what design of boat fits this bill?

I am a sea kayaker. However, I don’t live by the sea, so sea kayak trips are mostly limited to vacations. I live in the Atlanta area and there are a number of urban creeks/streams around. I’m talking about waterways that are anywhere between 10 and 20 feet wide, maybe 8-12" deep on the straightaways and 2 ft deep on the bends. Occasionally there may be obstructions. All flat water. These waterways wind through wooded areas but houses and railroad tracks and so on may be visible. Anyway, I have wondered about the possibility of paddling some of these areas but not sure what kind of boat (or exact boat) would be suitable. It would need to be as short as possible as I would like to easily load it into the back of my pickup and hand carry it to wherever I need (like maybe 50 feet on a brushy or wooded path behind a parking lot of a building that’s closed on Sunday). So light is also a requirement. I would want to be able to get in and out very easily as that may be required to drag it around a log jam or over a shoaly stretch. Plastic obviously as there would be lots of scraping while paddling or poling, and dragging getting it to the water. There would be no spray skirt or PFD involved. Anyway, I know very little about non-sea kayak kayaks, so not sure where to begin. Short and lightweight would be key though. Any thoughts on specific models or general types?

Dagger Zydeco
How much do you weigh?

Maybe a pack canoe
These are open top like canoes, but are designed for double blade paddling with the seat on the bottom and with footpegs. Lots of them are around the 11-12 ft length range. Sort of a rec kayak without the deck. That helps keep the weight down. For the type paddling you are describing you probably do not need a deck on your boat.

Old Town’s Next is a new slightly longer model (14ft) in poly. Placid Boatworks’s Spitfire and Hemlock’s Nessmuck are pack canoes in fiberglass.

Interestingly Old Town’s Pack is a small canoe and not a pack canoe.

Not sure of other pack canoe manufacturers.


Spit never was made in Fiberglass
Its carbon fiber and kevlar. Joe decided early on that the market would not be in the glass end.

Hornbeck makes pack canoes too. They are more fragile but easier on the budget.

Both lines run sub 30 lbs.

200 lbs
200 lbs - 5’6"

I like it
Yes, that sounds like what I’m looking for. Any idea what the typical draft would be on one of these boats? I’m guessing just a couple of inches? Of the three mentioned, I think the Old Town (which as you indicated is not technically a pack canoe [although I’m not sure exactly what the definition is]) is the only one that I could afford. I’ll do some more research on the net though. Thanks.

You have described a Sit on Top
like a Tarpon 120 except for the weight. Hurricane makes one that takes care of the weight issue. It is thermoformed plastic which is very tough. I live east of you in upstate SC and all I paddle are SoT. Dressing for cold water is easy in our part of the world and only necessary a couple of months a year.

No PFD involved will get you a ticket
It needs to at least be in the boat. After you get the ticket you take the boat out of the water and start walking.

in a 12" deep stream?

– Last Updated: Nov-30-14 10:49 PM EST –

There is no one around who would have authority or even the knowledge to ticket me for such an infraction, it if is indeed an infraction which I doubt. For a much wider body of water in my area (the Chatahoochee River), PFDs are only required for certain segments [edit: required to be worn but you must have one available on other sections where they are not required to be worn]. Where I'm talking about, there are no marine police or coast guard around or anything like that. The water is probably an average depth of 12-15". This is not navigable water.

Royalex canoes
The Old Town Pack is made of Royalex, and therefore it won’t be available soon, and may already be out of production. For the conditions you describe I would much prefer a 14-foot solo canoe than the Pack, and with your comments on paddling conditions and price, I would have recommended a couple of different 14-footers by Mohawk (FAR better boats for what you describe than the Pack, and slightly cheaper, but also no longer available on account of the death of Royalex).

Almost any canoe can be paddled with a double-bladed paddle, but I don’t think using a double-blade encourages a person to learn the kind of finess that makes twisty little rivers a lot more fun (and easy) in a canoe. You can definitely make it work that way though, and you’ll have a huge advantage over any kayak when landing/launching at deadfall blockages.

As far as draft goes, I think you’ll be looking at more than two inches. I don’t think I can quite get by with as little as two inches of draft in a 14-foot canoe, and I weigh 40 pounds less than you. But the Pack is very wide, so perhaps you’ll still have a draft that’s no more than three inches.

Pirate was stating the obvious.

– Last Updated: Nov-30-14 8:05 PM EST –

Your words referring to being without a PFD were "if (it) is indeed an infraction which I doubt". Are you REALLY a sea kayaker? I don't think any experienced paddler is unaware of this law.

There is indeed a law stating that you must have a PFD with you in your boat, regardless of what kind of water is involved (you won't find that the issue of navigability of the water in question is mentioned in your state's PFD laws (I just checked the laws for Alabama and Georgia myself)). People sometimes debate whether it's "always" necessary to wear their PFD, but tossing one on the floor of the boat to comply with the law doesn't seem inconvenient enough to be bothered by. Pirate was just pointing out how easy it is to avoid getting fined, which only seems appropriate in the case of a person who's totally unaware of what the law says.

I’ve explored dozens of small streams in
and around Atlanta, and I always wore a life jacket. You should too. Properly selected, they are not hot or restrictive. And they make it easier for search teams to find your body.

I concede the legal argument
Yes, I “REALLY” am a sea kayaker and have always worn a PFD while paddling; not just because it’s required, but because its a safety issue (i.e., I would wear one whether it was required or not). Having said that, I confess to being unaware of the legal requirement for having a PFD onboard in water in which carrying a PFD provides no real safety benefit. But after further checking, I see that that is indeed the case (the law doesn’t explicitly make any exceptions including sitting in a boat at a retail shop to see how it fits).

"…water in which carrying a PFD provides no real safety benefit."

No such water exists. Anywhere.

Lost a paddler today


I would argue
that water that is too shallow for a PFD to float you would qualify as water in which a PFD provides no real safety benefit.

buy ya a rec boat
It compliments the lifejacket, and skirt accessories your not using, so its the perfect boat for ya. I paddle a used whitewater kayak (wavesport y) or crossover (xp10) in that environment- a bit of a pain in the *** to get in and out with logs and such. Things can get dicey on small streams if there is current added to your equation. Unfortunately, while short boats turn great, you drag more. I’ll let the pnet physicists explain it. The only thing I know about draft is that its good cheap beer. Creeks are fun. Get ya some thick felt soled booties and bring a strap or painter and attach it as needed so you can drag your boat behind ya. Let the fun begin.

EZ - I’m curious which
you’ve explored and if you found any worth returning to or any that you definitely wouldn’t return to.

No such water exists?
I don’t particularly wish to re-start the recurring debate about this, but “no such water exists” is something I can’t agree with. In slow water that’s hardly ever as much as knee-deep, you’d never encounter a situation where the PFD would help you. That’s true unless it counts that in streams so shallow that you often must walk and drag your boat, it might possibly cushion your ribs if you have an uncontrolled fall.

On that note, and considering degree of risk, have you ever waded across a shallow stream without a helmet? You really COULD have died when you did that, whether or not you wore your PFD. In fact, if you apply even a smidgeon of logic to what it’s like to wade in such a shallow-water situation, you can see that going helmetless carries a much greater risk of death or serious injury than going without your PFD. What’s different in that case is that no one would question your judgment if you skipped wearing the helmet. That’s because no one tries to ignore the the fact that there are various degrees of risk, as far as the need for helmets goes.

I generally wear my PFD, and have no argument with the “I will always wear it” mentality, but that’s not the same as believing that all water presents a drowning risk that’s properly addressed by wearing one.

Watch those felt-soled boots
They are now illegal in many states.