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looking for an expedition touring sea kayak

Adamandhisdog

Paddler
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
12
Hi. I am looking for a expedition sea kayak. Not ready to buy yet, just doing my research.
I'll comb through the forums too.
Thanks.
Adam
 
So you're looking for advice?

Budget?
Skeg or Rudder? (go skeg)
How long are planning to go out at a time?
Rotomold or Thermoform or Composite?
How big are you?
What's your experience level?
 
So you're looking for advice?

Budget? Around 4000-5000.
Skeg or Rudder? (go skeg) skeg!
How long are planning to go out at a time?
Weeks at a time maybe.
Rotomold or Thermoform or Composite? No idea. I will look them up
How big are you? 6', maybe 6'1. I'm a tall skinny guy.
What's your experience level?I've only been out a few times, but I have been told I'm a natural, and that I have the right attitude for a less stable technical boat.
 
Short and sweet:)

Buy the model that others use to do the type of expeditions you " DREAM " about.

Buy used, be smart.

Join a kayaking Club even if you don't like the thought of a club.

Budget lessons over a set period of time, put your knowledge to work practicing with club members or others, then more lessons to advance needed skills.

Budget Safety equipment and expedition items, some used others new.

Then get out and start doing your trips, be smart.

Your budget is ample to do all of the above.

The challenge of Sea Kayaking is endless:)

Dave R
 
Look for just about any used Mariner and you can't go wrong. But then I'm biased - over the last 40 years I've owned 3 Mariners and wouldn't part with my current Mariner II (except in my will).
 
One of the most expedition worthy boats is the NDK Explorer. It's a rugged, capable, gear hauler. Lots of people use them. If you're a skinny guy, maybe the Explorer LV - same hull, just a lowered deck. I tried them & they didn't do it for me, but that's just me. YMMV. For my taste my Nordkapp is the cat's, but it's not for everyone. Demo, demo, demo before you buy.
 
SKUK Explorer/Explorer HV (if you have size 11 feet or bigger the HV is pretty nice)
Valley Etain 17-7
Valley Nordkapp Forti (my personal favourite on this list, but an acquired taste that is not for everyone)
P&H Cetus M or Cetus L (depends on just how skinny you are for your height and your foot size)
Impex Force 5 (Yes, they still make these brand new in Quebec!)
Impex Asseateague (a little bit shorter than the others but very versatile)
Tiderace Xplore L (absolutely brilliant boat)

That pretty much covers the skeg-equipped expedition boat market if you want anything over 17'5" or so. If you size down to the 17' range you will find far more options and more versatile "do everything" boats.

I don't think there is a wrong choice or bad boat in the lot listed above, it will all boil down to personal preference and boat fit.

Try lots at symposiums or your local kayak shop. With certain shops, you can demo almost every boat on this list in one day!

I find that trying more than 2-3 boats over the course of a day leaves me muddled as to remembering how they felt.

Enjoy the search and your journey!

cheers,

Michael
 
mikec said:
Try lots at symposiums or your local kayak shop. With certain shops, you can demo almost every boat on this list in one day!

Good advice, but for most boats they don't show their 'bad habits' until you get them into wind and waves. Finding a boat demo situation with 'conditions' can be tricky, IME. And, be sure to bring your 100 lbs of gear and water bags with you to the demo. Just to add to the fun, load the boat with the wrong gear balance. :D

I've never done a kayak 'expedition' (whatever that means - I hears one guy talk about an 'EXPEDITION to the Broken Group' :yikes: ) but most of my friends who have done 'bigger trips' here on the west coast recommend rudder boats for serious 'touring'.
A rudder is usually easier to repair than a skeg if you have the spares, IME.

(Not everybody can have a Mariner, I guess! :big_thumb )
 
Someone once said, "These days there are no bad boats, just bad fits." Different geometry for different people. I was ready to by a Kevlar Arluk once; so light, so beautiful. But I just couldn't fit in the cockpit. One of my paddling partners, a woman, tried a boat that was supposed to be especially designed for a woman - but apparently, not for her. She ended up with an Eddyline Fathom LV and it fits her just fine.

It's not going to necessarily fit to a T - and you can add padding here and there if it doesn't interfere with important things like exiting - but as you try different boats (even just sitting in them) you will "feel" a difference.

As far as on the water characteristics, you might read posted reviews and see if there is a consensus. A LOT of handling has to do with packing balance - not only side to side but also fore and aft. Mariner had a scheme with a sliding seat (foot peddles attached so they kept the same distance). With a slight fore/aft movement, the characteristics could change. It's worth reading their ideas on their website. They don't make boats any more, but they've kept the site up.

My point is, be careful not to condemn a boat's handling for what might be a coincidence of loading (i.e. stern heavy when conditions called for more weight forward).
 
designer said:
A LOT of handling has to do with packing balance - not only side to side but also fore and aft. Mariner had a scheme with a sliding seat (foot peddles attached so they kept the same distance). With a slight fore/aft movement, the characteristics could change. It's worth reading their ideas on their website. They don't make boats any more, but they've kept the site up.

My point is, be careful not to condemn a boat's handling for what might be a coincidence of loading (i.e. stern heavy when conditions called for more weight forward).

Getting a bit off topic, but:
The sliding seat does work, and is especially useful when the boat is lightly loaded with gear and the paddler isn't lightweight.

On the Mariner site they also talk about (in the User Manual?) adding weight (logs (for the non bulkhead boats) or rocks, or water bags) to the boat to change the handling characteristics.
One of my paddling friends has a Seda Glider and more than once (on a day paddle) we've stopped for him to load some rocks in the forward compartment. Too much weight forward can make some boats get into 'oversteer' mode which can be tedious, but the Glider apparently doesn't suffer from this (or the rudder overpowers the tendency). :D
 
[Mariner had a scheme with a sliding seat (foot peddles attached so they kept the same distance). With a slight fore/aft movement, the characteristics could change. It's worth reading their ideas on their website. They don't make boats any more, but they've kept the site up.

The sliding seat does work, and is especially useful when the boat is lightly loaded with gear and the paddler isn't lightweight]

The sliding seat really does work and is easy to adjust on the fly with hardly a break in your paddling. If you are able to find a used Mariner Max, Mariner II or similar you won't be sorry. I used to own an original Mariner but found (for my size and weight) it was just a little too large. In all the past 40 years of owning Mariners I've never missed having a rudder. With a combination of the sliding seat and leaning when necessary it's no wonder so few used Mariners go on the market - we love them.
 
Roy said:
In all the past 40 years of owning Mariners I've never missed having a rudder. With a combination of the sliding seat and leaning when necessary it's no wonder so few used Mariners go on the market - we love them.
I don't know the numbers, but not all Mariners had the sliding seat as an option, and some buyers chose a lighter weight (and cheaper) option of a fixed hard seat or foam seat with backband. Mariners do respond very well to edging for small steering corrections - over the course of a few hours in choppy conditions this can make a big difference in effort expended.
It still takes 'hunting' to find a used Mariner, so I tend not to recommend them to folks who want a boat 'right away'. And, it's extra difficult to get your hands on one if you (like me) are in Canada.
 
Adamandhisdog,

Where are you located? This would help in the recommendation process, some locations have a wealth of sea kayaks and shops while other locations are barren. Here in the WA, OR, and BC area there are many choices.
 
I'm going against the flow a bit/lot with this recommendation and viewpoint:
If you just want to go on long expeditions in any conditions, then forget the narrower, nimble boats. Get a wide, stable hard chined boat with big volume. Don't worry about a compact fit in the cockpit. Get one you can move around in a bit, particularly if you have aches and pains of any sort. My go to boat is almost 24 inches wide and it will perform almost as well loaded as the more nimble, narrow Ndk or any other boat in any sea state and regardless of wind speed.
 
Seasider said:
I'm going against the flow a bit/lot with this recommendation and viewpoint:
If you just want to go on long expeditions in any conditions, then forget the narrower, nimble boats. Get a wide, stable hard chined boat with big volume.
And one fitted with a rudder. The only problem is getting a good design of rudder and pedals in North America. Bad design has given rudders a bad name. A skeg is simply a rudder that doesn't work properly.
 
Mac50L said:
Seasider said:
I'm going against the flow a bit/lot with this recommendation and viewpoint:
If you just want to go on long expeditions in any conditions, then forget the narrower, nimble boats. Get a wide, stable hard chined boat with big volume.
And one fitted with a rudder. The only problem is getting a good design of rudder and pedals in North America. Bad design has given rudders a bad name. A skeg is simply a rudder that doesn't work properly.
Yes, the above boat with rudder outperforms all narrower skeg equipped boats in more demanding higher sea and wind conditions.
I find the rudders perform just fine. What would you suggest as a big improvement?
 
For hauling gear for a long period I like my Delta 17. That said, I tend to pick my Tiderace Explor for all my week-long trips as I can typically throw any extra gear in someone else's boat.

I also like the Etain and Explorer a lot.

I'd second the suggestion for lessons first, then a dry suit. You can regularly find any of the boats mentioned above for about $1800 or so $US. Though a Tiderace Explore M or L seems to be a rare beast.
 
Thanks for all your replies guys.
I'm currently in Edmonton. I tried to move to BC twice.
I was a landlubber trying to be a liveaboard, with no social network. The culture shock, and loneliness got to me pretty quick, and I caved and came back to Edmonton. I'm selling my sailboat. I had my heart set on the 18X S from Epic Kayaks. I intended to sail up the inside passage and build a small offgrid cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Instead, I bought a tiny house and am renting land northwest of Edmonton, for my permanent residence.
If the sailboat sells I'll get the 18X S and go on my tour from vancouver to alaska. If it doesn't sell, may as well use the sailboat for the trip.
 
>as I can typically throw any extra gear in someone else's boat.

jamey - Do they know you are doing that or do you pull the old, "Look, there's an eagle!" routine to distract them while you sneak the extra gear out of their boat once you land?
 
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