Jun 2, 2013 at 8:09 am #1303689
A totally non backpacking question but I think many folk on here have kayaks.
I am looking to purchase a 2 person "sit in" Kayak, it will be mainly for use on lakes and rivers (no rapids running) I would like to be able to use it on open water (Lake Superior, Huron, Michigan) and on coastal waters.
Having the option to carry camping kit in sealablel storage would be nice also, as it will be using it with my wife I don't think there will be a need to portage it very far.
It seems a decent one goes from 800-1600$, is it worth spending a bit more or will the cheaper one do.
Would I be better off getting a small trailer for towing it, or mount it on roof bars (I have a Toyota 4 runner)
StephenJun 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm #1992497
Nathan VBPL Member
@junkLocale: The Great Lake State
Hi Stephen, I'll start with the hauling question first. I've used both, and they both have advantages.
Roof racks are cheaper and easier to drive/park with ( no trailer to worry about ). But lifting a kayak up that high, especially by yourself isn't all that easy. If your wife will usually be with you to help lift, they might be the way to go though.
Trailers cost more, and are sometimes harder to find somewhere to park them, but it is much easier to load your boat on one.
I currently have a trailer that I attached my roof rack boat cradles to, because the small car I have now couldn't fit my sea kayak on the roof like my old SUV could.
As for the boat question, you usually get what you pay for. If you're planning on paddling on open water like Lake Superior, I'd go for the best boat you can afford. One with seal-able storage and spray skirts would be my choice. And don't forget safety equipment (PFD's, bilge pump, paddle float, etc)
Lake Superior's conditions can change fast, calm one minute and 8 to 10 foot waves the next. I've had it happen on a Grand Island trip a few years ago.
Kayaking is a lot of fun, I'm sure you'll have a great time.
Here is a picture of the boat I made from plans from CLC Boats. It was a bit of work but well worth it, to paddle a boat you built yourself.
And here is me paddling through the arch on the north end of Grand Island in Lake superior.
-Nathan-Jun 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm #1992502
Cheers Nathan for the reply.
My internet just went out so replying on a phone which is a pain to type on.
My wife now decided she wants her own one rather than a double.
I have had a look on some kayak forums and I think our best course of action to get sit on tops for small lakes and rivers and rent a touring kayak if going out on big water (this might only be once a year).
I have pondered trailer vs roofrack and came across the Point 65 models which breakdown in half for transport, they could then go in the back of my 4runner, they also allow a mid section to be added for tandem use.
StephenJun 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm #1992510
Nathan VBPL Member
@junkLocale: The Great Lake State
Those Point 65 boats look like an interesting option, I had not seen them before.
That sounds like a good plan, buy what you will use the most and then rent a bigger boat for an occasional big water trip.
I have a 12 foot plastic boat for rivers and my sea kayak for lakes. I haven't used them a lot the last couple of years, I might have to get them out this year.
-Nathan-Jun 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm #1992523
I read some reviews and they dont track as well as models with skegs.
If I bought from Rei I could return them if they where crap.Jun 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm #1992534
Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
As the owner of five sit-in kayaks I guess I'm somewhat biased. All are 1-person but we are looking for a tandem. The best advice I heard about a tandem is to only get one if you KNOW you want one. They aren't called "divorce boats" for nothing!
In my opinion sit-in kayaks have better storage options, they keep stuff dry better and are generally faster. I consider sit-on-top kayaks mostly for good weather, whereas you can paddle a sit-in all year long (although I do have friends that use sit-on-top kayaks for three seasons).
As for type, all my kayaks are plastic and nearly indestructible (except on razor-sharp oyster beds!). They are cheaper than composite and require minimal maintenance. I hear composite kayaks are faster but there is some controversy over that. Plastic is heavier, though, but it's not a big deal to me. But my friends with composite kayaks are very careful where they take them, in order not to damage them, whereas I'll go just about anywhere.
I started with a roof rack. It wasn't terribley convenient, particularly when it was just my wife and me. I knew we would purchase a trailer one day. Then one day it occurred to me…why wait? So I got a Malone 4-kayak trailer and have been happy with it ever since. My advice…if you are fairly certain you will stick with kayaking for a long time then get a trailer; if you are not sure, go with foam blocks on your roof, they work reasonably well.Jun 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm #1992543
The reason we are looking at sit on tops vs sit ins comes down to the fact that sit ins can be hard to get out of in the event of a capsize and wife is not too pushed about learning Eskimo rolls, I have used sit on a lot in my youth.
My 4 runner has a standard roof rack so I probaly would have to upgrade it to carry kayaks.Jun 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm #1992548
You can get a sit in kayak with a larger cockpit opening so it's easy to get out of without using a skirt. Even with a skirt, you can do a wet exit. No eskimo role involved. That would only be for kayaking near the shore.
For a sit in kayak with a large opening, take a look at the Prijon Capri Tour.Jun 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm #1992550
That great to know John,
If the model capsizes is it hard to bail them out when righted.Jun 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm #1992552
That is why you would need to be near the shore, to bail it out or get back in, which can be a challenge. There is nothing wrong with sit on tops either. I have the Capri Tour and an Innova Safari (inflatable sit on top).Jun 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm #1992554
I suppose it could be righted and emptied using the deck of another canoe but thats a faff.
How's the handling of the inflatable?Jun 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm #1992568
deletedJun 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm #1992569
Are you putting them on the same trailer that you use for your trail bike?Jun 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm #1992584
deletedJun 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm #1992586
Will check out those bars, I did see or Thule ones also that looked good.Jun 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm #1992652
Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Stephen, I use the "Thule® 835 Hull-a-Port Pro Kayak Carrier". I fits my 4 runner rack w/o bars and works great for me. If you have someone else to help load its a no brainer and they fold down when not in use (I use it too often to take off the roof).
As for Kayak, I have used both sit on and sit it. I now only own a sit in. If you are out on your own getting back in should be an issue (just a training thing) and if your wife is out you will be there for help.
I would rent each type and try them out before you purchase.Jun 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm #1992668
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I prefer top mounted. A small step ladder is handy to get one end up and manage lines.
Get a short stack of books on sea kayaking and read up. Sea Kayaker magazine is a good read as well. I just got "The Sea Kayaker's Handbook" by Shelley Johnson. It is a good all-round book on the subject. Anything by John Dowd will get you off in the right direction.
Buy the best boat you can afford. Like any other gear, you're buying good design as part of the package. I would definitely rent before buying.
Sea kayaking is the water version of hiking and is an awesome way to travel. Cold water, wind and waves deserve caution and respect, so study up and know your stuff.Jun 3, 2013 at 3:53 am #1992692
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Here in the ADK's I don't use a traditional Kayak. For the St Lawrence, Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain, I use canoyak. A 13'8" version with a small kayak like seat. It has spray decks instead of a spray skirt, enclosing the bow and stern. I simply drop my pack in the back when I go paddling. Just use dry bags in the pack. I built it in my shop and it weighs about 19 pounds, making it very easy to transport. I use Yakima round racks. I have found the Thule square bars dig up the gunnels (the sharp edge) when loading or unloading it. I have used this across many of the streams, rivers and lakes of the ADK's as well as some larger waters, like the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. The origonal boat was a 12' version and is better suited to smaller lakes and streams, but handled Lake Champlain on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Either version handles as easy as a kayak in the water since it is only 26" wide, and has a flared hull that turns most water, though, it can get a little "bouncy" on larger waves.
Anyway, a kayak is better for a lot of open water paddling. The little 13' boats do not track as neatly as an 16' boat. For most rivers and streams, though the manueverability of the smaller boat offsets the tracking. A straight line keel as opposed to rockered keel tracks better, but you loose the maneuverability. These two facter are at odds with eachother, manueverability and tracking.
Stability is another one. There are two forms: primary and secondary. Primary stability is how stable the boat feels as you get into it. Usually these are wider boats with flatter bottoms. These are usually poor performers since they "stick" to the water and can be dangerous in big waves. Secondary stability is how well the boat will handle wave action. The bottom of these are usually rounded, giving good bouancy in relation to wave action, but do not give a beginner good comfort, since they can be "tippy" to get into. Usually these are good performers. "V" hulled designs, "Oval" hulled designs, and others are compromises for good comfort and good performance. Most sit-on kayaks are quite flat. They do not have enough depth to the hull to provide rounding.
Raising your center of gravity will effect the stability of narrow boats. Sitting within an inch or two of the bottom will give you high stability. Sitting 6 to 8 inches up will tend to make the boat tippy. Sit-in kayaks are generally more stable than sit-on kayaks, though intial stability may seem higher with the sit-on due to hull design.
Solo boats will "bottom out" with performance at around 16-17'. Hull friction (with water) increases with length even though they cut through water more efficiently with added length. So, do not exceede these numbers for a good boat. Longer boats are used for better glides on touring boats, not higher speeds.Jun 3, 2013 at 7:47 am #1992737
All great repsonses, I have a lot of sailing experince from back in Ireland have spent a bit of of time kayaking but only at a begineer level.
I would like to have the option to go on weekend trips with it.Jun 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm #1992935
The Innova Safari is squirrely without the fin and that makes it not good for shallow rivers.Jun 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm #1992958
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
It's fun and items like BEER aren't a problem.
I took my wife (then girlfriend)on her first kayaking overnight trip. Mind you, she had traversed the Olympics and done the Wonderland Trail before that, so she was a seasoned backpacked and that is how she packed. She had some crackers and cheese, which we had as an appetizer, and then I got into the back hatch of my kayak and pulled out the beer, steaks and side dishes. The look on her face was priceless. She got over the shock quickly enough and made a salad :) The red velvet cup cakes were a hit too.
If you're on the right beach, it's oysters and clams!
Look for a boat with decent stability and good tracking qualities. A foot operated rudder is pretty much standard for tandem boats and must be able to swing up to clear kelp and for beaching. I don't like fixed skegs at all; the presence of a skeg tells me that the hull design is weak. A good design should be able to track well without one. You want hatches that seal and bulkheads for and aft. Be picky about the seats and back support– you will spend a long time there and it's hard to get out and stretch your legs ;)
Tandems are cool. With the long hull length and the double power stroke, you can get a wake going.Jun 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm #1992961
Cheers John,Jun 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm #1992962
I think carrying all those nice goodies would definitely make my wife more amiable to going on overnighters :-)
My wife wants to get her own kayak so I am back looking at solo boats.
I like the idea of having decent patch storage.Oct 19, 2013 at 10:30 am #2035546
Matt ThyerBPL Member
@feetforbrainsLocale: Pacific North West
Start looking for a sea kayak. For what you're interested in doing that sounds like it will fit the bill quite nicely. If you're even the least bit handy you can make your own for significantly less than you can buy factory hull for as well. There are a lot of different method out there, but my all time favorite (and the least weight too) is a skin on frame Baidarka or Aleutian. For big lake work a hull like this will help a lot (wind blow waves, currents, etc).
As far as hauling a boat, I'd suggest that you stick to your roof if you can. Cheaper and actually safer in many respects.
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