What kind of vessel?

Howdy folks,

I’ve had an itch that needs scratching. That itch is to be on the water.

Now, being a beginner to all things paddling I don’t really know what kind of vessel would best suit my needs.

I have a few requirements - 1) Cheap. I’m not investing much to begin with until I see if I like it or not. 2) Inflatable. 3) Able to handle a heavy load - 350#+ that’s me and a good bit of gear.

Even though there are some supposedly pretty good class IV to VI rapids nearby(Breaks Interstate Park in VA)… that’s not where I want to go (yet). I mostly want to just get out on the local lakes and go paddling around them and just enjoy being on the water.

So my question is would I be better suited for a canoe, Kayak, or perhaps even a small inflatable raft?

I’m kinda shying away from rafts because I’m thinking it’d be like trying to push a brick through the water.

I’m ok with a cheap starter kayak like a Sevylor Tahiti if it turns out Kayaks are the way to go… though I’d prefer the Airhead TK-1 if it weren’t for the weight limit. The Sevylor Rio looks nice as well though It’s pushing the limits of what I’m willing to spend to “give it a shot” which is… not a lot. haha

Something else I’m wondering is if I will have difficulty using a 2 man craft by myself.

Thanks in advance.

Rent some…
…or take a lesson if you can. The ones you don’t want will quickly be apparent.

Narrow it down a bit and then come back for some fine tuning.

There’s nowhere
around here to rent anything other than paddle boats that I know of.

look up some canoe/kayak rental shops in your area. find out when their demo days are, and try a few out.

that way you will know what you like/dislike before you sink any money into a boat that you may end up hating and sell on craigslist for pennies on the dollar.

Anything here near you?

i live in southwest VA, close to TN and KY.

Forget inflatables…
A good starting point would be a used plastic recreational kayak like a 12 or 14’ Pungo, there are a bunch of others in that class. If you can find one used you won’t loose any/much money if you resell it. Check Craigs list or here on Pnet classifieds.

Where do you go to find …
a inflateable canoe, which you have on your list?

You want to go cheap, so I would forget about an inflateable kayak or raft.

The cheap ones are useless in the wind.

Your best bet is to start by going to some local lake that has a rental livery and renting a canoe and then a kayak and then go from there.



Why inflatable?
Why is inflatable a requirement? Storage/transport issues? If so, you might be able to figure out a way to deal with it. Like others here, I think you may be better off starting with a hard shell boat. Inflatables can be a pain in a lot of ways, one being the time it takes to assemble and get ready to go every morning.

If you do go inflatable, stay away from the super cheap brands ($200 or less). A good compromise is the Advanced Elements brand. They have many good boats in the $300-$600 price range, including what they call a “canoe”, although it’s really a sit-on-top kayak like the others, only with somewhat higher sides. Check out their web site and see if you like anything there.

The Internet,
of course. There’s just nowhere around here to get such things. There’s a Dick’s and another sporting goods place not too far away but neither carry any inflatables.

I’m not stuck on inflatable… they just seem easier for storage and transport. Storage being the key thing there…

breaks and newbe
Hey, the breaks instestate park caught my eye. I live about a half hour from the breaks and I am by no means ready for that kinda action. I am also looking to get onto the water. Drop me a line would love to talk to you about getting on the water. I am looking at old town kayaks at bass pro shops. I like the sea eagle kayaks but have not tried them. I live in KY by the way

forget plastic rec boats
A 12 foot plastic rec boat will give you none of the advantages of a hardshell over an inflatable, and all of the disadvantages.

I’ve been

– Last Updated: Aug-06-09 1:52 PM EST –

looking at the Advance elements... They do look nice.. however all the recommendations to stay away from inflatable are sinking in.. so if I can find a Kayak that will fit my weight requirements that would be within my price range.. I'd be willing to go to around $500 but that has to include some sort of mount for the car.. basic is ok as long as it is safe and functional.. and overall length needs to be not much more than 12' so I can hang it in my building.

I actually just called a kayak place not to far from here and they said they have Ocean Kayak Sidekicks for $399, they also stock Wilderness Systems. So I'm going to check them out as well. The guy on the phone told me I can rent a Kayak there for $20 and if I like it I can buy it and my rental cost goes towards the cost of the Kayak so I think that will be the way to go.

Same here
What I’ve always done is buy used. Keep your eye out for good deals and you can turn around and sell it for the same or sometimes more than you paid later.

Even if you know the boat isn’t quite what you want it will be an eye opener just to have something to paddle around. You’ll figure out what things about a boat you do/don’t like and you’ll figure out your paddling style.

Actually having your own boat lets you get to know the ins and outs better than renting for half a day.


This is a little like asking
for a car that is really cheap, really sporty, and holds a lot of gear.

You can get a rec boat cheap that will hold your stuff, but it’s going to be a bit of a dog to paddle. You can buy a nice sea kayak that will be fast and hold gear, but it’s going to cost you. Even used you might pay $600 to $800 bucks.

Inflatable makes more sense for running whitewater, but they are often poor performers on lakes.

I think demoing some boats and doing some research will give you a better perspective for developing some realistic expectations.


Inflatable kayak
I would recommend looking into an AIRE Sawtooth. New this year, they are reportedly able to handle mild to intermediate whitewater (skeg removable), and track very well in flatwater. It should hold its value extremely well as they are new and getting rave reviews, so you can recoup a lot of your investment should you decide its not for you. Lastly, it should be incredibly stable for you to get used to the paddling life. AIRE is an extremely reputable company that backs their products big time. A Sawtooth should last you many years longer than a Sevylor or similar product as well. If I were just getting into the IK market, this would be my #1 choice right now.

yea… I know
I’m just trying to figure out which of the features are most important to me. The weight limit is a must cause I’m a big fella. I’m not concerned about “really sporty” I just don’t want to feel like I’m trying to paddle a chunk of concrete out there.

I think a sit on top kayak would be nice because of not feeling like I’m being crammed into a sardine can. The Ocean Kayak Sidekick looks good on that front because they’re on sale at the place 2hrs away.

I’m also lookin at something like a WS Pamlico 120. It looks pretty nice, but I’m going to have to try both out. I’ve not been out there in person yet but I plan to go… maybe this weekend to rent both for a trial.