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kayaks, what do I need to know?


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We rented some kayaks and had a great time! 

Now we are thinking of getting a couple to get on some local water areas (lakes and large ponds) and fish and just have fun.

Is there anything I should know?  I mean, I can google specifics, but we really don't need anything fancy.  

I would prefer NOT getting inflatables, does anyone here have them. and what do you think if you have them?  It seems that I would just rather not deal with patching holes, inflating and un-inflating, but maybe I am not thinking it through?

I know we will need a way to transport them, but is that really the only advantage to inflatables?  Transportation?

Looking at something like this as a starter Kayak?  Thoughts?

https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/1103?originalProduct=124095&productId=1769991&attrValue_0=Kiwi Fade&pla1=0&mr%3AtrackingCode=045E9F0C-6952-EA11-8106-00505694403D&mr%3AreferralID=NA&mr%3Adevice=c&mr%3AadType=plaonline&qs=3125172&gclid=Cj0KCQjwpZT5BRCdARIsAGEX0zlzYDo0rN_vTF7Tp0AmzLbXkkAL4e6PFklOnpdV7qeBm_DJcIAtUWoaAnsqEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&SN3=FindabilityProd04_Cat&SS3=A

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Things you want:

A comfortable, adjustable seat (usually the amount of recline is adjustable with straps)

Foot pegs, adjustable if available

a paddle that floats

a dry bin, perhaps, at least bungy straps to secure carry-on items

features like rod holders for fishing if that’s something you’ll be doing  

Other features vary with intended use  (lakes, rivers, speed vs stability). REI always has helpful info for making your selection.

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/kayak.html

Really do spend some time thinking through your transportation strategies. Do you ever plan to go by yourself? Are you tall enough/strong enough to get your boat off your vehicle roof and then back on again, AND, can you easily reach the mechanisms for securing it for transport? I can do all that with the help of another, but I cannot do it alone and that has seriously curtailed my time on the water. I just ordered an inflatable SUP to meet that need, and am now saving up for a trailer.

Also consider storage space. Where will you keep them when not in use? Be sure you have a plan for that.

 

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DS has a kayak and loves it. They're lightweight and easy to transport. Most people seem to prefer the sit-in kayaks instead of the sit-on ones. I would not buy an inflatable either because I can just imagine too many disasters in the middle of the lake. There are kayaks with extra storage that are called "fishing kayaks". There are  other kinds of kayaks for whitewater, but the open ones are great for recreational paddling. We've been looking to buy a low cost one for months for DD, but we can't find anyplace nearby that has any in stock.

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I love kayaking.  I have 3 kayaks and they are all a bit different.

For transportation, I can fit each of the 3 inside my mini van ...but that limits passengers....but works great if I am just meeting a friend.   I also have a 5*8 utility trailer I pull with my mini van that I can put 4-5 kayaks in.   You can also get roof racks to hold 2-3 kayaks but those are much easier to use with 2 people as you have to list the kayaks up there.

For serious fishing, some people like a kayak that is super stable and designed to be used standing up as well.  Those of course are more pricey.

Then there is the question of sit on top vs sit in styles.  I have both.   My old town sit in is the most comfortable for longer trips and easiest to paddle....but it is the longest and most expensive one (higher end brand).

   My sit on top is great for hot weather, is easier to get in and out of.....and if you tip over it won't fill with water and you can just climb back on.  Downside is that you do get wet a bit in these from the drain holes and tye are not as good for colder weather/cold water kayaking.

My third one is a Walmart kayak.  It is likely the most stable of the three.  It is not as fast as the other two but great for taking people out that have never been or just for leisurely paddles.

Are you planning on paddling miles and getting to a destination.....or more paddle, float, chat, paddle a bit, float, eat a snack, etc.?  

 

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And for life jackets, a paddle sports life jacket is really so much more comfortable to wear while paddling as it is cut so it is easier to paddle.

Also, will you need room in your kayak for the little guy and/or a dog?  

A lighter weight, quality paddle that floats is worth the added cost.  

If anyone is taller/shorter/larger than average make sure the kayak fits them.  My smaller one would not be comfortable for someone over 6' tall while my longer kayak would be a big big for someone 5' tall and 105#.

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4 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Ottakee while you are here... I almost posted last night to ask about your SUP. What kind do you have?

I have a Soopotay Touring.   My son does great with it.  I like it for using with my kayak seat.  I struggle to stand up on it.   I am looking for a wider, more stable old mom type stand up paddle board....like one designed for yoga.

They are easy to transport, light to carry and versatile.  Given my skill level though I can't go very far on mine before tiring out and I don't dare take it out alone.   They are also best suited to more flat water vs places with a lot of waves and boat traffic .

I still have the goal of standing up on a paddle board and paddling on Lake Michigan ....ideally at sunset.   That though requires me to be able to get my self standing up without help or a dock, Having the lake be smooth and flat....and the sun setting.    Pretty ambitious..... for me.

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Remember to find out if/where you need to register your watercraft. My kids need stickers for the lakes inside of our private community, but don’t need anything for our public pond/canal/wetland thing.  Other public and semi-public lakes in our area have their own requirements. We haven’t looked into whether anything is needed for the river because dh is afraid of the river and therefore afraid to let the kids go.

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5 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

I have a Soopotay Touring.   My son does great with it.  I like it for using with my kayak seat.  I struggle to stand up on it.   I am looking for a wider, more stable old mom type stand up paddle board....like one designed for yoga.

They are easy to transport, light to carry and versatile.  Given my skill level though I can't go very far on mine before tiring out and I don't dare take it out alone.   They are also best suited to more flat water vs places with a lot of waves and boat traffic .

I still have the goal of standing up on a paddle board and paddling on Lake Michigan ....ideally at sunset.   That though requires me to be able to get my self standing up without help or a dock, Having the lake be smooth and flat....and the sun setting.    Pretty ambitious..... for me.

Sounds wonderful! I bet you reach your goal before you know it!

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1 minute ago, Seasider too said:

Sounds wonderful! I bet you reach your goal before you know it!

It doesn't help that I tore the meniscus in my right knee now.  I am doing my DDPY and down 22 pounds.....only another 60 or so to go.

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14 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

It doesn't help that I tore the meniscus in my right knee now.  I am doing my DDPY and down 22 pounds.....only another 60 or so to go.

Hey last I saw you were down 16# so you are continuing to make progress! Sorry about your knee, though, hope it heals fast. 
 

I think it would be fun to do SUP yoga but for the time being all I can say is....good thing that I’m a good swimmer and used to capsizing little sailboats. 😂

Dawn, sorry to hijack kayak talk! Your linked ones look really nice for the price. Do look at the description of the hull shape and reviews about tracking. What you want will vary based on what you want to do with it. Stability and tracking are sort of in trade off. The more stable a boat, the more work it takes to keep it going straight and forward motion is slower. The faster a boat, the less stable it is. 

I think the ones you linked look really good for general use. 

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Thanks guys.  I really just want beginner kayaks for now.  Something to go have fun in, not get to a destination.   I imagine my son and his friend will use them more than we will go as a family, but if we do go as a family, we will take turns.

I am going back and forth between a sit on top and a sit in.  Costco has a Lifetime sit on top for the same price.   

I told my son and his friend to go look at Dick's and REI to get some ideas.  They are going today.

His friend is over 6' and my son is 5'8".  So we will have a variety.

I am 4'11", husband is 6', my older 3 are between 5'7" and 5'8".  And the 2 year old is 29" 🤣

We have a Sequoia and I imagine we will transport them in there for the most part.  And I am looking at hoist type storage as our garage is very tall.   That would work best to keep storing the cars in there.

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41 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Hey last I saw you were down 16# so you are continuing to make progress! Sorry about your knee, though, hope it heals fast. 
 

I think it would be fun to do SUP yoga but for the time being all I can say is....good thing that I’m a good swimmer and used to capsizing little sailboats. 😂

Dawn, sorry to hijack kayak talk! Your linked ones look really nice for the price. Do look at the description of the hull shape and reviews about tracking. What you want will vary based on what you want to do with it. Stability and tracking are sort of in trade off. The more stable a boat, the more work it takes to keep it going straight and forward motion is slower. The faster a boat, the less stable it is. 

I think the ones you linked look really good for general use. 

 

Not a problem, SUPs may be next on our list.  

So might a lake condo......😄

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21 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

Not a problem, SUPs may be next on our list.  

So might a lake condo......😄

LOL you know how we’ve had threads where people talk about pandemic coping mechanisms? Mine is cruising Zillow for waterfront property. We are actually probably going to move in the next few years and dh knows I need my own dock!

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25 minutes ago, DawnM said:

Thanks guys.  I really just want beginner kayaks for now.  Something to go have fun in, not get to a destination.   I imagine my son and his friend will use them more than we will go as a family, but if we do go as a family, we will take turns.

I am going back and forth between a sit on top and a sit in.  Costco has a Lifetime sit on top for the same price.   

I told my son and his friend to go look at Dick's and REI to get some ideas.  They are going today.

His friend is over 6' and my son is 5'8".  So we will have a variety.

I am 4'11", husband is 6', my older 3 are between 5'7" and 5'8".  And the 2 year old is 29" 🤣

We have a Sequoia and I imagine we will transport them in there for the most part.  And I am looking at hoist type storage as our garage is very tall.   That would work best to keep storing the cars in there.

As I have been shopping for SUPs, if it were me, I’d get a sit-in kayak and an SUP. Y’all can trade off. I like a sit in kayak because it’s better for rivers (for me anyway). For what a sit-atop offers, if you think you might eventually want an SUP, get an SUP that has rings to attach a seat. That’s essentially a sit-atop kayak. 
 

But a lot has to do with the dollars of it. 

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39 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

As I have been shopping for SUPs, if it were me, I’d get a sit-in kayak and an SUP. Y’all can trade off. I like a sit in kayak because it’s better for rivers (for me anyway). For what a sit-atop offers, if you think you might eventually want an SUP, get an SUP that has rings to attach a seat. That’s essentially a sit-atop kayak. 
 

But a lot has to do with the dollars of it. 

 

oh, wow that sounds cool.  Can you link one?

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

 

What is DDPY?

It is a yoga type exercise lead by former WWE professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (hence DDP).  It is not your typical yoga but uses a lot of yoga moves.  It has several levels 

Bed flex....for those that struggle to get out of bed or sit in a chair or very overweight

Chair Force....for those with injuries, very out of shape, poor balance....done sitting in a chair

Stand Strong....for those that can stand and walk well but need added support of a chair for balance...you hand on to the back of the Charlie, only rarely sitting in it 

Beginner ..the regular workouts

And then intermediate, advanced and crazy people advanced

The nice thing is that you start wherever you are at and move along at your ability level.  I did stand strong and was ready for beginner but then hurt my knee so I am doing stand strong again.

On the app there are 300+ exercise videos to chose from.   Once you know the moves you can easily chose an easier level one and make it harder or chose a harder one and modify it to make it easier 

DDPY

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I prefer sit-on to sit-in. Most of our paddling is in lakes -- so if you wanna hop off (or if you fall off or tip over), they're better for reboarding and draining. 

Check Craigslist. All these people who are sheltering in place and buying sporting goods -- I'm hoping to score some good deals come fall and winter!

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5 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

I prefer sit-on to sit-in. Most of our paddling is in lakes -- so if you wanna hop off (or if you fall off or tip over), they're better for reboarding and draining. 

Check Craigslist. All these people who are sheltering in place and buying sporting goods -- I'm hoping to score some good deals come fall and winter!

Overall, I agree that the sit on tops are easier to get in and out of.... especially now with my knee.....but I did take my sit in for long term comfort on a longer, harder paddle as it is just a much higher quality kayak.

I too am hoping to score some deals this fall.  I bought my first kayak, in Michigan, at Christmas from a lady that listed it to get Christmas shopping money.

Quality stand up paddle boards, esp the inflatable ones are hard time come by now.  Most are out of stock.  My friend has a hard one but it is heavy and hard to carry...no problem for her as it is 5 ft to her dock.   For transporting and carrying, an inflatable is easier.

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2 hours ago, Seasider too said:

LOL you know how we’ve had threads where people talk about pandemic coping mechanisms? Mine is cruising Zillow for waterfront property. We are actually probably going to move in the next few years and dh knows I need my own dock!

Ha! I do that too except I also look at For the Love of Old Houses. It probably isn't a realistic dream for me, but it's fun anyway.

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10 minutes ago, katilac said:

I think it's well worth it to rent a few times and get a better feel for how you will use it and what features matter to you. 

Or ask friends with kayaks.  If you were closer I would gladly let you try out 3 of mine to see the differences.

I have been trying out other stand up paddle boards so that I can get a better feel for what size/style will work best for me.

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Don't know if already mentioned - if so disregard.

We have Future Beach sit on top kayaks and they track well. This is an issue for me in the cheaper ones when they don't track straight. Future Beach also has some with a trihedral hull which may contribute to stability. I can stand up in mine without tipping it.

ETA: I'd get some floating ropes with rings and waterproof go bags with the yaks.  :)

Edited by Liz CA
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2 hours ago, Seasider too said:

https://www.amazon.com/SereneLife-SLSUPST15-Serene-Life-Paddle-Board/dp/B072JLYQ6H
 

I think you need to make sure your SUP has D rings for adding this accessory. 

My SUP has a kayak seat like this.  It works well....but to me, is not as comfortable for long term kayaking as a real kayak, due to the lack of foot pegs, etc.  But it is fun for playing around  on the water.

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3 hours ago, katilac said:

I think it's well worth it to rent a few times and get a better feel for how you will use it and what features matter to you. 

 

Rental places seem to only have one kind.  

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4 hours ago, alisoncooks said:

@Ottakee -- how solid does an inflatable SUP feel? I'd be interested in this option (easier to transport 3 of these than 3 kayaks!) but I'm on a lake with a lot of boat traffic.  (So plenty of waves...)  

 

Ok, so I just found this in my search......a modular SUP board.  https://odditymall.com/easy-eddy-modular-sup-paddle-board

This is intriguing to me......anyone here have one?  Thoughts?

The only negative I read was that people were worried the metal would rust in salt water.  I think anything in salt water would need to be rinsed off anyway, so I don't think that would be a huge issues, but I could be wrong.

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42 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

Rental places seem to only have one kind.  

Right, but you can still get a better feel for how you are likely to use it and what you might want. After you rent a few times, are you saying, I wish this thing had a foot rest! Are you thinking you could really use a dry box, or do you not tend to bring much?  That kind of thing. 

 Also: are you eager to plan your next trip, or was four times quite enough 😄 Because I might be lured into the occasional canoe excursion, and I might really enjoy it, but it only took a few times for to me realize I did not want to own a canoe. If it turns out you enjoy it occasionally, renting makes a lot of sense. 

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59 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

Ok, so I just found this in my search......a modular SUP board.  https://odditymall.com/easy-eddy-modular-sup-paddle-board

This is intriguing to me......anyone here have one?  Thoughts?

The only negative I read was that people were worried the metal would rust in salt water.  I think anything in salt water would need to be rinsed off anyway, so I don't think that would be a huge issues, but I could be wrong.

Those look super cool! 

Speaking of spacesaving, have you seen these: https://tucktec.com/ ? They ran a kickstarter a few months back that I was seriously considering! 

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8 hours ago, Ottakee said:

I love kayaking.  I have 3 kayaks and they are all a bit different.

For transportation, I can fit each of the 3 inside my mini van ...but that limits passengers....but works great if I am just meeting a friend.   I also have a 5*8 utility trailer I pull with my mini van that I can put 4-5 kayaks in.   You can also get roof racks to hold 2-3 kayaks but those are much easier to use with 2 people as you have to list the kayaks up there.

For serious fishing, some people like a kayak that is super stable and designed to be used standing up as well.  Those of course are more pricey.

Then there is the question of sit on top vs sit in styles.  I have both.   My old town sit in is the most comfortable for longer trips and easiest to paddle....but it is the longest and most expensive one (higher end brand).

   My sit on top is great for hot weather, is easier to get in and out of.....and if you tip over it won't fill with water and you can just climb back on.  Downside is that you do get wet a bit in these from the drain holes and tye are not as good for colder weather/cold water kayaking.

My third one is a Walmart kayak.  It is likely the most stable of the three.  It is not as fast as the other two but great for taking people out that have never been or just for leisurely paddles.

Are you planning on paddling miles and getting to a destination.....or more paddle, float, chat, paddle a bit, float, eat a snack, etc.?  

 

 

Ottakee, dh has been talking about a trailer (instead of getting a truck). Can you post what make / model yours is or link? Also, do you just stack them on the trailer or are there special racks like roof racks for kayaks?

ETA: You can get scupper plugs to shut the drain holes. I always paddle with scupper plugs. I do get a bit of water where the foot rests are but it does not bother me.

Edited by Liz CA
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8 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

Those look super cool! 

Speaking of spacesaving, have you seen these: https://tucktec.com/ ? They ran a kickstarter a few months back that I was seriously considering! 

 

No, I saw another version but they were $1200.

Cool.  I wonder how durable they are long term?

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8 hours ago, alisoncooks said:

@Ottakee -- how solid does an inflatable SUP feel? I'd be interested in this option (easier to transport 3 of these than 3 kayaks!) but I'm on a lake with a lot of boat traffic.  (So plenty of waves...)  

They are pretty solid fully inflated . That said, it take more skill to stay standing up on one in more waves.   When you read more descriptions of them, you will see they say flat water, small waves, all the way up to white water.

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2 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

Ottakee, dh has been talking about a trailer (instead of getting a truck). Can you post what make / model yours is or link? Also, do you just stack them on the trailer or are there special racks like roof racks for kayaks?

ETA: You can get scupper plugs to shut the drain holes. I always paddle with scupper plugs. I do get a bit of water where the foot rests are but it does not bother me.

My trailer is a very basic 5*8 trailer with wooden sides.  I just slide them in and the ends hang out if there are more than 2 kayaks.

I have used foam golf balls in the scrupper holes  in my sit on top kayak.  I left the holes by my feet open but this keeps my butt dryer.

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1 hour ago, Ottakee said:

My trailer is a very basic 5*8 trailer with wooden sides.  I just slide them in and the ends hang out if there are more than 2 kayaks.

I have used foam golf balls in the scrupper holes  in my sit on top kayak.  I left the holes by my feet open but this keeps my butt dryer.

 

This is why I have scupper plugs everywhere - wouldn't mind my feet getting wet so much but don't like sitting in lake water for such a long time.  😊

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8 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

This is why I have scupper plugs everywhere - wouldn't mind my feet getting wet so much but don't like sitting in lake water for such a long time.  😊

Yes, you do stay drier on a sit in kayak. 

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I’ve put off getting a kayak for years because I know that you should really try several before choosing one to buy. What you’ll like it pretty personal. I haven’t been organized enough to get myself to an event where a store is doing this. Now I think I probably should have gone the buy-used-and-resell route a la Goldilocks until it is just right. Apparently I’m bad at purchasing things that require more than one step. 

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1 hour ago, KungFuPanda said:

I’ve put off getting a kayak for years because I know that you should really try several before choosing one to buy. What you’ll like it pretty personal. I haven’t been organized enough to get myself to an event where a store is doing this. Now I think I probably should have gone the buy-used-and-resell route a la Goldilocks until it is just right. Apparently I’m bad at purchasing things that require more than one step. 

 

We did a bit of "analysis" and narrowed it down and purchased without regretting it. Some things to figure out are:

Will you use it on the ocean or ocean-like bodies of water (Great Lakes, Inlets with high and low tide, waves, etc)?
Are you competent or willing to learn to roll with a sit in kayak? Will you use it in white water?
Are you going to be mainly kayaking on fairly calm lakes or rivers?
How are you planning to transport? Top of car in a rack? Trailer? Is there a size limit. Ours are rather long and heavy - this is the one thing we did not consider prior to purchase.
Are you planning on long kayak trips or just a few hours for fun and exercise?

 

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I haven’t read the previous responses.

Yes, the kayaks you linked should be fine for casual lake use, but they are out of stock and won’t ship for months. Honestly, they don’t even have any in store anymore. To be honest, you’ll be lucky to get one by next year. Kayaks in our area are just...gone.

Inflatables...I don’t really recommend. Although if it’s all you can find, they are easy to use and transport and perfectly fine for calm water. Expect a relatively short lifespan, but probably long enough to see you through until kayaks are available again.

Kayak racks are expensive, and hard to find (at least in my area) right now. Really do your research. Also be certain you know how much weight you can lift to the top of your car. Less expensive kayaks tend to be heavy so know your limits. I have a tall SUV (Subaru Forester) and I’m only 5'3 so I have to use a step stool, and even then I can’t always help if the car has to be parked on a slope. 
 

A kayak trailer is another option, but expensive. And of course you need a hitch and space to store it (kayaks, too, for that matter).
 

Good luck finding them this year! Hopefully you’ll luck out on Craigslist or another local site. It’s definitely worth the search. 

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

Thanks guys, lots to think about.  

I cancel out her thanks!  This thread had reignited my kayak lust and I was perfectly fine this morning. ::pouts::

Have y'all seen this thing?

 

 

Edited by KungFuPanda
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On 8/1/2020 at 3:43 PM, alisoncooks said:

Those look super cool! 

Speaking of spacesaving, have you seen these: https://tucktec.com/ ? They ran a kickstarter a few months back that I was seriously considering! 

I was very intrigued by this, but I watched the 'put it together' video and it doesn't have anything to brace your feet on while paddling.  That's a non-starter for me, which is too bad.  I have issues with my left hand right now, pretty serious ones, and I need to use other muscles to move around as much as possible.

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