I live in New York City and currently keep my recreational kayak in the racks at the 79th boat basin. My kayak is a Perception, 11 or 12 feet, polyethylene hull, very stable. I have used it mostly on the Hudson around and north of 79th street for two hours or so after work and for longer day trips up further north past the George Washington bridge. I've never gone all the way out into the middle of the river because I don't want to see who's faster - the oil barges or me. I also have rented hardshell touring kayaks further up the Hudson and in the bays along Long Island. Never been in the open ocean or serious white water and probably will never be. Might at some point want to do a 2 or 3 day drip on rivers / lakes.
I consider myself a novice, though pretty comfortable paddling and really enjoy it. I have no interest in serious white water or being in open water conditions that are too rough - though it's fun surfing over the boat wakes and the river chop after a storm.
I am looking to upgrade to a folding kayak for a few reasons:
- I feel like I'm ready for a somewhat higher performance kayak
I want something lighter - the 79th street boat basin kayak dock has been out of commission for a while and it's become necessary to carry rather than wheel the heavy Perception through the tight spaces of the marina to get it down to where it can be launched
I like what I've read about the "feel" of skin on frame kayaks and having tried a non-folding one a couple of times and really liked the way it moved in the water - on a completely impractical note I also like the way they look and I really appreciate an elegantly designed thing
I would like a folder rather than a non-folding skin on frame because, while the kayak will mostly be stored assembled on the boat basin rack, I would like the option of folding it up and taking it in the car to other cool places to paddle. It's unlikely, but not impossible, that I might want to take the kayak on an airliner
Looking online it looks like the Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0, the Folbot Kiawah or the Pakboat Quest 135 would be the major candidates. The Trak is interesting but at 60 pounds is not exactly superlight. I looked at an Oru and while it's a very cool concept I didn't like the way the top seam sealed, especially at the front of the cockpit and the materials like buckles and straps and such seemed kind of flimsy.
So I guess the first priorities would be handling, lightness and durability, secondarily ease of assembly (though I'd like not to have to swear too much while going about it) and price (though I don't want to pay more than I need to.) The Feathercraft is obviously the more expensive, but I'm willing to pay a premium if it's a better, more reliable and more satisfying boat.
Thanks very much for any input.