View Full Version : Kayaks

SGT Rock
2004-05-31, 18:38
This weekend I saw some folks kayaking on the Little Missouri River while we were backpacking. It looked like a cool way to do the river and I thought I might look into renting some to use someday. But there seems to be more than one kind and I am a totall novice when it comes to this. So...

Is there anyone out there that can point me in some good directions before I get started? What is the difference between the kayaks that you sit on and the ones you sit inside? ow do you handel camping and kayaking?

2004-05-31, 20:23
Sarge that's a very large subject and I am sure that there are as many opinions as there are paddlers - (probably more). So much depends on what you see yourself doing with them and where you are going to do it.

The small river kayaks are a gas in whitewater but they are really tight, won't hold much gear and are pigs to paddle between the rapids.

The larger "sea kayaks" are meant for large water where there is often a large swell, winds and a lot of chop. They will carry a lot of gear - you camp out of them - ie: paddle to your camp site and all your gear is in the boat ..... but portaging them over a trail to the next lake or river is a pain.

The sit-on tops are great for a day on the water - provided it is a nice day, which isn't always the case, and they aren't much for carrying gear.

Don't overlook canoes - solo or tandem. Still very versatile craft - you can load 'em up, paddle a lake or whitewater stream, portage them to the next lake or stream and toss your pack in to them.

Note that most of the kayaks that you see are solo boats - which is largely responsible for their popularity - but don't overlook solo canoes - or the option of paddling a tandem canoe solo. They are light, more versatile than most kayak designs..... I own kayaks and I own canoes and my favorite craft will always be a solo canoe.

A word of caution. You get what you pay for. I have seen too many people who got turned off of canoeing or kayaking because they bought a "cheap" craft - then found out that it paddled about as well as the dock that it was tied up to and they lost interest.

There are a lot of knowledgable people around - and they are like hikers in that they enjoy sharing their experience. Have them take you out & get a paddle wet and see what works for you.

2004-06-01, 02:41
A DIY guy like you should really look at skin-on-frame kayaks and canoes. They're light and strong and quite easy to build.

the Baidarka mailing list archive:
(for all things SoF)

Geodesic airolite boats:

...and consider making yourself a tuiliq too...

SGT Rock
2004-06-01, 11:58
Thanks Blackdog. I wasn't planning to spend money to buy or build one quite yet. I did a little web search and found that Cabelas sells them for about $500+ dollars, not exactly what I would want to spend just for one trip with the chance of not continuing.

Canoe Blue, I didn't think about a canoe since there was one canoe with the goup of kayakers and he said not to try a canoe on the river, that it didn't work well for them (it was a two person) but the kayakers seemed happy. I guess I wouldln't need anything for serious whitewater on that section of the Little Missouri and I doubt I would ever get to the point of being a serious hard core kayaker.

I guess I need to find something I could get some gear in, but not a whole lot. I wouldn't need to bring a backpack's worth of stuff, and since I am ultralight, a lot of my gear could go in a dry bag and get tied down if I did do it that way. I guess I could go to an outfitter locally, but most of their trips are down swamp like Louisiana Bayous, not exactly the sort of trip I would be getting up in the Ozarks, and I also don't know if the person there would know their stuff that well - I have had some bad experiences with Backpacking outfitters from the supposed "experts". Probably what I need to know is how to not be a total greenhorne going into this.

2004-06-01, 13:21
Paddlers notebook (http://appalachia.outdoors.org/bbs/categories.cfm?catid=5)

Hey Sarge,heres a forum for kayakers and canoeists on the AMC site(yeah I know!lol) Might get some decent info anyway. If I was you Id rent one for a weekend and see how you like it,you could prolly rent one for a weekend for about 50 bucks. A place down the street from me rents em for 50 bucks for one day or the whole weekend and they dont make you bring it back till monday evening so you dont have to rush back on sunday. Its worth it to get a feel for the diferent types of yaks and canoes before buying . A few months ago my brother and I almost bought a used 18' freighter canoe,the guy only wanted 300 bucks!! Paddles vests and all! Problem is we would have had to buy a bigger truck to haul that beast in!!LOL Streamweaver

2004-06-01, 17:43
Ive found the Dagger Blackwater to be pretty ideal for nearly all common uses.

Its something like 12ft6in, so its long enough to track easy in open water, but short enough to manouver through rapids (no rodeoing, but youll get through safe). Its compairitivly light for portaging purposes, fairly fast, and quite stable. Plus, since its from Dagger, alot of rental shops will likely have one available.

Id recommend taking a class on Kayaking before using though. Kayaks have a neat ability to safely roll (eskimo roll) incase you tip... however this does take some practice, and its nice to do this in a nice calm, 70deg pool... not in brown cold water where you loose your glasses, dump your gear, and have to drain the kayak on a rock.

2004-06-01, 17:46
Hello to all, I've been lurking here for a few months and thought I'd interject a site that I think actually lead me here when I was looking into hammocks.
Sarge; Look at: southernpaddler.com

I think they are a bunch of ole guys (like, about my age) out of FLA but they seem to do a bunch of camping with their boats. Alot of links to homebuilt boats at VERY reasonable costs and lots of comments on canoes, pirogues and kayaks. Also trips they've taken.
All amusing and informative.

2004-06-02, 12:03
Sarge, even if you don't want to build or buy a SoF qayaq yet, you should make sure you try one, at least. You won't regret it.

2004-06-02, 12:16
Deciding which kayak to buy is really tough !!
It's like software.. you have to think about what you want to use it for.
We also have a saying in kayaking- Try Before You Buy!!!

I'm an old 60s surfer from Houston/Galveston/Freeport. I grew up at the beach. When we weren't surfing we were either fishing in the surf or in the back bays. I've retired from surfboards and have progressed to kayaks.

The most popular kayaks for fishing are the plastic sit-on-top models (SOT).
This year the hot model is the Tarpon140 from WildernessSystems.
Most kayak fisherman prefer the "tankwell" behind the seat instead of a rear hatch. It gives them a convenient place to turn around and stow an anchor or drift sock, etc.. or stick a rod in a rod holder etc.

These same boats work outstanding on river trips for camping, fishing, or touring. They offer different models in different lengths. Shorter ones for more turning ability, shorter trips (slower) Longer ones for more speed and greater touring ability.

Now if white water is your game then you'll need a more specialized play boat. The problem with plastic play boats is they are short, don't track well, don't camp and are very slow on flat water.

Canoes work well on the rivers but they are horrible down on the coast (too much freeboard/windage)

I also hunt out of my kayak and race it in marathon river races. Im one of the few who uses a sit-in (SINK).
Weight & speed are important to me so I use a kevlar yak. Mine is actually a two person recreational kayak that I took the rear seat out of and made into a permanent solo kayak (stationwagon). Mine is also from WildernessSystems and is called the PamlicoPro (Lite model when I bought mine)





Those of us that fish out of kayaks over here in Texas hang out on the TexasKayakFisherman.com website.
If you want to learn a lot about kayak fishing and are interested in how everyone rigs their yaks, drop in.
(Im CaptJack on the TKF website)

One other thing Ill post here.
I put up an article on the proper basic paddling technique. This should help you get started.

BTW Top- I went through Basic & 11B-AIT at Tigerland in 70 on my way to the QueSon valley south of DaNang.

SGT Rock
2004-06-02, 12:43
Thanks to all of y'all. I really do plan to rent before I own if I decide to buy. I figure if I don't get a chance to use one much there shouldn't be a need to buy one. That would also prevent getting stuck with something I don't like. A few trips with various systems might eventually convince me to buy the type I like.

BTW, where was Tigerland on post. A lot of locals don't even know what I am talking about when I ask that. I assume you have seen the movie.

2004-06-02, 13:10
Originally posted by SGT Rock
BTW, where was Tigerland on post. A lot of locals don't even know what I am talking about when I ask that. I assume you have seen the movie.

All of NorthFort was Tigerland. There was a big arched sign over the road coming up from SouthFort(main part of the base) as you entered NorthFort.
They had one overflow battalion of basic and the rest of NorthFort was the infantry school.
I went through basic - then moved 5 blocks down the street to my AIT unit.
I was in the last basic unit that qualified with both the M-14 &the M-16.

Yes, I saw the "Tigerand" movie. It didn't look the same because all the old two-story wooden barracks are gone. Other than that the movie was fairly valid.... It is based on the same year I went through Tigerland.