Earlier this year, my parents and I split the cost of a new kayak, something we’ve been thinking of purchasing for a few years now. We bought it from our local Canadian Tire for around CAD $999. After accessorizing paddles, roof mounts, and other various items the final total was bumped up towards CAD $1200. We decided on the Evoke Algonquin 12-ft. *Edit: Be sure to read to the end for a 6-month update*
We’ve had a canoe up at the lake for years, but it’s extremely heavy, hard to maneuver, and a pain to take out for longer trips. After spending a significant amount of time in Algonquin Provincial Park last year, I aspired to find more time to spend outdoors, and so I felt it was finally time to bite the bullet and look for a boat that could both be used at the cottage for a good workout, and something that could potentially be taken out into the backcountry on weekend portage camping trips. Seeing as most new lightweight canoes will set you back upwards of CAD $5000, the next best option for us was to look for a kayak which could check off the same wish list as a canoe, but at a more reasonable price, resulting in the purchase of the Evoke Algonquin 12-ft.
Fast forward to this past weekend, and the water was finally warm enough (46 ℉) to feel confident that I could attempt to take it out for a spin without risking death if I fell overboard. I had been in a kayak once before at my buddy Alex’s cottage, and I came pretty close to going for an unwanted swim several times, so I was skeptical about my chances of staying dry this time around.
In the end, the new kayak proved to be extremely roomy, stable, and tracked in the water like a dream. It took some thinking, but I was also able to get in and out of the kayak pretty easy. It’s still a bit of a heavier boat at 56 pounds, but I didn’t really feel it during the paddle, and it was easy enough to carry. Some of the features include an adjustable seat and foot rests, 2 storage compartments, 2 rod holders, and a removable front dash. I’m yet to try and stash any overnight gear in it yet, but it looks like there’s plenty of room for some potential camping trips later this summer. (Update: it was a little tight and took some thinking, but I was able to fit several days worth of gear into the boat with limited effect on comfort and manuverability)
The total length of the maiden voyage ended up being around 4 km, and took about an hour, the most of which was used up getting a feel for paddling, fiddling with things, and stopping to take some pictures. After about a week straight of rain, it turned out to be a calm, warm, and overall really nice day for a trip out on to the lake.
Despite being 10 days into May, the tree’s have yet to show their leaves. I didn’t take a picture of it, but there was actually a large pile of snow and ice still holding on for dear life a little ways back into the forest. I figure there’s still another week or so until the leaves start to appear, and while it looks dreary at the moment, it means that the blackflies and mosquitos are still yet to arrive, so it’s not all bad.
Overall, the kayak’s maiden voyage turned out to be a great success, and I’ve got big plans for it in the coming months, most of which involve Algonquin Park in some respect. However, before I do that I figure the kayak should have a name, because you know, all proper boats do.
So if you’ve got a suggestion for a name, or have any questions about the kayak itself, let me know in the comments below!
*6 Month Update*:
In my opinions, the Algonquin Evoke 12-ft kayak has turned out to be a very good purchase, and I recommend it if your in the market for a kayak. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! Here’s a quick summary of the boat’s pros and cons thus far:
- I still find it easy to carry and transport
- It withstood an entire summer of admittedly pretty rough use with only a few scratches
- The color held up flawlessly despite being in the sun 24/7
- It tracks very well in the water and feels incredibly stable, even under light chop
- Enough storage for overnight camping trips
- The centre-console is fantastic
- The hull rarely warped, but quickly bounced back when it did
- The seat is fairly comfortable and never became an issue while paddling
- The adhesive/glue on the knee padding started to peel on very hot days, but I was able to get it to restick
- The seat-back adjustment is very weak and will fold under pressure if fully extended. You’re best to either keep it at the lowest position or brace it with something to remedy this.
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*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*
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