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 kayak advice 
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3733
Location: Newmarket, NH
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 kayak advice
Thinking of buying a couple of kayaks for my wife and I this spring and looking for some advice on what to buy. We live right on the Lamprey river and would use them a lot on the river, and might take them to some lakes some time. The Lamprey is pretty calm, and the parts I've been on in my canoe have barely any noticeable current. But I'd also like to get something that could handle the calmer parts of Great Bay, for example, right around Adams Point. We're not interested in fighting big waves, we'd probably stay close to shore or not even go out if it's too rough. I doubt we'd ever go out into the open ocean. I really know very little about kayaking, only did it once in a rental, so I'm not sure what length would be best for my needs. I'm 5'10" and about 182 lbs, my wife is 5'7" and, hmmm, maybe 135 lbs? (she won't tell me, ha ha). I'm assuming a rec kayak would be best for us.

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Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:54 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:44 pm
Posts: 364
Location: Kensington, NH
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Longer = faster, better tracking, more efficient paddling...harder to maneuver in tight water, heavier and more difficult to load, more expensive

Shorter = slower, more "wobble" while paddling, more work to paddle, easier to maneuver and load/unload, cheaper.

If you have no intention of going on the ocean opt for a sit-in vs. a sit on top (don't discount it outright....there's a lot to see on the salt). If you imagine that you'll eventually want to go on the ocean, get a sit on top. Overall, there is not much difference between paddling either, but you're a little higher up on a sit on top and you're not limited to certain waters by them as you are a sit in. If you pick your days however, a sit in can work fine on any water, including ocean.

If you plan to fish out of it, get a sit on top.

Rudder is a matter of personal opinion. I've never felt the need for one and don't have them on either of my kayaks. They become a better idea on larger boats (14' plus)

Make sure you sit in the boat before purchasing and seriously consider the comfort of the seat and how it might feel after a few hours.....the seat can make all the difference.

Personally, I've found a 14' length is the perfect compromise for most applications. I primarily use mine to fish out of (ocean) but I've taken it on overnight trips in northern NH, quiet water, white water, small creeks, etc, and it's been fine in all situations.


Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:36 am
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:23 pm
Posts: 2261
Location: Lakes Region, NH
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Ironic we went kayaking today up at white lake. We use old town canoes (borrowed from in-laws). Mine is a 12 footer and has a rudder and I feel safer in it than the smaller one that my husband uses. Being both tall u may both benefit from longer canoes. Agreed not as wobbly, steer better, feel safer (I am not a good swimmer so this matters). You can go faster to. LL bean frequently does demos so u can try them out. Sacobound sells used kayaks as well if u end up figuring out what u want. Pain to lug they are heavy, but make up for it in safety. Be prepared for sore buttocks and back if not comfortable. I will say we were going to buy some a few yrs ago, but given what a pain they are to load and unload on my truck we decided they would gather dust and now "borrow" the inlaws when I am on my vacations and I am satisfied with that. Keep the lugging around in mind bob, it gets old quick.


Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:00 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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hiking lady wrote:
Ironic we went kayaking today up at white lake. We use old town canoes (borrowed from in-laws).


Did you use canoes or kayaks?

My father-in-law and his wife have a 14' Wilderness Cape Lookout (skinny, rudder, tippier) and a 12' Wilderness Pungo (wider, no rudder, more stable). I barely can get in the 14' at 6'3" 200# if that helps. Smaller cockpit, but higher in front keeps waves out better than the larger cockpit opening in the 12' which lets waves in - always used on Lake Sunapee.

Image

(BobC - there is a paddling forum on VFTT which you can sign up for if you care)...

Tim

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Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:38 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:56 pm
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Location: Canaan, NH
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I have a Old Town Dirigo kayak. It's 12' and I love it. I believe that it is supposed to handle up to class II rapids and I have even taken it out between the islands near Bar Harbor. The *weenie* pit is rather large, which as mentioned, lets some waves in, but it's easy to enter and exit. Plus if you flip you will just fall out so you don't have to worry about trying to right yourself while under water. There is no rudder but it has a large and a small water tight compartment and some bungie cordage on the front and back. It also has a cup holder, excellent for those cold pops. :D I fish out of it alot, and I have even stood up in it while watching a deer near the shore. The seat could be a tad more comfy but it's not that bad. I have done several overnights with it, carrying all of my camping gear plus a small cooler and a case of UFO White.

My wife has an Old Town Loon and it's 10' long. My feet feel cramped in it (I'm an even 6') and I don't feel as stable. I like my 12 footer and wouldn't want anything bigger because I like to travel in smaller rivers and marshy areas sometimes. It manuevers well and is still stable on large lakes.

That's my 2 cents, thanks for listening. Having a kayak is WAY better than sharing a canoe with someone. :D

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Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:09 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:04 pm
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Location: Newmarket, NH
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Thanks for all the responses, everyone. Tim - didn't realize there was a paddling forum on VFTT, I just joined the group that allows me to see the forum - thanks.

I was already thinking of a Pungo 120 for myself. Old Towns look good too and I might get one of those. I think a 12-foot kayak would be about right for my purposes. I just have to figure out if getting a 12-foot or 10-foot kayak would be better for my wife. We'll probably go someplace that does rentals and/or tours soon to try some out.

As for the lugging around problem, I did think of that. But since we live right on the river, with rack space available in the yard of our apartment complex, I can do plenty of paddling without ever having to lug the kayaks around. :wink:

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:58 am
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I might add that the Pungo being wider (adding to its stability) makes it a little harder to paddle as there is more beam to clear with the paddle. It's a pretty good all-round boat, however, and even my kids can handle it pretty well.

Tim

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:20 am
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I'm a fan of the Wilderness Systems yaks and especially the Pungo's. Great for all levels. Look for at least the 12'. Once you start enjoying it you'll find that you'll expand your thoughts of kayaking to include fishing and even overnight trips
I also have a small wheeled carrier that I'd recommend. Helps when the parkign area is a distance from the launch area.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:37 pm
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Peak Bagger
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I'll second the pungo....I used to have one before I moved to NH and started fishing the ocean (traded in for a sit on top).

For a basic recreational kayak that's definitely a good one and the seat is great....I'd really recommend that over a 10 footer. Better to spend the money now rather than want to upgrade later on.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:10 pm
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Adept Ascender
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Oh boy! paddling! My other love. I recommend one of two great options.

1. A standard recreational kayak. The Wilderness Systems Pungo is a great one. It's a sit-in, but with a huge cockpit, making it easier to launch and land. It tracks okay, it's pretty lightweight and super versatile. The Pungo is appropriate almost anywhere. It's the sort of boat that you can continue growing into for a few years.
http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/77313?fe ... ss-systems

2. A sit-on-top angling kayak. This is actually one of my favorites. You can't sink them as they don't fill with water. You can't tip them, even if you're standing on them or jumping from them. The have the lowest displacement, so getting into shallow water, or down super shallow streams is no problem. They also have a ton of storage area for gear. The downside is they track horribly.

I have a Heritage Red Fish 12 that is my go-to boat. I take it out year-round and I probably put 3-4k miles on it every year. Ponds, rivers, ocean, etc. It's never the best choice, but it's always a good choice. Well, maybe not for the ocean, but I do it anyway. I took it out on saltwater last February:
http://outdoorsbycracky.blogspot.com/20 ... squam.html

If you'd like (I don't know how far you are from me) you're welcome to try my boats. I have the Red Fish and a Wilderness Systems Cape Horn. I live on a lake and you guys can just put them in and take them for a spin. :D

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:05 am
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I'd love to get one or a canoe. Our condo is a 200 yards form the Ipswich River. But Alas, that's the problem. No place to store one at the condo.

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:32 am
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http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/511468?q ... 0155821831

LL Bean 20% off all boats through Sunday 4/28...

Tim

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:14 am
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Adept Ascender
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How's the search going?

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Mon May 06, 2013 7:07 am
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Mountaineer
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:51 am
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Location: NH
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Just tossing it out there, but if you haven't already, consider buying on craigslist. You could easily save a lot of dough. We have an exceptionally vibrant CL market in Southern NH. Especially for watercraft.


FWIW, I have an Old Town Dirigo 120. Having the water proof compartment is fairly important to me as I Kayak Camp a fair bit. It's a good stable comfortable vessel.

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Mon May 06, 2013 8:29 am
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Adept Ascender
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marchowes wrote:
Just tossing it out there, but if you haven't already, consider buying on craigslist. You could easily save a lot of dough. We have an exceptionally vibrant CL market in Southern NH. Especially for watercraft.


Excellent point. I have 4 kayaks and 3 canoes, all of which I bought used and most from Craigslist.

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Mon May 06, 2013 8:34 am
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