which to buy?


My husband and I are considering purchasing a couple of kayaks. The Future Beach is molded as one piece, the Pelican is 2 pieces. One salesman recommended the "one" piece as the other could come apart. What is your experience with the two makes? Would appreciate any input you can give. From what I can glean on the web, they both have good reviews. Thank you....

Laura Lyn Marsh

Reviews mean very little
Take on line reviews with a grain of salt. Think about it – these are the most cheapo “entry level” kayaks available (at places like Walmart and “big box” sporting goods stores.) 99.9% of people who buy them have never been in a real kayak. Being on the water is always fun, even if you are in an inner tube, so everybody thinks their first boat is “the bomb” and writes a gushing review of it. The “10 out of 10” ratings that you see for kayaks that are little more than pool toys is cringeworthy.

Even the most high end kayaks (boats costing many thousands of dollars) can be made of one or two piece molds. It’s not a major selection criteria and I suspect your salesman probably does not know doodly-squat about most aspects of kayaking or boat features. Ironically, Pelican is probably a more reliable maker than Future beach (in fact they have some higher end lines – what you are looking at is their mass market “kinda looks like a kayak” models).

Sorry to sound grumpy, but every discount and feed store seems to think they are qualified to sell people kayaks these days. There is a bit more to it than blowing $300 on a lumpen plastic bathtub if you really want to have an enjoyable and safe hobby. Most new kayakers are better served by investing in a decent used boat for a few hundred bucks or by visiting a qualified kayaking outfitter to get a decent boat that will match their needs and expectations.

Places that sell golf clubs, shotguns and soccer cleats are rarely competent kayak dealers. Walmart (or Dick’s) doesn’t need your hard-earned cash. Step away from the Future Beaches…

Honestly, my guess is that neither of those boats is designed to be taken in rough water so whether one is a two or one piece molding is irrelevant. What is more important (and what we need to know to help you make a good choice) is what size you folks are (aprox height and weight) and what kinds of waters you plan to paddle in and what you want to do (cover distance with ease? go fishing? photography? Occasional overnight camping? Small ponds? Large windy lakes? Fast flowing shallow creeks with a few small rapids? The ocean? For most of these intentions, these boats would not be suitable or safe.

Which to buy
Thanks for your input, it was helpful.

I am a previous 1st time kayak buyer of a Future Beach from Dick’s! And Willow could not be more right with the info provided. I would have rated that a solid 10…for about a month. Great boat for shallow pond, maybe a slow creek. No flotation so it will fill and maybe sink in wavey waters. Extra flimsy poly material, made me think of the whiffle bats I had as a kid, follow Willows suggestions, find a decent kayak shop and ask questions. Whatever it takes, it will be worth a drive and any time it takes. Im just trying to help you avoid making my past mistakes.

Which to buy
Thanks, all good info!

post some info
As I said, if you post a little detail on what kind of paddling you would like to do and a little about your size, location (and budget) you will find that a lot of people will weigh in with useful suggestions. We were all new to the sport at one time – that’s the great thing about a forum like this, you can benefit from the experiences of others. And it doesn’t really have to cost a lot either. We’ve helped guide people to appropriate used boats or dealer specials in their areas.

Grumpy Willow

– Last Updated: Apr-11-15 7:38 PM EST –

Grumpy Willowleaf isn't really grumpy; rather helpful and right on. If you are thinking of someday taking your kayak onto a large lake or the ocean, you will be very happy to have followed that advice.

I'll rashly assume you are gravitating toward a sea kayak - if not, my following comments are useless to you. The price of a new sea kayak is daunting, a used one much less so. But someone new to this splendid activity still hasn't a clue of what to buy in either case.

How to get 'clueful'? This forum is a good start. The smartest thing to do is to find a reputable outfitter or kayak school sited by waters that you find appealing and next take some lessons and day trips. Then you'll get a better idea of what you need and want. The lessons will seem expensive, but if you end up liking the activity and buying kayaks you will save money by making a decent choice. I have found Craigslist useful.

Can kayak reviews e.g. on paddling.net prove useful? Mostly not. Owners of new kayaks are like new parents, inordinately proud of the new one - a condition that can persist even into the teenage years. Eventually with experience you can find useful reviews on paddling.net, but it is a acquired skill. An outfitter is a good way to go. There are also a few kayaking schools e.g. Gronseth's Kayak Academy, Body Boat Blade on Orcas Island.

How to find reputable outfitters or schools? Ask that question on this forum, giving your geographic location.

what kind of water will you paddle?.
Entry level rec boats are best for discovering you really enjoy paddling, but then you spend a lot more money upgrading kayaks after a year (or less).

If you intend to paddle inland flat water, my recommendation is 12-14 foot touring boats. They will be narrow, faster, and have features that will encourage you to learn to be a better paddler.

If you intend to go in the ocean or big water such as the Great Lakes, then take a couple lessons to learn some safety skills. You will also have the opportunity to discover what features matter to you.

If you persist in buying an entry-level rec boat, then low weight is probably the biggest differrentiator to look for. A lighter kayak will be easier to cartop for most people and you’ll spend more weekends on the water.

future beach
makes good springtime planters. Don’t forget to drill drain holes.All kidding aside , do yourself a favor, go with a good brand and stay away from dicks and big box stores .

Lots of options available
But likely none of the good options are boats which can be differentiated by their likelihood of coming apart. You are in glorified pool toys if that is even on the table as a conversation, which could leave you quite dissatisfied after spending the bucks to get two of them outfitted. Or at least you need a salesman who has a clue about real boats.

So seriously, people her could be tremendously helpful if you could provide what water you want to paddle on. If it is ponds and crawling back creeks for example, a dirt cheap used Swifty could be a great boat and provide many hours of fun. It is an ocean bay you need more boat, as well as more paddler so the two things kind of match up.

Also your sizes - the average sized woman at a recommended BMI weight is a small paddler, and average sized guy at the recommended BMI is an average sized paddler. (Yes, kayaks spent a very long time being sized around guys.) Too big a boat is a PITA to handle in wind and too small a boat can lead to increased likelihood of unplanned swims. So size does matter.

I started with cheap boat’s from Dick’s
and I still have them. I also have boats that were well over $1000.

Some of my cheap boats I gave away to other people. Some became interested in paddling, some others don’t

I have never seen a two piece boat come apart and I have had a couple I was none too gentle with. I have read one person in this forum who had a boat come apart.

Ignore the reviews. If you don’t know the reviewer they are a waste of time. Cheap boats handle like cheap boats, expensive boats handle better.

Cheap boats are missing some safety features, stick to water they are meant for and you are likely to survive the experience regardless what you read here. You may even have fun in them,

Split seams
A couple of years ago, I saw a Pelican (can’t remember the model) on the showroom floor of the local Dicks with a split seam. At that time, you could get a Swifty at Dicks, which, if that’s the type of boat you’re looking for, is a much better buy.

lacking info
Still kind of hard to give them useful feedback when they have not explained where they plan to paddle and what their body metrics are.

Maybe they will weigh in on that eventually.

And yet you’ve already ruled out
a rec boat from Dick’s. Very astute.