FBET Kayak Recommendations (No replies)
Our expeditions are typically rivers with class I-III rapids, or open water with 1-3 foot waves. These are suggestions for a kayak that will function well under both of these conditions.
Required features for a kayak on our expeditions include sealed bulkheads and a spray skirt. The sealed bulkheads not only allow for storage of gear, they also provide flotation when capsized. This improves chances of survival in open water, and makes it easier to recover a capsized kayak in the rapids. A spray skirt will prevent the kayak from filling with water in wavy conditions. We also require a Type III, or suitable Type IV PFD.
Most people on the team use kayaks that are 14-17ft in length, which works well in both open water and rivers with smaller rapids. Shorter boats tend to move more slowly and they don’t track as straight.
Rudder vs skeg depends on who you ask. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you google rudder vs skeg, you can read about all of the arguments and make your own informed decision because neither is wrong. However, it is very helpful to have one or the other.
For the things we do, we recommend the rotomolded material instead of fiberglass. Rotomolded will be much more durable. Going through rapids and dragging boats for long portages, will destroy a fiberglass kayak. The cost for a fiberglass kayak is also significantly more.
For the kayak seats, they make a couple different heights. The really short seat back, makes it easier to get back into your boat if you tip over. It is also easier to put on a spray skirt because it doesn’t stick out above the opening of the boat. Some people find the taller more adjustable seats to be more comfortable.
The most important thing is to find a kayak that is comfortable and that fits properly. Take the time to sit in several different kayaks to feel the differences. The idea is that if you create a fairly snug fit, it will give you more control of your boat for things like edging, bracing and rolling. That also needs to be balanced reasonably with comfort. Most of them have adjustable thigh braces, or they can be removed all together if it is more comfortable to use the sides of the boat for bracing.
Make sure that you’re comfortable because it will make for a much better experience, especially if you’re planning to do any 20-30 mile days, as we often do on expedition.