Kayaks - Inflatable, Rigid, Folding. . . whaddya have and how do ya like it?

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Road

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I've got a late 2000's Perception Carolina 14.5', a 2015 Pelican Trailblazer 10', and I just got rid of my Dagger Bayou 10'. All rigid kayaks and all sit inside. I love my Carolina the most due to storage and ease of paddling. The Dagger had such a flat bottom that it just tracked wherever it wanted to. The pelican was my first kayak and I quickly outgrew it when I started kayak camping. I ended up just giving it to my fiance hoping that she would want to paddle around with me -- Big Mistake! She flipped it on one our first paddles and ended up losing a fingernail during the scramble. She vows to never kayak again lol

I also recommend spending the extra dough and getting the carbon fiber paddle that Academy sells. Its not the best CF paddle, but it makes paddling oh so much nicer. Definitely is worth the money and a great combo for anyone kayak camping or touring!
Thanks man, helpful info!
 

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I was just in the Aire factory store yesterday... They had a Tomcat solo and a 2up in there... I personally do NOT kayak, but we have 2 Aire Tributary 14HD whitewater rafts. We have been rafting for a few years, and finally stepped into 2 of these new ones last fall at their 20% off labor day sale... I can honestly say the Tribs are awesome! Sure they aren't the (twice the price) USA made Aire models, but we don't need those for what we do.... We go out every weekend from June to September here in Boise and are super excited to finally have "new" rafts this year.

I love Aire's customer service, and Sara, their sales gal, is super willing to give you the best deal over the phone. She did some internet price matching for us last year. Their factory sale is coming up in like 2 weeks, they just sent a flier out to us about it. Call their factory store, Sara should answer, tell her James with the 2 Tributary 14HDs sent you, and ask her about the sales coming up....

James
Awesome, I'll check out what they have a bit more and keep an eye on their upcoming sale!
 

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Im also interested in an inflatable kayak, for lakes in CO, but hoping one is strong enough to take a dog inside without ripping?? Suggestions??
That's what this whole thread is about, caligirlnic - as mentioned in my original, might be bringing along a dog. I've seen recommendations elsewhere to simply use a piece of outdoor rug in the bottom of inflatables for dogs, and in other threads that many good inflatables are rubber-coated vinyl and plenty tough enough for dog's nails.
 
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James Deaton

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You could get a sheet of Hypalon rubber from a raft parts supplier and lay it down before letting the dog jump in... Hypalon is super strong.

You could also get a river inner tube and tie it to the kayak, and let the dog float behind you... Or if the dog has it's own PFD you don't really need the inner tube :):):)

James
 

Northernlady

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Thanks for the replies, everyone, great info and very much appreciated.

@chexmix - which inflatable 2 seater from Amazon is it? And, does it track through the water fairly well without great struggle? Has a slight keel of some sort to keep it straight both while paddling or gliding?

@Steve - I like the looks of your 14' Jackson a lot, and have looked at them, and others similar, before. Gorgeous and sleek and must move through water like a skate on ice. If I had the space somewhere to store a rigid-hulled kayak when not using it, and in a place I could get to often, I'd go hardshell in a heartbeat.

I often end up on the road for months, though, and don't always get back to one of the places I keep stuff before going to the next place. I do as much urban exploring as I do back country, too, so am often parked in cities and small towns. I don't hang a lot of overly noticeable stuff from my van or trailer that may attract attention so am leaning now towards an inflatable I can stow away when not using, but which will be close at hand when I do want to use it.

Your mention of the inflatable paddling like an inner tube, and the importance of how the entry of the kayak goes through water, has me thinking. I want to be sure the inflatable I end up with has some sort of slight keel or at least good guiding bow and is overall easy to use. If it's not, I won't use it as much, which just defeats the purpose of having and hauling it in the first place. Many of the inflatables I've looked at seem to be geared more for whitewater, not lake or slow-moving stream, so a keel or guiding bow is not as important, I'm assuming.

I'd like a kayak I can slip along the shore with to sneak up on wildlife both just to observe and for photography. I've studied birds, reptiles, and amphibians since I was a kid, so love getting up close as I can to wildlife. I also want a good kayak to fish out of and to get to the other shore for overnights, etc, bush craft style. And one that will glide straight after several strokes of a paddle for better photography. I remember being in a canoe meant for whitewater, but that I was in on a lake. That thing kept twisting around in the slightest breeze like a horse that wanted me off its back.

I looked at the Oru folding kayaks before I left last Aug on my mongo gear-gathering trip. I almost bought one. I think it was the cost then, and reviews that ended up discouraging me from being as impulsive as I sometimes am in purchases. The older I get--I think I'm 82 or something now, my birth certificate got lost in the hurricane :tonguewink:--the less impulsive and more considerate I've become. I ponder and plan things a bit more now than I did before.

I'm definitely interested in seeing an Oru first person if you get one.

@Northernlady - Wow, those Solstice kayaks are really inexpensive. Haven't looked into them much yet, but will check out what users and reviewers say about them. Have you had any problems with needing to patch more often because the material is more prone to puncture? Has it been durable when you drag it in and out of the water? I want one I can put gear into and that has a tough enough skin and bottom I don't have to constantly worry about it, and that can take the occasional dog as well, toenails and all.

To others reading and wondering about kayaks, I just ran across the interesting Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews - 2018 Guide.
Haven't read through it all yet, so can't vouch for how impartial or not it is, but it looks good so far.


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I have never had to patch it, but I don't really drag it...it is light enough that I just pick it up and put it into the water. It has touched bottom a few times but there are no signs of wear or anything. I haven't put much gear into it so I can't speck to that...I would just make sure it is well inflated! Good luck on your search!
 
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Road

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I have never had to patch it, but I don't really drag it...it is light enough that I just pick it up and put it into the water. It has touched bottom a few times but there are no signs of wear or anything. I haven't put much gear into it so I can't speck to that...I would just make sure it is well inflated! Good luck on your search!
Thanks, Karen - I appreciate the info and reply!
 

theMightyGoose

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@theMightyGoose - look through the various model reviews for the Oru at REI - I saw someone ask under one model if the Oru would be in their rental pool, but did not read the answer.

I'm on the Maine coast--big ocean-going kayak population--for another month, maybe longer, and as the weather starts getting nicer and people have greater cabin fever, the kayaks will start coming out. Then I'll be able to get some first-hand observations and hopefully some time in a few. I almost bought a couple's used pair of kayaks last summer to at least get some experience, then upgrade later, but they were sold before I got to them.

Closest REI to here is about 80 miles away in Mass, and I may make a run down there to see what I can about a variety of kayaks. I checked out Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) here in town, but they didn't have as many in stock compared to online.

Still learning what types and features I want. As the Quakers say and I believe, and am fond of quoting, if it's meant to happen, "way will open."
I called my local REI, and they don't rent any kayaks. Too bad. I guess there is plenty competition from all the local kayak shops here in San Diego. Oh well.
 
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theMightyGoose

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@Steve @theMightyGoose - here's an interesting article on the Oru from 2016 in Outside Online:
https://www.outsideonline.com/2061741/365-days-oru-worlds-most-interesting-portable-kayak

I'd love to see an update from someone who has had one for more than a year.
I like that article. But Outside magazine has kinda become a pimp for the outdoor retailer industry. It's hard to trust their reviews. So I'm also waiting for some non-biased reviews; hopefully from the OB family. I really want to love those Orus.
 
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1/2Breed_Ovrlndr

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I have the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165 with a SeaLine rudder. I freaking lover this yak but really hate putting it on top of the jeep (lifting a 16 1/2ft long and 66+ lbs. over your head onto a lifted jeep is not fun after a several hour paddling session). I'm planning on getting a smaller yak like the above mentioned Perception Carolina 14.5 and maybe a yak trailer as well. I agree and get a CF paddle as well and a good PFD.

I'm not sure about the area where you live but around here, I see great deals on Letgo or craigslist for used yaks. I bought mine brand new a few years back and with the rudder it was over 1500.00. I didn't mind paying this much as I knew what I was getting. I just wish I had kept a couple of smaller ones that I had before for quick trips.

I prefer Sitin yaks over the sitontop ones. Just my personal preference. The wife likes sitontop better as it is easier to keep your balance.
 
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Road

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I have the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165 with a SeaLine rudder. I freaking lover this yak but really hate putting it on top of the jeep (lifting a 16 1/2ft long and 66+ lbs. over your head onto a lifted jeep is not fun after a several hour paddling session). I'm planning on getting a smaller yak like the above mentioned Perception Carolina 14.5 and maybe a yak trailer as well. I agree and get a CF paddle as well and a good PFD.

I'm not sure about the area where you live but around here, I see great deals on Letgo or craigslist for used yaks. I bought mine brand new a few years back and with the rudder it was over 1500.00. I didn't mind paying this much as I knew what I was getting. I just wish I had kept a couple of smaller ones that I had before for quick trips.

I prefer Sitin yaks over the sitontop ones. Just my personal preference. The wife likes sitontop better as it is easier to keep your balance.
Thanks @Crowster - good info. I'm leaning more and more towards a good quality inflatable, but the folding kayak seems appealing, too, the more I look at it and the longer they've been around and improve things. Much as I'd like to have one, I'm shying away from rigid yaks more because of long distance travel and security. If it's not out and strapped to my van or trailer, it's far less of a target. I park regularly in big cities, small towns and everywhere in between. If just for day kayaking or shorter trips, I think I could fit a long sleek kayak into the space between trailer and rack. For longer trips involving a lot of in and out of my cargo area, that would mean moving it a lot more than I'd want.

I think I would prefer a sit in kayak over sit on, too, and would think that a sit on kayak would be less easy to keep one's balance, center of gravity being higher. Interesting you say she feels better sitting on one instead of in one. Like George Carling used to say "everyone says they're going to get on the plane. Screw that, I'm going to get IN the plane!"

I have faith that the right one will come along at the right time, whether in my travels, online, or through word of mouth. I'll check into Letgo. Last I looked at craigslist, didn't see much around here, though this is an active kayak area. I think a lot of them get passed along by word of mouth or private sales in community groups before they try craigslist.

Thanks again for the input!


Road

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MNTNSK8R

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I am a big fan of kayaking too. I was looking at a folding kayak for quite a long time, but finally decided to go on with an inflatable one for what I do. The center of gravity is quite low on mine and it's pretty easy to hold the balance. I use a compressor to inflate it everytime come to the water
 
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Road

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I am a big fan of kayaking too. I was looking at a folding kayak for quite a long time, but finally decided to go on with an inflatable one for what I do. The center of gravity is quite low on mine and it's pretty easy to hold the balance. I use a compressor to inflate it everytime come to the water
What kind did you get, @MNTNSK8R, and how long have you had it? Been out a lot in it? Keeps a pretty straight track through the water, or a lot of yaw?

Thanks man.
 

MNTNSK8R

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The one I've got is sort of beginners level Sea Eagle 370. It tracks through the water nicely (as for an inflatable kayak). It will tend to yaw if you start to dig in to fast at the begining, but when it picks up the speed it holds the course nicely. Next summer I may switch to a plastic fishing kayak with rod holders.
 
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The one I've got is sort of beginners level Sea Eagle 370. It tracks through the water nicely (as for an inflatable kayak). It will tend to yaw if you start to dig in to fast at the begining, but when it picks up the speed it holds the course nicely. Next summer I may switch to a plastic fishing kayak with rod holders.
Good info, thanks!
 

JDGreens

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We have hard shel kayaks, my wife wanted to kayak and did a lot of research for the on she bought, I wasn't as sure I would like kayaking so I just bought a cheap one from TJ-Max. It is very heavy and does not knive through the water well. She got a pelcan which is light and has a better design. Now these kayaks do not cost very much and it would be a drag if someone took them, but I don't think I would kayak much at all if I had to put the kayaks together before we got to go out on the lake.
 
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We have hard shel kayaks, my wife wanted to kayak and did a lot of research for the on she bought, I wasn't as sure I would like kayaking so I just bought a cheap one from TJ-Max. It is very heavy and does not knive through the water well. She got a pelcan which is light and has a better design. Now these kayaks do not cost very much and it would be a drag if someone took them, but I don't think I would kayak much at all if I had to put the kayaks together before we got to go out on the lake.
Thanks for the info and details, JD, much appreciated. They have kayaks at TJ Maxx? Never knew that. As for weight, yeah, I'm going to want one I can handle by myself and load up onto the hardshell rooftop tent or onto my trailer, or even van sometimes. Lighter the better.

I suspect if I get a folding or inflatable one, I'd get it set up and it would stay set up for a good while, then put away when heading back out on the big road or into cities for a few days.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
 

freedomomelet

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Hey guys, I have used two Perception Carolina kayaks for about 15 years now. One is a 14.5ft composite hull and the other is a 13.5ft rotomolded plastic type hull. Both were used on rivers and big lake water. I primarily used them for long multiday river trips where all my gear is with me so bulk hatches and rigging were very important to me. Both boats have been great for my uses as I've tried inflatable ones in the past and have had bad days on rocks. Inflatables typically don't track straight worth crap so use them on small water or fast rivers like whitewater. If you're just tooling around in a rocky area like fast rivers and need fast turning, go for a cheap rotomolded or inflatable. If you need something that tracks well/straight in bigger water and/or need a multiday excursion gear hauler, go with a larger composite type boat.

Plus and minus thoughts here:

Composites:
Plus:
- strong
- lightweight
- easy to maneuver due to rigidity​
Cons:
- expensive
- dont take impacts well from rocks, tend to split rather then bounce off​

Rotomolded:
Plus:
- practically indestructible, aka bouncy resistance. good for big rocks!
- inexpensive​
Cons:
- can tend to "melt" or deform in really hot conditions when strapped down to rigs/mounts
- heavy in larger/longer boats
upload_2018-4-29_15-41-37.png
 
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