Best Sit-On Top Kayaks of 2020

I personally prefer a good sit-on top kayak for a couple of reasons.

They are personal reasons, but reasons non the less. I will tell you my reasons as we go through this review.

We are going to take a look at what I would consider to be the best Sit-on top kayaks of 2020.

sit on top kayak

Criteria for the the Best

What am I looking for?

There are certain things to look for when deciding what the best kayak is. So we are going to look at:

  • Durability
  • Stability
  • Transportability
  • Customizable
  • Comfort
  • Budget or Cost

We are going to look at how durable these kayaks are. No one wants to put out good hard-earned money and then have to buy a new one in a year or even 5 years. Unless of course, we just want to upgrade or want a new one.

Stability is a major one for me. I have no desire to go swimming just because I adjusted my seat. I like to feel stable in my kayak. So we are going to look at the stability factor.

We have to be able to transport our kayak. It doesn’t do us any good sitting in the garage. So we are going to look at the weight and what it takes to get it to the lake or river.

How hard is it to customize the kayak and what does it already come with. We have to be able to bling it out.

Comfort is another biggie. If it isn’t comfortable for you, you will not use it. Nothing worse than getting off the lake or out of the river and not being able to walk. Us older folks need to be comfortable.

Last but not least is budget or cost. I am not shooting for the cheapest here. Although, budget is always a concern. Let’s face it though, you are going to pay a bit more for the best.

Okay, let’s get to it already. Are you excited to learn what I think is the top picks of 2020?

Why a Sit-on Top or SOT Kayak

While the reasons I have a SOT are strictly personal for me, I thought I would share them to give you food for thought.

  1. They are easier to get on when launching and easy to get off of when done.
  2. They are easier for me to fish off of, and generally provide easy access to storage and stuff.
  3. Customizable! While the fishing kayaks come with a lot, you can add more.
  4. They can be very versatile.

OMG!

My research has been a long process. Trying to narrow down the best sit-on top kayaks is a challenge. There are so many options and there is so much to consider.

I am going to break this down a bit and separate my choices into a couple of categories.

Basically, a lot of your Sit-on Top kayaks are versatile enough to use in many applications. Although, there are those that are best suited for one application or the other.

Sit-on Top Kayak for Recreation

The recreation category is a big category.

While I consider all kayaking to be recreational, the term is generally used for basic kayaking done by families or individuals randomly without a definite purpose. Such as just having fun on the lake or river on the weekend.

So the best sit-on top kayak of 2020 in my opinion for this purpose starts with the Pelican Sentinel 100X.

I chose this model for a couple of reasons.

  1. It had great reviews on Amazon and YouTube
  2. Easy to transport
  3. Versatility
  4. Budget Friendly
  5. Ample Storage

The Pelican Sentinel is a one-person kayak that is manufactured in Canada. It is easily transported due to the light-weight construction and the molded side handles.

While it is dubbed as a recreational kayak, it can easily be used for fishing as well.

Its construction makes for a durable kayak and has built-in flotation (foam blocks) for extra stability and safety.

Specs. for the Pelican Sentinel

Length – 9′-6″

Weight – 47lbs

Capacity – 275lbs

Check out this video for a great walk-around of this great little boat.

The few cons that I found were the same as some other kayaks I researched. The paddle is sold separately, but that just means you can get one suited to you.

The Exoshell that is shown in the video is not water tight. So, make sure your gear is in a dry bag before hitting the water.

There are so many options for this category that I am going to leave you with this one for now. You can also check out my review for the Ascend 10T. Also, a great little boat, I own an older model the D10T, and it is made in the USA.

I am going to start reviewing some of these kayaks on an individual basis, that way I am not boring you with extremely long posts, LOL

Sit-on Top Kayak for Fishing

This category is flooded with awesome sit-on top kayak models. These range in prices from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.

The Hobie line is at the top.

My pick for 2020 is the Hobie Mirage Compass

Hobie is notorious for building a quality fishing kayak and this is no different.

While the Hobie is in the higher price range, you are paying for quality and a wealth of standard upgrades compared to other kayaks. Hobie is also manufactured in the USA.

Specs. for the Mirage Compass are:

Length – 12′

Weight – 87lbs (fully rigged with standard equip., seat, pedal drive and rudder system). Fitted weight without stuff is 68lbs.

Capacity – 400lbs

The Hobie Mirage has a lot of Pros.

It comes with a breathable, mesh seat that can also function as a beach chair when removed. It is also adjustable to suit your comfort.

All Hobies come standard with the MirageDrive pedal system. This one also has the retractable fins and can also be upgraded to the drive that offers reverse and the bigger fins.

It has the Hobie H-track system to attach accessories easily on either side.

Molded side handles for easier loading and carrying. Also, has bow and stern handles

Comes standard with a built-in transducer mount and includes thru-hull cable plugs. So you can add your fish finder.

This kayak also checks off the stable and durable boxes in my checklist above.

It is also very versatile. While I really like it for fishing it can also be used for recreational purposes other than fishing. The flip-up fins make it doable for shallower waters, so you can still enjoy rivers as well as lakes and island touring.

Check out the video below for a great walk-thru demo of this awesome kayak.

The only con I found with this kayak is really the weight. If you are alone and not super strong it is going to be a challenge to transport. You will certainly want to have some kind of cart to get it to the water. I would recommend the Hobie Fold n Stow Kayak Cart.

Sit-on Top Inflatable Kayak

The top pick for me in this category is the Driftsun Rover 120

The Driftsun is a versatile, durable kayak that checks off many of my criteria boxes. The only real exception is being able to bling it out. Let’s face it. It is inflatable, and adding gear could really compromise the structure.

It is, however, budget friendly, comfortable and easy to transport.

It has a great many reviews on Amazon and rated at a 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Specs for the Driftsun Rover 120

Length – 8′-6″

Width – 32″

Weight – 22lbs

Capacity – 300lbs

This kayak generally comes with the two-piece aluminum paddle, Dual-action hand pump, rear tracking fin, adjustable EVA padded seat w/ high back support and a handy dandy travel bag.

This kayak sports a rocker profile ideal for maneuverability and stability and can handle up to class 3 or 4 rapids. It is just as handy on flat water.

The construction is composed of high-pressure drop-stitched floor, and reinforced layered PVC. Both adding to the stability and durability of the kayak.

It has a removable rear skeg. It makes for great tracking in flat water, but can be stored for whitewater use.

Lastly, It has 7 self-bailing plugs.

It only takes about 9 minutes to inflate, which makes it great for getting your day started.

Also, if you find that you would like to have a little larger capacity with more space, Driftsun also offers a two man inflatable with all the same bells and whistles.

Wrap it Up!

Okay, so I purposely only gave you my 3 top options for 2020. There is a huge selection of Sit-on Top Kayaks on the market. I chose the three I chose for specific reasons stated above as my favorites.

My intention is to start reviewing different makes and models of kayaks individually. Had I tried to review them all here this post would have turned into a book, LOL.

So I hope you found my reviews helpful and informative. Keep coming back to see what I have reviewed next and what I think about them.

Until Next Time!

Best Way to Store Kayaks

In this post we are going to talk about storage options for your kayak.

Storing kayaks can be a task, depending on the length and the space you have available. So Let’s spend some time to find the best way to store kayaks.

Inside or Outside

Where are you planning on storing your kayak now that you have it?

I do not recommend that you just lay in the yard, out in the sun till the next time you use it.

Ideally you are going to want to store it in a secure location, out of the harsh UV rays of the sun, with easy access and where no critters are going to build their forever home in it.

There are many options for either outside or inside provided you have the space. I am going to talk about several options in this article for both places. Obviously, if you have the room to store it in your garage or shed, where you can control the climate a bit and lock them up that would be awesome.

However, not all of us have that option. I personally live in a RV, so storage of a 10′ kayak can present a challenge and generally speaking my only option is outside.

Rack Systems

There are a ton of rack systems available on the market. I focused on several that you can easily pick up through Amazon.

There are basically three different styles.

  • Free-Standing
  • Wall Mounted
  • Overhead Mount

Let us start with the Free-Standing style of rack. These are going to require a bit of space, but can be used inside or outside depending on what you need. There are several options for this, so let me highlight a few that I found.

This rack is the king of racks. It is going to require space or its own building. I show this to you because, if you have more than one kayak or plan on getting more than one, it can handle it. It also would provide storage for paddles as well as other stuff. You could ideally use it as a multi-functioning rack if you put it in your garage or shed.

Let’s break it down.

  • It will hold 6 kayaks
  • made from steel
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes with wheels for easy movement

This rack measures in at: 51 x 47 x 72 inches. The product description claims it will hold up to 11′ kayaks, but the reviews state that it can handle longer boats as long as they are not over 32-34″ wide. This rack rated 4.9 stars out of five and had many great reviews.

This rack just looks sturdy. I picked it mainly because you could also adjust it for the length of your kayak. The heavy-duty steel will hold up to 100 lbs per set of hooks. They are padded nicely to protect your kayak as well.

Key Points

  • Sturdy tubular steel
  • Space saving design
  • Easy Assembly
  • Good for indoor or outdoor use

This rack measures in at: 48 x 28.7 x 7.2 inches. This rack had good reviews and rated in at 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you only need to hold up one kayak, this rack would do. They are lightweight, come in a set of two and are inexpensive. You can use them anywhere and adjust them to the length of you kayak.

Key Points

  • Lightweight Aluminum construction w/stainless steel hardware
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • folds into compact mesh carry bag
  • Weight capacity is 100 pounds
  • Stands 17″ tall
  • Sturdy, even on uneven ground

This inexpensive set of racks come in at 4.4 stars out of 5. People were pleased with the quality and stability of the product. There were many good reviews about this system and based on the price you cannot go wrong.

Wall Mounted Racks are another option for saving space. You can mount them on the wall either inside or out. Imagine the possibilities. You could place them in or out on the garage, shed, or tiny house.

For a Wall Mount set-up, this set came highly rated. The customer reviews gave it a 4.8 out of 5 stars. They look nice and are sturdy.

Key points

  • Heavy Duty powder-coated steel
  • Lightweight
  • Nylon covered foam padding
  • Weight capacity 100lbs
  • Affordable

Most of the reviews I read, the folks really liked them. Most used them inside, but one used them outside in the north. While the hooks are rated at 100lbs, if you are to purchase these make sure you mount them properly on a wall that can handle the weight, just saying.

This is the king of wall racks. If you are not worried about space and you have multiple kayaks or paddle boards. This is the rack for you. Rating 5 out of 5 stars, you cannot go wrong.

Key Points

  • Holds up to 4 kayaks
  • Steel Construction, 100lb capacity per rack or 400lb total
  • Adjustable rack levels
  • Easy Assembly, easy adjustment
  • Protective felt padding

Again, this is a sturdy built, adjustable, wall-mounted rack. Built tough to handle whatever you want to put on it.

The only real downfall to wall-mounted racks that I can find is the lock-up factor. You would have to get creative with locking your kayaks up, unless you are keeping them inside.

Over-head systems are great for saving space. Ideally you are using these inside or you are building something outside to mount them on.

This is a basic hoist system. You would ideally put this inside a garage or shed, mounted on the ceiling. Hoisting your kayak above everything else in the building. This particular system rated 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most of the hoist systems rated in this range.

Key Points

  • Space Saver
  • Easy Installation
  • Heavy duty Straps – weight capacity only 60lbs
  • Affordable
  • Will fit any length or width kayak

The downside that I found to these systems, was strength. Most reviews on any of these systems complained about the weight factor and not feeling secure about the rope sent with the kits. Also, they said in several reviews across the board that it takes some effort to hoist the thing up. Just be prepared.

DIY Rack System

Are you handy? Have tools, build your own system. Pinterest has a ton of really cool ideas to build your own storage for kayaks and the like.

I found some great options made out of wood and PVC. You know, the white or black plastic pipe used for water and sewage. You got it, how imaginative.

Here is a fun little video to show one option found on YouTube. The possibilities are endless with some imagination.

Tiny House Options

For those of us that have opted to live tiny the options are not as vast. This is also dependent on whether you are stationary or mobile. Most of the RV dwellers I have seen store their kayaks either on their extra vehicles with vehicle racks or they have racks on the RVs. If you have a toy hauler, you have the garage option to store inside.

As I mentioned earlier, I store mine outside. I currently slide mine up underneath the RV, then I cable lock it to the camper. It is hidden, out of the sun and secure.

Stationary tiny homes can have shed options or outside kayak huts, if they are on their own property. Check out Pinterest for great ideas.

Here is an example of a kayak/bicycle rack I found on YouTube designed for those that camp or are on the road.

Stored and Secure

So, there you have it. There are a ton of options for storing and protecting your kayak. If nothing else, I hope I got your creative juices flowing and you are thinking of different ways to get your kayak out of the weather and helping it last a good long time.

Hope you found this helpful and enjoyable. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, leave them below. I would love to know what you think.

Thanks to all those that take the time to visit.

Until Next Time!

Ascend Kayak Accessories – What Do They Offer

Okay, we have talked about Ascend kayaks, so Let’s see what Ascend kayak accessories are out there to trick them out. Cause you know you want the goodies and bling!

Basic Accessories

These are the accessories I think you just need to get you through the float trip.

The first is the paddle, of course! Ascend does have a couple of choices for paddles. In my post about how to pick the proper paddle I give you a chart on how to decide what will work for you. Here I will provide a link to the Ascend paddles. I have the Ascend Trek Paddle. It seems to work pretty good for me. It is a two piece paddle which makes it easy to store and transport. The Trek has a durable rubber coated aluminum shaft and fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades and weighs about 2.6 pounds. The Trek also comes in 3 different lengths.

Ascend also has the Tournament Paddle which is a fiberglass shaft, which makes it a little lighter. The Trek also has the fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades, but this one sports a handy hook for lure retrieval for those anglers out there. This comes in 6 different lengths, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding one that works.

Second is the Dry Bag. I spoke about my Ascend dry bag in a previous post. I love my lime green bag. It is plenty big enough for the important things, such as my phone, camera and snacks. Mine is a heavy-duty bag, but they also come in a bright orange light-weight material w/ a window, so you can see what you packed in it.

Third, you need to be able to transport your kayak to the water. So, you are going to need a rack on your car, unless you have a truck or trailer, and you are going to need to get it from your vehicle to the lake or river. I have a truck so I do not need the car rack. But, getting it to the water from the truck by myself can be a challenge. So I have the Ascend sit-on top kayak cart. I will say, that while it is easier to pull to the water once the wheels are on, it is no easy task to get these wheels on or off. Ascend does offer another version though, and I think I am going to try them when I get a chance.

Fourth is a Life Jacket. I am only going to shortly mention the Ascend life jackets here cause I did a post recently about life jackets that I like much better. Ascend does have a few options, and I currently have what they call a universal, one size fits most, type PFD. I do not care for it, and their life jackets fit on the small side. I tried on the womens largest size and couldn’t get it zipped.

So, those are the basic must-haves in the Ascend choices.

Fishing Accessories

These accessories are some options by Ascend to get you on the road to fishing from your kayak. While I know that there are a lot of options out there, we are going to focus on what Ascend has to offer in this post.

First, you are going to want an anchor. Ascend offers an Anchor Trolley Kit. I personally have this kit and plan on adding it to my kayak this spring. I fished many times last year, and trying to fish and maintain my position in the water was exhausting. So, the anchor kit is going on.

All the Ascend fishing kayaks come standard with flush-mounted pole holders. Ascend doesn’t offer much in the line of fishing pole holders that you can add-on.

The last accessory for fishing in the Ascend line is this awesome Ascend Fish Ruler Decal. It is made of a heavy-duty laminated vinyl. Just stick it to your kayak and let the fish stories begin!

Replacement Accessories

Ascend does provide a few replacement accessories. The first of those is the Scupper plugs. You know you are going to lose those things a few times, Just saying! These are for the sit-on top models of kayaks for the self bailing scupper holes. Your kayak will come with what you need and you can replace as you lose them. They typically come in a 2 pack.

Next, you can also get replacement open base cleats. My kayak did not have these on it standard, but some do. I am looking at getting some to add to my kayak just for functionality.

You can also get a replacement seat for the sit-on top D10T. I will say, that while it has decent reviews on the Bass Pro site, I am looking for something a little more comfortable for mine.

Lastly, you can get deck bungee kits by Ascend. This kit comes with everything you will need and easy to follow instructions to replace or add a bungee system to your kayak. It’s good to be able to fix stuff, cause Let’s face it, Life Happens.

Fun Accessories

I’m going to get a little off topic here, because Ascend just hasn’t gotten on the band wagon of fun stuff yet. I know that blinging out the kayak is just a must. There are lots of options out there to make your kayak yours. Whether you are looking for fishing stuff, like fishing crates, fishing nets, pole holders, electronics, etc., or if you are looking for safety items such as flags, reflectors or lights. I even know a guy that painted some crazy faces on the front of his kayaks. How fun would that be. I will do another post about some of these other fun accessories later, so look for that in the future.

Ascend is a wrap!

So, there you have it. There is the line of Ascend products that you can utilize for your kayaking needs and some of your wants. I hope that you found this post useful and if you purchase any of these goodies. Please, let me know what you think. Good or bad, I want to know. I will update this post when I get my anchor trolley kit in place and tell you what I think.

Ascend Fishing Kayaks – What You Need to Know

Let’s take a look at the Ascend Fishing Kayaks primarily sold at Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas. In this article we are going to focus on the 12′ kayaks. I discussed the 10′ FS10 model in a previous post.

Why Ascend

Why Ascend you ask? Well, cause that is what I have. LOL

Also, the reason I am discussing the Ascends when there are so many other options out there, is due to the fact that they are not incredibly expensive and you can find them easily at any Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas. They are also an American made product, which I do like to promote.

While, you will find mixed reviews on these products all over the internet, this is my opinion on what I found. I used several resources such as, YouTube, Bass Pro’s website, I went personally to the store and checked them out and like I said. I own an Ascend product myself.

Ascend 128T Sit-on Top

The 128T is the tank of the fishing kayak world. Many referred to it as their barge. It is 12′-8″ in length with a weight capacity of 350lbs. It weighs in at 96lbs. I will say that is quite heavy and large. For someone like me that usually goes kayaking alone, this kayak would be hard to manage without help. I do like the look of it and after watching many videos it seems many that own this boat really like it.

  • Rotomolded custom-crafted tunnel hull
  • Durability, standing & fishing stability, and tracking
  • Comes with Yak-power system, wiring harness, master controller & 3 strategically placed plugs
  • Flat casting deck w/non-skid foam mat & pull-up assist strap
  • Deluxe removable, adjustable seating system and adjustable foot rests.
  • Port and starboard accessory mounting rails

This boat also offers several storage options throughout the kayak. It includes no less than 4 flush-mounted pole holders and it has a removable rod-tip protector for those clumsy folks like me. The 128T also comes with bungees and scupper plugs for the 8 scupper drains. It has carrying handles on the bow and stern. I will say that many have added handles on the sides to help with transport.

Overall, this kayak was well liked, very customizable for your personal needs and is a stable boat for the price point.

Ascend 12T Sit-on Top

This kayak did not rate as well as the 128T. It is 8″ shorter and has a weight capacity of 350lbs and is only about 77lbs. That in my opinion is not enough, based on the reviews to convince me to spend the money on this kayak. With that said, let us look at the basics of this kayak.

Some Basic selling points as mentioned on the Bass Pro website are as follows.

    • Some selling points as mentioned on the Bass Pro website are as follows.

      • Rotomolded custom-crafted tunnel hull
      • Durability, standing & fishing stability and tracking
      • Flat-casting deck w/non-skid foam mat
      • Many storage options
      • Port and starboard accessory mounting rails
      • Deluxe removable seating system
      • Large stern tank well w/D-rings & recessed stern storage w/bungees
      • Bow & stern carrying handles

Again, this kayak offers flush-mounted pole holders and paddle storage. It has 6 scupper drains and plugs just like the 128T. I will say though, that this kayak is priced just under what you pay for the 128T and the value is less as well. After doing the research, there were some that said that the material of this kayak was thin and they wore holes in them by dragging them to the water and back to their vehicles. There were several that complained about asymmetrical hulls, which affected the tracking and that they were hard to stand on.

Now, with all the complaints I found, there were a few that really liked the kayak. Any of the complaints could have been from misuse or poor care of the kayak and/or just a poor batch from the manufacturer. If it were me, I would personally spend the extra dollars and upgrade to the 128T.

Ascend H12 Sit-in Hybrid

So, this kayak had the best reviews of all three of the kayaks to date. This kayak is a hybrid version. It gives you the best of both the kayak and the canoe. This kayak is 12′ long, has a weight capacity of 450lbs and weighs in at 76lbs. Again, not a light-weight kayak, but given its purpose not terrible.

Some basic selling points as mentioned on Bass Pros website are as follows.

      • Hybrid tunnel style advanced hull design
      • Multi-purpose open deck design
      • Extra large cock-pit 53.5″ x 23.5′
      • Accessory rails, bow hatch and bow bungee hold downs
      • Adjustable foot braces
      • Soft storage saddle bags and a soft storage backpack on the seat.
      • Expandable mesh stern cargo cover
      • Threaded-sealed drain plug’

Again, with kayak the reviews were good. They really liked the space, stability and versatility of this kayak. They also sell a compatible duck hunting blind accessory that will work on this kayak. The biggest complaint I found was that it is a slow kayak and that if you are trying to go backwards and a wave comes up behind you it could take on water pretty quickly. Not sure this boat is meant to run any races anyways and by golly, watch what you are doing and I think you would be fine. I personally think it would be a fun kayak if you were into photography, hunting, fishing or just meandering around the lake.

There You Have It!

That is my opinion on the Ascend Fishing Kayaks. I hope this helps if you are looking at these models of kayaks. I do not think they are bad for the person looking to get into the sport of kayaking fishing and looking to just have some fun with it. I know that mine is a fun kayak to just get out on the water in. It has its faults and could be improved, but I also feel that for the price point these are great boats. If you have any opinions of your own or any comments please leave them below. I would love to hear them.

Ascend Dry Bags – The Lime Green Wonder

Hey guys, Let me tell you about one of my favorite kayaking accessories. I love Ascend dry bags.

Why Ascend

I know that there a lot of different brands of dry bags on the market. I’ll be honest, I have not used any other bag. My Ascend bag is a Heavy Duty, lime green bag. With a capacity of 10L’s and it is plenty big enough for my needs.

Ascend makes 4 basic sizes in their heavy-duty line. All are made of a thick, heavy-duty waterproof PVC material and sport electronic-welded construction on all the seams. These bags also have a roll-top design with quick release buckles to ensure the contents of the bag stay dry, as well as a built in D-ring for connecting to the kayak in case of flip overs. They are built tough for those rough rides. They do make a medium duty and a light duty bag as well. I chose the heavy-duty just for extra assurance.

Here are the specs on the heavy-duty line of bags.

10 L

Rolled/sealed size: 8” x 12”/20 x 35 cm

Rolled/sealed capacity: 610 cu in/10 L

20 L

Rolled/sealed size: 10” x 15”/25.5 x 38 cm

Rolled/sealed capacity: 1,220 cu in/20 L

30 L

Rolled/sealed size: 11” x 19”/28 x 48 cm

Rolled/sealed capacity: 1,830 cu in/30 L

55 L

Rolled/sealed size: 13” x 25”/33 x 63.5 cm

Rolled/sealed capacity: 3,356 cu in/55 L

Why A Dry Bag?

The answer is pretty obvious as to why we would want a dry bag. To keep your stuff dry, of course. I certainly would not trust my camera gear or my phone to a Ziploc baggy.

Even on a short day trip there are certain things you want to keep dry. You may even want more than one bag, depending on what kind of trip you are planning on taking. You could also use the dry bags to hold wet items, so you are not mixing them in with the dry stuff. The options are unlimited.

What’s In It?

You can put anything you want into your dry bag.

My dry bag typically has my phone, my camera and sometimes an extra lens for the camera, and some snacks. Okay you can’t go out on the kayak without snacks. There is nothing worse than soggy chips. I will say, if your dry bag is out in the sun, don’t put your chocolate in there. It will not make the trip.

Now, I am still working on my must have list for short trips on the kayak and I have yet to do a long trip on it. So I am sure my list will grow. Some things I can think of for sure are a towel, jacket, change of clothing, maybe even a dry pair of shoes. If you are planning on a longer trip, maybe an overnight trip. You would certainly want to keep your sleeping bag, tent, and other camping gear dry.

Maybe you have a separate bag for dirty clothes or wet clothes. That way you can keep track of them and not mix them with the good stuff.

How Do I Secure My Bag?

I have a few carabiner clips that I used to secure my bag to the kayak. They come in all sizes and strengths. You can also place them in the kayak, if you have a sit-in style kayak. You can also put them under the bungee straps that are commonly on kayaks.

Dry Bags are Important

So, why an Ascend dry bag? Well, I like the color, and the durability of my bag. I also like that I have options in weight and sizes of the bags. The price point is reasonable and I ran across some great reviews about the product. They are easy to open and close while I am on the water, and I am always pulling my camera out and putting it back. I hope you check them out and possibly add one to you stash of kayak accessories.

Let me know below in the comments if you have a dry bag and how you use yours. Thanks for joining me again.

Until next time!

Ascend Kayak Reviews – Breakdown of the 10 ft models

In this post we are going to focus on Ascend kayak reviews of their 10′-0 series of kayaks.

As I have mention in previous posts, I personally own an Ascend D10T kayak. So I will review my likes and dislikes of my personal kayak and I will break down and review a couple of their other models.

Ascend D10T

So, the Ascend D10T. Mine is a couple of years old and I have used it a handful of times.

Mine is bright red, which I love, and only comes in the one color. It is 10′-0″ in length and 34″ wide. I have only used it on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. Originally the White River. Lots of boaters, some current due to the dam at Table Rock Lake and lots of fish. The Ascend D10T is a sit-on top style kayak and has a fairly flat bottom. This makes the boat pretty stable and I have been able to access some pretty shallow water. I have not tried to stand on the boat, as Lake Taneycomo is very cold water. It handles the boat waves really well though.

It comes with a high back adjustable seat pad. The back, when placed correctly is pretty comfortable, but I will say the seat pad is not. I am still searching for a way to make it bearable for long periods of time.

It only has one storage pocket that is supposedly waterproof, but it is not big enough for my phone, so I do not use it. I highly recommend a dry bag for stuff. There is a cup holder molded into the floor of the kayak to keep a bottle of water within easy access. It also has molded cubbies on either side of the seat, which are perfect for throwing stuff in.

The foot rests are adjustable and I do like that. The back of the kayak is flat and suitable for storing stuff and comes with an elastic bungee to keep everything secure. The D10T has a handle on the front and on the back for carrying. It does weigh in at about 65lbs, so it is much too heavy for me to lift and carry on my own.

All in all, I think that the Ascend D10T is a great first sit-on top kayak. It is easy to get on and off of. Easy to fish from, and relatively inexpensive. I do have a few modifications on mine such as a rod holder and I have wheels to get it from the truck to the water.

Ascend 10T

The next kayak we are going to look at is the Ascend 10T. This one is very similar to the D10T with a couple of distinct differences. While it is still a sit-on top at 10′-0″ in length it is only 31″ wide versus the 34″ width of the D10T. This one comes in several colors as well.

This boat also comes with a different type of Ascend seat. It is slightly raised off of the floor of the kayak with a medal frame, much like a stadium seat. Due to it being slightly narrower than the D10T, the front is slightly rounder while the back is slightly narrower. It also has the adjustable foot pegs like the D10T.

The Ascend 10T comes with the two standard carrying handles on the front and back, but it also has one on each side. This in my opinion would make it a little easier to maneuver yourself, whether you were trying to load into a truck or on a car. As well as trying to get it to the water. It is a little heavier than the D10T at 67lbs. Not sure 2 lbs would make much of a difference.

This kayak does sport two pole holders and several rings for connecting and securing stuff. It still only has the one waterproof storage hole, and the molded cup holder.

Ascend D10

This Ascend kayak is a sit-in type of kayak. It is technically only 9′-10″ in length and only 29″ wide. This in my opinion would affect the overall stability of the kayak, although, I believe it would be plenty stable for general recreational kayaking. It does come with the Ascend metal framed seat that sits into the kayak on a molded side bracket. It is the lightest of all the Ascend kayaks at only 50lbs.

This model comes with elastic paddle holders on both sides, a clip-on fabric cover on the back to keep your stuff in the kayak and possibly some water out. It also has a cup holder and two molded cubbies in the top of the front of the kayak. Easy access from the seat. The D10 also has elastic banding for securing stuff to the front and the back of the kayak. This one also sports carrying handles on the front and the back. This model also comes in two colors.

Ascend FS10

This a pretty cool Ascend model. Still, in the sit-in type and 10′-0″ length. It is 30″ wide and comes with the metal frame Ascend seat. This kayak is set up for fishing with 2 flush mount pole holders and the area behind the seat is set up for a crate or tackle box, or just to hold gear. It has the elastic banding over the back and the front for securing gear and one the sides for your paddle.

This model has a dash of sorts. Molded plastic with a cup holder, dry cubby and an open cubby ideal for small objects like lures or chapstick. It has glide rails on either side of the dash to attach accessories too, such as cameras, fish finders etc.

This is a sharp looking boat and is available in 2 different colors. In my opinion it would make a great starter kayak if you were looking to get into some fishing and flat water kayaking.

Ascend H10

This model is relatively new as it is a Hybrid of a kayak and a canoe. The body style is very canoe like in its v-shape nose and tail. Wider in to middle and a deeper cavity. This model is a single-seater with the metal framed Ascend seat that sits up off the floor.

The H10 has gear storage in the front and in the back behind the seat. Both have fabric coverings with hook fasteners to keep them closed. There are no cup holders or other molded cubbies, but you have plenty of floor space for a cooler or tackle box. It has 2 pole holders and side glide rails on either side of the boat. It also has the carrying handles on the front and back of the boat.

I believe this model would handle much like a canoe with the versatility of a kayak, how fun. It also comes in 2 basic colors and has the best weight capacity of the 10′-0″ models.

Ascend 10′ Boats all Wrapped Up

There you have it!

I believe any of these boats would make a great first boat. Just consider your purpose and how much of a boat you want to manage. Like I said earlier, mine is a little heavy for me to handle on my own, although, with some modification I manage. So, happy kayaking you all.

If any of you currently have an Ascend kayak let me know how you like it below. I would love to know.

Until next time!

 

Kayaking Life Vest for Women – What About Those Curves

Okay Ladies, we are going to get down and dirty with our PFDs or Personal Flotation Devices.

In my previous article we did an overview of life preservers so you could get an idea of the types and basic uses that were out there. In this article we are going to dive into a few different makers and models specifically design for us ladies. Let’s face it, we are not built like the average guy or child. We have a few extra bumps. You know what I mean?

As I researched different life vests, I decided I wanted to be a little different from most sites you run into. I don’t want to be just another review site that sends you straight to another site to just purchase the product. So, I did some reading about the companies themselves. I am not going to focus on price point in this article. While there are some cost effective options out there, I am primarily looking at comfort, quality and functionality.

So again, this is my unbiased opinion based on my personal research on the world wide web of these products. Let’s have a look.

Astral Womens Life Vests

Astral started out as a small company in Asheville, NC. They still do small production runs of certain products there as well as repairs and quality control. The mission of their company was to provide a quality product that was nature friendly. Their PFDs are PVC free and breathable. They have worked hard to be as clean and toxin-free as possible. I felt that it was important to acknowledge this.

Astral has several models of PFDs that I really liked. Their design is lady friendly, rugged, well put together and has options. My first and second choices from this manufacturer are the Astral V-Eight and the Astral V-Eight Fisher. Both are very similar in design, and are both made of the same quality materials. The V-Eight comes in 3 colors, the Fisher in only 2.

I also liked the Astral Layla. Designed for the curves of a woman. It has a side entry versus a front zipper. Comes in 2 pretty colors and built just as tough as the other Astral products. I also like that the buoyant material is an organic plant material. How cool is that?

Sizing is based on chest dimension.

XS 27″ – 31″ M/L 38″ – 44″

S/M 31″ – 37″ L/XL 45″ – 51″

These are not the cheapest jackets/vests on the market, but I felt they were quality. Many of the reviews I read, the folks that had them, had them for many, many years.

NRS (Northwest River Supplies)

NRS has an interesting story. Started in 1972 by an idealistic business professor named Bill Parks in his garage. Sound familiar? Seems lots of crazy companies have started in garages. Bill was a river runner and was drawn to rivers and the beautiful places they carried him. The company is now an employee owned and run company. It is located in Moscow, Idaho and still design all their products in house. They are passionate about preserving the waterways in which them and their customers play.

The one vest that I found by this maker was the NRS Shenook Fishing Vest. Of course, I love to fish so this appealed to me immediately. Also, created to fit womens curves, it also has plenty of extra fun stuff. It has a front zippered entry with 6 adjustment points. It even comes with a built in pole holder, Hello! Plus lots of pockets for gear. I actually went and tried one of these vest on. I required a L/XL size, but it fit wonderfully. I was able to get into it easily and tighten it up for the perfect fit. As you will see I am not a small girl, so this one rates high on my list.

My next pick from NRS would be the NRS Zoya Mesh Back PFD. Again lightweight, created with kayakers and paddlers in mind. Supple foam inserts that mold to a womans chest, front zippered entry and 6 adjustment points for great fit.

Sizing on both these vests are pretty good too. Based on chest dimension.

XS/M 30″ – 42″

L/XL 42″ – 52″

Again not the least expensive, but I was impressed with the reviews, the company story and the look. They also have other models, but these were my favorites.

Stohlquist

We can’t talk PFD manufacturers without mentioning Stohlquist. They are everywhere. When I was researching, their PFDs were on the top of many lists and mentioned many times within the lists. The company has been around for over 40 yrs. They have designing and producing quality water ware for a long time. Started in Buena Vista, Co. near the Arkansas River by a man named Jim Stohlquist.

My pick from here was the Stohlquist Betsea. I liked that it was designed with the princess seams on the inside and out for feminine fit. I also liked that it had lined hand warmer pockets as well as two large pockets on the front for stuff. It has built-in contoured cups to hug instead of crush our extra bumps. Several adjustment points and several attachment points for extra gear.

Sizing for the Betsea are as follows.

Womens Size Bust

Petite 24″ – 30″

XS/SM 28: – 34″

M/LG 34: – 40″

Plus 40″ – 46″

Stohlquist has many options for women, and some are certainly designed for fishing as well as paddling. The price points on these vary quite a bit.

MTI Adventure Wear

Last but not least on my list. MTI short for Marine Technoligies International was founded in 1991 by the Takashinas just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. MTI is still a family owned business near the waterfront of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Owners Gordon and Lilli Colby met over 20 yrs ago and are both water babies. They both have a passion for paddle sports and nearshore sailing. That passion is what still drives this company to produce quality products.

I looked at two models of womens PFDs produced by this company. The first was the MTI Destiny Womens Life Jacket and the second was the MTI Moxie. Both are made with quality materials and design. One of the best features for me is the Bust-Adjust Fit System. I am a busty lady and it is hard to fit into a straight line jacket.

Both also provide pockets and enlarged arm holes for movement. Both had good reviews everywhere I looked as well. The sizing did differ between the two.

Moxie Sizing

XS/SM 30″ – 36″ M/LG 36″ – 46″ XL/2X 46″ – 56″

Destiny Sizing

S/M 29″ – 40″ L/XL 40″ – 48″

There You Have It!

Through my reading and research, these are the 4 companies that topped my list. These are the ones that caught my eye. I can tell you that I bought an inexpensive PDF when I got my kayak without doing any research. I was just happy to get one to zip up with me in it. Not lying, I am not a small girl. I fought with that dang thing all summer and if I can help you ladies avoid that mess, I will be a happy girl. Hope this helps you all out and I would love to know what PFDs you all have chosen, so leave me a comment and a picture so I can see.

Until Next Time You All!

Lightweight Kayaks for Women – Reduce the Hassle

Well, hello ladies. I thought this would be an interesting topic to dive into. As I am over 50 and not a weight lifter and I enjoy kayaking solo. You want to be able to transport and manage your kayak on your own. My kayak is 10ft. long and weighs about 65 lbs. It is a lot to manage on my own. So, here I am going to bring my research to you and help you make a decision based on what I share about different kayaks and their manageability.

What Did I Uncover

So, as we know from my previous post about kayak styles, there are several types of kayaks. As it turns out, there are also many weights of kayaks. Here I am going to focus  on lightweight kayaks for women and here are a few that I think would be great options for those of us that are of average build and strength. We want to be able to get our kayak to the water effectively and without killing ourselves.

While doing my research, I used many avenues. Before I get started I should say that I am going to mention a few different places where I searched for information. Everything you read will be my unbiased opinion and nothing more. I started on Amazon to begin my search for the most popular lightweight kayaks. After coming up with a decent list of the ones I thought would work really well, I then checked reviews on several levels. I looked at Walmart, Cabelas, Some product manufacturers’ and YouTube. Just to name a few.

So, for my search criteria I looked into a few things. Weight being my number one factor, I also wanted kayaks that had good weight capacity, price point and good reviews. It’s all fine to have a really light kayak, but it has to hold you up above the water, and we want it to last longer than one season.

So, let us dive into my crazy opinions and see what I came up with.

Hard Body Kayaks

So, let’s start with my first choice. The reason I chose this one first is due of the ease at which you can get it and that it had pretty good reviews. No matter where I searched, for the price, it was one of the best.

The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is a basic sit-in recreational kayak. Many folks on YouTube have even modified them for fishing. They can be found at two very common places, Walmart and Amazon. I am sure that you can find them in other places as well. The price points I found ranged from $245 up to $325. The average rating I found from reviews was 4.4 Stars out of 5.

Specs for the Aruba

Length: 10′-0″ Width: 30″ Weight: 40lbs. Weight Capacity: 250lbs

So, combine the facts and this made it to number one on my list. Besides, you can get it in a few colors which makes it even more fun.

The Vibe Skipjack 90 was the next one I found to be except able for the criteria I was looking for. This just has a fun name don’t you think? Beyond that it looked pretty cool too. After doing some research, I found that the average rating on this one based on reviews was about 4.8 stars out of 5. They said that it was good for Lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Again, these have also been used for fishing, This one is a sit-on style kayak with a general price point of $400 to $500.

Specs for the Vibe Skipjack 90

Length: 9′-0″ Width: 32″ Weight: 45lbs Weight Capacity: 300lbs

The Sun Dolphin Phoenix 10.4 is next in line. Again, this is a basic low price point kayak that is relatively easy to find. Like it’s smaller brother the Aruba, it is a sit-in style of kayak. The price starts generally at $220 up to around $350. Based on reviews it rates about 4.6 stars out of 5.

Specs for the Phoenix 10.4

Length: 10′-4″ Width: 32″ Weight: 45lbs Weight Capacity: 250lbs

The Malibu 9.5 Ocean Kayak Sit-on also made my list. It popped up in my first search and it intrigued me enough to warrant a closer look. It was the only one that I searched that came up with 5 out 5 stars according to the reviews I found. I looked not only on Amazon, but on the West Marine website and the manufacturers’ website. It is a little higher on the price point scale ranging from $550 to $600.

Some interesting details I came across on this kayak included, a stackable design, compact, straight tracking, great for waves and surf but also good on lakes and mild rivers. The hull was designed for stability and has a molded seat that is slightly elevated from the floor for comfort.

It just looked like a fun kayak, so I included it.

Specs for the Malibu 9.5

Length: 9′-6″ Width: 33″ Weight: 50lbs Weight Capacity: 325lbs

Fishing Kayaks

I also wanted to include a few fishing kayaks in my list. It was actually amazing to me that there were actually a few that fit my weight criteria. Now, the more stuff you mount on your kayak is ultimately going to increase that weight. So, be careful with your add ons.

First is the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 120 Fishing Kayak. Again, reasonable price point ranging from $240 to $500. This kayak I found to be very popular online. The biggest complaint was the not so comfortable seat pad that comes with the kayak. General ratings per the reviews were 4.8 stars out of 5. It is a sit-on style, which makes it ideal for fishing. The general consensus of this kayak is that it tracks well, is pretty stable and has enough storage for gear.

Specs for the Lifetime Tamarack

Length: 10′-0″ Width: 31″ Weight: 52lbs Weight Capacity: 275lbs

Finally, the Emotion Guster Sit-in Angler made the list. Again a reasonable price point of $450 to $500. These can be found at Tractor Supply, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon, of course. According to the research I found, people rated it well for tracking, stability and ease of handling. I found that it ranged from 4.5 to 5 stars.

Specs for the Emotion Guster

Length: 10′-0″ Width: 30″ Weight: 49lbs Weight Capacity: 275lbs

As I mentioned before, my kayak is a 70lb kayak and I was surprised to find such great kayaks that weighed so much less than mine.

Inflatable Kayaks

Okay, we cannot talk about lightweight kayaks and not touch on some inflatable kayaks on the market. I won’t lie, I have thought about them myself, so I was kind of excited to deep a little deeper into what is out there.

The Intex Challenger K1 is the first one on the list. This one made it to first primarily due to weight and reviews. The price point on this kayak started at about $70. It is a one man kayak but it had a crazy amount of reviews and ended up with an average of 4.4 starts out of 5.

Specs for the Intex Challenger K1

Length: 9′-0″ Width: 30″ Weight: 24lbs Weight Capacity: 220lbs

The Intex Challenger K2 made number two on the list. Like it’s smaller version the K1, it had a ton of reviews and ended with a rating of about 4.2 stars out of 5. Again great price point starting at the $90 range. Now due to this being a 2 man kayak the weight capacity is higher, but if you are a solo you can take one of the seats out and have plenty of storage for gear.
Specs for the Intex Challenger K2

Length: 11′-6″ Width: 30″ Weight: 34lbs Weight Capacity: 400lbs

The last one I decided to put on this list is the Sea Eagle SE330 Pro Solo. This kayak is in a class above the previous two due to the fact that it is built to be tough. It falls in a much higher price point starting at $260. This kayak has a general rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. It is a rugged inflatable made of 33 mil. Polykrylar. It has inflatable I-beam construction and has been used for whitewater kayaking up to class III rapids. Based on reviews that I read, this kayak only takes about 6min. to inflate and is great for fishing, paddling or river running.

Specs on the Sea Eagle SE330

Length: 11′-2″ Width: 34″ Weight: 26lbs Weight Capacity: 500lb

So, while I really like the hard body kayaks myself, I am really tempted to try one of these really fun looking inflatables. I’m going to share this really cool lady, Carol Derer, I found on YouTube with you all, because, she is an example of why I did this post. Single lady, kayak and wanting something easy to manage.

Conclusion

It just goes to show that you can enjoy something like kayaking, even if you are not a body builder or have someone to help you pack your gear. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it useful. If you have any questions or comments leave them below. If I do not know the answers I certainly will do my best to find them for you.

Until Next Time!