Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

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Jjill
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Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Jjill »

Hello Everyone,
I am a brand new member and I found this excellent forum because I was searching for information on folding kayaks. The information that I found here was so much more than expected! We are in our 60’s and are buying two boats to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary ( something fun to do together).

I live in the Finger Lakes area of New York. Husband and I are casual kayakers and want to paddle more frequently. Retirement is not too distant, so we would like to be able to travel with boats on occasion. We both have back issues. Husband has had a disc removed and I shattered a vertebrae when I was in my 20’s and had fusion (L3) at waist level. If I have a decent seat I can kayak for hours without difficulty but I’m stiff and a bit limited flexibility-wise getting in and out. So...
1) We need light boats
2) We need a bigger cockpit, or one that unzips
3) Good seats, back support, and footrests are important. We can customize if needed and advice on how to do this would be appreciated .
3) I’d like to actually use it frequently, especially since our season for good weather is so short!
4) I’m on the heavier side for a women and 5’ 6”(working on it!). Husband is 5’11” and about 170.
5)We don’t sail, but son and grandchildren do. We don’t need a rig, but might use it once in awhile if we had it. However, that wouldn’t be the primary use.
6) Mostly we will use this for casual flat water in lakes and protected areas, maybe light rivers. However, we do go down to the Chesapeake Bay and Florida on occasion to see family and it would be great to have boats.

We had initially looked at the lighter hard shell light touring transitional boats (Hurricane and Eddy line), but there has been no availability for a long, long time, plus husband is not excited about hauling kayaks onto roof racks. I though hard about the Advanced Frame hybrid inflatable, but it was heavy (for what it was) and the extended drying required, plus the performance really convinced me not to go that way.
I was about ready to order an SOF kit and make my own, but now have decided that I’d like to just get us in a boat ASAP! Used is a fine option but we could spend up to around $1,500 per boat. Maybe a bit more If it’s a perfect for us. Of course, we’d love it a lot more if it was in the $500-1000 range (used is fine). Buying two at once increases the sticker shock significantly!

I love the Folbots...or many aspects, maybe not the weight so much. I thinking the Aleut or Yukon might be good. Pakboats seem like another option. I do love how light they are. Right now I was think of getting one new Packboat (Saranac) that converts for one or two persons and can be paddled without the deck. Our adult daughter likes canoes but not kayaks and would like to borrow it on occasion. This would also let us take young grandchildren for a paddle. We could paddle this together or individually, and maybe work up to an overnight trip or two in the future.
I’m just concerned about getting in and out of this with the deck on and the stability, which I understand may have been an issue. If we took it out on Lake Ontario or in cooler weather, we’d need the deck.
I will also keep my eyes open for used Folbots but am open to other ideas.

Right now there is a used Yukon Expedition in good shape on eBay with some extras, including a carbon paddle. $ 850 seems about the top of what the boat is worth, and I’d need to pay shipping from Pennsylvania to Rochester, NY. What do you think? I’m open to considering option/boats. Anyone have any used boats that would work for me?

I’d really like to get the boats and be out on the water, so I’m motivated to make this decision ASAP. Looking for any advice and thanks in advance for you input!

Jeremiah
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Jeremiah »

Except for the weight the Folbots you are looking at would be a good choice. They are well made, have a loyal following and are perfect for paddlers looking to relax on the water due to their great stability. Some things to consider. As you may know already Folbot is no longer in business. So you have to ask yourself, how handy are you with making repairs and improvising without the support of the manufacturer. Realistically, this is not a deal breaker and there is great advice here on repairs by Folbot owners. The seats on Folbots can be very primitive but again this is not a deal breaker. It's very common for all kayakers to tweak the seats for better comfort. As far as the weight, you and your husband could work as a team to assemble and carry the kayaks. This would also cut down on the assembly time, a big plus if you are out for just a day paddle.

JohnSand
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by JohnSand »

Welcome aboard!
I'm 6'5 230#. My first folder was a Folbot Aleut, good boat, but a touch low on weight capacity for me. The Yukon is better. I agree that they can be a little heavy, my back isn't great either. I am also tempted by the Pakboats. Keep us posted.

Jjill
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Jjill »

Hi ! Jeremiah and JohnSand, thank you both so much for the input!

It happens that that Yukon Expedition version was still available on eBay. Has paddle, rudder, spray skirt (I think) pump and paddle. It seems to be a nice boat and looks to be in very good condition from the photos (fingers crossed). I didn’t want to lose it and although I’m uncomfortable buying it sight unseen, it does have the ebay backup in case it’s not as represented.
So after a 10 hour round trip I will be the proud new owner of a “new to me” folder. I’m very excited!

I think the folbot Gremlin, Aleut, or maybe a Big Kahuna would be good boats for my husband. If anyone is selling one or hears about one available, let me know?

If I end up really enjoying the folder, I’m thinking down the road to possible also get used Pakboat Sacco Puffins, just for air travel. Just a thought for the future. That would also give us a couple of decent “guest” boats to go out with family and/or friends.

Thanks for you help everyone! I will probably have questions (set up, tweaking the seat, etc.). Fingers crossed that this is a good boat since $850 is not exactly small change to waste. I’ll let you all know once I get it in the water! I’m excited to actually have a boat, now to take care of husband...Cheers and thanks again! JK

JohnSand
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by JohnSand »

Sounds great, good luck with the purchase and finding another.

Jjill
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Jjill »

Thanks! If I can find something else I’m sure that I will be asking for advice. Do you think a K-light might be another good option for my husband?

Rob
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Rob »

The K-Light is an excellent choice for a smaller, light boat. 29 - 33 lbs., depending upon the model and hull materials.

The Big Kahuna is slightly larger, and also quite light at 35 pounds. It's a bit longer and roomier than the K-Light.

Of ALL the many folding sea kayaks for sale, I would say that these two are some of the better choices, given their superb designs, quality construction, and light weight.

I have a Big Kahuna for sale, but am asking a premium price for it, since it is in excellent, as new condition. See the "For Sale" section of this site for more info on that. I've got a few photos on the Feathercraft Facebook pages too, and can provide those via e-mail, if desired. Apparently, it is difficult if not impossible to post them here, sadly.

There are or were some Kahunas and/or Big Kahunas for sale now, for less.

The Feathercraft K1 would be another decent option, but is a bit heavier at 48 lbs. If desired, it could be put and stored in two bags instead of one, to make it lighter for carrying. It's about a foot longer than the Kahuna/Big Kahuna model.

Best of luck in your search for a kayak for your husband, and I hope you enjoy your new purchase for yourself.

JohnSand
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by JohnSand »

I remember being interested in the Feathercraft K-Light, and think that it's too small for me. I generally use this forum for info on folders, but you can also find helpful reviews on paddling.com.

Jjill
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Jjill »

Thanks for all the great information! I will keep my eyes out. Good luck with the sale of your Big Kahuna. I’m sure it will find a good home. It is a bit high end for us, especially since we are novice paddlers and folding kayak “virgins”!
Husband is willing to go along with my interest in this, but will probably be happier putting out $ for a second folder once he gets a chance to try out the Yukon, see how hard it is to set up, etc.

The weight of the Feather Lite is a really nice feature. I guess it takes awhile to set up and has a much smaller cockpit than the Aleut, Yukon, or even Big Kahuna?

Rob
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Rob »

There's a Folbot Cooper on the BASK.org site, under the Classifieds section.

$995 OBO. I don't know the person selling it, or anything about it, but the owner says it was used only twice, and is in excellent condition. It's a skinnier style kayak, similar to the Feathercraft designs, so might be worth checking out if you have an interest in it.

https://www.bask.org/baskclassifieds/

I've see photos of them, and they look very nice.

Not quite on the par of the FCs in terms of quality, but still decent.

Jjill
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Jjill »

Thanks! Not sure if husband can do the small cockpit and (I think) it’s heavier than the feather craft, but I’ll see what he thinks.,Appreciate the “heads up”!

Rob
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Rob »

It is heavier than the K-Light, but lighter than the FC K1 of similar length.

The price is pretty good, especially given how unused it is.

I'll leave the cockpit size determination to you all.

Best of luck in your search.


Rob

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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by voyageur »

I think you made a good choice with the Yukon. Though it comes with the rudder, I think you'll find you never need it unless you plan to sail it. I got the expedition package for my Yukon but never used the rudder. I never needed it and I had it out in some fairly severe weather. It always went exactly where I pointed it. I also found that a 250 cm paddle worked best for me. I have a Werner Camano. The original FOLBOT paddles were pretty bad. Good luck with it.
2003 Folbot Yukon 70th anniv. model, 2010 Folbot Kodiak

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Jjill: whereabouts are you in the Finger Lakes? I will be driving from home (Pittsburgh PA) to Maine via upstate NY in early July traveling with a Feathercraft Wisper (a narrower boat than the Kahuna but same size cockpit -- I had a Kahuna for years). I could also bring my older Pakboat Puffin 12 (same dimensions as the current Saco but they had not yet designed it to be paddled without the deck.)

If you are along my route (which can be either I-90 or I-86) I might be able to meet you and you could check both models out to get a better sense of how each is built, assembled, fits and feels on the water. I travel in a 16' box truck converted to a camper so I have room for several boats. I'm retired (turning 71 in a couple of weeks) so my time and travel plans are flexible. Having owned 3 Feathercrafts and 5 Pakboats I can share some experience with the models. I will say that the fact that you assemble the Pakboats into an open hull makes them much easier than Feathercrafts, which require what I call "kayak yoga" to get frame parts aligned inside the one piece skin. The Pakboats are incredibly light too -- I've packed the 24 pound 12 footer plus all the gear and clothing needed to paddle all in one standard rolling soft suitcase for overseas airline travel that was under standard size and weight restrictions with no excess baggage fees. The Puffins are exceptionally easy to set up and really comfortable.

Your husband would likely fit in the Wisper as he is the same size as my brother who has paddled it. They have changed some of the design on the new Puffins, but the basic dimensions and frame design are the same. I am not selling any of these boats (yet, anyway) but it would be a chance for you to actually see and use them to aid in your decision.

Let me know if you want to try to set something like this up. I actually prefer some sort of stop midway on the trip -- last time I drove to Maine I stopped near Rochester to buy and pick up a solo canoe.
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

Jjill
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Re: Looking for advice on two new boats (for beginners)

Post by Jjill »

KerryOnKayaks...Thank you so much! That is such a generous offer! I am in a suburb of Rochester on the east side of town and we are very close to I-90. Canandaigua Lake and town is just past us by about 20 minutes (off I-90) so that might be a nice place to meet if the timing works out.

I would be very interested to try the pakboat Sacco. I had been looking at a new Sacco or the Quest 155 as a possibility for the second boat. It seems great for traveling, but a new one is quite a bit of $ once you add in deck and foot pegs etc. Especially after just buying the Yukon and still needing good paddles, etc. The Whisper would be great to try as well. Thanks for the kind offer!

Let me know what your plans are and we will see what we can work out. We will be out of town on vacation for a few days early July and then again in mid- July, but I will send you a PM as soon as I get the dates worked out for sure.

To Voyaguer: Thanks for the vote of confidence regarding the new boat. I feel good about the purchase. If I didn’t have to drive 10 hours roundtrip and meet some stranger to get it I would be even happier. My husband thinks I’m flat-out insane! The boat looks like a very gently used newer model. I would guess it has the newer Evaloy skin. The rudder is actually still on the sealed bag! Hopefully nothing is missing because I’m not sure that I would be able to identify missing parts. It’s the forest green color, no fading of the deck/skin. Hull looks good from the pictures (fingers crossed) and it comes with standard paddle, flotation bags, bilge pump, and spray skirt.

Is there anything for me to look out for specifically that would be a “deal breaker”? I know that rivets can break and end caps pop off. However, I don’t know enough about these boats to know what these problems would look like and what would be a major problem versus something easily repaired.
Thanks very much! All the help is very appreciated!

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