Trading a sea kayak for a SOT


I inherited a Boreal sea kayak, which I use on a small lake. It feels like way too much boat for my purposes. I am 5’5", 150 lbs. I kayak very recreationally on this small lake (no motor boats permitted), only about 1-1.5 hours per session, in warm months. Location: northeast USA.

I love the stability and ability to steer the Boreal (it has foot pedals), but I am interested switching to a SOT because upon storage on the dock, the Boreal collects spiders inside the cockpit. (This may seem trivial to some, but it’s not to me. These are big honking spiders and when I see one I it really kills my desire to get in the boat.) The Boreal is also about 15 or 16 feet long, so while it’s light, it’s not possible for me to carry it to and fro the dock alone. And being that it’s an ocean kayak, it’s not the ideal kind of boat for my lake (but like I said, I inherited it.)

Any recommendations for a SOT that is light, easy for one person to carry, stable, and easy to steer?

Thanks for any thoughts, and apologies if I’ve missed an existing, relevant post.


What weight do you call light? You may be better off looking at smaller canoes that are designed to be paddled w a double blade and make it easy to hose out any crawlers.

Or get a cockpit cover for the Ellesmere.

Thanks for your reply. I think 40 lbs or less is ideal, if possible. No hose available at my location. Silly me, I didn’t know about cockpit covers. Could be an easy option, although I’m still interested in other thoughts and recommendations. Thanks all.

AFAIK, SOTs are never going to be light. The only ones I’ve ever paddled were super stable. I’ve only rented a few so I’m afraid I cannot recommend any specific model for you. If you enjoy the Boreal other than the spiders, a properly sized cockpit cover as suggested by Celia is a great solution. You could also look into a kayak cart for transporting it (or a SOT) to and from the dock.

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Cockpit overs easily found from NRS, Seals, Harmony etc. Only decision is do you want a neo one. They have to fit correctly. But are also likely more robust in stopping small stuff.

No hose is no problem.

Buy a 1.5-gallon bug sprayer. Hardware stores and home improvement stores sell them. Instead of pesticide, fill the container with water. Pressurize the sprayer using the built-in pump handle. Blast the inside of the kayak; it is low pressure so no chance of damage to the boat.

Makes a great portable camp shower, too.

By the way, the rudder is not intended to be used to “steer” the kayak, though that is frequently a mistake that new paddlers make. Rudders are for countering the forces of wind or current that force the boat off the path that you are trying to paddle straight. Sounds like you could use some instruction in using your paddle and body position for edging the kayak to properly turn.

Which Boreal model do you have? Those are very high end kayaks – you are likely to be very disappointed in how slow any sit on top that is in the lighter weight range will be because it will be considerably shorter and wider.

The cockpit cover will solve your creepy critters problem – if you can’t find one right away just use a large garbage bag tucked around the coaming (cockpit rim) with a long bungee cord wrapped around the lip.

Be forewarned about leaving your boat on a dock: there is a serious shortage of kayaks in the market right now and thefts are common. That kayak new was in the $3,000 range and would be a choice target for a thief in the know.


To answer your question, the Hurricane Skimmer and the Eddyline Caribbean are light SOT.

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Thank you all for the good ideas and food for thought. Willowleaf, I don’t know the model off hand but I appreciate the theft reminder, and I will probably try the garbage bag tip while I research the other ideas here. Thanks again everyone.

SOTs are not light due to the additional material. Based on your size a 10 or 12 foot long boat may work for you. They will be a lot wider and weigh 35 to 50 lbs. No mention of budget, inexpensive about $300 to 600, lighter weight 1200 and up. Happy hunting.

If you use tight mesh screen for a cockpit cover (e.g. replacement for plastic window screens), it will allow your boat to dry out between uses, assuming you invert the boat on the dock. An oval of screen and a loop of bungee cord would do it.

I had a fishing spider show up in my cockpit after a lunch break in a wetland - truly scary looking. After I removed it, I swore more were crawling on my legs for the rest of the day (it was just sweat trickling).

I would much rather buy a 40 buck canopy cover than spend 3500 bucks on a light SOT.

The rudder is useful for emergency turns, it also is good for pulling the bow back across a current. Using it to steer works more like a brake; it stops the water flow on one side.

A Boreal boat will turn if leaned a bit. They are well designed boats, cheap SOTs are not.

Spiders like SOT kayaks also.

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I had a fishing spider fall in my canoe once. Big sucker sitting next to my sandals. I don’t like spiders but don’t kill them because they eat critters I like less.

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I loved my Hurricane Skimmer 128, which weighed 47 lbs, but I sold it when I hadn’t paddled it for over a year, always deciding to take out one of my ultralite canoes instead.