I now live close to a very small lake, approximately two city blocks away. I want to get out onto the lake but don't want to get a boat or something that involves using my car to drop it into the lake. However, I'm not a big or strong person. Also, I'm too clumsy for something that requires standing. So, is there some type of small craft where you sit and paddle that is very lightweight for my purposes. I want something that I can carry/drag for a couple of blocks.
It would be good if it's a stable craft but I would not go out in troubled weather with it. Also, I would possibly wear a life vest just to be safe.
I'm just starting to think about what could work for me but looking for suggestions.
I have sailed but never paddled, and I mention that because I know they're different, but just to say that I understand some issues of being on the water, if that helps to give suggestions.
@geo12345 there are a few options for light boats. I prefer packrafts because they blow up fairly quickly, are not terribly expensive, are fairly robust, and are very stable. If you don’t want to invest a lot and only go out on super calm days, the Klymit little water dingy (lwd) is a great choice (orange boat in photos). It’s a glorified sleeping pad, but I’ve never had any issues with it on calm days. If you want something more stable, the company Alpacka has a bunch of models, but the bare bones model is the scout (similar to the green boat in the photos). The Alpacka is more stable and more puncture resistant. If you are more interested something like a collapsible kayak, the company named TuckTex makes nice boats.
I'm a big fan on the AdvancedElements inflatable kayaks. The model I have - the convertible - is pretty heavy at 65 pounds but it's a tandem and also 15' in length. That said, inflatables are typically heavier than rigid kayaks but they're easier to store and haul (no carrier on your car's roof).
One point, if I may. You said you would possibly wear a life vest.
If you've never paddled... okay, regardless of your paddling experience, I would strongly urge you to ALWAYS wear your PFD. According to the US Coast Guard, 76% of water deaths are from drowning and 85% of those were cases where the person was not wearing their PFD.
If you find yourself suddenly dumped into cold water, you can expect your heart rate to jump by 25% immediately and the surprise/shock of that happening can impair your thought process.
The other thing is that very few people have ever really attempted to try to put on their PFD while in water. It's an incredibly difficult maneuver.
So please wear your PFD and make sure you have a good whistle attached to it (most states have a whistle as required safety equipment on a kayak or canoe).
AND HAPPY PADDLING!!!
I echo the suggestion to consider an inflatable watercraft.
@geo12345 - For a small lake a short walk away, a sit on kayak and maybe some portage wheels is probably best. What I would choose in your place anyway. The main issue would be having a place to store it, preferably out of the elements, when not in use.
I haven't used this one but just as an example this weighs only 40lb and costs less than $400 new. There are many other similar boats. Depending where you are, finding something like this used may not be that hard...
Unless you regularly do a lot of sittups, I'd get something with a good seat back.
Just for interest...I'm not necessarily endorsing its author or their advice although it seems sensible from a brief look...here's a article I found that lists some other boats of this type.
Inflatable kayaks are great and if you plan to boat elsewhere could be a good choice since they can be packed inside a vehicle, but good ones are heavy, considering, and expensive and really require a car to get them near the water to inflate. You have to treat them with some care particularly out of the water, since punctures are possible. They are not that easy to carry un-inflated and then you have to inflate them. That requires a fair amount of work unless you use some kind of electric pump which again, generally requires a car.
Pack rafts are light enough to carry and good for what they are meant for (crossing rivers and lakes when backpacking) but although I don't doubt fun can be had in remote places, they don't make great boats for actual boating when compared to a kayak or a canoe. Again you have to inflate them and punctures can be an issue.
The downside for inflatables is deflation, known to occur at the most inappropriate times and places. My preference is for a traditional kayak, none of this sit on stuff (always with a PFD). wheels are a good option if carrying one any distance is involved. Rent before you buy, definitely
I just wanted to write back and thank everyone for all their help. I have a lot of craft to consider, now, and I appreciate it. In reading all this, suspect the small craft with wheels might be the likely choice, as long as the wheels can stay on it (there will be no place to store anything - it comes with me or I can't bring it along - it can't stay on land).
As for the lifevest, I should add that I agree that you wear it or you don't and it's not something to get on that easily. I have enough problems getting it on standing on a concrete sidewalk before boarding! And in thinking more about it, I suspect when I check the depth of my local lake that, even not being a very big lake, is probably too deep to walk out of.
I suspect when I check the depth of my local lake that, even not being a very big lake, is probably too deep to walk out of.
I would still encourage you to wear a life vest, especially if you're by yourself or there are few people around. People have drowned even in shallow water. Suppose your hardshell canoe or kayak flips and hits you on the head. A good vest will not only keep you afloat but also in a position where you can still breathe even if dazed or unconscious.