Valley Aquanaut Fit/Sizing

I’m 5’11’ (32 inch inseam)and 164#. I’m wondering what would be the better fit in a composite Aquanaut - standard or LV. I currently paddle a Tempest 165 (poly) pretty comfortably but I’m definitely at the upper end of the range for that boat. I’m guessing I’d “fit” in the Aquanaut LV but it may be a little tight. On the other hand, the standard with it’s 13 1/2 inch deck height sounds a little too loose after the Tempest. I once got to try an Aquanaut standard size in plastic and it was okay (perhaps a little big) but I’ve read that that may not be an apples-to-apples comparison with the composite. Apparently Valley plastic and composite boats fit differently even when both are the same model. It sounds like in my case the LV would be the way to go if I was considering the Aquanaut in plastic but maybe not so in fiberglass. Any similarly sized Aquanaut paddlers out there?

I have owned both the Tempest 165 pro

– Last Updated: Jan-28-13 11:54 PM EST –

and Aquanaut LV (composite). I would suggest the 'naut LV for your use, based on your personal specs you are going to find the 'regular' Aquanaut a bit roomy.

Fwiw, I go 5' 9" and about 155.

I have also paddled the Tempest 165 poly and the Aquanaut LV in poly. Both the Tempest Pro (composite) and poly are for all practical purposes identical in size, but have different hatch covers. Not so with the Aquanaut LV. You will find the poly version to have more beam and carry more volume.

I’d suggest the LV of the two
I’m 5’9" and 180. I test paddled the standard Aquanaut and found it too roomy for my liking.

So why an Aquanaut?
Nothing against the boat model but how did you get turned on to an Aquanaut?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

I am 6 ft tall–160 lbs. I paddle a Naut’ LV. I love the bosat especially for rougher conditions. My size 11 feet make the fit just a tad tight. I always have to tilt my feet to not have my toes touch the hull.

Are you a telemark skier ?

I think either would work, but it probably depends on how you like your boats to fit, and how you plan to use this next boat.

I’m 6’0, size 13, 180#, and I paddle a glass Aquanaut much of the time. I’ve paddled a glass Tempest 165 a few times as well.

I find the Tempest playful, quite snug, and probably close to overloaded when I paddle it with day kit.

The Aquanaut is responsive and easy to edge, even with only a day-load in it, but is a little more of a distance boat for someone my size. It swallows a huge amount of gear, and yet is slim and fast, and reasonably maneuverable. The fit is just right for me (no extra padding) and is a fairly low boat. Don’t be fooled by the front deck-height. It’s a bit peaked, so it measures deeper than it fits, IMO. And the back deck height and side coaming height is low.

Try both boats, and see what you like. And consider whether you plan to put a weeks worth of gear in one. If that’s not in your plans the LV might work. If you plan to do a lot of extended stuff, my guess is the LV is undersized for someone 165#.

I am exactly the same size
and often paddle my wife’s plastic Aquanaut LV. It is plenty big enough for me. I could camp out of it. Very nice boat in all conditions. I do not have any experience with the composite version.

Two Reasons
1. I’ve been in the RM version, was pretty impressed with it, and thought the composite would be even better.

2. With it being phased out by Valley and replaced by the Etain there are some good deals on them out there.

Telemark Skier - Yes
Yes, free heeled it for about 13 years. I’ve gone back to the dark side (albeit with AT gear), for the time being, but who knows I may (probably) go telemark again.

glass LV is smaller

Nate’s nailed it
I’m 6’ 175-180 and have been paddling a standard Aquanaut since 2004. I also have a Nordkapp LV, Romany, and Elaho D.S. The Aquanaut is my ‘go-to’ and traveling boat. Not as exciting as the Nordlow or spritely as the Romany but it handles all conditions with aplomb. It is my traveling and camping boat. It paddles well laden or unladen. I think, unless you are planning to paddle heavily loaded, the Aquanaut LV would be more enjoyable for your weight than a standard. (As has been noted the poly and composite 'nauts are different in size despite same designation – e.g. the poly Aquanaut LV is beamier than a composite standard Aquanaut).

Another plus, IMHO, is that the Aquanaut retains a Valley feel whereas the newer Valley boats seem to be attempting to be less so. (Pintail and Nordlow are the most obvious embodiments of that ‘Valley feel’. An Aquanaut retains some of that fluidity while being less demanding.)


– Last Updated: Feb-03-13 2:03 PM EST –

The glass ANAUT works exceedingly well for me.

I'm 6-0, and I ran 195 when I bought it, and I'm at 205 now (hmmm... well, plus or minus -well, mostly plus -a few pounds depending on how close I am to a holiday), albeit with a 30" inseam vs. your 32. But don't worry -you will still fit quite easily.

Everything Nate and Jim noted is spot on.

While I also liked the poly Tempest that I've been in, it was the 170, not the 165, and the larger model was quite snug for my thicker thighs, and for paddling empty, that would be OK. However, I think it wouldn't work nearly as well as the ANAUT has for camping -both in terms of carrying the same amount of gear, and for its paddling manners when loaded.

The boat does edge well and easily, and works well unladen, but seems to shine even better loaded. I'm not nearly as accomplished a paddler as many on this board; that said, I'll echo Jim's note: the ANAUT inspires confidence. That's good, because I find that confidence inspires experience, and experience is really the ultimate instructor. I returned from a camping trip and crossed an open water stretch of perhaps a mile in SW Florida near Cape Romano in choppy, breezy conditions, and I felt at ease handling the chop and wind in the fully loaded Aquanaut.

One word of caution: the Valley hatches are famous -infamous? -for eventually degrading and needing replacement. After 5-1/2 years (outdoor storage in South Florida, 303-treated) I finally had to replace mine a couple months ago.

I think it'll be an excellent choice should you decide to go with this now sorrowfully discontinued but classic Valley model to


-Frank in Miami

Have one

– Last Updated: Feb-05-13 3:25 PM EST –

Not sure if ok to post this but as a former frequent poster . . . Here in Albany area not too far from you, I have a like new composite Aquanaut Lv I am looking to part with as I wanted to downsize to a 16 footer. I have used it perhaps 10 times in its 3 year life.Send me an email if interested. The boat handles well- I am 5 7 and 165 pounds and the fit is good. Wilsoj on this post knows me (as well as Marshall) and the boat and can vouch this is not a troll post. He is aware of my desire to sell it. In fact the Tempest was on my short list. Reason - I now paddle eclusively smaller bodies of water. Jeff

In very good shape…
I can vouch that Jeff’s Aquanaut LV is in like new beautiful shape. He is a photographer and takes great care with all his equipment. There are very few composite 'naut LVs available, so you might give Jeff’s real consideration :wink: