I bought a kayak! Last month Jeremiah and I went over to Old Forge, NY, for the Adirondack Paddlefest at Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company. It was only $20 to demo new boats all day, although you could only really paddle within a small area. I don’t know what I’m doing enough to notice a difference between boats in a quick loop around like that. There were some I liked more than others, but I was really hoping to get a good deal on a used boat. We went back to the store from the demo area and Brian showed me a used kayak that fit the bill perfectly and was a screaming deal to boot. I bought a used Venture Capella 160. It’s technically a sea kayak but it has enough hatches for camping and will fit the small lakes and rivers I plan to do easily. There is over 120L of hatch capacity and it even comes with a rudder! I was able to test it out on the North Branch Moose River right behind the store and it felt good to me. Sold!
I would like to point out that if you think you are getting a good deal on a boat, make sure to factor in all the other things you need too. First off: sales tax. That adds up on a pricey item. I already had my brother’s old PFD and paddle, so I thought I was pretty set with accessories, but it turns out the paddle wasn’t the right size for this boat so I had to get another one. Then I learned about other necessary accessories: bilge pump, paddle float, sponge, dry bags. And then how will you get it around? I already had crossbars with pads on my car, but apparently you need a better fit for a kayak so you don’t deform the hull when you strap it down. A kayak-specific rack had to be ordered as well, and I chose to get one with rollers on the back to make loading the kayak solo easier. And don’t forget the cam straps! Apparently ratchet straps will hurt the boat too. Meanwhile, my kayak just doubled in price. It’s totally worth it, but don’t forget all of this when boat shopping like I did!
My weekends have been full since Paddlefest so this was the first chance I had to get the boat out, a last-minute decision to meet Jeremiah down at the Waterbury Reservoir for a paddle after work. Unlike last time, we went in from the Blush Hill Road access, which I liked better. No fee and less busy than the state park beach.
It was a gorgeous evening and we paddled a little bit into the northern branch of the reservoir to check out a few campsites up there. I have yet to stay at any yet, but I want to this summer. There wasn’t too much other traffic on the water this late so we enjoyed floating around too. At a certain point, we realized we’d better put some effort into getting back so we’d be off the water before dark.
My car is shaping up to be a pretty sweet adventure mobile! Who cares if the kayak is longer?