So you’re ready to pull the trigger on a new boat, but where do you start? Whether you’re a novice paddler looking for your first boat, or an expert ready to upgrade your current ride, we’ve got you covered. Below is our “Best Of Boats” for 2019. Give it a read and then give us a call or stop in the stores to let us help you find the perfect boat for you at the best prices of the season (sale runs through 3/31/19).
BEST FOR FISHING - OLD TOWN PREDATOR PDL
For the second year in a row, this boat makes the top of our list for “Best For Fishing”. With the best pedal drive system on the market, allowing for “hands free paddling” this boat just can’t be topped. When you want to catch a big one with ease, your go-to single-paddler boat will be the Predator PDL. All of your power comes from your legs, and using your left hand for steering, this kayak always leaves one hand free to hold your pole, net, tackle, or any other essential gear. When you need to stop on-a-dime, simply pedal backwards for extremely easy control over your kayak. The Predator PDL's specially-designed hull combines the perfect balance of smooth pedal stroke speed and stand-up ability. With four color combinations to choose from, there is an option for every angler's taste. *CATCH A GREAT DEAL! March 14 th -18, 2019, get a FREE Humminbird GPS Helix 5 Fishfinder with the purchase of any predator kayak! Read more about the Predator PDL here.
HONORABLE MENTION: OLD TOWN TOPWATER PDL
Not looking to spend quite that much on your fishing kayak? Well Old Town now has you covered this year. With their new Topwater Series they have launched the Topwater PDL. Not only does this boat feature Old Town’s best in class pedal drive system and come in at under $2000.00, but at 10’6” and under 100lbs it is a much more manageable boat for car-topping or carrying longer distances. This boat is already a staff favorite, and is sure to be a favorite of our customers in 2019. Read more about the Topwater PDL here.
BEST FAMILY-FREINDLY / TANDEM OPTION - OLD TOWN DIRIGO TANDEM PLUS
When you want to paddle with a friend or your family, our pick is the Dirigo 155T Tandem kayak. This two-seater boat has room for two adults plus one kids' jumper seat, making it ideal for families. It's never fun having to pick up the slack of your paddling partner, and luckily the Dirigo 155T is one of the most efficient paddling tandems we carry, making it much easier to get where you need to go with superior glide. The Dirigo 155T comes equipped with cup holders, making it an ideal option for the thirsty paddler, or simply offering a quick stash space with easy access to your essentials such as sunscreen. The two non-confining cockpit openings provide comfort you're looking for while exploring the river or lake. Learn more about the Dirigo 155T Tandem...
BEST FOR LONG DAY TRIPS / HAULING GEAR - OLD TOWN NEXT CANOE
When you want to have space for plenty of camping gear or even your dog, or you are looking for extreme comfort for a long day of paddling, turn to the NEXT Hybrid. This boat paddles like a kayak, but hauls like a canoe. Because of the NEXT's canoe design, this boat offers space for the most comfortable, adjustable seat you could fit in a single paddler boat, while still allowing for easy kayaking-style paddling. If you are hauling lots of gear, the seat can be adjusted forwards or backwards to trim your kayak as well. Get more info on the NEXT...
BEST RECREATIONAL KAYAK - OLD TOWN LOON 120 KAYAK
This boat hasn’t topped the list as “Best Recreational Kayak” since its debut three years ago for no reason. The Loon Series from Old Town is your ideal recreational kayak, offering great tracking and speed for a recreational kayak. The Loon features a removable workdeck providing customizable space for cameras, water and gear. There's even a dry storage and USB charge port to keep your gadgets charged even after long hours on the water. Customers love the Active Comfort System 2.0 (ACS2) Seat that features easy and intuitive adjustments, under-leg support, and premium paddling and flow-through ventilation. The Loon comes in three different sizes to accommodate any type of paddler
• Loon 106: This 10'6" kayak is ideal for smaller, shorter paddlers. Its size makes maneuvering small rivers and small lakes easy. The smallest Loon available, this is also the lightest of the three options for easy transportation.
• Loon 120: This 12" version is designed for paddlers who need a little more space than the Loon 106, but don't need the full capacity of the Loon 126.
• Loon 126: At 12'6", this Loon handles the most weight of the loon series, with a maximum load capacity of 450 pounds.
BEST FOR THE BEGINNERS & CHILDREN - OLD TOWN VAPOR 10 & HERON JR KAYAKS
New to paddling? Looking to pick up a new hobby to enjoy during those warm summer months? We've got the best boat for you. We recommend trying the Vapor 10 from Old Town. The Vapor 10 model is inexpensive for what it offers, including a roomy cockpit, extremely stable design for unsteady or new paddlers, and even works great for anglers. This boat can also handle a lot of weight for its size, with a maximum load capacity of 275-325 pounds at just 10 feet in length. For youth paddlers under 115 pounds, try theHeron Jr. Parents love that it comes with the tag along system, so you can drag your tired paddler home after a long day on the water.
The Heron Jr. was designed to be nimble and maneuverable for the smaller paddler. This extremely efficient kayak is lightweight, glides and tracks well.
BEST ALL AROUND CANOE - OLD TOWN GUIDE 147
The popular Guide 147 canoe from Old Town represents a breakthrough in design and construction, providing a durable, stiff and affordable canoe. This boat features a unique cross-section and stabilizing chines, delivering exceptional stability as well as rugged durability. Paddlers love that it is stable enough for fishing or nature watching, yet versatile enough for family outings. Learn more...
BEST BOAT FOR THE GREAT LAKES- CURRENT DESIGNS SISU
With the demand for “big water” boats rising, as well as the addition of our Port Washington store, we knew we needed to find the perfect boat for those heading out on Lake Michigan. After paddling the Sisu, we knew this was the one! The Sisu is a great all around “sea kayak” that is equipped to handle meandering paddles along the shore, day tours, or even a multi-day camping trip. Since this boat can really do it all in terms of big water paddling, it is extremely user friendly for aspiring beginners, and allows for the rapid development no matter where your paddle takes you. It is also roomier than most sea kayaks in its class, allowing bigger paddlers (or those packing a ton of gear) ample room. We love this boat, and know you will too!
2019 STAFF PICK - CURRENT DESIGNS KESTREL 140
This boat holds the top spot in this category for a second year in a row. Again, we went out and paddled almost every boat on the market, before selection our 2019 assortment, and the Kestrel wins again! The Kestrel 140 hits that sweet spot between a touring and recreational kayak. With its swede form design and v shaped hull this boat has exceptional tracking and the ability to cut through choppy water yet it still offers confidence-building stability and maneuverability with all of the creature comforts you would expect from a high end recreational kayak. This kayak is great for those looking to upgrade to a higher performance boat or for those just starting out who want a boat that they will be able to grow into and can tackle larger water and longer paddles. The Kestrel also comes in a 12 foot version and a 12 foot composite ultralight version for those looking for a smaller/lighter/more maneuverable kayak that still tracks well on open water. Learn more here.
BEST NEW BOAT FOR 2019 – OLD TOWN TOPWATER PDL
So nice we list in twice! To reiterate: Old Town’s best of class PDL Drive, under 100 lbs, great maneuverability while maintaining stability with a 450lb weight capacity, and all under $2000.00. What’s not to like?
BEST BOAT FOR THE BOUNDARY WATERS - WENONAH MINNESOTA II ULTRALIGHT W/KEVLAR
Now this is a canoe. Measuring 18' 6" long and 35" wide this boat can handle all of your gear, yet at only 42 pounds it is a breeze to handle on any length portage. But enough about room for gear and what this boat can do out of the water. The Minnesota II is the most efficient, straight tracking, tandem tripping canoe on the market. This canoe can handle any length trip with all of your gear, but it is also a dream to take out for a quick day paddle with your best paddling mate. Paddling this boat is just plain fun. We prefer the Ultralight w/ Kevlar model for it's combination of durability and light weight, but as South Eastern Wisconsin's premier Wenonah dealer, we would be happy to help you build the canoe of your dreams. From hull materiel, to seat to type, to the beautiful wood trim, we can help you pick out a boat that is truly your own.
BEST ACCESSORY FOR 2019 - MALONE DOWNLOADER 2 PACK w/SPEEDLINES
Okay, we know this isn't a canoe or kayak, but we had to share it with you since it is our favorite accessory that can make your life a lot easier when packing up to hit the road on your next kayaking adventure. The Malone Downloader has been around for a while and has been a staff favorite for many years, but last year we introduced the 2 pack and it quickly became a customer favorite! Not only does the 2 pack come in at under the cost of 2 sets of Malone Downloaders, but we have included the Malone Speedline ratchet tie downs into the kit to ensure your boats are well secured for any length trip. This is by far the best and most secure way to transport multiple boats from point A to point B while knowing that unloading and loading will be a breeze. Less time loading and unloading = more time on the water.