Lightweight kayak for SF bay

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Ozzy
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Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Ozzy »

Hi everyone! :D
I’m new to the forum, but not to kayaking (though I might still be considered a beginner compared to all of you kayak veterans on here).

Anyway I’m in the Bay Area and after kayaking every day in lakes on the east coast for a while while and having kayaked in the Baltic Sea when I was younger I now want to find the “perfect” kayak for the long term that I can use around Sausalito/east bay areas as well as potentially occasionally bring on trips to nearby lakes or rivers. My intention is not week long excursions, but rather switching to an enjoyable commute, exercise and the occasional weekend whole day excursions.

I’m a small woman at 4ft 10” and 110lbs and looking for a kayak that I can easily carry and maneuver to the water by myself so weight is a super important factor to me and would prefer keeping the weight of my future kayak under 30lbs for this reason.

I’m not super familiar with the exact water conditions around the bay (still need to research a bit), but safety is of course important and have ruled out certain kayaks like the Oru/most inflatables. I’d like something that can weather a bit of chop and wind as I enjoy kayaking when the water isn’t completely still and would love for the kayak to last for many years to come.

Another factor would be the ease of packing up the kayak as I might be using it to commute some mornings post-pandemic and hope to be able to pack it down/dry rather quickly without too much hassle.

In the inflatable category I’ve looked mainly at the Razorlite 393rl and a little at the nortik scubi 1 and aironaut and in the SOF category I’ve looked at the Nautiraid Raid 325/narak cross 405. Nautiraid’s K1 peaked my curiosity too but that’s probably meant for someone more skilled than I at this point and I imagine not quite my purpose haha. And in the foldable non-SOF category I’ve looked at the Nortik Fold

- Is there any kayak not mentioned above that I should have on my radar?
- Any fellow SF bay folding kayakers mind sharing their experience with the area and using foldables/SOF/inflatables?
- for a mixture of being lightweight, able to handle a bit of choppy weather, good for a small person and longevity what kayak would you recommend overall?

Smiles

Jeremiah
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Jeremiah »

Hi Ozzy, welcome to the forum!
Some of the Nautiraids would suite you well. Same for the Long Haul Ute. Both are well made and built to last. But they're a little on the heavy side for your stated needs. If you could find a used Feathercraft K-Light, Kurrent or Kahuna I believe you would really appreciate what they have to offer. I think the one kayak that may get recommended the most here is the Pakboat Quest 150. It's only 31 pounds, well built and handles really well according to a number of owners on this forum. It would probably be one of the easiest to dry relatively quick with its removable deck.
Good luck in your search!

JohnSand
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by JohnSand »

Welcome aboard and good luck with your search.
While I have no experience with them I was also thinking Pakboats. I recently bought a Kayacat, which is a lightweight paddling catamaran. I haven't used it yet, and they can be hard to get in the USA, but they are very light and compact when bagged.

Rob
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Rob »

I agree with the Feathercraft K light and or Kurrent. The only downside is you have to break them down and you've got to let them dry before you break them down. Assembly you ca probably do in 30 to 45 minutes once you get used to that, but may take longer to let it dry out before you can fold it up and put it away.

Jake
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Jake »

I suppose that, given reasonable conditions, you might be able to commute to work in a kayak. There was one fellow who regularly paddled across the Hudson River near the tappan zee bridge but this was in a hardshell that he could transport between the river and office on a folding kayak cart. I think such commuting would be impractical if it meant assembling and then disassembling the boat at each end of the commute. You might consider one of the Oru models; they actually fold into a self-contained unit about the size of a large suitcase. Cumbersome but do-able. The Long Haul Ute is said to be the easiest SOF folder to assemble but, weighing a hefty 50 pounds, its probably more than you’d want to shoulder. The Feathercraft Kurrent i paddled for three years took me 30-40 minutes to assemble but that may be because I only assembled it every three months or so. I’ve been told that with practice, assembly time can be cut to as little as 20 minutes. I presently own a Feathercraft Aironaut, a fully inflatable boat that I can fully inflate in about six minutes without issuing a single bit of profanity except for attaching the skeg which is the only difficult part of making the boat ready for the water (The Innova inflatables have skegs that are better designed and easier to attach and their boats are something you might want to investigate). Without going further, I would agree with others on the forum who have given a thumbs-up to the Pakboat Quest 150. It’s a folder that I’ve often heard praised for its excellent qualities and relatively modest price and I’m even considering it as my next boat (and now that I’m pushing well into my 80th year, it might be my last kayak though if prefer not to dwell on that just yet). And, I might add that the last time I heard from Doug Simpson at Feathercraft, he told me that he still had one new-old-stock K-Light with a forest green deck available. I would have bought it on the spot had he not then informed me that the price was $3000 (about $2400 US) plus shipping. As fond as I am of the K-Light, I think the Pakboat to be a much better value. Good luck, Jake.

squirtdad
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by squirtdad »

welcome

folding options show up in the local craigslist.

also you can rent and try boats from local shops like california canoe and kayak https://www.calkayak.com/rental-and-rates/

their are also good local clubs Bay Area Sea Kayakers (San Franscisco) and Western Sea Kayakers (more san jose, mountain view, silicon valley
and both clubs have classifieds
https://www.bask.org/classifieds/classy.php

I just joined the wester sea kayakers

this person is well regarded for coaching, I am planning on using her in march or april or so after I get some time in flat water with my new to me feather craft https://www.paddletowardsit.com/instruction-and-trips/
Work keeps getting in the way of kayaking, SUP, windsurf, bike and fiddling in the garage activity.

squirtdad
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by squirtdad »

also these are in the for sale section....hard to tell if they have been sold but the guy seemed willing to ship

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8975
Work keeps getting in the way of kayaking, SUP, windsurf, bike and fiddling in the garage activity.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

As the owner of several folders (past and present) I'd lean towards the Pakboat Quest for you -- either a new 150, or (if you could find one) the smaller model that I have, the Quest 135, which is more scaled to us smaller folk. At your height a narrower kayak will be more efficient and comfortable.

The Aironaut is "unobtainium" since it was only produced for about 18 months before proving too difficult to produce within the price point -- besides which Feathercraft has been out of business for at least 4 years, as has Folbot.

It's best to stay flexible in what you are looking for in folders due to the short supply of both new and used boats in the present market. Once you have narrowed the potential field you have to keep regularly searching to see when they show up. But I find patience is always eventually rewarded. I got my favorite Feathercraft (a Wisper) used in perfect condition for $2200 (less than half the new price) and my Quest 135 was a factory sample I got for 30% off.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

Rob
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Rob »

If you could find one that could be stored at either end, like a small phix plastic boat that would be ideal, but I don't know if that will be possible or not.

The benefits of a plastic folder is you just wipe them down and put them in the bag. You don't have to worry about mold and mildew as much.

Jake
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Jake »

You might check out the Tucktec boats. They’re short, wide and ugly but you can buy a demo/refurb for just $275.

Rob
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Rob »

I saw someone post a pic on Facebook, of their new, 3-section, plastic kayak, which nests inside itself, making it a manageable size.

If the buckles and/or other things they use to keep it together work well, that would seem to be an excellent option. Not sure what it is called, and they are rather expensive, with a very limited warranty, but looks like it would be perfect for the job, especially in a region that frequently has fog, and very moist air. Hard to dry out a skinned boat in weather like that, especially if you are in a hurry, and don't live in an area where you can get away from the fog and clouds.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

That nesting kayak was probably the Pakayak. I've seen them in person at the Mountain Man paddling shop in Saratoga Springs, NY. Interesting boats, though terribly heavy due to the extra plastic required to make the modular parts. Then again, you should technically not have to carry the whole assembled kayak far.

https://pakayak.com/shop/bluefin-14/
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

Rob
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Re: Lightweight kayak for SF bay

Post by Rob »

Yep that's the one I was thinking about and knew it was expensive. Saw a price of $1,500 at one time, so was surprised to see about $1,900 retail now. I guess the other must have been discounted, or a preorder price.

The weight is much more than I thought it was, so it doesn't really meet the needs of a "lightweight" kayak at 60 lbs. I was rather shocked by that.

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