Perfect kayaking vehicle

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by tiagosantos, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

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    So after a hit and run, it looks like someone might have finally killed my old Volvo 740 wagon. Up until now, it has been the perfect kayaking vehicle - more than enough room for all the gear I could possibly need, cheap, reliable. The roof was perfect for carrying kayaks - not too high (my suspension was lowered an inch or two, which helped), super strong, flat and long - this meant I could space out the saddles from the "A" to almost the C pillars, making for a very stiff, secure assembly.

    Just wondering what other vehicles you folks would consider the ideal kayaking vehicle ;) I don't drive to work, and we have a little Mazda2 for day to day driving stuff. Whatever else I buy needs to be reliable, have room for hauling things, must not be a truck and bonus points if it's any fun to drive!

    :popcorn:
     
  2. Tatlow

    Tatlow Paddler

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    ......Subaru Outback.... :popcorn:
     
  3. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

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    Definitely an option! I'm more inclined towards the WRX for the "fun to drive" factor, although I like the longer roof on the outback. Hmm maybe a Legacy GT. Starting to deviate from the "cheap" goal, though lol.
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Tiago wrote: Whatever else I buy needs to be reliable, have room for hauling things, must not be a truck and bonus points if it's any fun to drive!

    Sorry, man, but a truck with extended cab is my go to vehicle for carrying boats, gear, and people to a launch site. Room for people. Room for gear. Can carry a load. And tough enough to handle rough gravel roads without destroying the suspension.

    An Outback does not have the clearance, and is not beefy enough in the suspension department, for example.

    OTOH, if you are not planning on using gravel roads, and can rely on pavement to the launch site, an Outback (or similar) would work.

    Where can you launch for the West side of Vancouver Island that has a paved road access all the way to the ramp, except for Tofino and Ucluelet ... or, is the road to Tahsis paved? Are you counting on Port Alice as a launch site? Or, is West side of Vancouver Island off the list of desirable areas you want to paddle? Kinda puzzled here.
     
  5. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

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    you're right that a truck is ideal in those situations.. I just realistically won't be launching from the West Side of VI more than once or twice a year and can't justify the hassle of a truck.. I know people love them, but it must be my European blood - they're just huge and heavy and wallowy and.. Ugh :p

    I grew up travelling all over Portugal and Spain with my family on an old Volvo 240 sedan, pulling a trailer and dealing with all kinds of bad paved and unpaved roads. I've driven quite a few miles on gravel and logging roads with my old 740 wagon and even our tiny mazda2.. Nothing beats a truck for towing and carrying HEAVY loads (I do have a truck to tow my trailer!) But I'd much prefer something smaller for day to day (weekend to weekend..) trips!
     
  6. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Yeah, I recognize that many trucks are huge, heavy, and wallowy. I would not want a vehicle like that, either.

    The three I have used were smaller (1987 Mazda B 2200, 1998 Toyota Tacoma, and 2005 Dodge Dakota/3.6L engine), with even the Dakota very nimble. The other two had 2.0 and 2.2 L engines, small seats behind the front seat, and were very good vehicles for in town. The Dodge was very comfortable, even on rough roads, and had ample seating for 5 adults. All had shorter beds, trading hauling space for passenger space, yet could be used to haul smaller loads of building materials or gardening supllies.

    I would not recommend the Dakota, because Dodge has a too small transmission on those, but a used Tacoma or Mazda B2200 would be an economical purchase, nimble in traffic, and roomy enough for four people, provided the ones behind the driver are not over 6 feet tall.

    With the boats strapped to racks on the canopy, or onto Yakima Drydocks directly bolted to the bed rails, the loading of front and rear wheels is equalized, and there are no annoying racks over passenger doors to hit your head on. An added convenience is the ability to separate nasty wet gear from the passenger compartment on the way home from a wet trip. On the Mazda and the Toyota I had cab high canopies, useful for overnight sleeping at the launch site, and more or less dry otherwise. But no canopy on the Dodge, and never felt the need. If the tent gets wet, just toss it into a dry bag and store in the bed.

    If you have not tried a smaller pickup in city traffic, you might try someone else's rig and see if it is nimble enough for you. Parking is a dream because of the terrific visibility rearward. And, if you like to ride bikes, smaller pickups are good there, also. Gas mileage is decent, not as good as a subcompact sedan however.

    I expect this dissertation fails to convince you, but ... maybe _n e x t_ time!
     
  7. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

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    I hadn't considered a smaller truck, which is a valid point.. Those little m azdas or even a Ford Ranger wouldn't be a terrible option :p I suspect it'll be a hard sell for Ana but you never know!

    That said, I'm more than happy for this to be a generic advice thread and I am more than willing to concede that a truck is a great option for most outdoor activities! I can't completely justify the bias I have against them hehe.
     
  8. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Small trucks drive like small sedans, pretty much. Becky has loved our pickups. One true advantage is you sit higher, making it easier to spot traffic problems and safer to access thoroughfares at intersections, etc. Plus, the small pickups are easy step into vehicles. Some subcompact vehicles place you so low to the ground you virtually have to pull yourself up and out. Not an issue with that Volvo you had. Man! Too bad it died! That is a killer paddling vehicle.
     
  9. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Just be careful, as some of the newer ones have crappy racks. Specifically the ones where the cross bars fold parallel to the tracks. There are ways to remove and replace with Thule/Yakima, but you can't adjust bar width.
     
  10. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    I have had my Jeep Patriot for 6 years. Has a fairly low roof line, is 4WD, with decent clearance. Also great on gas, I got the 4 banger. It has been great for general maintenance, never any major probs, just regular stuff.
    I did have the Jeep Liberty before this one, was a 6 cylinder and a bit higher. The patriot is a better choice. it also has stock roof rack rails.
    I am not tall, and can load my Delta alone if needed.
    IMHO....
     
  11. thief

    thief Paddler

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    Subaru Baja....manual....

    had station wagons over the years and ended up turning the car into a greenhouse after putting wet gear into it....the bed on the baja is perfect...everything about the Baja is exactly the same as the same year Outback. (just with the bed and back seat a little different....

    and the 4' bed that can be extended is super useful around the yard....
     
  12. Layback

    Layback Paddler

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    Hard to beat a Taco. Especially one with a stepside box - easy to get up and tie straps.

    Add in a Rhino coated box, to handle the salty gear, and the package is made for paddling.

    Then, there is Toyota. Pretty good company. They are currently lining up to replace my frame (yes, you read that correctly, my frame!) at their cost. A rust hole is leading to a frame replacement, instead of a trip to the bone yard. Not every manufacturer stands behind a 13 year old vehicle like that.
     
  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    You could always opt for a used Volvo beater, or a 90s Subaru station wagon. Nice long flat roof with good rack spacing.

    I don't drive a lot on gravel (a few trips to Bamfield this year), but my 18 y.o. VW Golf (diesel) with the back seats removed works as my kayaking vehicle. And I don't need a stepladder to load my boat. :big_thumb :D
     
  14. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

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    I've always had a couple of old volvos kicking around and I love them.. But I spent so much time and money to get them to the point where I could trust them to go anywhere.. My wagon doesn't look like much but almost everything has been gone through - new brakes, completely new suspension (all bushings, upgraded shocks, springs, sway bars and a few other goodies like strut braces braces, etc), new steering rack, tie rods, ball joints, etc. It would be hard to trust another 20 or 25 year old car without going through it as well - and at that point, if I add up the time and money, I might as well buy something newer :(
     
  15. Tatlow

    Tatlow Paddler

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    150,000 km on our 2003 Ford Escape driving most gravel accesseses on Vancouver Island...Bamfield, Tahsis, Zeballos, Fair Harbour...up and over mountains etc. FWD and a small V6. Just long enough to get my 6' frame along with the seats collapsed when sleeping in the vehicle was the best option. It continues to serve us well now up here in the North. We only wish they still made the same style (new models have that sloped roof and reduced cargo space) and I would buy another one to replace it going forward. Closest new model...to my mind...Outback. Now I must pay closer attention to the roof rack set up given the heads up. When you stick to one vehicle per family, it is a balancing act as to the best compromise that works as a truck/van/suv/ and car.
     
  16. Yeti

    Yeti Paddler

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    RS6?
     
  17. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

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    Yup, that's the right idea :D If I could, I totally would!

    Sort of tentatively but not completely seriously looking at 2004-2006 Volvo V70R's........ But that's really focusing a lot more on the fun than the reliable and cheap items on my list.
     
  18. eriktheviking

    eriktheviking Paddler

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    I have a 2005 Mazda Tribute, which is basically the same vehicle. The built-in racks were pretty bad for carrying a kayak- too close together and too flexible. I had to put on one fixed rack bar (Yakima) on the front end of the cab to get more length between bars and added stability. Otherwise I mostly agree, though something a bit lower like the Subaru sounds attractive when I have to dead lift the kayak up using a stool when I'm alone.
     
  19. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    How wrecked is your present Volvo?
    If you've upgraded all the mechanicals, some bodywork might be worthwhile.
    I figure that any way to postpone a vehicle purchase saves money, as long as the repairs don't get into the 'silly' range.
    Driving most anything off the dealer lot will cost in instant depreciation....
    But, I'm not a 'car guy' (as anybody who has seen my vehicle :yikes: will confirm! :D ).
     
  20. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

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    I think I can fix it.. Needs a hood, fender, headlight assembly, the brackets that hold the headlight and turn signal, bumper cover.. The frame is slightly bent where the fender attaches to, but doesn't seem *that* bad. It's just bad enough that ICBC won't pay to repair it, but now I gotta wait until the end of the month for them to look at the car and tell me how much they're willing to pay, how much I could buy it back for, etc.

    Problem is.. It's one more project on my already endless list of projects. This would have been a whole lot better if the guy had just looked at his rear view mirror :cry: