A classic light-touring boat is the Wilderness Systems Cape Lookout 145. It's got storage room fore and aft for your gear, a very stable hull design that tracks well, and a profile that allows for a fair amount of speed. It's a roto-molded boat that sells for $849 without rudder, $999 with (www.wildernesssystems.com). Dagger's Charleston 14.0 is a similar boat; roto-molded for affordability, with a compact design that's easy to paddle and can handle enough gear for a few days out. It's $850 and, like the Lookout, a good buy (www.dagger.com).
If you want to upgrade to a fiberglass boat, then Perception's Shadow 14.5 is a helluva boat, incorporating carbon fiber for even less weight. Of course, that means you'll pay $2,800 (www.kayaker.com). But, like the Cape Lookout and Charleston, the Shadow 14.5 is a compact boat, one often better suited for female paddlers, plus it's ideal for maneuverability in coastal waters.
Kayaks are a lot like boots and packsfit means a lot. So I don't recommend you simply dash out and buy a boat. Try to find several boats, perhaps renting some so you can have an extended session. Figure out what seems to fit best for you in terms of where your hips and knees slot in, and also how comfortable the boat is. This more measured approach should help you settle on a boat that's right for you.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.