Touring Kayak for a Beginner

Hello All,

I am looking to buy a Touring/Day Touring Kayak. I am 5’10" and weigh 250lbs so volume is an issue for me. I am also looking for a good amount of stability in the boat as I plan on paddling with my dog.

Two Boats that I am currently considering are the Necky Eskia or Manitou 14. I like what I read about the Eskia, except for how slow people say it is.

Does anyone have any experience with these two boats?

Are there other boats on the market that are better suited for what I’m looking for.

And the dog rides where???
Be serious. Dump the dog or get a canoe.

Can you blame a guy for trying?
Ok, so the dog isn’t essential. He’s getting quite used to riding in my wife’s kayak. I was just hoping I could offer her some relief in case she was sick of riding with him. Have any suggestions for me sans the Dog?

If you plan to paddle with a dog, you’ll need something with a bigger cockpit like a WS Pungo. I’ve got a Manitou 13, and there’s no way a dog would fit in the cockpit and I’m 60 lbs. lighter than you.

More info needed
Those boats are very different. What kind of paddling do you intend to do? What kind of paddling do you want to do next year? Have you tried either of them? Do you fit? Etc.

More Info
I see myself starting out in slow rivers and smaller lakes. I would like it to have some storage for weekend kayak|camping trips.

I have been kayaking in smaller boats on rivers in Michigan. All rentals. Most were Old Town Loons. I didn’t mind how they handled, just thought they were a bit slow.

My wife has an Necky Santa Cruz which I like a lot. Boat is incredibly stable. Took a trip earlier this year when the water level was high and the current was fast and she was the only one in the group that didn’t dump. Just would like mine to be a bit larger with front storage.

I have not tried either boat yet. I chose them based on reviews that I read and details on cockpit size. I just went and paddled a 2001 Perception Corona off Craigslist the other day and the cockpit was a bit too small, and the boat felt a little tippy. Here’s the link to it.

Thanks a lot for your help. It’s a big decision to make and I just want to make sure that I am making an educated one.

kayak or barge
The Manitou 14 would is a great boat that would suit your needs and probably your size, too. The Eskia is a much bigger boat - larger than you need for your intended use. Neither has a cockpit that would fit your dog, too, unless we’re talking Chihuahua. Before you look any further, you need to answer this question: do I want a decent paddling kayak or do I want a barge that will hold a dog?

I love my Manitou 14
I’m 5’9" 208 lbs. There is no way a dog of any size would fit in there with me.

My Manitou is stable, tracks well in calm seas, but is a little slower than I would like. Felt like I was sitting on a cork last night in some confused seas, but all in all, I think it is a wonderful boat.

I’ll leave the dog at home.
I want a good boat to paddle. My wife can continue to take the dog in hers.



Chatham 16’ for a beginner
So the search continues. I recently came across the Necky Chatham 16 at the local store on sale for $1000. Would this be a good boat to paddle for my needs. My concerns are

  1. Is this boat to large to take down smaller, winding rivers?

  2. Can this boat support 300lbs? (Me + Gear)

  3. Is this boat to much for a beginner?

    Thanks in advance,


I suspect you would find the
chatam 16 a little to small for you–width is 22 inches—if I were you I would go with the Eskia–width 24 inches—those two extra inches actually will make you more comfortable. But don’t take my word for it—try paddling both of them before you buy.

Prijon YukonExpedition

get the manitou 14
Yeah, a canoe or a wide cockpit ws pungo would be good for dog transport - actually the pungo isn’t that bad as far as performance. Of the ones you’ve mentioned, Id say go with the Manitou. I have a manitou 13 and at 5’10" 185lbs, Id say it was one of the most comfortable, stable, and fastest rec kayak I’ve ever paddled. I only wished the 14’ one was on sale at the time. I have a 14 and 17’, 22" wide older perception yaks that aren’t nearly as comfy and only a little faster. I don’t know what Necky did right as far as hull design, but they made a very nice yak that I can’t seem to find an appropriate replacement for…

Venture Easky line-up
The Eskia should have enough volume to be stable for you.

Other boats you can check out: Venture Easky 17, 15, and 13.

You’ve got a retailer in Wyandotte, MI (near Detroit) that can help you.

Chatham 16
1. Is this boat to large to take down smaller, winding rivers?

No. It will maneouver just fine. It is a playfully rockered hull. Most important is the fit. Try it on. This would be a very capable kayak for you - you don’t have to use it to the extent of its capabilities, but if you don’t have to be limited, why limit yourself?

2. Can this boat support 300lbs? (Me + Gear)

This I can’t answer. Sorry. You would definitely be a big guy for this boat, but I don’t know your build? You’d have to try it on.

3. Is this boat to much for a beginner?

I’ve only demoed the Chatham series, and I remember it being exceptionally stable as far as sea kayaks are concerned. If you fit, I think you may find the Chatham quite comfortable stability-wise. If it isn’t, a wide, stable rec boat may be more your thing. It’s sounds like you’ve naturally tuned into speed and glide, so a sea kayak will trip your trigger in that department compared to the rec boats. Good luck and enjoy!

Venture Easky
I don’t have experiance with the boats you mentioned, but for the type of boat you are looking for I would definatelly check out the Venture Easky line up. I have a Easky 13 and LOVE it. Of numerous kayaks I have paddled this is an awesome rec/touring kayak. Very stable, has great tracking, and yet still is plenty fast. Also the cockpit is very comfortable for easy padding, not a tight fit for great handling, but large enough to fit any body size comfortably. My legs dont’ ever really fall asleep in it, while they do in alot of others.

I have owned several 13 - 14’ rec/touring kayaks and I would not buy without looking at a Venture Easky if any of the shops around you have them.

The dog EH…
Try the Old Town Dirigo. The large cockpit will suit the need for the dog and the boat is a nice ride.

with & without poochie
If you’re taking the dog, and want to paddle with gear for overnight, check out Native Watercraft site. Native Ultimate 14.5 solo or tandem. Incredibly stable, open like a canoe, but sit in like a kayak. Unique hull design provides good tracking, and skirts available for full enclosure. Tandem has removable seats, and can be adjusted for solo seat. I’ve paddled with over 330lbs and paddled great. You can also stand up and pole it.

For touring and overnights w/o dog, I tried lots of boats and ended up with a WS Tsunami125. I’m 6’2", 250lbs and the cockpit does offer a little extra room, although you’d have to try it for size. Pungo120 is also an excellent option that can carry rover in a pinch, unless rover is a st. bernard…

I have a Necky Eskia and

– Last Updated: Aug-12-08 10:08 AM EST –

I love it. I too am large and getting larger...5'11" & now 250#. I also have a Pungo 120 and it's great for most of my paddling, especially with my 3 yr old daughter in front of me. I use the Eskia in big water like the sounds here in NC. It has very good primary stability and I never feel like I even push the secondary stability. Us big guys have a higher center of gravity you know.
I use the Pungo in the lakes and rivers and would not hesitate to use it up to class II. We just got back from the coast and used the Pungo in the newport river and estuaries near Beaufort NC. It did fine...until that dang shrimp boat passed by and nearly sunk me! At least my daughter wasn't with me then.
Either would be a great boat but the Necky is a really nice boat and I don't think it's that slow. Speed is relative...if your enjoying your paddle, it really doesn't matter.


Necky choices.
I have a Necky Zoar Sport. Great boat that I think you should consider over the Manitou. I have done more with it that what probably should have been done. While the hatches are somewhat lacking in size I can put quite a bit in it and still room for the dog. Granted he is small, there is room for him. I even ride alittle low right now as I have gained some wieght and I am just a bit heavier than you, but its still a fun boat. I do recommend getting a deck bag for extra storage.

My next Necky will be a Looksha 17.