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Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:42 am
by Snoski
For the longest time I have wanted to get into kayaking, and I’m finally ready to take the plunge and buy a modest craft. I live in the city in a tiny condo in chicago (on LSD), so the idea of a folding kayak sounds very appealing and convenient. I have been looking at the Pakboat Quest 150 and ORU Bay ST+. I’m wanting more of a kayak for touring type trips and playing in some waves on a windy days. I would mostly fool around by my Dad’s on a lake that can get some nice 3-5 waves for the rough weather fun, but would also like ability to do some light touring up by Lake Superior and slow moving rivers. I’m skepitcal about the Oru handling the waves, how would the Packbot do? I’m also considering buying a used hardshell or conning my family friend with a wood shop to helping me build a Chesapeake wood yak. I would have to leave a hardshell at my Dad’s though, so that would be limiting. I have a bimmer wagon with a roofbox for the golfclubs, skis, and snowboards so transporting a folding kayak or hardshell should be easy (hoping I have room for hardshell and box to stay on). But for clearance and security issues, can’t keep a hardshell in the city.

Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:14 pm
by mje
I wouldn’t trust the Oru in rough weather. I’ve never paddled the Pakboats, but a lot of our members have, and they can advise you. With Feathercraft and Folbot gone, my personal choice would be a Long Haul Mk-I.

Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:53 pm
by Snoski
There is a used MK1 near me for $1,800 and the skin looks to be in excellent condition. It sounds very heavy though, how much of pain to assemble/disassemble. I cant’t find any info beyone custom order on the longhaul website. Would part spare parts be something to worry about? Also, being wide would it not be so much fun in waves?

Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:55 pm
by mje
With practice, it goes together in about 15 minutes. I’m not sure what you’re asking about performance in waves. It’s beamy compared to a narrow hard shell, but it has a lot more stability. You can’t roll it as easily as a hard shell, but that’s only a factor if you have strong kayak rolling skills. I’ve had it out in large rollers without difficulty.

Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:04 pm
by Abz
I bought a Pakboat Quest 150 last year for vacations where I couldn’t easily take my sea kayak. I look forward to taking it to Chicago on a business trip to paddle the Chicago River.

The kayak handles as well as my dedicated sea kayak, although I have not tried an Eskimo roll yet. It handled 4-5 waves off of Charleston with no difficulties. Like any sea kayak, you want a skirt in these conditions. You will need float bags at bow and stern if paddling the Great Lakes, and it is more challenging to drain if you do swamp the boat, as I did in the surf my first time out in Folly Beach.

There may be other great folders, but I am happy with my Pakboat and consider it as seaworthy as any high end kayak, and yet packable in a duffel bag.

Good luck with your decision.


Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:03 am
by Snoski
Does The Quest weathercock at all? Do you think it could surf well? How is it with leaning? Do you have the rudder as well? I’m leaning towards the Quest because of budget, sound plenty sturdy, ticks most boxes, and about half the weight of MK1. Lastly, how would you rate it durability?

The Chicago river should be fun easy stretch, I would not “swim” in it though. If they have an architectural kayak tour you can join you should do it. I am pretty sure they have rental ones for tours. Bonus’s on Wednesday and Saturday nights they do fireworks at Navy Pier which would be fun to paddle out for I bet. Not sure when they stop though.

Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:11 am
by Abz
My Quest does not weathercock any worse than other kayaks. Since the deck is removable, you have a lot of flexibility to shift cargo around to enhance weight distribution. I have been able to handle it in strong wind with a lean to stay on proper course. It edges very well, so I removed the rudder that came pre-installed on mine, although I use the pedals as foot pegs.

Surfing is not something I would recommend. The Quest handles well, and I learned how to surf into beach, but with an annoying learning curve. When you swamp a hard shell kayak, you can tip and pour out water. A fully flooded folder tends to flex when you try to lift, and I felt the thwarts would pop out of place requiring partial reassembly. My workaround was to pump out the water, and learn to use a low brace against wave to avoid broaching. Maybe with better technique, others would feel differently, but I chose to be more conservative in paddling locations. Once past the surf, I had no issues, despite 4-5 foot swells.

I have only owned my Quest for a little over a year, so cannot comment on long-term durability. The shell is thickly coated and very supple for folding. I was worried about corrosion of the aluminum since I was paddling all salt water, but the poles/thwarts are completely unaffected. Hopefully kerryonkayaks will chime in since she has owned several Pakboat over the years.

If you ask in the Pakboat thread, she will provide comments in short order. The owner/designer of Pakboat (Alv) is also on this forum and is extremely helpful.

Good luck.


Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:46 am
by john allsop
If you are not using something to resist corrosion although I don,t know about Pakboats it,s likely it will occur on metal. Boshield T9 is recommended and perhaps corrosion X which is more expensive. There are now more anti- corrosion products. These need to be applied before going on the sea.

corrosion protection

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:37 pm
by Abz
I wiped all metal bits with a spray on car wax before going to shore, and thoroughly cleaned and rinsed everything upon return with lots of freshwater. If I lived at shore, I would probably need to do more, but this gets my gear through the periodic Beach vacation.

Re: Looking to start kayaking

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:19 am
by zzffnn

"Playing in waves" or "surfing" usually means short kayaks. You may want to look into white water kayaks and surf skis. Most of those are 9' long or less. You may be able to find a drop stitch high pressure paddle board that is very short.

Mine is an older Saturn at 9'6" that they sold as sit-down paddle board (I bought is more than 8 years ago, so don't know what is best on the market now). Still slightly too long for playing in waves, but it is doable.

"Touring" usually means longer than 14', if not 16'. So you may need to buy two kayaks, one for touring and one for surfing.