warren lightcraft


Is anyone Familiar with the warren light craft little wing 12.5.

Most of my Kayaking is smooth to choppy water.

Looking for a stable boat.

Is it worth the $3300.00


Is more about the paddler than the kayak. I’d suggest paddling a variety of kayaks then deciding where to spend 3k. Let your skills grow some, don’t get the kayak that’s the most stable at rest, that becomes a liability when the water gets rougher. Also you could do a lot worse than something descended from a West Greenland design.

Very expensive and odd looking little kayak.

Try as many designs as you can and don’t rule out something with a longer water line. It will track better and be more efficient over distance. There are plenty of choices out there and many will give you solid and secure feel on the water without sacrificing performance.


is it worth 3300 dollars?

What kayak is worth $3000?

Opinion based on…?

– Last Updated: Oct-30-10 11:14 AM EST –

I know people like to bash the Warren designs, and they are odd looking and pricey. But it's an extremely light weight monocoque design, which costs money to build. So unless you've paddled one, looked at it up close and judged it deficient in some way, how can you say it's not worth the money?

To the OP, just realize you are paying a premium for an atypical design, and it would be preferable to try one out first. If you are focused on a 12' size, you might also consider the Epic GPX. It's a more traditional design, also quite light weight, and much less expensive.

If you're just starting out, it's often wise to buy a used boat to begin with, to see what you like. They can usually be resold for about what you paid.

Doing a search …
… Looks like only one person has referenced this boat in the last year, interjecting Warren Light craft into a handful of threads on other topics. There are 3 reviews on Pnet, one of which almost looks like an infomercial. A web search shows very little as well, with one article about a paddle across Long Island Sound that is not exactly a stellar review of the boat’s stability and speed.

I’ve never seen one or heard anyone talk about one, so all I can comment on is what’s written, which isn’t much, and their web site.

The most interesting thing about these boats, to me, is their light weight. I’d demo one for the heck of it if I had the chance and time. You never know about a boat until you try it.

I’d never buy a boat without a demo, especially one so radical in design. And build (spayed on paint, no gel coat) … I’d want to see what a well used one looks like. It would really have to sing long and loud to me, especially for that price.

There are a lot of proven light (as in duty) touring boats out there that can be had in light weight lay ups. None perhaps as light in weight as Warren advertises, but keep in mind they may be longer, and perhaps hold up better to everyday wear and tear (thinking of the painted hull and no gel coat to protect the fabric).

This one is

Epic is nice
I paddle mostly Greenland designs but I love the Epic line too. This would be a nice play kayak. I know a guy who paddles one in all conditions.



That one sure is purty.
I guess that if I had $3000, several boats may seem worth that much. since I don’t have $3000, none seem worth it.

I’d like to try one.
I don’t mind designs that aren’t traditional.

You’re saying you’re not in the market for my fancy-schmancy, Danish, hand-built, book-matched mahogany and wenge-trimmed, round-bottomed, flat-water ‘touring’ kayak? Well, thanks for nuttin’! OK, just kidding, mostly. I should sell the damn thing, but it’s just so sexy, when I think about listing it, it gives me that come-hither look…

Same here …
… See one, and try one. Pure curiosity. Even though I paddle in close geography to where they are made, I’ve never seen one. Or heard of anyone selling them, or who even has one. If I’m ever up in Salem and have time, I will look then up.

odd and expensive and worth it
If you’ve looked into them, you know they are ‘odd looking’ and expensive.

They are also extremely light and good paddlers.

I’ve had mine (15.5 - $4K) a tad over a year.

To begin with, it was a godsend when I (finally) got it (a bit of a wait for delivery). About a week after I got it, my back went out. I could hardly move myself around, but carrying a 28lb boat to the water 1/4 mile to put in every day was workable.

Since then, I have paddled it (just about) every (work)day (weekends are for ‘serious’ paddling elsewhere). If I didn’t have the under 30lb boat, I’m sure I wouldn’t have come near to doing the daily paddle (previously used a cart - hassle, leaving cart hidden in bushes or strapped on back of yak - hassle).

About to go out for a short paddle (after getting off the water about 10 hours ago (yesterday) from a ‘club’ outing - 32 mile paddle on St. Johns).

A couple of weeks ago paddled around a local island (Cumberland) - about 47miles, it is a fairly seaworthy boat as well.


Boat weight can be a deal breaker …
… For getting out on the water. Glad to see the Warren lets you stay on the water.

My boat is 50 pounds (or so I think), and 17’ 6" long. Carrying is not so bad, but I have to consider the energy needed to put it up on the roof rack after a paddle. It’s ok for now, but I can see a Hullivator in my future.

I can also see a time when a lighter boat will be more than just nice, but needed. Light layups of 17’ sea kayaks seem to shave off only a few pounds … roughly 10 pounds. Mid 40’s vs. mid 50’s, while good, is no where near 30 pounds.

Looking at Warren boats, they are all small, which is part of the weight savings. I’m thinking a traditional 17’ + sea kayak made the same way would be well north of 28 pounds.

When the time comes, I’ve figured SOF would be the way to go. Warren, and boats made like it, may be options, though more expensive.

Would be curious to know what you paddled before, and how the Warren compares. Jut by looking at pictures, it seems to have the lines of a typical rec boat.

I’m thinking how is it at edging, turns and strokes. Does it handle like a traditional sea kayak in conditions? Also how does the finish hold up. It’s painted on, right? Up here, we have lots of rocks, and even the beaches typically have small rocks than can scratch.

Boat selection is all about trade offs. When the low weight is most important, Warren looks interesting.

tough as nails, well …
… ‘slight’ exaggeration.

Where I put-in every morning is over an oyster bed - but I wear very good foot protection. I NEVER let the Warren hit ground. Even when landing on a ‘safe’ sandy beach, I’ll get out and carry it to shore. (last winter, on a pre-dawn paddle, I put a good scratch on the bottom when paddling over an oyster patch - been much more careful since then).

What I was told when buying it was that it will ‘dimple’ when hit. I haven’t banged it into anything yet to prove that yet.

I took it to the coast, early on, to test it rollablility. Went out through a light surf easily. I’ve added no extra padding, and I had difficulty in rolling it. The hatches won’t leak ‘on their own’, but if you plan on being upsidedown a lot - they do, somewhat.

It edges well enough, turns easily, tracks well.

I haven’t paddled it in ‘interesting’ conditions, the day I paddled it around Cumberland I., I made sure the swell was low & nothing coming in (I did the ocean side 1st - to do the 20 mile stretch first with no landing - even though the surf was smallish, I would rather not ‘test’ it). I normally do that paddle in my Romany with no worries about conditions.

Your idea about a SOF is a good one. If you can either build one or find one 2nd hand that is your fit - it would be a lot cheaper. There are also other makers of light boats (eg: Lincoln), or go with a ski.

Next ‘expedition’ I go on, I’ll get a boat with a solid layup, until then, I think I’ll stick with a ‘large’ carbon footprint (we don’t get big seas very often in this part of the world - other than a day or 2 on either side of hurricanes).


Warren Little Wing 12.5
I wrote the original reiview of the Warren Little (LW)Wing 12.5 on P-net. While my review may have read something like an ‘infomercial’, and was considered ‘over the top’ by some, what I was trying to do was a very comprehensive review following the format of a typical Sea Kayaker Magazine reiview. It seems that Sea Kayaker will not review a Warren kayak, so I tried to fill in the gap as soon as I received my boat.

I have paddled my LW 12.5 for the past two seasons - generally three to four times per week from early March through late November - mostly on inland lakes in Illinois. I took classes and went on tours at three sea kayak symposiums on the Great Lakes, comparing my LW 12.5 to traditional British and Greenland style boats. I rented a P&H Capella and a Valley Avocet LV at two symposiums, and had a chance to demo many other traditional boats as well as Epics and QCCs. I took classes on bracing and rolling and wind, waves and surf. I paddled my LW 12.5 on tours of the Apostle Island sea caves and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

My conclusion is that while I enjoyed the more traditional boats, I prefer the handling of the Warren design in the conditions that I encountered - waves up to three feet and winds to 20-25 mph. I have no idea how the Warren boats handle in really big waves, and it seems no one else has posted information on this. The handling of Little Wings may not satisfy experts who expect to use their skills to contribute in large part to their kayak’s ‘seaworthiness’.

For me, at 64 years old and 5’3" and 125 Lbs, the light weight of the Warren boats allows me to paddle about every other day, so the price is worth it. I heartily agree with Andy on the benefits of the light weight.

I will try to answer a few questions from my experience. 1) The main downside to the Warren boats is that they are subject to denting and surface abrasion when hitting rocks, yes even the small rocks on otherwise sandy beaches. The finish on the Warren boats is much like that on the hood of your car - very impressive, but not suitable for rough ground. Imagine dragging the hood of your car over rocks, etc. Mine has accumulated many small dents, scratches, chips and other ‘battle scars’. I am not sure how practical it would be to try to fix or repair any of these. Since I purchased mine, Warren has changed to a denser foam core and additional layers of carbon in critical areas to minimize denting. Tip: if you order a Little Wing, ask about the extra layers of carbon, which add very little weight. Without the traditional gel coat, there is really no way to eliminate surface scratching.

2) Warren does make longer kayaks that are still very light weight; the 16-ft weighs 32 Lbs and 18-foot weighs 36 Lbs. Longer kayaks do not need to be heavy.

3)Surprisingly, given the hull shape, Little Wings do respond to edging to make turning easier.

4) The Little Wing hulls, while much different than traditional kayaks like Brit boats, really are nothing like recreational kayaks - just as Epic and QCC hulls are not like recreational kayak hulls. They are rounded and narrow, and have very little primary stability. They are basically high efficiency, ‘high performance’ hulls, that are more stable than most. Their ‘wings’ give them very high and predictable secondary stability. They seem to be especially stable in beam waves - although I have only tested mine in waves up to three feet.

5) Little Wings seem to handle differently than traditional kayaks, but they are no less seaworthy. To me, they are more inherently seaworthy, since they do not depend as much on paddler skill and fitness to maintain their ‘seaworthiness’, especially their stability.

I recently paddled a LW 15.5, and found it to be a full 1-mph faster than my LW 12.5. I can maintain 3.5-4.0 mph in my LW 12.5, but can cruise at 4.5-5.0 mph in the LW 15.5 using what feels like the same effort. Unless you want a short kayak for a specic reason, I recommend buying the 15.5.

Are Warren kayaks worth the price and the long wait? It depends. I just ordered a 15.5 to be finished next Spring and with the strongest and heaviest layup they offer, and I will give my 12.5 to my wife. My experience is that once you get used to paddling a Little Wing, it is hard to imagine being satisfied paddling another type of kayak, despite its obvious limitations launching and landing under rougher shore conditions. More experience paddlers may not agree with my conclusions.

three feet

– Last Updated: Oct-31-10 4:40 PM EST –

is over your head and as high as you can usually reach with your hand.


True about 3-foot waves
While I have never been out in waves more than three feet high according to marine forcasts(and then only once), I did not paddle my Little Wing long with 3-ft waves abeam, maybe just while turning. I have paddled several times in waves up to two feet, which my 12.5 handles well.

I am a novice to intermmediate paddler. I am sure many other paddlers would like for a more advanced paddler that has experience in many different kayaks to take a Warren kayak into rougher waters and report back on P-net. It is frustrating to me that several more advanced paddlers and P-net posters have stated that they live near Salem, MA, and that they have never tried a Little Wing. One poster even stated several times that he intentionally avoids taking his Little Wing into rougher waters where he would take his NDK Romany. Living in Cental Illinois, I do not have access to water with waves higher than about one foot within about 200 miles. Sea Kayaker magazine has not reported any tests of Warren kayaks either, although I have noticed that most of their tests also are conducted in conditions of less than 2-foot waves, so I am not sure their test would provide much rough water handling information.

The Warren web site implies that their Little Wings are designed to work well in rough water. I guess that I will find out for myself some day as I am now retired and plan over the next year to attend more sea kayak symposiums on the Great Lakes and the sea coasts.

does it handle waves better than the more traditional touring kayaks you rented for the symposiums? You said it was hard to roll–aside from the light weight what is it about the boat that you like and makes it worth the price