RV Kayak.....

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Well-known member
Apr 22, 2012
Wherever we park it
I also agree with the rent before you buy idea, less chance of making a costly mistake. Renting would be less expensive than buying a cheap kayak, finding you like kayaking, then buying a better and more expensive one, conversely, buying a cheap kayak and finding you do not like it. Renting also gives you a chance to try both sit on and sit in kayaks to determine what you like. In my experience with kayaking, after owning inflatable kayaks, I would stay away from inflatable kayaks as we found it like paddling an inner tube, quite a bit of your paddling effort is absorbed by the flexible nature of inflatable kayaks, making it a slow and exhausting experience. The benefit to inflatable kayaks is for those with limited storage capacity or those who do not want to bother with loading on and off a roof rack. If this is the case a much better option are the portable kayaks which come in sections and packed in a bag for easy storage and transport. The advantage of these over inflatable is they are hard sided and have framing structure, making them paddle as easily as traditional hard sided kayaks. As far as sit on vs sit in - this is a personal choice, but a couple thoughts. As previously mentioned, if you intend to fish a sit on is likely the better choice. For general paddling around, either will work but you may find the sit on style is likely easier to get on and off, though unless physical limitations are an issue, sit in can easily be entered and exited with a little practice. For longer paddle adventures, touring and sea kayaking, sit in is the best choice. When we bought our first kayaks, as we had very limited storage capacity we bought inflatables, had we been aware of the portable kayaks I mentioned earlier, that would have been a much better and more enjoyable option. When we later had the space and means to store and carry kayaks we bought traditional hard sided kayaks and since have used them much more and have found much more enjoyment.
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Great Horned Owl

Well-known member
Feb 10, 2012
Lake County, Illinois
After reading all of this thread, I surprised that nobody (besides me) has mentioned the canoe as an option. I probably shouldn't be surprised, because for some strange reason, everybody seems to want kayaks. You can even buy a kayak (although not a very good one) at Walmart.

As a man who has taught paddling, and who has paddled, designed, and built canoes for 64 years, and kayaks for 59 years, I feel qualified to address the question of which is better for any given purpose. As a side note, I built my first (whitewater) kayak in 1964 from fiberglass, in a borrowed mold. There were very few commercially available kayaks at the time, and no whitewater kayaks. I still own that kayak.

I will take a suitable kayak into grade IV rapids, where I wouldn't dream of taking a canoe. I will also take a touring kayak into ocean waters where I also would not take a canoe. Except for those two special purposes, I can see only one advantage of a kayak over a canoe. Most anybody can learn to be a fairly competent kayak paddler rather quickly, whereas it can take several years to become a good canoe paddler.

Look at the various advantages:

For two boats of the same length, and constructed of the same material, the canoe will generally be about 50% lighter. It doesn't need either a deck or a double hull.


For two boats of the same same length, the canoe can carry a lot more gear. I've camped out of a canoe for six days. That would be difficult in most kayaks. It's also easier to access your gear without exiting your boat. I clip my camera to a thwart so that it's instantly available. That's difficult in many kayaks

A kayak often requires a fairly expensive specialty rack, while any old rack will work for a canoe.

If the canoe has had a yoke installed, one person can throw it on his shoulders and walk away. If a sit in kayak is light enough, one person can rest the edge of the cockpit on their shoulder. Sit ons and heavier sit in need two people tocarry them.

In a kayak, you are stuck in the seat, an (depending on the design) may have your feet and/or your knees up against foot braces or knee straps. I can paddle one for about four hours before I start getting leg cramps. In a canoe, you can alternate between sitting on the seat and kneeling.

Fishing Platform
The ability to move around in a canoe makes it a much better fishing platform.

Paddle Length
I have canoed some paddle trails in the Everglades, and a few other places, where the trail was so narrow that it was difficult to find room to insert the paddle into the water. It only worked at all, because the paddler sits in thr narrow ends of the boat. I watched the kayak users getting their paddles so tangled up in the vegetation, that they gave up, put stowed their paddles, and pulled themselves along by tugging on the vegetation. Watch out for the plants with thorns.

Ease of Entry and Exit
Canoes and sit on kayaks are easy to get in and out of. Sit in kayaks are much more difficult.

This is one other area where kayaks have some advantage. To purchase a decent canoe, you need to go to a specialty shop, whereas you can find kayaks all over the place. However, if you want a salesman who knows what he's talking about, you still need a specialty shop.

Tipping Over
If you tip over in a canoe, you pull it to shore, empty it, and get back in. It is possible to lift it over another canoe, drain the water, and climb back in, hopefully without tipping it over again especially in deep water.. If you tip over in a kayak, you may also need to pull it to shore. Some sit in kayaks can be rolled back up, but it takes quite a while to master that skill. A sit on kayak, can be rescued by lifting it oer another boat, just like a canoe. Getting back in can be trickier if in deep water.

the bottom line is that anybody who wants to start paddling, should seriously look at canoes as well as at kayaks.


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