Valley Hatch volumes

-- Last Updated: Sep-04-13 3:03 PM EST --

Iam considering getting a plastic expedition type kayak.In the 17 to 18 foot long range. I was looking at Valley kayaks but cant find hatch volumes listed anywhere. I emailed Valley twice over the past month no response. Anyone know hatch Volume of say the Nordkapp RM or Etain or the Aquanaut plastic kayaks.

I like to know hatch volumes to make sure its big enough to take all my gear. I pack alot as I like luxury while camping.

I was thinking plastic as iam scratching the living hell out of my current fiberglass kayak while doing Georgian Bay Canada trips.

I want something to fit me, male at 5'8" 160 pounds for rough water.I have a NDK Greenlander Pro now I really beginning to hate the small hatch openings on NDK kayaks.So no darn small round hatches.

So iam open to other suggestions, never had a ruddered kayak but iam open to trying one plus less space grabbing in rear hatch from skeg box. Iam hoping to be able to rent any potential kayak choice to give me time to get it into rough water to see how she goes. (what I call rough water, mostly Great lakes with waves up to 5 footers, after that I want off the water for sure). Also if its a fast kayak would put it at top of the list.

So basically have two questions hatch volumes of Valleys and other suggestions on a expedition plastic kayak.

Nordkapp RM

– Last Updated: Sep-04-13 8:02 PM EST –

I don't know the volume but because of the narrow profile and rounded chines with pinched ends, combined with low rear deck height, my very small kayak cart could not fit in the rear! The hatch opening is big but the storage space is small. This cart is modified to have smaller than normal wheels to fit in my whitewater kayak. For comparison, it fits fine in the P&H Delphin 155 even with the original, larger wheels. And it fits behind the set back of my Axiom 8.5 whitewater kayak with my seat all the way to the rear!

So, while the overall volume in the RM might be a bit more or perhaps comparable to that in the Delphin (which is not huge), bulkier items might not fit (longer ones might fit but tall/wide might have an issue).

Can't comment on the others you mention, but generally, boats with fuller ends and more square chines topped with a high rear deck will hold more. How about the Delta kayaks? They seem quite voluminous? The Tempest 170 might be an option too - I think it might hold a bit more than the RM in the rear at least.

Don’t know figures but…
Facing a trip of islands hopping in Georgian Bay, I was apprehensive about using my composite boat. I picked up a plastic Aquanaut (HV) and it swallows the content of my gear shed with room to spare and still handles rough seas quite well. Much more volume than my composite Nordkapp.

etain and aquanaut vs. nordkapp
Because of the v-shaped hull sections aft of the cockpit there isn’t as much usable space in the Nordkapp. I’d go for the etain or aquanaut if you’re looking at Valley boats. Both have lots of space, and large oval hatches. The skeg box isn’t much of an issue for me, as I can put my fuel bottles behind the skeg box, my tent down one side of the skeg box, and my sleeping pad down the other side of the skeg box. It does require packing things in small units, but if you do, you can get a whole lot into the small spaces at both ends of the boat.

Plastic boats have less space than glass boats, in general, because of the 3" foam bulkheads (if you have a day hatch, you lose a total of 9" of storage with 3 bulkheads). Valley used to use welded plastic bulkheads in their rotomolded boats, and I don’t know if they still do. If so, then that restores the lost bulkhead space. Unfortunately you still can’t have the plastic forward bulkhead moved back to cut out the wasted cockpit volume. For touring boats, these are major drawbacks to me. My Aquanaut with custom bulkhead has about a foot of extra cargo space in fullest part of the boat, because the forward bulkhead is positioned where my feet actually are.

To the question of scratches, I have a glass boat and a plastic boat, both used heavily on the rough rocky maine coast. Both get scratched. The glass boat gets scratches that are barely deep enough to catch your fingernail in, and that’s just in the gelcoat, which can be built up if it gets thin. The plastic boat gets scratches that are much deeper, and that remove the structural material of the hull. You really can’t replace the plastic when it wears away. The fact is plastic is much softer than gelcoat, and it will abrade much faster. If it’s crush-type damage you’re worried about, then plastic has an advantage, but if it’s scratches you’re worried about, I think fiberglass boats fare much better in that department.

Ok thanks
I will look for a used A Aquanaut if I can find one. Maybe come this spring. As far as bulkheads iam pretty sure Valley has welded in plastic ones not foam like on my 14 foot Tsunami.

I agree plastic is softer but my gelcoat is taking a beating and I have never done gelcoat repair before.Plus my kayak hull isn’t the typical white but a green making it match much harder for repairs.Plus I would really like to get bigger hatches than NDK uses.

Oh here are pictures from my last trip at Georgian Bay from Labor day weekend.

nice photos, thanks for sharing!

I’ve owned an Aquanaut and have an Etain. I nearly bought a Nordkapp. Of all the Etain (17-7) has the largest hatches and storage. If you’re under 180lbs I’d go for the 17-5 Etain. As I do mainly day trips, I should have gotten the Nordkapp. Ah well, another excuse to buy one.

If you paddle Georgian Bay, I’d recommend renting a Valley of your choice at Whitesquawl in Carling near Parry Sound.

Bay Creek…
As you live in New York - Bay Creek (Rochester) and the Kayak Centre(Rhode Island) will have the RM boats you are looking at - you can demo at either location.

They will also measure the storage space…

Etain or Aquanaut
Do you like the Etain more than the Aquanaut you had?

Main differance between the two?

Iam only 160 pounds so if an Etain it would be the 17-5 which is too bad as craigslist has a 1 year old Etain 17-7 for 1 grand right now. I saw the ad and was quickly looking to see what model it was and when I saw it was the 17-7 I was sooo disappointed.

I will have to test paddle both the Nordkapp RM and the Etain 17-5. Not sure which would have the most storage space as the Nordkapp is a little longer but sleeker from what I can tell online. I will still keep my NDK Greenlander Pro and just use this other kayak for tripping.

Yes I new about Baycreek but will wait until spring to test paddle some unless I find somthing used before that. Iam really hoping to find what ever I get used. Or a demo kayak.

Thanks for the suggestions

I have a glass A-Naut, and while the composite one varies a bit from the roto one, I’m realatively sure they use the same hatches, so I think the comparison holds.

That said, my original Valley front and rear hatches held perhaps 2 8-oz. liquid cups volume each, while my day hatch probably held about 6 oz. However, when they rotted due to materials degradation with exposure over time, I replaced them with SesLect hatches. These are larger volumetrically, because of their slightly domed shapes, and I’d guesstimate these hatches with perhaps 30-40% greater volume.

And truthfully? When camping out of the Aquanaut, even with the old hatches, I found totally insignificant the volume of the hatches I was using relative to the volume of the compartments of the boat.

Now you DO need to consider the skeg box and cable tube when packing, but I found it to be a most minor inconvenience when arranging my stuff. If the roto version is anything close to the glass one, both volume- and laden and unlafen paddling-wise, I think you’ll have a most satisfactory boat in which


-Frank in Miami

Nordkapp RM
Email me if you decide on the RM. I am considering selling mine, which is pretty much in show room condition. It is a 2010 model, but I bought it from a lady that bought it new and never paddled it and I’ve only paddled it on the river here without any landings, so barely a scratch on it. Comes with a rudder (I have it taken off as I have no use for a rudder).

I see you are in NY and I am in MD, but there might be a way to transport and I sometimes travel up North.

That said, I think you will want more storage space than the RM offers based on what you said about “travel in luxury”.

Etain vs Aquanaut Club RM
Aquanaut tracked better and the skeg went way deeper (90deg).

Etain is way more maneuverable, more leg room, more storage, more stable, better seat and yes larger hatches.

At 175lbs and dropping (glutten free diet) this boat is too high volume for day trips. I had to move the seat way back to avoid the tendency too veer right and for the skeg to have some effect.

Although the Etain feels slow it is just as fast if not faster than the Aquanaut. I usually cruise at 7-8 km/ hr.

Two mods I did on the Etain: IR lounge backband and I bolted the day pod in place ( it has a habit of dislodging when waves crash on the deck).

Aquanaut Club?
I guess I dont know the Aquanaunt line all that well. Whats a Club version I know the RM is roto mold.

I was thinking plastic so RM model I just checked the review section here and I thought there was a Aquanaut RM but it appears there is either a LV or HV in the RM versions. So at 5’8" and 160lbs I guess i need to look for a LV version of the Aquanaut RM ?? If thats correct I do see one on ebay now a LV RM model. I see the LV’s in either plastic or glass are both only 17’ 1" long.I wish Valley has hatch comparment volumes listed.

I believe the club was a single layer plastic HV with foam bulkheads and no day hatch.

Aquanaut Club Rm

Triple layer poly. 17’ x 22.5".

This was the basic model with two oval hatches ( no day hatch).

The oval hatches were a pain because you had to feed stuff into dry bags when doing multi day trips.

What I really really liked was the rope and cleat skeg (no slider). That thing never ever jammed. Best of all it went all the way down 90 deg. I never had a problem with lee or weathercocking period. I really wish they’d use this on the Etain. Slider adjustment is over rated I think.

Hatch Covers
Perhaps you meant the Aquanaut Club has “round” hatches (instead of oval as the other Aquanaut models).

I believe some people here are confusing (perhaps

intentionally?) “hatch cover” volume with “compartment” volume.

I of course meant hatch compartment volumes. I didn’t think anyone would think of anything else. I did see that in one post and just let it go.

My fault for not being very specific I guess. Why Valley doesn’t have volume specs for there Bow,stern and day hatch COMPARTMENTS is beyond me. Heck they wont even respond to 2 emails I sent them about it. How long would it take for them to get that information. Heck if I had one of there kayaks I could measure it myself. Seems to me important information on there expeditions kayaks. Most other manufactures have it listed on there websites.

I know I can barely get all the crap I take on a multi day trip into my Greenlander which is 66 liters up front, 34 for the day hatch and 51 for rear hatch but the skeg box on that really kills useable space back there. So with that information I rule out any kayaks that are smaller than that.

Rough water…
By all means, get a Valley, if that is what your heart is set on. But I don’t quite get the “rough water” requirement, when you are really just talking about tripping on a developed sea. Every tripping kayak I’ve ever tried is capable of dealing with that sort of water: it’s what they’re designed for, after all.

If you want plastic and big hatches/huge storage, then the Prijon Kodiak is king. A bit boring for my tastes, but there’s no question about its ability to carry a big load in developed seas.

Rough water
I put in rough water as that’s what you can get into at Georgian Bay while camping on islands. Some kayaks are better than others in rough water. Its hard to be able to try out a test paddle of a kayak in rough water.

Example. Bay Creek not to far from me has a demo day BUT they have it on some small pond rather than from there store which is located along Lake Ontario. Probably because they can keep tract of all the kayaks easier on a small pond. So there demo day is rather useless for me.

I chose Valley as they seem to have all the features iam looking for in a plastic kayak. Iam only 5’8" so I cant just fit into any size kayak as some are just way way to big for me. Its not that iam looking for HUGE storage just a little more than I have now. But I certainly don’t want less.

Prijons I really dont care for. There really heavy as they just use thicker plastic plus there day hatchs all leak. At least everyone I talked to says they do if they actually go out when its rough enough to get water coming over the deck. Beginners all say there hatches dont leak as they never get any water over them. Like during a roll.

sure you can
I paddle with a guy who can fit all he needs in a Silhouette.