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Old 11-14-2018, 10:17 AM   #1
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Kayaking While Escaping

There might be enough interest in Escape camper / kayaking, that it could make sense to create a thread for such. A thread where one can discuss equipment (kayaks, canoes, racks, that work with Escapes), how to’s, and where to go.

I’ll prime the pump a little here.

My wife and I have canoed and kayaked since before we were married. Our first major trip was on the John River, in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska in 1979. We were flown out to a small pond, and canoed the wilderness river, basically alone, for 10 day. Just us, moose and bears in the deep Alaskan wilderness. We were “hooked".

More recently… We’ve owned a Scamp 16’er for a decade before purchasing our Escape 19’er (completion in early December 2018) and have camper / kayaked from Key West, FL to northern British Columbia. From Colorado and Wyoming to the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

We owned two person Klepper folding kayaks for 30 years. While a bit difficult to pack for two week Alaskan wilderness trips, they were perfect to put in the back of bush planes as we flew out to our put-ins. More recently, we traded in our last Klepper for two wonderful Hobie Revolution Mirage Drive kayaks. Let me just say they are a true game changer. I’ll discuss them further in another post.

How to carry the kayaks? We use a Yakima Boatloader. Simple. One person can load the kayaks. Simply said it just works well. Search for demos on YouTube. There’s also a couple of discussions about car-topping kayaks while pulling an Escape. Check them out.

Where to go? Here are a couple of our favorites:

Key West and Bahai Honda Cays in the Florida Keys: Beautiful, aqua warm water. I’ve circumnavigated Key West by kayak several times. It’s about 11 miles around and a fun half day jaunt. And by timing the tides & currents, you get a “free ride” for some of the trip. The only issue is securing campsites in the Keys seems to be nearly impossible, and can be uber expensive.

Lewis Lake, Yellowstone Nat’l Park: Near the southern entrance to Yellowstone, Lewis Lake is one of the Park’s least popular spots. It’s got a nice, rustic campground right there, and a good launch. A fun little “secret” is that there’s hot springs right on western lake shore. Kind of interesting, finding hot water in a cold lake. The Lewis River on the north side of the lake is also interesting. We’ve had to paddle around a stubborn moose who “owned” the center of the wide river. If you’re a kayak/canoe camper, continue by lining up the Lewis River into Shoshone Lake - the largest lake without road access in the continental USA. There’s a seldom visited thermal area at the west end of Shoshone Lake. We’ve lunched on grass less than 10’ upwind from a spouting geyser, and on a cool day, napped on the warm ground.

Another great Yellowstone kayaking/canoeing adventure is camping in the south end of Yellowstone Lake. The two south arms of the lake are “go-slow, wake free zones”, and the south end of the arms are “paddle only”. So, once you get down there, you’re basically by yourself. We choose to hire the concessionaire to motor us from Bridge Bay Marina down to a dock at the entrance to the South(west) arm. Then paddle +/- 7 miles to the south end of the arm.

Anyway… What are your thoughts & suggestions? Where do you Escape camp & kayak? What equipment and techniques do you use?
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Old 11-14-2018, 12:16 PM   #2
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I’ve often thought I might like to try out a kayak but never done it. They look so light, so easy. Years ago we canoed the Delaware late every June, when whitewater rapids were still high from the winter snows but not so dangerously cold. When the Tohikon Creek dam (on the PA side) annual release happened I watched kayakers descend upon Point Pleasant by the hundreds, to play in the white waters.

My bum feet may make a kayak a great alternative/substitute to hiking them dusty trails. Have dreams about gliding across the open seas and lakes, and sneaking up to the shoreline, close upon unsuspecting wildlife, to shoot them with my Nikon. Lewis Lake, Haviland Lake, Navajo Lake, etc., oh man!

But first, doubt I could fit in a kayak, because of long legs (I’m 6’7”.) Next, the tow is a pick-up, double-cab, no canopy. Don’t see how I could possibly get a kayak safely on that roof. Then, though I do have broad shoulders and feel mostly good, I’m really, really old, and therefore have doubts about stamina. Am I delusional? Assisted living? No, but where's my Gerital?
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Old 11-14-2018, 12:28 PM   #3
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I’m another canoer on the site. Heading down to Florida for 3-1/2 weeks in January and considering carrying my strip built canoe. I don’t like paying for shuttles, but normally figure for each 2 minutes paddling upstream, translates to one minute back. At 5’5”, it helps to extend the rack out to load the boat. Also helps to keep in shape with TRX 3 times a week so I can lift the boat onto the car. Might paddle up around Ft. Pickens, Flagler Beach and the Suwannee. I wish it were easier to get reservations at the Keys.
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Old 11-14-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
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i kayak with Oru folding kayak. i had a nice regular sea kayak but never used it- too heavy and difficult for me to get in the water/on/off car ... but with the light folding one i can throw it in anywhere and easily carry it - It handles well. i get a little stiff with long paddles because the seat is on the bottom not as comfortable as my other one. But I never used my traditional kayak. Now I always take it just in case i find a nice place to paddle.
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Old 11-14-2018, 01:21 PM   #5
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Here's a thread about canoes, about 2 years ago. It has related information.

Canoe choices
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Old 11-14-2018, 05:52 PM   #6
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We have a couple of Advanced Frame Kayaks which are inflatables. They store in a bag about the size of a large suitcase. Originally, I got them to use with a 30' coastal cruiser sailboat which we had sailed down the coast from San Francisco Bay to Cabo and eventually across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallerta. When we sold the boat, I kept the kayaks and now use them occasionally both in lakes and rivers. They have a "whale bone" which strengthens the length of the frame and are rated for Class 3 rapids. We have been impressed with how durable they are and their longevity. Easy to inflate, weigh less than 45 lbs each all in, and very portable. https://www.advancedelements.com/day...-kayak-ae1012/
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Old 11-14-2018, 07:57 PM   #7
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Ive had a hyside inflatable kayak for about 25 years. It’s not all that great for flat water due to the self-bailing feature but it’s very sturdy. It comes in one and two person and the two could easily be paddled by a tall person. That said, it’s fairly expensive and if you don’t want to do whitewater there are a lot of other alternatives.

For my 3 month trip this summer i specifically bought an Airis Sport. It’s made by walker bay which makes rigid inflatable paddle boards. I chose it because 1) it weighs 20 lbs 2) it has only three valves so it’s easy and fast to inflate 3) it comes with a pump with a pressure gauge 4) it’s extremely easy to get in and out of because you’re sitting in a “well” a few inches deep 5) it’s very stable in calm water.

Most inflatable kayaks inflate to about 1.5 lbs of pressure. The Airis Sport inflates to 6!!

Even though I already owned a Hyside and my daughter owns two Aire (not airis) inflatables, i found this website very helpful. Inflatablekayakworld.com The web owner messaged me back with answers to my questions and the website is well organized. The info is all first hand.

Eagle makes a relatively inexpensive boat that lots of folks like. IF you don’t drag it on sand and rocks, or bump into sharp things, it’ll last quite a while.

Northwest River Supply makes good boats a level down from hyside and AIRE. They are a very reliable and helpful company.

Seats/back rests are usually moveable/removable so a two person kayak can be easily paddled by a tall person.

Lastly, a few years ago i was on a whitewater trip on the Middle Fork Salmon—There was a dad and early teen who had an inflatable canoe. I paddled it one whole day with the dad and it was a blast. I’m sorry I don’t remember the brand.

Good luck finding what will work best for you.
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:44 AM   #8
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The kayaking discussions are interesting. We are new owners of a 19 and plan to take our kayaks with us regularly. We love our Eddyline Caribbean kayaks. We pull our trailer with a Tacoma so the kayaks will ride on racks on the canopy. It is nice to hear about all the great paddling locations. Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2018, 06:41 PM   #9
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Fun thread EscapeBoulder! I've made note of the Yellowstone paddles. And we need to figure out a better way to carry the boats. Hoisting them to the roof of the truck is becoming more difficult! The boatloader looks ideal.
Our first big wilderness paddle was in Alaska as well. 1987 we flew into the Brooks camp in Katmai and paddled the Savonoski loop. That was quite the adventure in itself. Being the smallest passenger I got to sit on the box used as a door step in the tail of the plane. Water leaked in when we landed on the lake, pumice tinging on the sides! On the canoe trip we never saw another human after leaving the camp until our return 10 days later! That was in a rented Grumman canoe with paddles that were too short. We learned to roll with each stroke so that the paddle would hit the water! I also did a lot of talking and singing to let the bears know were were coming, and despite all my noise we saw plenty! Spectacular camping spots, no Escapes in sight then though, just a tent, no sleeping pads either since weight was so restricted on the plane.
Then moved on to a pair of Perception Sea Lion kayaks to do pieces of the Maine Island trail. Love kayaking around Penobscot, Narraguagus and Cobscook Bays.
Most recent was a trip to Newfoundland with one of our sons. We took one of the old sea lions, an eclipse and a sirocco and slept in our Escape! Such an improvement over the tent.
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:58 PM   #10
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wow! great adventures!
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:41 PM   #11
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We have a couple of Advanced Frame Kayaks which are inflatables.

Wow! I really like these kayaks. Thanks for the info!

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Old 12-09-2018, 08:30 AM   #12
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I just bought a Sea Eagle fast track 385. Apon initial inspection, I'm impressed, build quality seems to be top notch. I'll have to wait until spring to paddle it though.
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Old 12-09-2018, 11:22 AM   #13
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I have a Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 which I bought long before I ever even thought I would have a trailer or two dogs or buy property near the best floating in the state. It's a canoe/kayak hybrid designed for fishing and is very stable. I bought it to photograph birds from and can even stand up in it. It's a little crowded with the dogs but we manage.

It's 50 lbs. and I carry it several ways. I can easily slide it up from the back onto my minivan but find that more difficult with my Jeep because the rails are more narrow and curved. I have J cradles that I use when I'm with a friend who has a large canoe and then both fit on top. There's no way I could ever load my boat onto the J cradle by myself so don't use it for solo trips.

I recently got a Yakima Showdown and have mixed feelings about it. It's easier for me to load it from the side but then lifting it to slide it onto the top of the Jeep is harder when you're tired from a day of paddling! I have learned if I get it loaded on the cradles so they're completely straight - the arms have some sideways wiggle room while it's hanging down - it's a lot easier to slide it up. We fit a friend's kayak on top next to it resting partly on the Showdown rails but it worked fine. It's a lot easier to do the straps too when the boat is just right in front of you.

A disadvantage is that the boat is upright on top. It was raining on my way home from a trip in September and I stopped to empty any water. I got nervous and wasn't sure how much water there was and let it get away from me lowering it and ended up with a little dent in the side of the Jeep. It normally is adjusted to not touch the side of the vehicle while lowered but it had too much momentum. I can always easily take the Showdown off and turn the boat over but I knew that I wasn't going to be in the rain long and would soon drive out of it.
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Old 12-09-2018, 11:44 AM   #14
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I just bought a Sea Eagle fast track 385. Apon initial inspection, I'm impressed, build quality seems to be top notch. I'll have to wait until spring to paddle it though.
I think you'll be happy with it. I got the fasttrack 465 this last spring and have used it multiple times - performs as advertised.

Choosing the length was a question for us - more space for people/cargo vs easier solo paddling and a bit lighter. Have actually found the 465 paddled solo just fine when I went out alone and was easier and faster to paddle than my canoe. My only complaint is that Sea Eagle doesn't have a spray skirt option for the fasttrack. I'll probably just make one.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:52 PM   #15
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This is our setup, two kayaks on Thule Hullivator racks, this makes it easier to get the kayaks on and off. People have commented on their length. We've used them in ice filled lakes in Montana, and even in Arizona.
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Old 12-09-2018, 10:04 PM   #16
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the hullivator is awesome. so much easier than wrestling boats. they always win.
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Old 12-09-2018, 11:40 PM   #17
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:16 PM   #18
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We just purchased an Aqua Glide Columbia XP2. This is a 2 person and weighs 40 lbs, takes 5 min to set up. We liked the weight and how compact it is when packed up. Have not had it in the water yet but in the showroom both my wife and I were quite comfortable in it.
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:18 PM   #19
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How do inflatables paddle compared to hard bodies? They look kind of tubby in the pictures on the water.
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:36 PM   #20
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they are a bit more "waddling"--if you want to paddle a long distance/long time, a hard shell is nicer. fiberglass boats are sleek and also expensive. this kind is pictured by dunnet a couple of posts back.
the native watercraft pictured by nindy (if it's the same material as my native watercraft 10 ft) is a heavy duty "hard" plastic like industrial tupperware. not too heavy, sturdy against rocks, etc. Also fairly expensive.

if your goal is to "mess about in boats" on a lake or flat river, enjoying being on the water, an inflatable has a LOT of advantages (weight, portablility, storability, loadability, price) when weighed against the disadvantages.
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