Which boat for 20-30 mile day trips?

No clue on your rapids desires but long distances 24" or less and 16’+. Going from 3 mph to 4 or to 4.5+ average speed is big variance in hulls.

Get two boats,. Class 2 rapids and 20 to 30 mile boat don’t compute.


Fast super fast 6 mph. Current or wind involved?

Looked at pictures of it nice hull. Width is?

To clarify, some of the wide slow rivers I have in mind have a few features that create rapids in the class 2 category when flow is up. The vast majority of the the river would be straightforward class 1 current at these flows, but at these particular spots I want at a minimum a smooth hull, not a defined keel and a touring/sea kayak style cockpit that accepts a skirt vs a big wide open cockpit such as a Pungo. I want to run the rapid rather than portage. One thing attractive about the Dagger Stratos is it has the whitewater outfitting that includes a step out pilar.

Northstar and it’s earlier incarnation, Bell Canoe Works, call their Rob Roy a “decked canoe”. It’s hull is very similar to the Magic. Maybe the Magic in is actually a deckless kayak? :thinking:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use a single blade paddle in a Rob Roy, but now I’ll be disappointed if someone on this site doesn’t share a picture of exactly that.
Bottom line is that hull geometry and seating position are more important to paddle selection than the presence or absence of a deck.

1 Like

If you’re looking specifically for a kayak that’ll do long day trips, carry gear for up to a week without being a barge, is maneuverable for class 2 rapids, pretty quick, comfortable, and quite stable I’d suggest you find a Tiderace Xcite. No longer made but many are around. Should be quite reasonably priced now.

1 Like

Thanks, just googled it. Sweet looking boat. I was hoping to get some suggestions of older models like this to keep an eye out for. I’ve noticed that the “ocean play” category works well with by objectives

Length equals speed.
If you want to go somewhere find a kayak that is in the 17 foot range and not too beamy. Demo a lot of boats to see how narrow you can go and still feel comfortable.
I like Eddyline Kayaks up in Anacortes, WA.

What area are you in, Josh?

I’m in Fort Worth, TX. My local day trips will be on Brazos and Trinity Rivers with a lot of windy day “conditioning” paddling on local lakes.

1 Like

Josh, I’d not go above 15’. Round hull with little or no defined keel good idea. Longer boats difficult to maneuver. I had several boats and downgraded from over 17’ to 14’ CD Kestral with rudder (my preferences), 48 lbs, $2400 in composite. Swede Form. Open roomy cockpit. Nice glide, decent speed, bulkheads good enough for overnighters. A touring boat. Also have a 15’ CD Vision, identical design, just a foot longer with keyhole cockpit, beveled foredeck (reduces paddle slap).

Chuck Guy

1 Like

Thanks, good feedback.

The Xcite is a fine boat. As said, it’s highly maneuverable and still tracks well enough.

Regarding the comment by ppine; length does not equal speed. Don’t fall for that. Length increases the “potential” for speed provided you’ve got the horsepower to overcome the drag created by the additional surface area.

I won’t call the Xcite a blazing fast boat, but neither is it slow. I’ve paddled with a groups which had people in Nordkapps, Mariners, Legends etc and never had any issues matching speed.

1 Like

I upgraded a couple years ago from a 12’ CD Kestrel to a 14.5 L Dagger Stratos… great kayak, and I don’t think i’ll ever get rid of it. I’m eventually going to get into some surfing, so i’m holding onto it for then really, but still paddle it for my river runner and a “buddy boat”. Last year, I bought a 17.7’ Boreal Designs P3 for tripping. Did a 4 day backcountry trip with it, loaded it right up with gear, not a spare inch in the bulkheads. Paddles and glides very nice, comfy seat etc.

As others have mentioned, length = speed, but not maneuverability. if you’re going to still do some river runs etc, maybe consider a plastic NDK Romany surf? I agree, skeg is the way to go, and it sounds like a boat with more rocker will benefit your style of paddling.
Don’t expect a huge jump in speed from a 12-14 boat, but there will be a difference, and the dagger is a great kayak.

1 Like

Older models you might keep an eye out for that fit most of the criteria mentioned would be the Old Town Castine (13’) and Cayuga (14.5’) built with Polylink 3. They’re not light, but they’re round bottomed, have enough front and rear storage for a long day trip up to a couple days camping (Cayuga should handle that easily, the shorter Castine would require packing light/small and efficient). I found the Castine quite maneuverable for it’s length and easy to edge. Didn’t try rolling, so no comment there.

They also made these kayaks with traditional roto molding ie single layer polyethylene, but I have no experience with them and can’t say for certain if they feature the same hull design. To me Polylink 3 felt way more rigid than my regular poly boats, and I think it’s worth the couple extra pounds if you have the option between the two.

1 Like

Chosing between the Status 14.5 and Tempest 170 is a matter of priorities. The former will be distinctly superior for running Class II rapids and the later for covering substantial miles.
The Status 14.5 comes in a S(mall) and L(arge) model, differing mainly in a 23" vs 24.5" beam. The S model will be easier to paddle.
Suggestion: Try to paddle a prospective purchase for an hour, or at least sit in it that long with your feet on pegs and your thighs under the braces. Some will be more comfortable for your body than others.
I hope that you enjoy your new yak and extended range.

1 Like

In flat water either a skeg or rudder will work just fine. It’s a matter of personal preference. In rapids where there is a chance of being swept sideways where there are rocks or shallow water, I would be wary of deploying a skeg. A rudder will tend to kick up if it hits an obstruction, even somewhat sideways. A skeg, not so much, with a higher risk of damage.

Of course in a relatively narrow river with a shorter boat, you are likely to need neither one. And with foresight you can just not deploy either one, but it’s always the unexpected that gets you.

Not sure OT Cayugas qualify as “true performance” boats, but 20 mi in my Cayuga 160 was never a problem. Polylink 3 doesn’t pretend to be aramid, but it’s a good hull in any case.
I ended up selling the Cayuga and going to a glass Seda Viking 16.6 because everyone said I needed a skeg or rudder on Lake Champlain and I wasn’t confident enough in my own experience to think otherwise.
The Seda’s round hull did do much better in moderate wind and chop with a rudder than without. Otherwise, I rarely used it. On flat water it just added weight. In most conditions, the rudderless/skegless Cayuga tracked as well or better than the Viking.
Also, in my experience, boat length does not necessarily equal speed. True, it’s more difficult to keep a shorter boat going straight, and when the bow shifts left and right with each stroke, that’s a big time energy suck. Maintaining a true track maximizes speed, and that has more to do with hull design (width at the waterline, for example) and the paddler’s stroke (high angle is better for tracking) than with length of the boat.

1 Like

Forgot he was coming from a 12’ boat. The Castine won’t be much if any of a performance increase. The Cayuga won’t be a ton faster either.

People seem to come up with all kinds of rationalizations to promote 12 foot kayaks.
If you want to go somewhere get some length. It is not a topic for debate. It is the simple physics of how displacement hulls move through the water.