What kayak to get/where to find?

Hey everyone, new to the sport and wanting to get my first Yak to get me into it but I’m having a hard time finding anything around me outside of Dick’s. My two prospects there are the Pelican Mustang or Field & Stream Blade. I’m a bit apprehensive of being something without a bulkhead though as I’m likely gonna get a ways from the put-in.
So a little on me I’m 6’ 250lbs and will mostly be on lakes until I get better and would like to work my way into rivers. I’ve watched headwater kayaks video of kayaks under 1k and I really like the idea of a Kayak that will grow with me (they reviewed the Feelfree Aventura, Dagger Axis, and Pungo) and I think anyone of them would be a good fit. But the problem is I can’t find them anywhere around me or online.
So my question is kind of two parts: are there any kayaks similar to the ones mentioned in the video and where can I go to actually find one?
I also live in south central KY and am willing to go as far as Nashville or Louisville to pick something up and I’ve been keeping an eye on Facebook Market.

Can’t help you with place. But I am close to your size. I have not found anything shorter than 14 ft that can adequately handle my weight and provide good handling for speed, distance and waves.

My normal boat is a 17ft sea kayak, but I have a 14ft rec boat that I take sometimes on curvy creeks.

You are too big for either of the models that you mention. Being that close to the maximum weight capacity means the boat will not only be slower but unstable. Especially since you plan to venture into deeper waters and grow skills you should be looking at boats at least 14’ long. Your boat hull has to displace enough volume of water to counterbalance your own mass so longer adds that volume so your waterline is balanced for optimal performance. I short boat would have to be so wide to provide that volume that it would be like trying to paddle a bathrub or truck inner tube.

With your budget being so tight that limits you to a used boat. You will have to be looking pretty hard and acting fast to snag one this summer with stock of new ones drastically down for now and the sport picking up popularity.

1 Like

I spotted some offerings on your regional Craigslist that could be potential options for you – two sit on tops and two sit inside kayaks (both of those have full bulkheads bow and stern). First one includes a good paddle and cart for $1000. Purple one looks like it may be an older Aquaterra (made in the 90’s by Perception) for only $400. Paddle with that one is junk. Third link is a decent deal for a 14’ Necky Elias with a good paddle and spray skirt for $1100. You could go just about anywhere in that one provided you fit in the cockpit (owner notes his 34" inseam fits with the rudder control removed). Fit would also be important on the yellow kayak but that’s also a good deal on a competently designed touring boat.:

I hadn’t really considered sea kayaks as an option, but those do seem like great boats. The nifty seems like it would be a great deal, I’d definitely have to see how I would fit. I mentioned I’m 250lbs but I’m not really ‘wide’ so it’s worth a look. The brochure that is mentioned in the post states a paddler weight of up to 230 but a capacity of 300, so that’s definitely a concern.
That Elias look like a sweet ride too! Definitely the most expensive one but it looks worth it for sure.

Have you considered a canoe ?

Sirocco on CL in the Greenville SC area would be a good fit for a guy your size.

bear in mind some of those used boats are offered with a decent paddle and even a sprayskirt. those woukd cost you another $200 if you were to buy a new boat. Plus you will have no sales tax on a Craigslist deal.

i have owned a bunch of boats, from 8’ whitewater kayaks to a 16’ canoe and an 18’ sea kayak. Of all these of tgem, my 15’ plastic touring kayak is the most versatile. I have used it in the ocean and Great Lakes as well as local lakes and rivers and even some class 2 whitewater.

Yeah they are definitely good deals but like I said I’m just a little concerned about the weight capacities for them. As you mentioned yourself being that close to max capacity would reduce performance and stability.
I’ll keep looking around and hopefully I can find something with a good weight rating, the nifty is decently close so I emailed the owner to see what his experience has been with it.

I weigh 230 and boats rated to 300 are fine but all I ever carry are water and snacks.

We just bought her a Dicks Kayak for her to go along with her girlfriends some and to accompany me in my canoe. All her friends have that type of kayak and they do ok on our river they float down and a few smaller inland lakes around here. Sounds kind of like what you were thinking of to get started as well.

The thing that bothered me about them you mentioned is lack of flotation and low weight limits and I wanted something safer than that. She liked the Old Town Vapor 10 and we were looking at it and adding flotation and then we saw OT makes a model just for a couple sports stores called the OT Trip 10 Deluxe it is the same thing as the Vapor except sold as a fishing kayak and it has a sealed hatch and bulkhead behind the seat for dry storage and also flotation in the bow is a small foam float block that didn’t look like it would do much. We ordered it on line even though we have a Dicks in town but they didn’t have it in stock and didn’t know when they would get one. It came to our door in about 10 days. The fishing part is two flush rod holders behind the seat that you don’t even notice and it came with a little anchor and a couple lines that took me about 5 minutes to get off. I then rigged the bow with a DIY flotation I made from a small yoga ball. I have a thread that shows how I did that. I feel 100 times better about the boats safety now. I added a painter line to the bow with a float also so the mods to the kayak were about $15 and you could never tell it was a fishing kayak. It has a max weight capacity of 325 lbs. The cockpit is very long and easy for a bigger guy but This is not intended for the sea or extreme WW. It is just a fun kayak IMO on the upper end of the cheap plastic recreational kayaks and with some added flotation one that’s not going to sink to the bottom if you flip it.

Another caution here. Since it’s clear you don’t have a lot of seat time yet in kayaks you are really not likely to get an ideal boat first time out. like most of us when we started out as you use your first boat you will likely start to realize what you would like to improve about it. like you want something faster, or that turns better in winding streams or that is more stable or whatever.

Thus it is more likely than not that you may want to get a different boat and sell the first one eventually as your skill and experience grows. This is one reason for buying a used boat at first— it will lose less value on resale. In fact if you choose a used boat that is a fairly popular model it will usually be easier to sell.

So something like a more common model from Wilderness Systems, Necky, Perception, Riot, Dagger or Jackson will be easier to sell. There are people who are interested in rarer boats, like the Nifty, but they are harder to find and shipping kayaks across country is a costly hassle so you typically want a local buyer.

I wonder if the resale thing is somewhat regional. Around here a nicer plastic recreational kayak like the OT vapor will sell right away if you set it in your yard with a for sale sign on it. Most of the time they never make it to CL or FB. Same to some degree with cheaper canoes. We don’t see many higher end paddle boats on the creek and small lakes. Older guys are fishing out of a row or jon boats or a canoe and younger guys are fishing out of sit in or sit on plastic kayaks. Of course 99% of what you see in our Erie harbor or on lake Erie have engines and are good size power boats or larger sail boats.

They have some sort of charity float almost every weekend for a fire department or something with 100s of small $300-400 plastic rec kayaks. I think a lot of families with kids get involved as you will see a pickup truck go by with 6-10 boats piled in the back and for a family to buy a bunch of nice boats isn’t an option.

Thirty-Forty years ago it was all canoes or Folbot kit kayaks from the 80s.

Yeah, I’m sure the first boat I get won’t be my favorite and I’ll eventually trade up. I’ve only tried a few perception boats for the most part my friend has a conduit 13 which was ok, and I’ve tried a joyride (can’t remember the size) that was a bit small of a cockpit. Conduit seemed ok. If anything on a cheaper boat I can add float bags i guess?
Anyways thanks for all the helpful advice guys. Just unfortunate their aren’t many local kayak dealers here outside of the big box stores so I’m a little limited by the kayak shortage. Hopefully I’ll find something on CL or FB that’s suitable. We are planning a trip in July so i got some time to find something and get the time in with.

Good luck!
My first kayak was a 12’ Perception Acadia which was too small for me but we had some adventures!
I learned it’s not a good idea to take an open cockpit into a place where two wicked little storms collided; put so much rain into it that it was half sunk. I can personally attest that lightening striking all around you is worrisome. And don’t ever paddle down the middle of the ICW. I’m glad the sport fisherman that came up behind me was paying attention or its wake would have left me in an oyster bed in the middle of the marsh.