What kayak to buy ?

I’ve done a little bit of kayaking as a kid and some canoeing as an adult, and now I’m looking to buy a decent kayak for going up and down rivers with a few small rapids here and there. Any suggestions ?


you have the same areas of interest noted (photography and camping) as someone from Virginia who recently posted a question. Must be a comon background.

But seriously, if you are in the UK (your profile) you may want to find your closest canoe/kayak club and spend some time with them. If I understand things correctly, the club will have some boats and run trips, allowing you to try out some options. I believe they have tended to have what is called general purpose boats over there - similar to what we call old school WW boats. These boats have displacement hulls hence some speed, and can navigate mild rapids with aplomb if not the precision of a play boat. (You’ll want that if you really want to paddle up rivers with rapids, even class II. :slight_smile: But they might have some others around as well, flat water touring boats as well as more precise WW boats.

BTW, paddler height and weight are needed to talk specific boats.

started out with two Dagger Blackwater 10.5’s and still paddle the heck out of them to this day. We also have a stable of sea kayaks too…but the Blackwaters are just plain fun boats, that handle about anything short of class III and above. The skeg makes all the difference in such short boats. It’s a good place to start.

Celia’s right, need more info
So you can help us to help you…

For your stated use, their are many touring kayaks that would do you well. I’ve done many river trips in my Tsunami125. It does well in Class I/II and handled an unexpected Class III encounter (not recommended) in a river that was running nearly at flood stage. At 12.5 feet, it’s relatively maneuverable and carries lots of stuff fir camping. It’s a high volume boat as I’m a big guy (6’2", 260), tracks well and is very stable and forgiving without the giant “rec style” cockpit.