I have been looking at the WS tsunami 170 pro. A transistional touring boat. But there are so many choices out there.I’m looking to paddle Glacier and Resurection Bay in Alaska for 2 – 4 weeks.And am also interested in a trip to Isle Royal in Lake Superior.I live in the Pacific North West and of course will want a good weekender.I am 5′ 8″ and 200 lbs. 10 inch shoe and with mediocre kayak paddling skills.This is a one time one boat purchase and I dont want to have to keep upgrading like I have with backpacking equipment. Much of the reviews on the internet are simply plugs for certain brands or fishing trips for reviews.Someone out there has taken the trips I’m aiming for. Please help !! I’ve tried some at local retailers but feel I’m always being fitted for there selection only.And I dont believe you can really know a boat in a few hours. Thanx
Can’t tell you which is best, but can advise you. I would suggest looking at the Khatsalano from Feathercraft. The reason being is that it’s a reliable well built folding kayak. One of your biggest problems with your planned itineraries is going to be transporting your kayak to those locations. The Khatsalano and Khatsalano-S are two of the most reliable folding kayaks made. I’ll include the website below. I’ll also include a link to paddling.net. It’s a non aligned website for canoes and kayaks that has links to most manufacturers websites, but also has reviews of all the different boats that are from their readers, not from their manufacturers. Hope you have luck in your search and a good time on your planned trips.
I don’t know a lot about kayaking, but I think you should try Google and they might have some answers
I would highly recommend looking at the NDK (Sea Kayaking UK) Explorer. I’ve paddled one extensively in Northern California, Alaska, and the UK, both day trips and 1-2 week self-supported trips. Others have used this model for expeditions all over the world: Iceland, Anarctica, Madagascar, Tasmania. It’s reasonably fast (not racing boat fast, but fast enough), and it’s extremely well-behaved in wind and rough water. For me at least, it’s very comfortable to sit in all day. Some people don’t care for the small 10″ round hatches, but I’ve been able to stuff my full-sized Thermarest and other car-camping gear inside. While it’s a great expedition boat, it also works fine as a day touring boat for someone my size (210 lbs.).
If you don’t care for the Explorer, you may also want to try the Valley Aquanaut. It is a somewhat similar design but is perhaps more user friendly at the expense of a little bit of performance.
If you’ve been paddling mostly transitional touring kayaks, these might seem a little awkward at first. Give it about 1/2 a day on reasonably calm water, and you’ll settle into them pretty quickly. Since you’re planning to do some longer trips, it’s going to be important to be able cover some miles in a day. I think if you end up getting a Tsunami or other transitional boat, you’ll quickly outgrow it and you’ll be wishing you had a faster boat.
Since you’re in the Pacific Northwest, I’d recommend calling Body Boat Blade on Orcas Island to check it out, along with the other boats they sell. They’re honest enough that they won’t push anything that clearly isn’t a good match for you. Since you describe your skills as “mediocre”, you might also want to consider taking some classes from BBB. Maybe make a weekend out of it. It’s one of the best sea kayaking schools in North America.
South Sound Kayak in Olympia also has NDK boats but not Valley. You could contact them for a demo too.