The kayak store was closed when I dragged my corporate booty downtown. Le sigh. I must sally forth again another day.
So I trotted over to the ubiquitous REI. They only had one kayak I would even consider, simply for reasons of portability. I was quite skeptical about its toughness, but the salesdude explained the cordura and whitewater raft materials used to manufactor this feat of engineering. Mayhap.
REI does not carry whitewater kayaks. Bastards.
Advanced Elements Inflatable AdvancedFrame Kayak
- With a rigid bow and stern and a multi-chamber inflatable body, this kayak delivers performance and portability in a cutting-edge design!
- Improved design eases set up and increases kayak's efficiency on the water
- Rigid bow slices through water, rivaling the tracking of a hard-shell day touring kayak
- The stern acts as a skeg, increasing the tracking performance; new tracking fin further enhances tracking
- Sets up quickly, and is compact enough to take along for an adventure just about anywhere
- Offers generous on-board storage space without cramping your legroom, making extended trips much more enjoyable
- Durable double-coated fabric plus welded seams, a neoprene paddle guard and military-style air valves ensure a long life for the kayak
- Adjustable back support improves comfort on the water
- Bungee deck lacing and D-ring tie-downs stow gear
- Comes with a repair kit and a heavy-duty duffel bag for transporting your kayak to your favorite destination
Upside? Portability, external gear attachment, no float bags needed
Downside? No spray skirt capability, not extreme, no rolls
I did find a great PFD while at REI. The lowriding float panels negate the Rack Factor*. It's quite comfy and allows a large freedom of movement.
Meanwhile, I have found four or five kayaks for sale on craigslist, so we shall see what we see. I'd love to have a package deal, but honestly, I don't see how that can happen, given my body type and propensity for Perfect Gear.
By the way, today's reason why the west is the best is that the kayaking store, REI and Wilderness Exchange are all located next door to Confluence Park, which is a riverside park/whitewater play course at the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek.
*The Rack Factor refers to my enormous rack, which gets in the way of nearly everything I like to do.