Which enclosed touring kayak can hold a very tall man?
I have a canoe right now but would like to try kayaking, as it seems more forgiving in wind. Do they make a starter kayak that fits a man with a 38-inch-long leg? I don't want an open boat (I might as well stay with my canoe). Tom Port Charlotte, Florida
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I tend to agreekayaks ride a bit lower and show less profile to the wind, so are less apt to get blown around than a canoe, particularly in side winds.
Current Designs Solstice GT High VolumeSolstice GT High Volume
You certainly would top out the capacity of most enclosed kayaks, though. Kayaks arent made to size” like pants or shoes, however, so about the best you can do is try several large boats. Ill assume for the sake of discussion that youre after an all-purpose touring boat, one for knocking around the Florida Keys on a day trip, or hauling you and some gear for a multi-day adventure.
You might start with Daggers new Euro-X 16.8 ($1980; www.dagger.com). Its a big boat, with one of the roomiest cockpits around and the ability to safely haul 400 pounds. It also has two gear bays plus a small day hatch” for compact items, a rudder, and a comfy gel seat.
Or, take a look at the Tsunami 175 from Wilderness Systems ($1550 with rudder; www.wildernesssystems.com). Like the Euro-X, its a roto-molded boat thats designed for touring and general use. Its cockpit is a touch longer than the Dagger boats, and is billed at 36 inches, very close to what you might need. Capacity is the same, based on weight, and the Tsunami has two deck hatches for storage, plus lots of lashing points.
Lastly, if the budget can stand it, take a look at Current Designs Solstice GT High Volume ($2848; www.wenonah.com). Its a fiberglass boat, so a little lighter than the Tsunami or Euro-X. Its also a big boat, designed for larger paddlers such as yourself. Its also a very stable boat, and one that tracks extremely well.
Youll want to try several boats for fit, as fairly small differences can mean a lot to your comfort. But I think you can find one to squeeze into, or one that at least comes close enough so that you can adapt.
Check out this years more than 400 must-have gear items, including a comprehensive paddling section, in the 2006 Buyers Guide.