thirds of the load that's actually listed as the maximum, and even that load will be more than what's ideal. Of course, one would have to check the specs and then work from experience with similar boats to verify this.

If you place any value on speed, you'd do well to get something a couple feet longer too. A 230-pound guy normally has enough power to comfortably propel a longer boat. Many people in 12- to 13-foot boats spend too much of their time paddling at a speed that's too close to the boat's maximum speed and waste lots of effort as a result. I see it a lot with strong guys who are beginning paddlers - they don't know that they are exerting twice as much paddling effort as they'd need if going just half a mile per hour slower because they don't know they are in that range of speed where every fractional increase in speed requires exponentially more effort to attain. Do you see a pretty noticeable wake at the tail of your rec boat at the speeds you go? If so, you'll really be happier with something longer.

Of course, some people need a shorter boat for maneuverability on small creeks or for some other reason, and that can override the problems of putting too much person in too little boat (whitewater boaters do this to the extreme, but their boats are dog-slow on the flats too - that's the tradeoff). Only you know how much of what I said above might pertain to you.

Well said
I do loathe the idea of registering a kayak, though.

I weigh 230 lbs.
You are too heavy for a 12 footer unless it is a barge.

Touring = paddling with technique

– Last Updated: Mar-16-13 11:41 PM EST –

When kayaking strokes are done properly, efficiently,
the person is leaning forward, using those foot pegs.
Legs are pumping, knees are moving up/down up/down.

Leaning way back in a seat "usually" results in arm paddling,
versus the torso rotation with abdominal muscle usage.


Thigh support comes into play when waves and current interact
with the boat, i.e. bracing, control, maneuvering

Feathercraft K Light

The purpose of thigh braces…
is for proper boat control. Knees can be made to work but you’d better have ones that are a lot less bony than mine. It hurts, and it isn’t good for the joints.

The above is if you want to have good control of the boat for bracing etc. For going straight on flat water without wind, it is less of a factor.

I think that the folder Chuck suggests may be an excellent choice. If you want to burn calories you can, it should escape registration requirements and will be able to handle your size.

An alterative is to pad the side of the kayak and the underside of the deck so that your knees make good solid contact both outward and upward. That’s possible if the width and depth of the kayak are right for your size, and if the cockpit opening is the right size and shape. Short kayaks tend to be wider, and a wide hull makes it hard to contact the sides with your knees, but at 5’9" you should have the needed leg length to stretch out to the sides if the width of the kayak is around 24" or 25".

Each additional one half inch in width is quite noticeable in the speed. 25" wide is pretty slow (in my opinion).

RE: WS seats
Your right, its the “thigh lifts” on the WS boat.

both boats have the thigh-braces on the bottom of the deck. the WS seat lifts up to support the bottom of the thighs.

i guess i’m just stuck in the feature comparison hell. I’ll just have to make up my mind and get it on order.

Pungo 120
It is the fastest 12 foot boat I’ve paddled. At 250 pounds I found it took more water than two people in a standard canoe. So if you a paddling water under 6 inches a lot, then it is a bad choice. Also the v bottom may hang on shallow rocks in rivers and cause you to capsize.

It is a great boat for touring with a capacity of over 300 pounds. It is stable and fast for lakes and bays. But it is not really a kayak in the sense that you must travel more like a canoe. Don’t go far from shore when it is rough or cold as recovery from capsize is very very difficult compared to a kayak.

I put a float bag in the front and back of mine and an electric pump so it was set up like a white water canoe and took it many places it was not menat to go. It really does not surf well. :slight_smile: