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Submitted: 10-11-2011 by davidmichael
My wife (age 72) and I (age 75) just finished a 10-day kayak camping trip on the Green River from the State Park to the confluence with the Colorado in Utah (about 120 miles). Wowzee! What a great trip.
My wife has a brand new Manitou 14 and mine is more than two years old. (Her Old Town Cayuga 13 was stolen during the past summer. Bummer!) We had few problems with either kayak. Necky has made a major design improvement on the hatch covers. They used (mine) to be a pain in stretching the neoprene inner cover to secure the hatch. Now...it's easy (hers). Nice going Necky! However, prepare for a little leaking in the rear hatch of either model. So...just make sure to use dry bags. The skeg plays a role in this. I personally love the skeg, as does my wife, who chose the Necky because it does have a skeg and keeps the Manitou on track in high winds. But...it takes up hatch space. And...when I recovered my kayak at the end of the trip from the shuttle operator , guess what? The skeg was gone! Yikes! Somehow through dragging on the sand or getting caught on rocks in some the of the lower water rapids (class one) it must have broken off. So, I'll call Necky next week and find out what can be done.
Otherwise, I love this kayak as it's a good all around kayak. Now that we have used it for small and large rivers, streams, and lakes, we will take it to B.C. next year and kayak the ocean bays. Also...we carried 10 days of food and camping stuff, took along a MSR water filter for drinking water. This kayak carries an amazing amount of camping equipment including a small tent. A bit like backpacking on the water. Two hatches are very, very important if thinking of camping with a kayak.
I give the Necky Manitou 14 a thumbs-up and recommend it strongly. (Personally I was disappointed to learn they moved their operation from the Northwest to Old Town, Maine.) It seems that when a larger company buys out a smaller one such as Necky or Old Town by Johnson Outdoor Products, there is a lot of enthusiasm lost in the process. Old Town factory in Old Town, Maine, is a shell of what it once was and their spirits (IMHO) have dropped significantly. My motto...keep it small and personal! But it's better than building kayaks in China. So a strong salute to Necky and Old Town!!!
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