Very specific Kayak recommendation

With all the kayak experience on this forum, I thought I’d ask you all your opinion on the following.

I’m looking for a kayak that is:

  • Under $1000
  • Under 50 lbs
  • 10’ or longer
  • Transitional or touring-type
  • two hatches
  • low volume
  • and a cockpit on the larger side (my disability prevents me from safely exiting a tight cockpit)

    I will be paddling this in larger lakes and coastal ocean waters

    Any recommendations…?


– Last Updated: Jun-25-13 12:55 AM EST –

You want low volume but a large cockpit, generally not found together. For your price range, you should look at used boats.

You're in MA, I saw a CD Pachena listed at Charles River Canoe & Kayak:

Here are the specs (it's discontinued):

I've had one of these for 7 years and will never sell it. It is endlessly forgiving, has a large cockpit with wide comfortable seat, behaves well in confused waters. It's a perfect loaner, and my wife's favorite boat.

The main issue is that this one has one rear hatch and a float bag in the front (I have a two hatch model). Also, it is at the top of your weight range.

However, this is worth serious consideration at the asking price of $800 (I paid much more and was happy to get it). Even better would be a kevlar version with two hatches, they weigh only 43 pounds or so, but usually sell for $1500-$1800.

PS read the reviews here on p-net.


– Last Updated: Jun-25-13 9:48 AM EST –

YOu might want to look for a used Venture Easky 15LV. The list price on them is $1299 but Lake George Kayak in upstate New York (not terribly far from you) has used Easkys in their rental fleet that they sometimes sell. They had several for sale last year for $800. I have one and even with my long legs, the 34" x 19" cockpit is large enough that I can plop my butt in the seat and then bend and pull my legs in. It weighs 46 lbs, is nicely outfitted (dual bulkheads and hatches, thigh braces, comfortable seat, easily adjusted foot braces) and behaves very well in flat and in rough water.

Mine doesn't have a rudder (though it has all the fittings to add one) but I have never felt it needed one -- it tracks very well. Even the standard volume Easky 15 is under 50 lbs and lower volume than most 15' touring kayaks. I bought mine new for under $800 (end-of-summer sale) and we recently found a used standard Easky 15 for my boyfriend for $700.

There is also the shorter and wider Easky 13 (also 46 lbs) which it is a little more towards the recreational design end but still suitable for the use you describe. Very similar to the Pachena Carl suggested but with dual bulkheads. There is a used one for sale in Hartford CT at the moment for $650.

your height/weight, inseam?

It won’t cost you a cent, because
it will exist only in your imagination.

Maybe you should focus on what you want to DO most, and leave us to work out the specifics in the world of reality.


– Last Updated: Jun-25-13 11:14 AM EST –

I am with Carl - going to be hard to find the boat you want. Under $1000 may get you a plastic boat. I've seen some Dagger Alchemy boats for sale at $999 new, but they normally retail for some $1250.

Problem is that plastic boats generally are going to be over 50 pounds. Some manufacturers may list a plastic boat as being close to 50, but these are often ones that weighted the boat without outfitting (many manufacturers do this), so the weight as you get it is a few pounds higher.

On cockpit opening sizes, I'd get ahold of a Seal's skirt sizing guide and look for a boat with a 1.7 skirt. I think this would be a good mix of larger opening size, yet still small enough that a skirt can seal for the open water conditions you said you want to paddle. But this is me guessing - you really should get out and try different boats and pay attention to what size skirts they use (the larger the number, the bigger the opening). I can barely fold my legs in (6' tall, 32" inseam) while sitting in the seat of a 1.4 skirt, and no way with a 1.2. Next size up is 2.2 and these opening just seem huge to me.

But, as said by another, these boats with medium size cockpits generally aren't low volume, as many people here think of low volume (often we are thinking Greenland boat low volume). But there are larger and smaller versions of many boats, so maybe your definition of low volume is not the same as what we are thinking.

Your profile says beginner and that you have a Tarpon. What about the Tarpon do you not like and what an improved experience out of? That will help us understand a bit better what to suggest.

Also, the beginner category is always a flag. There is a saying that a=we are all just between swims. If you switch to a sit inside kayak, make sure you know how to get back in to the kayak on the water when your turn to swim comes up. Depending on the abilities you have, may require special gear or processes.

I lucked into a used (smaller) Alchemy for $600 maybe two years ago. I wasn’t happy with the cockpit so I pulled out the stiffening hardware and moved the seat back quite a bit. I think it would fit all your requirements… except I have never weighed it.

Delta 12.10
Over your budget at approximately $1450 but decent size cockpit, 43 lbs, two hatches, and fairly capable in rough water.

There is an Epic Endurance and

– Last Updated: Jun-25-13 2:53 PM EST –

There is an Epic Endurance for $850 and a strip-built 18 footer available from the same seller here in MD. I've seen both in person so I know they are real deals (not saying they are good deals for you, just that they are out there).

Either meets your criteria and are around 40lb in weight with fairly long cockpits (especially the Epic).

Check the classifieds here - you'll see them. Talk with the owner if interested. Some folks are going up north from the MD/DC/VA area towards MA for the Blackburn Challenge in July - you might be able to get cheap transport for your boat this way, provided you like these.

Both of these kayak will require certain level of skill to enjoy (not beginner boats), but are fast and sleek.

Keep looking - deals do pop-up from time to time if you are not too picky on the cosmetic condition of the boat you can have your cake and eat it too (or most of it anyway). There is for instance a Wave Excel by West Side Boat Shop for sale on Craigs List for only $400 with dual rudder setup - that's a 30lb boat to which you could add bulkheads/hatches and still be under $500-$600 for an under 40lb fast Kevlar kayak with a "racing" (i.e., fairly long and spacious) cockpit that is relatively low volume otherwise...

Also, Huricane Tracer 165
The Tracer and the Tampico might also fit the bill. Either can usually be had under $1,000 in very good condition and should be around 50lb…

WS Zephyr 155 comes at under 55lb (I had one and it is closer to 50 than to 60lb in actual weight) and has a spacious cockpit but is low volume overall. $600-$900 used is what I would expect to pay for one.

Need to define "larger cockpit"
If you describe your height, weight, and functional limitations we will try to advise you on cockpit size.

General sizes for TRANSITIONAL cockpits:

16 x 30: Tiny. This is more for a sea kayak.

17 x 32: about average but too small for quite a few people

18 x 33: still in the medium category

19 x 34: large

19 x 35: XL

20 X 38: XXL, and now you have a problem with water entering the cockpit

20 x 38+: Humongous

If you only have a problem with flexibility, here’s how to figure out your cockpit size: Sit on the floor with your back against the wall. Lay a tape measure alongside your legs. Bend your knee to bring your foot back toward you. Measure the distance from the wall to the end of your foot. Add one to two inches. That’s how much room you need to be able to clear the cockpit coaming with your foot, i.e., the distance from the seat to the front of the cockpit.

Yes except for cockpit
The Delta’s cockpit is 18 x 32.5, which is medium sized. However, it has a lot of depth at the front of the cockpit—13.5"—which aids exit. But as was mentioned above, low volume and large cockpit are opposites. The Delta 12.10 is a very high volume kayak. For some people that’s a plus, for others not. Maybe OP can say more about what low volume means and why it’s needed.

Demo, Demo,Demo, Demo, Demo
If you can find a local shop that demo’s boats, try out as many as you can. If there is anywhere near you to rent, try that too. You’re much more likely to find the perfect craft for you, if it’s your backside that finds it and sits in it for a while.

Enjoy the journey.


– Last Updated: Jun-26-13 6:53 PM EST –

Used glass kayaks
Old easy rider kayak
Glass kestrel

I would say the kestrel is the better choice for you. Yes it's a bit of a drive for you but maybe you can turn the trip into a nice long vacation weekend.

Edit: there was a panchea on one of the local craigslists but I can't find it now.
2nd edit here it is
Panchea in Beverly MA for $750

And if you like a boat and it’s a bit too confining, ask the dealer if they’ll move the seat back for you. Or ask if they’ll tell you how to do it yourself. I’ve done this to most every boat I’ve owned. It makes a big difference.

Thanks for the replies
Thanks for all your replies. It gives me a lot more to think about :slight_smile:

Change the first criterion to over 15 feet.