Further recommendations for looking at a touring kayaks. These types of kayaks cover a wide variety, so here’s a few words of advice.
Touring kayaks are generally up to 14ft in length, these kayaks are fine for up down the local deep water canals and inland slow flowing rivers. If you are planning to tour on the sea, please consider getting a sea kayak. There has been recent changes in the size of touring kayaks with a lot of manufacturers fitting drop down skegs to white water kayaks leading to the development of the Pyranha Fusion – very popular kayaks, which can also be used on white water (upto grade III). Paddlers can play in the weirs if they get more adventurous, but please note; touring kayaks are not as fast in a straight line as sea kayaks, so would struggle to keep with a group of sea kayakers on longer distance trips. Touring kayaks hold their value well so they are considered a very safe purchase. Most models come with a nice rear sealed hatch, which makes multi-day paddling trips possible as there’s usually enough room to fit a small tent plus food and drink in there. Because the rear hatch is fully sealed, it creates a rear bulk-head which makes rescues a lot easier (emptying the water) if a paddler has a capsize.
Wavesport Ethos is Wavesport’s version of the fusion, a good boat and good build quality. Again more white water cross over then traditional touring, but ideal if you aim to play in the weirs and moving water
Dagger Blackwater & Charleston – these are touring/sea boats. My personal advice would be to get a proper sea kayak.
Venture Eskey 15 & 17 these are nice boats. 17 are no longer made but do come up occasionally and are a good buy. The 15ft boats are also very good and are often used on sea trips, although you will have to work harder to keep up with the rest of a sea kayak group. The Eskey’s are also very good on local canals and inland rivers, plus they also hold their value very well, so you wont lose if you upgrade at a later date.
Other popular touring kayaks are:
Dagger Stratos (Length: 14.5)
Perception Expression Kayaks (available in various lengths: 11 – 17)
Venture Kayaks Islay Sport (Length: 14)
There are a number of other good boats out there if unsure just ask for advice this list should be useful as a starting point. Finally, always (if it’s possible) demo the boat you going to buy.