Which kayak can carry enough?

My ideal camping kayak would carry 6 gal of water, 6 days worth of food in approved bear canisters (probably requires 2 canisters), full size 1.5 in thermarest mattress, short-legged roll up table, a medium sized tarp, a crazy-creek type camp chair that does not require using the thermarest, and the normal camping gear/clothing for fall camping.

Lots out there that would carry the load, but I also would like it to be 22 in wide or less and not too high in front of the cockpit so that I can use my GP without having to modify my current style too much.

Which if any of the following should be able to carry the gear? Which would work well with my GP? (I am 5FT 7in 165 lbs and use an 86 in GP with a 19 in loom and have a history of whacking thumbs on coamings and decks when testing out kayaks)

QCC 600

QCC 700



CD Solstce GTS

Any others out there I might consider?

I do not own bear canisters, water containers for larger water quantities, or the roll up table so I am not even sure how big they would really be in terms of fitting in the kayak. I have the thermarest and a small para-wing I use for car camping but never even tried to fit them into my Force Cat3 for the overnight trips I have done.


Issue with NDK boats
Like the Explorer. They only have 10 inch rounds for their largest hatch openings, and I suspect that for even smaller bear cannisters you want a boat with at least one oval hatch opening. And other things - tent poles have to load separately from the tent, you find that you are using a lot more 5 and 10 liter drybags, you want slippery and very bendable nylon ones with a less stiff closure than big stiff plastic drybags, etc.

The capacity in the Explorer is great, but you do have to get it thru smaller hatches than in many other boats.

by Kajaksport. biggest performance boat that is FUN.



QCC 500
It’s a barge, and wider than your ideal, but dang can it hold a lot! I’ve packed into it:

1 Big Agnes 20* sleeping bag

a Full sized sleeping pad (2.5" thick, 25" wide…)

a 2 1/2 man tent (i.e. 2 adults or 3 pygmies)

a full size camp chair

3 liters of water & a filter

clothing & food for 3 days

(including a high quality 3L box of vino)

All completely within the hatches, nothing on the deck but my paddle float and pump and a small deck bag.

Fun to paddle that loaded… I almost wanna fill the hatches with bricks when she’s empty.

Oh, and I paddled upstream both ways. He he hee… And up hill. I love that boat.

ditch the bear canisters and the 600 or 700 would have no problems. Why dont you just sling your food bag?

Will the bear canisters fit
through the Viviane hatches? I was pretty sure it would hold everything and more, but I was hoping I could do it with something a little smaller.


I was thinking that some of the places

– Last Updated: Nov-25-08 12:43 PM EST –

I read about required canisters. I think Glacier Bay is that way. I also wanted the cannisters for racoon and coyote protection on barrier islands where there are no trees for hanging. Bottom line is that the bear cannisters would work everywhere I would go, but hanging food might only work 60-70% of time.


Carry less or switch to canoes
Except for bulky stuff like bear cannisters or full-sized sleeping pads, you can carry more kayaking than you can backpacking. If you get any expedition-sized kayak, you can fit in plenty enough for 6 days without keeping anything on your deck. Your list of stuff seems excessive. Are you sure you can’t find any water you can purify on your trip? Can you use smaller sleeping pads, less bulky food, smaller tent, etc.?

If you can’t carry it inside your kayak, you are best off leaving it behind. Stuff on your deck is unstable, gets in the way, gets wet, falls off, not the way to go. For serious amounts of cargo, canoes or even motorboats or RVs are way better than kayaks.

Are you sure on the “Garcia” ones.?
I fit them in my Eclipse, and the rear hatch and space in the 700 is bigger


One bear cannister
should suffice if you pack thoughtfully and tight. I can get over a week’s worth into mine. Go dehydrated and repackage any store bought stuff. If you want to go less spartan, you pay for it in weight and volume.

Test pack your existing boat first
You said you haven’t tried fitting those things into your present boat. Why not try it first before getting another boat?

You might be surprised what will fit with a few tricks:

Use nylon or other slippery dry bags, NOT vinyl bags. Use smaller bags instead of big ones. DItto for water containers. Use several collapsible water containers such as Dromedary bags because their shape will conform to that of the hull. DIVIDE AND CONQUER.

Down or Primaloft sleeping bag instead of bulkier synthetics. Instead of a 1.5-inch Thermarest, maybe two thinner ones stacked (easier to pack). A smaller camp stove (I have one that would fit inside a coffee mug). A water filter for sure! You do not need to carry 6 gallons of fresh water if there are streams you can filter from every couple of days.

That said, if there still isn’t enough room, maybe a bigger boat is in order (did that myself). But you should try some minimization of your existing gear first, because it might not even be necessary to change boats. Seems to me that your Cat 3 should be able to take 6 days of gear if you can reduce your water-carrying needs and the bear canisters are not required.

Solstice GTS has very tall foredeck
If you’re going that tall, you might as well add the Tempest 170 to your list, as it will definitely carry more gear and is a nicer-handling boat.

They ARE required in Glacier Bay
you can rent them at Bartlett Cove. At least that is what we did.

Odor containment is the goal of the canisters. Hanging a bag does not offer you that protection.

For the same odor control reason I use blue barrels for canoeing. They are not bear resistant however as there are holds for ursus to get a grip on.

Viv has two large oval hatches
and the rear one on mine is an extra large oval. I think that’s standard? Definitely plenty of carrying capacity. In any case, I’m sure you’ll demo what’s available, so you’ll find out in a hurry what’s doable for packing and deck height. I’d definitely put the Nigel Foster Legend on the list as well. You’ve got a good range of handling characteristics on your list. I’d try every boat I could get my hands on that fit the bill. Good luck in your search.

I have both a 600 and a 700 and

– Last Updated: Nov-25-08 8:07 PM EST –

I know all that stuff will fit in them. You might want to think of putting the water on the back deck to give you more compartment space.
The 600 is smaller but I think would do better with the volume of the 700
We have two Garcia bear cannisters which will fit in either the 600 or 700.

Can't tell you about the other boats.


I just tried one of the bear…
cannisters on the 600 (rear compartment) and it goes in with plenty of space to spare. You could fit a bunch in.

for what it is worth they are the Garcia ,“backpackers choice” model and the dimensions are 12’ tall by 8.8" diameter.



Something’s unclear
The question is whether mjamja is considering BUYING a kayak for possibly only one trip where bear canisters are required, or whether the kayaks listed are his choices for rentals. Buying would also mean transporting a long ways from his home to Glacier Bay, making it a lot of expense for just one trip.

how much
does your water weigh? Mine is heavy :slight_smile: I don’t think I’d want it secured on the back deck where it raises the cg. I carry mine in bladders on the floor of the cockpit.

80-90lbs of stuff?
50lbs water plus 30-40lbs of clothing and gear. Don’t get fixated on the beam measurment or deck height as you can raise your seat to eliminate some of the deck clearance issues, with your height/weight and all that crap you’ll be rock steady and can afford to lose some primary stability with a higher seat.

with 240-250lbs total load you can fit into most of the kayaks out there with the bear cannisters an issue with the hatches available.

Is this a kayak for ownership or one trip? Anything you get for this big a load will be way light without it for unloaded paddling. This could be one of those instances where a kayak with no front bulkhead/hatch and float bags might be an idea. It’s tedious for loading and takes on more water in a wet exit but you will be able to put large diameter items through the cockpit.

I am buying for multiple trips
Glacier Bay trip would be a 2 month driving trip with week long paddles in northern California, San Juans, Vancouver Island in addition to the Glacier Bay paddle. For paddling at Glacier NP and Yellowstone NP I would need the bear canisters but could use a water filter. Still would need a kayak where the bear canister fit. For Everglades, Gulf Islands off Mississippi, Texas barrier islands, and upper Missouri River I need the water capacity and like the idea of cannisters for racoon/coyote protection since there are not a lot of trees for hanging food in those areas.