Walden Vista 12.5 advice

-- Last Updated: Jan-05-13 12:02 PM EST --

Hello, I'm new here but have been using this board for researching my first kayak purchase. I've been canoeing for a while but this will be something new to me.

I'm looking at a few kayaks and I was wondering about the Walden Vista. I read a few different contradicting reviews on this... my concern is if it will comfortably fit. I'm 6'4" with size 14 foot. Anyone have suggestions? This boat seems like a decent deal at $150 with a paddle, but it's nearly a 2 hour drive and don't want to find out it doesn't fit when I get out there. I've looked at a couple of different model kayaks locally and fitting my feet in there was a problem for all of 'em.

Suggestions? Thanks in advance

Walden Vista experience
I own a walden vista and I am, 5’7" 180 lbs. Spent many hours and over 1200 miles in it. The walden was a good boat that is light weight, easy to portage and responsive to turns. I kayak lots of rivers with rocks and dead fall and this kayak never let me down. The Walden did not track well and was difficult in the wind. If this is your first kayak, you might think it is quite tippy.

Don’t think you’ll fit …
or if you do you won’t be comfortable. From their website:

“The Walden Vista delivers better performance than other kayaks in this category. A lower foredeck and standard kneepads gives added control with a snug fit.”

You probably won’t be able to fit in while wearing any footware, expect maybe neoprene socks.

At your size (especially shoe size) you will be better off sitting in several boats at a local shop to get and idea of what models will work for you. If you then want to look for a less expensive boat ask the dealer if they have anything that was traded in or was from their rental/demo fleet that might fit you. Your time will be better spent by starting this way. Once you have experience in a variety of kayaks it will be much easier for you to judge what may work for you in the used boat market.


size 13 feet
I owned a Vista and am 6’ with size 13 feet. It was tight, and I solved the fit by wearing size 11 sandals when I paddled. Your longer leg length will compound the problem. Also bear in mind that these kayaks have not been manufactured for quite a few years (7?) so that the boat is getting old. Contrary to one earlier post, this was my first kayak, and it did not feel tippy at all. I quite liked the boat, but after only 4 paddle trips with it I was hooked on paddling and sold it and moved up to a 17 foot touring kayak.

Kayak Fit
I’m a tall paddler, 6’3", size 12 feet and I too recently moved from canoeing to kayaking. I don’t know about the kayak in question but I can say the further your feet extend into the bow the less foot room you’ll have. You should expect to change your footwear for kayaking and the right soft-soled water bootie in stead of a hard-soled shoe will give you more boat fit options. Footwear might seem like a small detail but for us with long legs and big feet kayak footwear a big deal.

Also I think that boat in question has no front bulkhead which might be point to consider.

I tried several boats that had not enough foot room and I suspect (especially being accustomed to a canoe) that you might find that the kayak in question will lack foot room. FYI the plastic boat I paddle now has the seat moved aft 2" for more foot room.

Good luck with buying your first kayak.

Expectations of fit
I have size 12 shoes and I bought a Manteo with a low front deck at a very good price because the owner could not fit his size 10 feet in it. I would expect you to point your toes forward and splay them out in a v with your heels almost touching in the bottom of a low decked boat. If you expect to have your feet wide apart with the toes pointing straight up and your ankles at a 90 degree bend, then very very few boats will fit.

On the good side, it is a decent boat and price so if you cannot get used to the fit, you could sell it for what you paid. Often it takes me 10 or 20 paddling hours to get the outfitting in a boat adjusted just right for long term comfort.

Kayak foot room
is an interesting topic. I tend to be pigeon-toed, not duck-footed. Sitting for hours with my heels touching and with toes splayed too far apart by a low deck will never be comfortable for me. There are plenty of boats that fit me but most do not. It’s my particular problem and I know I could and should be more flexible.

Being one switching from canoeing to kayaking I can say that foot and leg comfort was a big issue. I’m guessing the OP has already experienced a similar issue.

I hope the OP lets us know what boat he settles on.