Expedition Kayaks ideas

What I learned so you can avoid my mistakes.

Traveling the Rideau and Frontenac lakes and rivers you are going to encounter all types of weather and conditions.

Before you embark on any trip on the water you must be safety-first conscious. Get lessons and practice in safe harbors with people nearby in case you get in trouble.

The kayak I used for these trips, a Wilderness Systems Pungo 12, is probably NOT one I’d recommend for the challenging situations on the Rideau for several reasons. Safety-first; the Pungo does not have forward hatches making it impossible to recover from a sudden wave filling the cockpit. The bow would fill and the boat would bob stern up. The only possible rescue would be to tow it ashore. ( I tried a rescue near a shore and bruised a rib trying! The Pungo 14 would have been a better choice with its forward buoyant hatch but I didn’t know that when I bought the 12.)

I really enjoyed paddling the Pungo 12, a recreational design and very versatile boat with touring features like thigh padding, an excellent seat, low rocker hull with hard chine sides and a balanced portage. It has excellent cargo room, great tracking and stability and fits larger paddlers easily. I removed the deck console and added a splash deck to keep water out of the cockpit. I would have used a full skirt if I had found one. In some of the pictures you will see a foam “noodle” on the front deck. This innovation kept waves from rolling into the cockpit. Adapt your gear! I completed all the trips for this site in the Pungo 12 which I affectionately named “The Mango Smoothy”

Kayak feature selector

Recreational
Calm water, small ( 10-14′), stable, big cockpit
Transitional
Calm-intermediate water, medium ( 12-16′), better speed and tracking, day hatches
Touring
All water, medium ( 14-18′), high capacity, skeg or rudder, day hatches
Performance
As touring with hull material improvements such as Kevlar, Fibreglass, Carbon Fibre and hybrids, specialized cockpits
Length
Longer boats will hold their course better. This is called “tracking” Capacity and stability also increase with length but will be harder to manouver (change direction quickly) than a short boat.
Depth
A deep body kayak will affect fit for long legs or large paddlers aas well as load capacity. Increased depth makes the boat more suseptible by wind-drift. Shallow body has less wind-drift and load capacity but may only suit small paddlers
Width
Width provides stability at the expense of efficiency will offering better load capacity and a roomy cockpit.
Round Bottom
Very manouerable and stable at rest. Suseptible to being wobbly and over responsive as the hull has no edge and slips on the water.
“V” Shape Bottom
The “V” shape provides a keel effect that helps the boat stay on a true course (tracking).
Edged Sides (Hard Chine)
Well defined edges will improve stability at rest and offers a more positive or aggressive feel.
Soft Sides (Soft Chine)
Smooth sides to bottom give the boat a rocky or infinite roll feel. This is a very responsive design that helps to develop skills.
Rocker
A boat with a raised bow and stern has high rocker and will cut through waves better and more maneuverability. Level bow and stern describes low rocker and will improve tracking and may plow through waves rather than over them.
Open
The largest opening with the most freedom. Easy to get into and popular with novice kayakers. Spray trays and skirts may be hard to find.
Recreational
Similar to Open but a bit shorter in depth and a slightly snugger fit. Spray skirts will be an available option.
Keyhole
A blend of Open and Touring. Will have thigh braces will remaining roomy.
Touring
Small snug opening to improve the spray skirt stability when water comes aboard. Thigh braces and seat features will be design considerations.
Swede
Widest at the stern and typically shorter length to increase manourerablitly, speed and responsiveness. Tend to cut waves rather than ride over.
Fish
Widest at the bow to provide a bouyant bow to ride over waves and create a planning or surfing feel.
North American
Typically high rocker, fish form with high capacity and stability as well a rudder to control tracking or manouverabilty.
British
Typically low rocker, narrow capacity and a skeg. More often this fast, responsive design requires experience paddlers.
Greenland
Medium Rocker with hard chines and lots of capacity. Offered with a skeg and low decks to improve wind-drift.

This is a personal experience and is not an endorsement or suggestion that anything I write has any merit beyond the anecdotal value. I have no training or credentials other than having gone out and done it and lived to share what I learned. Try this Kayak Selector from Wilderness Systems. Also learn more about design choices with Current Designs Primer

The information on this page is summarized from information brochures from Current Designs Kayaks and Wilderness Systems Kayaks