What kayak to purchase

-- Last Updated: Oct-09-09 2:33 AM EST --


I am a true beginner when it comes to kayaking. I have always loved to camp and fish and now want to really get into kayaking. I was wondering what would be a good kayak to purchase. Some of the requirements i need are:

Easy to carry/ get to the water
Something that can handly rivers and lakes in the Southeast- not a lot of rapids or anything.

Also do you think a 10' long kayak would be well suited for 20-50 mile overnight trips.

oh.. im also a college student so any advice that could help a slimmer budget would be greatly appreciated.

Borrow, and buy used.
Borrow any kayak you can for a test run to see what you like. Watch Craigs List, Paddling.net, and the like for a cheap used one and buy used. There are lots of deals to be found as the weather gets colder. As for camping, I like to use a canoe so I can haul more gear. And college campers often need a massive cooler because they get real thirsty, so a canoe in the crowd is a must. PS. how far southeast? I’m in southern VA and will let you try my hodge podge of boats.

check out classifieds here
and www.rivermiles.com has for sale ads too. Often can find QCC kayaks on there. Personally I would go for a longer kayak than 10 ft for 20-50 miles. I’m going to say 16 ft or more

first kayak
welcome to the sport. Things to consider: How to store your gear out of the way of paddling. How to keep your tent, sleeping bag, Oreos and coffee dry. Extra clothing, telephone, stove, first aid kit,etc., all adds up. Who will you be paddling with and what are they paddling, because efficiency and speed do matter on extended trips.

I’de suggest visits to numerous local kayak shops to query staff for suggestions. A plastic sit-in boat with fore and aft hatches, at least 16’ long (that fits you), with a rudder for fishing,will probably give you years of use. Get a decent quality paddle and make certain it isn’t too long. But with sit-ins, I’de recommend a course to learn how to paddle and save yourself in case of mishap. They are usually a lot of fun and you get great advice/insite. Don’t forget the safety gear such as bouyancy/flotation vest, paddle float, bilge pump, compass, whistle, polarized sunglasses, wide-brimmed hat, waterproof flashlight. The idea of borrowing and renting are great and only after you have become rather aquainted with paddling, should you “buy”. Sit-on-tops are more forgiving however, you are exposed to the elements. They are generally slower/harder to propel, and possibly heavier. A ten foot boat seems far too small for what you may want to do. Keep asking questions and get out to the demos and symposiums (check Sea Kayaker magazines) and read the reviews where written. Meet with any of the local paddling groups in your area, as they are generally very friendly and helpful and do different kinds of paddling excursions. Happy paddling, stay safe. Prepare, experience and enjoy! Best wishes.

If above isn’t typos…

– Last Updated: Oct-09-09 9:43 AM EST –

No, a 10 ft boat is wholly inadequate for what you are talking about. You'll hate it by day 2.

Try boats, find a local club where you can talk to people with some mileage, and yes figure on going used.

Your post just says Mississippi - here are some links to groups that might work for you to contact in the state.
http://www.msoutdoorclub.org/ Outdoor club
http://www.kayakonline.com/mississippi.html Links to outfitters etc
http://www.visitmississippi.org/outdoor_rec/outdoor_kayaking.asp Lots of general links available

A cheap, used
fiberglass sea kayak is what you seem to be describing. Something in the 15 to 17 foot range with decent storage. Even used, and including paddle and other stuff, you are probably looking at $1000.

If you don’t mind a heavier, slower boat, get a 14 foot plastic kayak. You can probably get into something in the $600 range.

Try ebay and this site:



dagger blackwater
I was in the exact same boat you were 8 years ago. I went with a dagger blackwater 10.5 foot. It worked out great for me. I took it on overnights all the time. It is well under 1000 dollars and you find a used one for about 400 bucks. You do have to pack very light if you want to use his type of kayak, but if you have any experience with backpacking then you should have no trouble at all. I even took mine on a 5 day 4 night trip. You can absolutely beat the hell out of this kayak, and the upkeep on it is nil. It also has a drop down keel so if you get in flowing water you can keep it up and be maneuverable, or you can drop it down and track alot better. As far as beer goes your out of luck, but I always took a bottle of whiskey (old weller best bourbon there is) and a bottle of 7up. I do have to agree though that a canoe would probably work out better for you, if you have the storage and hauling capabilities. An Old Town discovery is cheap and you can find them used. Good luck and I hope you have as much fun as I did.

Kayak vs. a recreational boat
Anything that the paddler uses a double ended paddle seems to be called a “kayak”. The difference between the two is a kayak allows contact with the thighs in the cockpit so the paddler can control the boat with body moves and leaning. The recreational boats have huge cockpits where no leg contact is made and basically you float along using balance and a prayer. Get a kayak preferably with bulkheads and used if you can find one- you’ll have a lot more fun and can learn kayak skills with leg contact.