Buying Kayaks

I've had a few people ask me about kayaks this spring, and rather than keep typing this over and over, I  am putting it here so I can just send the link as needed.  :-)

Things to Think About:

  • How will you transport the kayaks?  If you do not own a truck, or have a car without roof racks, getting set up to transport them could cost more than the actual kayaks - be prepared.  You can have after market roof racks installed, or buy a trailer to pull behind your vehicle.  The trailer may be more expense, but if you have trouble lifting a kayak over your head, they are the way to go.
  • Will you be kayaking mostly in flat water (lakes, the local river) or faster moving/whitewater (Creeks, streams, rivers with whitewater)
  • Paddles are not included with kayaks, and cost around $50 for the cheap basic ones that we use.

Kayaks That We Own:
From Left to Right:
The Potomac we no longer own, and do not recommend
 Emotion Edge
Heritage Feather Light
Trophy 144

The Emotion Glide, and Old Towne Otter

Perception Sport Express

Emotion Edge - This is Dan's kayak. Of all our kayaks, this has the "least flat" bottom.  This is the fastest kayak we own, and it makes turns really quickly.  It's a great kayak for guides, because you can turn around and go back to someone behind you who is having trouble, very quickly. We bought this one used from These Guys Kayak.

Emotion Glide - this is a great kayak for our local rivers and lakes.  It is one of my favorites. Also purchased used from These Guys Kayak.

Perception Sport Express - this one is very similar to the Emotion Edge, but it has a better seat - this is the most comfortable kayak we own.  (none of ours are really uncomfortable)  Bought used off Craigslist.

Future Beach Trophy 144 - this is the kayak we tend to put beginners in, because it's near impossible to flip.  It has a very flat bottom, and is heavy. It's made for fishing.  The draw back is that it is very heavy.  It moves slower, and it's harder to carry to and from the water. Bought at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Heritage Featherlight  - extremely light weight, flat bottom, VERY stable.  I don't think they make these anymore. Bought off Craigslist.

Old Town Otter  - this kayak is too short for me - my legs do not fit.  Our daughter is shorter than the rest of us, and she loves this kayak.  Bought off Craigslist.

Kayaks You Should Not Buy (In our opinion)

We did own one of these.  It was so flimsy..  the foot pedals broke off, the straps broke off, it dented..  you could feel the difference in how this kayak was made.  It was junk, pure and simple.
I can't find the coleman we do not like online, they may not make it anymore. It is short - I think 8 ft.  It was sold as a bundle at Dicks two years ago and we know a lot of people who bought them. These flip SO easily.  I don't think we have ever been out with anyone in one that they didn't flip, at LEAST once, while we were out - even at Montour Preserve, which is a completely flat lake.

And although we are huge fans of the emotion line, we did not like the Emotion Comet.  Again, this is the shorter model.  Same with the Perception Swifty.

Things To Look For:
Size - all of our kayaks are 9-10 feet long.  The shorter ones flip much easier. The longer ones are a pain to carry on top of the car.  The more you weigh, the larger your kayak will need to be..  but the 9-10 foot ones have weight limits around 275lbs, so it's usually not necessary to go any larger than that.  

A comfortable seat. Sit in it in the store.  Anyone with any experience selling kayaks should expect you to want to sit in it before you buy it.  You can replace seats, but it is easier to just buy one with a seat you like.  :-)

Local Places To Buy Kayaks:

These Guys Kayak - we have bought all of our Emotion Kayaks used from these guys.  We LOVE our emotion kayaks!

Dicks Sporting Goods - Watch for the Trophy Fusion to go on sale for around $200.  We do not own any of these (we do have a Trophy, but not the Fusion - we have a heavier one) but several of our friends do, and they are really happy with them.  

Future Beach Fusion 10 Kayak

Where to Register Your Kayak:
To use the boat launches on the river, you will need a launch permit.  If the Fish & Game commission catches you without a permit, it is a  steep fine.

We purchase ours online through the link above, and always order the 2 year permits, as it is cheaper.

Local Places To Go Kayaking:

Montour Preserve
The Susquehanna River
Rose Valley Lake


  1. This is awesome info Heather - THANK YOU!!! I was all set to go buy 2 yaks on Craigslist tomorrow - until I checked the reviews and then YOUR reviews. We'll keep looking! Thanks for sharing!


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