Touring Kayak Reviews: Day-trippers
This story of touring kayak reviews featured in the June 2013 issue.
The “day-tripping” category of touring kayaks is a hard one to label—after all, this is a class of boats defined by their versatility. So we assembled our test fleet according to a few basic criteria. We chose boats, 13 to 15 feet in length, with stable and forgiving performance that makes possible a range of adventures, from lily-dipping on a lake to light overnight ocean trips. Beyond simply a fun toy for the cottage or campsite, these six boats provide a gateway to the joys of sea kayaking and a great platform for building skills.
While these kayaks may be hard to buttonhole, our expectations of them were clear. They should scream value, be stable and easy to carry, turn quickly but also track well, stay dry in light chop and take a beating. We expect enough storage for weekend trips and safety lines for quick rescues. And while weight isn’t critical when paddling, it’s an important consideration in getting these boats to and from the water.
Our team of experienced paddlers (male and female, from 5’8″ to 6’3″) assembled to test the fleet in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Our sea trials included a variety of conditions: an extended crossing on Comox Lake; tight turning through cliff-side boulders on Hornby Island; a blustery push into waves and headwind in the Strait of Georgia; a race away from curious sea lions; and glassy stroking on the Courtenay estuary. When the skirts came off, a few boats rose to the surface. — Ryan Stuart
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