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Reviews for Manitou 13 Kayak by Necky Kayaks


Rated: 9.31/10 Based On: 68 Reviews

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08-15-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Follow up to my review from a year ago (2012-07-19).
After using it through the fall and then again in the spring and this summer, it still rates as a 9. The only thing preventing this from being a 10 is the lack of a storage hatch in the front. I've purchased a velcro strap-on item from REI to compensate for that lack and it works pretty well.

A few comments to my negatives and positives to add on to this kayak review.

1. The neoprene cover is MUCH easier to put on as I've figured out what to do and how to do it! I don't use it frequently but can now get it on in the first or second attempt.
2. and 2A still an issue but the strap on works fine as a stop-gap. If I ever go on an extended trip with this I'll probably find that it's more of an issue than it is right now.
3. The drain plug would be great but I find that it's not really an issue for me.

Positives
1. I still find this one of the lighter kayaks that I've had to lift and move those times that I've been in a group.
2. Turns out I had the foot brace set too far forward on the leg that fell asleep. Since I've adjusted the braces to the correct length, I've had no issues, even after a 6 hour paddle. The seat is fine although a little bit of padding would make it a bit more comfortable.
3. I have no problems with tracking or maneuverability. Turning is a piece of cake (nothing too sharp and nothing in fast moving water so can't comment on those types of turns). Those short wide ones that some of my friends have purchased make some pretty wide turns and if the wind is strong, it makes it that much harder for them to turn. I haven't had that problem at all.
4. Stability is just as good as I mentioned a year ago. I've been out in 3 foot swells now (not big but still big compared to most of the flat water we have in Indiana) and am not concerned about capsizing. I've been out in strong winds as well (20-30 MPH gusts) and have no issue with possible capsizing or drift. I did purchase a spray skirt after that trip to minimize the amount of water I got dosed with as well as the amount getting into the cockpit.
6. As I've gotten better and stronger, speed is better but I'm not racing anyone. I'm usually enjoying the time by myself on the water.

As of right now, this is the perfect kayak for what I'm doing and I feel no need to upgrade or look for a better boat. I still consider myself a beginner and this is one that I would recommend to my friends if they're on the market for a kayak.

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08-13-2013
Submitted by: srSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Very happy with this kayak after taking it on a 3 mile creek trip. Tracked well and handled great. The seat is adjustable and very supportive. The dry well stayed dry after a submerging and the yak was easy to drain by rolling it over.
Strongly recommend for value and quality in a recreational kayak.

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07-27-2013
Submitted by: ALSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love my Manitou 13. It has served me very well for many years. I started with a smaller Zydico Dagger but had trouble keeping up with the gang. Now they are trying to keep up with me. It's a plastic boat and is getting a bit heavy for me (55 lbs) but I am still crazy about my kayak. I think I will replace the Dagger with a Manitou 11 so I will have two of them.
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05-10-2013
Submitted by: chris
Rating: 8 of 10

     I got my 13' Necky last year but only did moving water... until this spring. I did a long flat water and it pulls HARD left. Once I stopped compensating and paddled same depth, length and reach and was doing a beast circle left...
is it me or the boat? Never happened in any others...

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04-30-2013
Submitted by: Steve Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This boat is ok but the Old Town Cayuga 13.6 is much better kayak I have owned both, and the Cayuga has two hatches and more room and tracks much better, you have more control.
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07-19-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just bought a used Necky Manitou 13 and took it out for the first time last weekend on a flat water reservoir with the occasional 1-2 ft. swells from passing watercraft. You would think that I would have kayaked a bunch while growing up on a lake but sailing, swimming and fishing took precedence. I worked at quite a few camps in the summer while in college and had the opportunity to take a kayak out once but I haven't been back in a kayak in over 20 years. I have a bunch of friends who have kayaks of their own and have been holding impromptu events over the summer. I started thinking about getting one for myself (my wife isn't a big water person) around Memorial Day and then started getting really serious about a month ago.

I went to the local outdoor specialist store (NOT a box store) and told them my requirements - something that I won't want to upgrade within a year, light and portable since it's just going to be me, tracks well and easy to maneuver. They sold Wliderness System and Perception kayaks (to name two in particular) but I didn't want to spend the money they were asking for a new one. The one thing I DID get from them was to not settle for something less than 12' in length (although I looked at quite a few smaller ones anyway). I started to look at Craig's List and then checked this site for reviews of the kayaks that were being sold. On a drive by, one of the smaller outfitters had a kayak on a saw horse. Called and found out it was the Necky Manitou 13, it was used and was still for sale. Almost every review was a positive one (8 or higher) so I pulled the trigger and bought it.

I took it out for an almost 9 mile paddle for my first trip out (and second time ever kayaking) and really enjoyed the experience. I'm glad that I ended up with this one but I'll start with the negatives first. Also, I'm just shy of 6', have size 10 shoes and weigh 175.

1. The neoprene cover for the hatch is a bear to put on. This has been mentioned by multiple people. Once I get the hang of it I'm sure it will be easier to deal with but that first time was a struggle.
2. This is probably due to me being new to kayaking but the rear storage hatch, while great for putting stuff into isn't the most easily accessible thing while in the water. I ended up keeping my drinking water in front of me the entire trip (it was a larger 2 liter type).
2A. Lack of a small front storage area. Me nitpicking but it would be nice to put the keys there instead of in my pocket. I ended up buying a small Pelican watertight box this week with a carbiner to attach to my webbing so it can hold my phone, wallet and keys.
3. No drain plug. I never capsized but I did get in and out a few times. I turned it over and lifted either the bow or stern and got most of it out but a plug would make it just that much easier I think.
4. The rear paddle "storage" area isn't really that user-friendly while in the water, although for dry storage I'm sure it would be great!

That's it. Mostly small things.

Now for the positives.
1. Extremely light for it's size. I helped some others carry their kayaks down to the launch and I could tell the difference between the weight of theirs and mine. At 13 feet this weighed less than all the 10 footers (with the exception of one). It was a breeze to carry by myself, although my arms, tired after the long paddle, protested the lift up to the roof rack!
2. The seat was great! I got it as upright as I could but even after four hours I felt no discomfort. I had been told that you'll want to move around a bit to keep your butt from being uncomfortable, but I never had to. My back never complained either. The only issue I had was that my left leg started to fall asleep at the end of my paddle but I'm attributing that to the fact that the leg usually doesn't stay in that position for that long a time.
3. Maneuverability/tracking was great. After the first ten minutes it was pretty obvious that my right stroke is the stronger of the two but it still tracked pretty straight. Small corrections were quick and easy. There weren't that many tight turns involved but the few turns I did make were pretty easy to do I watched some of the smaller kayaks (but much wider ones) and they were struggling to turn around. There was only one place where wind was a factor but I had no issues whatsoever. Some of the other ones did. The couple of touring ones on the water in the paddle were fine as well.
4. Stability - The kayaker that put this event together was concerned that I might capsize since my kayak was one of the narrower ones and I had only been out once before. It was never an issue, either on the water or getting into or out of it from the shore. I never felt concerned about going over, even with the occasional 1-2 foot swells from the passing motorboats. It cut right through the chop when I met them head on and I never wobbled when they caught me from the port or starboard sides.
5. Foot braces were easily adjusted while in the water. The first setting I had them too far and getting them to the length I needed was easy and fast. My size 10 feet never felt cramped.
6. Speed. I never had to strain to keep up with the more experienced and/or faster paddlers. The boat seemed to glide over the water. I never really tried for top speed but the GPS I had with me had me just over 5 mph a couple of times on a few of the longer straight-line stretches.

I'm very thrilled with my purchase. I don't know if I'll ever use it for camping excursions or not, but I'd feel pretty comfortable with the Manitou as my kayak for the tour should it happen. Storage and comfortability seem more than adequate. There seems to be room in the bow leg area for extra gear should I need it. I highly recommend this kayak for beginners as it's stable, lightweight and easy to maneuver.

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08-20-2011
Submitted by: CBSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     CB back again.
After a week and 5 trips out in varying conditions the new Manitou is being the champ I expected. A little weather cocking in heavy wind but otherwise as easy to track as a 13' boat could be. Smooth all around and comfortable to use and transport. The low 45# weight is a big plus. Enjoy. New model hatch stays dry and is easy to use.

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08-12-2011
Submitted by: CBSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This review is likely premature but I thought I'd share why I choose to buy this kayak. I spent last week in a WS Tsunami 125 and loved it. Rock solid and good in wind and swells (coastal bays). Almost bought one. But it seemed too big/loose for my frame (5'8" @ 155#) and was a bit too heavy to jump on every chance to load on the car. I really wanted to get something lighter that I'd be more likely to motivate towards (after work, etc.) I sat in the Manitou 13 at the store and the fit really worked and I wasn't challenged picking it up solo and loading it on the car (it's 45# vs. 52#+ for the Tsunami and most other 12'+ poly boats). The Manitou seems pretty basic but the edges, thigh braces and seat are all smooth and easy to get comfortable with. I'm taking it out on it's first run tomorrow and I'm optimistic. If I'm surprised I'll send an updated review that isn't a 10!
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01-06-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     When we decided to buy our first kayaks, we knew nothing. I bought a Perception Pacifica and my husband bought a Dagger Blackwater. The Pacifica was a tub, but I didn't know the difference because I didn't paddle anything else. Well, let me tell you--after renting Necky Manitou kayaks one day on the Allegheny, we were hooked. What a great kayak!

I sold the Perception, at a huge loss and couldn't be happier--I was going to buy a Necky Manitou 13. Since then, my husband sold his Dagger and bought a Manitou 13 as well. We both kayak Boreal Design kayaks for our big trips, but the Manitou kayaks are just as nimble and for 1/4th the price.

We initially purchased them to take to Florida for the winter. We thought we would leave them there to alleviate bringing them back and forth every season. We can't do it. We love them so much, we bought 2 more, and are going to have them both north and south. We love them that much. I am small 5'0 and 115, my husband is 5'10 and 190--the fit and comfort of paddling is the same for both of us. They are responsive and track really well. And they are relatively fast if you need speed. The seat is amazingly comfortable, and easily adjustable. They are easy to transport and durable in both fit and finish. The only downside is the hatch cover. If you use your knee to hold one side, the other side slips on easy enough.

All said, we now own a fleet of 4 which we will transport back and forth in order to introduce all of our friends to the wonderful sport of kayaking. We highly recommend these kayaks!

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11-06-2009
Submitted by: MH
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Necky 13 is the first kayak we purchased. I've taken it out on Lake Ontario in 2 1/2' waves & it rides fine - even sideways. It's very stable. The only time I dumped it accidentally was on the Moose River and that was my fault - I had grabbed a tree branch & the current pulled me sideways. I'd recommend this boat to anyone. I weigh almost 200# & am 5'6 and it rides just as well as for my adult children who are 140 - 160 & 5'8 - 5'10" I love this boat.
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11-02-2009
Submitted by: rwleatherSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased a polyethelene Manitou 13 a month ago after many months of researching and "test driving" boats. I had initially decided upon a Manitou 14 simply because I felt the extra bulkhead would afford me options that the single bulkhead Manitou 13 may not. In any case a very good deal on a 13 came up and I opted for it. I have paddled 4 or 5 times since purchasing and as mentioned earlier, since I was already somewhat familiar with the boat there were no surprises. I can tell you that, as advertised, these boats do indeed perform as though you are paddling something longer. The 13 has no rudder and doesn't need one, in my opinion. Each time I paddle I'm reminded of how well it tracks and how easy it is to maneuver. I've paddled mostly rivers, sheltered bays, lakes with this boat to date and I've thoroughly enjoyed each outing. I love the ease of transporting (45 lbs) and the comfort of the extrasport seat as well as the ease of entry and exit (I'm 175 and 5'11" and have LOTS of room) and overall stability. Just my humble novice opinion, for what its worth.
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07-27-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Manitou 13 by Necky is a well designed recreational kayak which presents the paddler with supple performance and versatility. Whether used by a beginner or by an experienced paddler, the Manitou proves to be easily handled and requires minimal skill to use. The overall stability and tracking of the 12' 10" polyethylene kayak is phenomenal, and its responsiveness to turning and maneuverability is equally as impressive.

The Manitou is not designed for speed but it can easily keep up with its longer and sleeker compadre (Old Town Cayuga 130). Weighing a mere 45 pounds, the Manitou is well balanced is just as easily carried by one person as two. Constructed of highly resilient polyethylene plastic, the Manitou is extraordinarily durable and virtually indestructible under normal conditions (note: the only enemy of plastic kayaks is the sun, please store your boat away from direct sunlight).

Because of the its ease of paddling, high stability, and responsiveness the Manitou is a great entry level kayak and proves to be a great fit for all paddlers of different ages and sizes. Outfitted with a generic ExtraSport foam seat with seat back, the kayak is comfortable after long paddles and the seat is easily adjusted. The Manitou is designed with a relatively large cockpit which makes entry and exit easy both on and off the water. The Manitou 13 is outfitted with only a rear bulkhead and hatch unlike its fourteen foot big brother which has both a for and aft arrangement. An inflatable flotation bag is highly recommended for the bow since the Mantou's lack of a front bulkhead (like most rec kayaks in that class). The one hatch on the Manitou is not watertight and is secured only by a neoprene cover with a top plastic shell. Dealing the the neoprene hatch cover is a headache to reattach after it's been removed and should be redesigned by Necky. Other than the outfitting flaw of the rear hatch, the Manitou is a fantastic light-touring sea kayak and is highly recommended to anyone looking for a stable and very durable recreational kayak at a reasonable price tag.

Stability- 10
Tracking- 8
Manouverbility- 8
Recommended Skill Level- All

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07-12-2009
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     It has been shy of a year since I first sat down in the cockpit of my blue Necky Manitou 13 and what a year it has been! This kayak has been on the water in a profuse amount of excursions from the bayous/rivers/lakes of south Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to the coastal waters/barrier islands off Mississippi/Alabama along with stints in Mobile Bay as well. I'm glad I decided on this kayak after all the research and positive reviews posted on this website. The Manitou 13 has been a faithful vessel. The following review comes from a standpoint of someone with 1+ years of experience along with basic sea kayaking and rescue training.
    Personal notes:
  • It is incredibly stable. I have yet to accidentally flip this yak or have I ever felt close to do so. It took an intentional roll while practicing wet exits to turn it upside down the first time and even then I had to really lean to the side. The roughest water I've taken it in has been 3-4 ft swells with moderate winds and never once did I worry about my safety in this department.
  • It tracks straight. Now I don't have experience with kayaks that have retractable skegs or rudders, so I cannot compare with them. This kayak does have a molded skeg in its hull that does the trick. From my limited experience, I've found that as long as my left to right stokes are equal in their application and not barring wind or current, this kayak stays true. If the wind or water does push me off course, a simple J lean corrects the deviation.
  • It can keep up with the big boys. Once I got my forward stroke efficiently tuned, I found that I was able to keep pace with a composite yak costing 3 times more. Now keep in mind I was probably working much harder in the Manitou then in this true sea kayak, but I was keeping up. I must note that a quality touring paddle is essential.
  • Rescue techniques can be accomplished in this boat. Paddle float re-entries are a piece of cake with the Manitou. The stern deck immediately behind the seat is recessed to allow the shaft of a paddle to sit under the bungees. This in company with the stable shape of hull makes it a breeze. T-Rescues can be done with practice. Due to the size of the cockpit and no forward bulkhead, the Manitou can be challenging to drain when it is swamped with water. The cockpit combing also creates suction to the water when upside down. With dexterity and strength it can be drained in open water with the T-Rescue technique. The self-done draining method done at the bow of the kayak can be extremely difficult to successfully perform. It has been suggested that a few well-placed non-leaking dry bags placed in the bow along side the foam pillar would lesson the amount of water that the Manitou takes in. I have yet to try this.
  • At just under 13ft and about 45lbs, the Manitou is easily manageable. Loading up the yak onto a car, portage to the water and even carrying it up the stairs to my third floor apartment is easy.
  • The water displacement/cockpit size is adequate for many body types. I'm of average build at 5' 8" and 168 lbs. I've had no issues with foot placement on the foot pegs or discomfort with the seat/cockpit. My brother on the other hand who is 6'2" and 260 lbs was able to use the kayak. However, the water line did seem high and he had trouble getting in/out of the cockpit. We were able to find a comfortable foot peg adjustment for him. Though, at his size, I would only recommend the use of this kayak in calm flat water. Very large builds may want to look elsewhere.
  • I do wish I had the 2009 model for one reason. The 2009 Manitou has the Comfort Fit thigh pads as standard. My 2008 model has a thin padding on the inside of the cockpit and combing area. Without good thigh pads, it is hard to perform competent J-leans,hip snaps and other techniques. I'll be outfitting with the Comfort Fit pads here in the future. The new model remedies this, so I suppose this is only my problem.
  • The Extrasport seat could use some refinement in my opinion. The foam backrest separates from the plastic frame of the seat when I practiced wet re-entries. This same problem occurs with my friend who has the same kayak. The foam does reset back on the plastic, but only after some sweat and toil on dry land. The backrest also grabs your clothes, PFD, or junk while sliding in the cockpit after a wet re-entry. However, this seat was built for recreation and it probably wasn't designed with re-entry in mind. Another outfitting project will be to replace the Extrasport backseat with a sea kayaking back band.
  • The polymer material used in the construction is durable. I've knocked it into obstacles in and out of the water with no damage but a minor scratch here and there. In the beginning I was careless in launchings and landings at boat ramps and this has lead to some scratches underneath. That is expected. This kayak is best kept indoors or covered if possible whenever it's not going to be used for long periods. A fellow yakker who bought her Manitou the same time I bought mine leaves it under a carport uncovered. It is sheltered from the sun, but in one years time the hull color has lightly faded and the bungees are discolored too. After paddles, I rinse my kayak off and keep it indoors when not in use. In contrast to her Manitou, the color of mine looks the same the day it was picked up at the store.
  • There have been numerous complaints in previous reviews about the neoprene hatch cover. Yes, it can be troublesome if you don't approach it with the right technique. Simply hold down part of the cover with your knee while stretching the cover over the combing with both hands from left to right. This works every time. The cover does keep almost all the water out. I've had the kayak upside down in the water many times practicing re-entries and only a minute amount of water creeps in.
In conclusion, I must add that some of my negatives with this kayak arise with from the fact that I use it beyond its intended purpose of recreation. I personally feel that this kayak meets and exceeds everything required in a recreational kayak and more if you have the skill to handle rougher conditions. Necky built this one right and I have little doubt I will stray from their brand when I upgrade many years from now.

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06-27-2009
Submitted by: Sam
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought a 13' Necky a year ago for my wife. I use it almost every day. We did 12 miles on open water into a 25-30 MPH head wind. I was paddling a 17' Current Designs Storm GT and she had no trouble keeping up in the Necky. This is a great all round boat. I fish from it and use it for day trips. It's very stable and paddles easy. Great value. I have no regrets. If you are looking at purchasing your first kayak, I highly recommend this boat. Once you get seated it's hard to turn over.
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05-12-2009
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought the Manitou 13 early January and have finally gotten out a few times this month. This is my first sit in kayak as past experience has been with WS Freedom and Tarpon 120 SOT kayaks.

To start with the pros, I purchased it on REI-Outlet.com site for an exceptional price when you factor a 20% discount coupon. The glide is smooth and it's relatively fast though have yet to race with it. The stability is forgiving and have yet to come close to tipping it. It's a manageable kayak, weight wise for portage and easy to get in and out.

On the con side, at 6'3" size 12 shoe, I've reached the comfort limits of the pedals and the height. I highly recommend that if you are interested and similar in shoe size to try it before you buy it. I also have had a challenge with the Neoprene hatch as noted in other reviews. I'm told it takes awhile to get the trick of securing the cover but time will tell.

With all things considered this is wonderful kayak and I rank it at 8 other then a 10 which it deserves due to the hatch and shoe/leg limitations.

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04-27-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I tested my Manitou 13 by paddling 5 miles upstream and back on a local river. I'm 6'1" 195# with a size 11 shoe. The boat fits me fine. I did not notice any discomfort in the knees with the simple foam padding in the knee brace area.

I expect to enjoy this lightweight kayak for many years to come. Add me to the long list of satisfied customers who have previously given this kayak a good review.

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12-02-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased a Manitou 13 recycled in a charcoal color and do a lot of paddling in the South Jersey and surrounding region. I found the Manitou to be very stable and easy to handle in the many twisty and turning rivers. The only problem is what every one complains about - the hatch. Other than that an awesome boat .
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09-09-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is a follow up to my earlier review of my Necky Manitou 13 (poly) that I posted a short while after buying it. I've had the Manitou now for about 3 months and have paddled about twice a week since then. I mostly paddle on local lakes, but have taken it to the coast one time. I am also relatively new to kayaking, just starting in May.

Likes:
The Manitou is fast for a boat its size and tracks very well. I never have any trouble paddling it straight, and I'm a newbie. It is also very stable and I've never come close to tipping it over. The seat is very comfortable, although I sometime get a little sore on longer paddles, possibly due to bad positioning on my part. The Manitou has plenty of shock cords to lashing things down and a rear hatch, but a small hatch in the front would be really nice for storing day-use stuff. It's also a nice looking boat with graceful lines like a British sea kayak, and I love the Fire (yellow-orange-red) fade of mine. The Manitou is also very light (45 lbs.) for a poly boat of its size and easy to load on a rack.

Dislikes:
I don't have any strong dislikes, but quickly regretted not buying the Manitou 14, which is slightly longer and has a front bulkhead and hatch. I have paddled the 14 and it performs almost identical to my 13, but the front hatch/bulkhead is an important feature for sea kayaking that I was ignorant about when I bought my 13. The 14 is also a little more buoyant and faster for someone my size, 5'11" and 190 lbs. However it is less maneuverable than the 13. The 14 also has a skeg, which frankly I don't think would be needed very often since the Manitou tracks so well without it.

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08-04-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought a lightly used Necky Manitou 13 off of Craigslist the day before yesterday, and, taking out for the first time last night, figured I'd post a review.

First, 12 feet, 10+ inches is both shorter and longer than I imagined, even after eliciting the help of a tape measure. At 45 pounds, the Manitou is almost a joke to pick up and move solo (I'm 27, 6', 145 lbs., swimmer's build), and really doesn't seem like an object nearly 13 feet long. That said, two inches longer and there'd be no way to get it up the stairs to my third floor apartment. It fits so-so in the back of my regular cab Colorado (6 foot bed). Being bright red on the prow means I don't need to tack on a flag, but even with the tailgate down, 5 feet of kayak hangs out (I have a hard tonneau cover, so there's no other way for me to transport it).

As far as performance goes, I've only ever used an inflatable tandem before (and that, only twice), but the Manitou feels fast, fast, fast. According to the GPS, I got it up to just shy of 6 MPH in short bursts, and my two 1.5 mile circuits of Park Lake took a little less than an hour, including time spent goofing off, watching people fish, and back-paddling to look at this, that, and the other. The Manitou tracks straight as an arrow—so straight, in fact, that I think it might be a little difficult to navigate any particularly twisty rivers. It's also very stable—the only way I came close to tipping it was when I was getting out. The foot pegs are nice to push against, easy to adjust, and help you keep your knees pressed against the knee braces. The seat is couchy, but I need to make a few adjustments when I have time to figure out all the straps (none of which seemed to get in the way of paddling, etc).

Regarding the hatch, follow the advice posted below about using your knee as a third hand. Simply hook one end of the neoprene seal under the lip, hold it in place with your knee, and stretch it over to the other side—takes all of five seconds. The guy I bought it from said the hatch is water tight—unless you roll it—even without the seal, but I've not tested that.

My only complaint—and this may simply be due to ignorance on my part—is that the slot for securing the paddle to the boat is behind the seat, rather than in front. I can't for the life of me figure out how to put the paddle in there while under way (if I wanted to, say, stop and have a sandwich).

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07-24-2008
Submitted by: PhrancisSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've had 5 poly kayaks over the years and I have to say that Necky really did their research on this one. Today I just sold a longer, sleeker, more attractive yak, with dual bulkheads, and rudder and decided to keep just one boat - my Manitou 13.

I loved that Perception Catalina/Carolina, but have come to the realization that at my weight (185 lbs) the boat is more unstable, uncomfortable, and "plows" through the water. By contrast, the shorter, wider Manitou 13 actually paddles faster, is more stable in rough conditions, is lighter weight (for car topping), and is way more comfortable overall. I have to admit that it isn't as attractive as other day tourers and I hate that neoprene hatch, but it's like an ugly Subaru, with more practicality and performance value. In the future, Id like to upgrade to a composite Manitou 14!

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07-11-2008
Submitted by: evanSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     So I picked up my newest boat last weekend, and it's the recycled Manitou which is the same as the new for 2008 Manitou select except comes in an awesome shade of "eco" green.

I test paddled a Manitou a few years ago and the added thigh and knee braces, more complete deck rigging, paddle float recess and improved foot braces make the recycled/select a major improvement over the more recreational oriented original. It's still by no means a touring boat, but boy is it fun. I've taken it out twice so far, once in some rough conditions in Jamaica bay, nyc right after I got it, just to try it out. Couldn't help myself! handled the 5 footers and major boat wakes no problem, I'd wear a skirt in those conditions though.

It's one of the fastest boats for its length I've ever paddled, the other day went out with my friend in his 14+ footer and I kept up with him no problem. Even in a 20 knot headwind it cruised. This thing literally dances on the water. light as a feather compared to my Tsunami, I can carry it one handed and car top it solo no problem (I'm 5'5" and drive a Cherokee).

Incredibly stable, and tracks excellent, though for novice or beginner paddlers it may take a little more time to perfect your stroke. for a more experienced paddler lookin to fill out the stable with a fast fun day touring boat that has all the features of a full sized touring yak this is definitely a good choice, haven't tried rolling it yet but seems like it wouldn't be a problem, paddle float re-entries are really easy too. I wanted to wait to post a review until I'd tried it out a bit more, but I know there's plenty of other people like me who want to know the difference between the select/recycled and the basic Manitou, so hope this is helpful.

Only complaint I have that keeps it from being a 10 is the hatch, and cover, if it was a dual density plastic one I would be much happier because those are rock solid, and this neoprene with plastic strap-on cover is hardly sufficient for keepin all your gear dry if going on an overnight. simple solution obviously, use dry bags, but i'm picky :)

Great boat, after I've had it in some more diverse conditions (ie rivers, tidal streams and a campin trip or two), I'll put an update if my thoughts have changed. if anything, the rating will go up! Happy paddlin, Necky nailed it with this one.

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06-20-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently bought a Manitou 13 after trying out a Manitou Sport for a couple of weeks. Although I liked the Sport's stability and maneuverability, I felt it was too small for me (5'11" and 190 lbs.). When paddling harder, the Sport's front would tend to plow and it made a lot of splashing noises. I exchanged it for a Manitou 13, which is faster, quieter and has no problems with the front plowing. The 13 is also quite stable and maneuverable. The only reason I didn't rate is higher is because I've only had the boat a short while and I'm pretty new to kayaking.
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05-22-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     My Manitou 13 is going to be two years old this August. Took it to my first race and placed first in the rec class 3 miler... Beat out a tandem by a few minutes!
Has to be one of the fastest sub-14 foot boats on the market, one of the best boats for the K1 Short racing class.

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12-14-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently purchased a Manitou and I am really impressed with the boat. I have been kayaking for about 20 years and have owned eight boats over these years. I took my Manitou out in the open Pacific today and found that it performed perfectly. Tracking, maneuvering, handling swells and waves, all done beautifully. The cockpit size is perfect for my 6"3" frame. Weight was a big factor for me because of back problems. At 45 lbs. this kayak is ideal.

Necky has corrected the only gripe from owners of the Manitou series. Adjusting straps for the seat used to be attached to the sides of the cockpit where they got in the way of your legs. Necky listened and corrected this. The Manitou is a fantastic boat.

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11-12-2007
Submitted by: Trent HardySend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I really enjoy this boat. I have a 17 ft fiberglass boat that I pretty much never use. I take my Manitou out in the ocean all the time and enjoy puttering about rocks, so the plastic is nice in terms of durability. The length makes it very maneuverable. I've had no problem edging or rolling it.

The only complaints I've got about it are: 1) the paddle float system is pretty lacking - could go for some buckled straps 2) the seat gets in the way when doing a re-entry 3) very little flotation in the bow...

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10-05-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought my Manitou 13 back in August and have been on the water almost every day since.
Love this boat! It tracks well, has the speed I need, and is easy to maneuver. The neoprene hatch cover was tricky at first, then I mastered it. I'm planning on keeping this baby for years to come, even though the lake I paddle can get ferocious from time to time.

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10-05-2007
Submitted by: jwSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Back in March 2006, I gave the Manitou a rating of 5 after just purchasing it. Since then I have used and probably abused my Manitou many times and had nothing but great pleasure with it. Great kayak.
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10-02-2007
Submitted by: DSSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Around April of this year I wrote a positive review for the Necky 13. Gave it a 9 out of 10 mainly because I had trouble with the rear hatch cover. Well I have taken the advice of simply using one knee to hold the cover down and work the rest around the rim. Works like a charm! Both my wife and I can do this on our own within a matter of seconds. So I am changing my rating to a 10. We love these kayaks. They make kayaking a pleasure.
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09-27-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought a Necky Manitou to fill out a stable full of kayaks -- Pungo 12, Dagger Delta, FeelFree Nomad, Tarpon 100, Dagger Zydeco. I wanted a boat that was longer but not too long, able to do flat water and mild rapids, pack some gear, be smoother and faster than what I had already. The Manitou has filled that wish list very well, and I'm very pleased. It's incredibly smooth and fast for a boat its size. It's fairly maneuverable -- no whitewater boat, but I've had it on Class II rapids that it handled without a problem. It's got a nice hatch for carrying stuff -- I finally figured out the somewhat annoying fabric hatch cover, which takes some practice. The seat is very comfortable, but if there was something I'd change, it would be the straps that hang on either side of the cockpit, for adjusting the seat, as someone else mentioned. But this is a minor caveat. Overall this is one of the best boats I've ever paddled, and for the price I think it's hard to beat.
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08-09-2007
Submitted by: DawneM (Willie
Rating: 10 of 10

     I wrote a review back in September of 2004 about the Necky Manitou that I had just purchased. At the time I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Well, three years hence, and hundreds of miles of paddling through flat water and miles of rocks and rapids, I am here to say that I still love my Necky boat.

I recently spent a three day weekend on the Grand River in Ontario, Canada and enjoyed every minute of the journey. I truly would not trade my boat for anything and would highly recommend this craft for anyone who enjoys a fun paddle.

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06-11-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Great kayak. Highly recommend. Lightweight. Tracks great. Very fast. Comfortable seat. Fits like a glove.

Only feature I do not like about the kayak is the neoprene cover on the hatch. It is impossible to put on. Even the sales rep could not get it on without my help. I cut my own rubber gasket and glued it to the inside of the hatch and do not use the neoprene cover.
Necky needs to address this issue and redesign.

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05-08-2007
Submitted by: HKSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     i wowrk at a canoe and kayak store in lethbridge( highlevel canoes and kayaks) and i paddle a manitou 13 kayak i find it really good on lakes. i did add in some knee braces and found it easy to roll and great out on the ocean. i find that this boat is great for slow rivers lakes and oceans even. also good for any paddeler
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04-30-2007
Submitted by: DSSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I thought it about time to write my reveiw of the Manitou 13 since I've owned it now for over a year and have had it out quite a number of times. Last year I purchased 2 of these kayaks after reading many reviews on all kinds of boats. I was most impressed by all the imput about the Manitou 13, so after a lot of thought my wife and I took the big step and made our purchase. I was very nervous, especially for my wife...not knowing how she would do. Well, she absolutely loves her kayak and is totally at rest with it on the water. That impressed me very much. The stability is all that I read it would be, and at the same time the design of the kayak allows it to be exceptionally smooth on the water. I love the speed, and the manueverability that this boat offers. I read in quite a few reviews about the seat adjustments being a problem, and that they got in the way, so I thought that's just something we would have to live with. Well, the truth is that my wife and I have had none of those difficulties at all. In fact the seat adjustment set-up has worked really well for us. I'm right at 5' 11" tall and way approx. 165 lbs. I'm 60 yrs of age, and have some on going back problems, and am very greatful for the weight of the kayak not being over 45 lbs. As you can tell, my wife and I are very happy with our purchase, and are having a great time with our times out on the water, which mostly lakes, slow streams, and tital waters. To be thoroughly honest, and the only reason I can think of to not rate the Manitou 13 with a 10, is that the hatch cover in the rear of the boat is hard to put back on after it is taken off.....we think twice before considering using it, which is unfortunate. Guess I need more practice. Overall it is a great boat!!
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03-19-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is the first kayak that I've owned since I only started paddling about 18 months ago. I did quite a bit of online research and visited local kayak shops to determine which kayak was best. The sales person at the local shop was recommending a 14 foot or longer kayak but the Necky Manitou 13 has been perfect for what I needed. I have used this kayak in the tidal rivers and creeks of southeastern Virginia under various climate and water conditions and haven't had any problems. Recently invested in a splash jacket and splash skirt to provide more comfort and warmth during winter paddles. Overall I recommend this kayak.
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09-21-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     this is my third kayak and I love it. It tracks well, and moves with little effort through the water.
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09-01-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This my fourth kayak in about 20 years or so. And, it'll probably be my last, since I'm now 75 yrs old. I test paddled the Manitou 14 about a month ago, and it felt just about right for my 225 pounds, so I bought it knowing full well that I could have made a mistake, since I only paddled it for about 5 minutes.

Now days, I only paddle once a year on my two week vacation up at Cape Cod which I've been doing for many years.. So, I was anxious to see wether this Manitou would be a folly or fun. This time it took me about ten minutes of paddling it to realize that I had made a wonderful choice. And, what I noticed was that for some reason, I could tilt the Manitou with my hips with each stroke, which made it a pleasure to paddle. The hip stroke actually made the tracking even that more easy. And, even without the hip action, it tracked just fine.

What I didn't like about the Manitou was the storage compartment covers which were a pain in the rear to secure. And, it seems that a lot of other kayaks have the same ridiculous rubber covers. They're simply too stiff to try and secure on... And, the cockpit back seat could be a bit more comfortable for this heavy guy. As for the skeg.... I don't do any rough water paddling, so I'm glad it's there, come time when I need to use it.

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08-14-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Got the boat delivered today, walked down to the water ten minutes later. Can agree that the seatback adjustment bolt point can be in the way, but it wasn't too bad for me. Spent a couple of hours on the water, ranging from tight three-foot wide rock-strewn channels to 1/4 mile wide areas with a foot of chop. Kayak handled all the conditions well, which was what I was looking for. Really looking forward to an after-work paddle now!
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07-31-2006
Submitted by: MTSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Manitous have made it to Ireland!, Just picked up my Manitou(13) today. Except for a holiday rental of a "sit on top" on a beach two years ago, its been about 20 years since I did any serious Kayaking, Back then I had a glass river/slalom kayak (unknown maker). Well I guess Kayaking is like riding a bicycle, After a wobbly entry, I was straight back into it , and I have to say the Manitou is a brilliant little boat, I think it is going to be just perfect for what I want (short river, estuary and coastal /fishing trips of 2-3 hours). Today for my re-introduction I spent about 1.5 hours on the local river estuary in calm conditions. I did not bother fitting the spraydeck and very little water entered the cockpit from paddle drips (This is why I believe "sit-ins" with not very large cockpits are best)

This boat tracks perfectly, and turns easily when required, I detected little if any difference from my old glass boat (glass boats are over-rated). Comfort is excellent, footpeg adjustment very neat, I have not quite figured out all the seat adjustments yet.

The Manitou feels a bit heavier than I expected solo loading on my car roof bars (maybe its just that I am short and the roof bars are high!), however I can't complain too much on that count as the Manitous weight is very reasonable for a plastic boat. The one complaint I had, and the reason I gave it a 9, is that shouldering the boat on its cockpit, was painful due to the relatively sharp inside edge, something that I imagine could be easily sorted, ok but this is being picky.

Overall top marks for the Necky Manitou, :-)

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06-28-2006
Submitted by: no name
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just bought this kayak a week ago, and I'm totally in love with it. I'm a beginner paddler, but I wanted to buy something with which I could grow, and have decent stability without sacrificing too much in the way of tracking. I think I found the best combination for my money in the Necky Manitou 13. I'm not completely green in my experience with kayaking, so I can say that it's more than just a beginner's boat, but it is very user friendly. It rode smoothly and straight (except for my lopsided paddling at times, but that's my fault, not the boat's). It's stable, too, I never felt too wobbly in it, even with my feet hanging out of the cockpit on either side when I was being lazy. At 700$ it was more than I was looking to spend, but I decided that it was worth it to make the investment in a mid-priced boat that will probably last me forever (or until I decide to upgrade). I'll update my review when I've used it more and I'm more experienced, but right now I'm incredibly happy with it.
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03-28-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought my Manitou the day after Thanksgiving in 2003. This was my first kayak, however I had paddled many other kayaks over the years before purchasing one of my own. To this day I am still amazed by the performance of this boat. I also own a QCC 700XL in the carbon/kevlar lay-up that I primarily use for racing, but I won't think twice about using the Necky on the tight and winding blackwater rivers and swamps located here in South Carolina. I have won the Winyah Rivers Challenge in Georgetown, SC and the Island Giant kayak race on the Isle of Palms(SC) in this little boat... Recreational class of course! I plan on racing it in a couple of weeks on the Canoochee River in GA and in preparation for that race I've been paddling it on the Edisto River here in S.C. Last weekend I paddled 8.7 miles using a borrowed Werner Shuna at a GPS confirmed average of 6.6 mph. The streamflow on that day was running around 1300 cfs (this is an estimate as the nearest gaging station is ~23 miles downstream). This little boat will absolutely fly! I also use it for the more lazy efforts and have shot many wonderful photos (at least that's what my friends call 'em!)from the cockpit of this boat. I've paddled this boat on overnight trips on the Lumber River(NC) and on Lake Jocassee(SC), however I'm sure the new Manitou 14 is more adept at hauling gear for the longer excursions. To this day I am absolutely, 100% satisfied w/ my purchase and would highly recommend this boat as a first boat or a competent river runner. Why only a 9? I never really cared for the ratcheting seat adjustment or the seat for that matter.... but that's nothing a little outfitting won't fix! Buy the Manitou, paddle it, and be amazed by it's performance!
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03-17-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     This February I purchased a Manitou 13. While checking it out at home I found it to be terribly deformed. When sitting in it, the right side was basically flat while the left side was rounded like a canoe. I called the dealer and exchanged it for another one. The second kayak seems to be symetrical left and right side but there are rough areas like medium sandpaper and small spurs of plastic on the surface. I contacted Necky about this by phone and e-mail and found them to be of no help. This review is only regarding my feelings about manufacturing quality control and partly Necky response. I have not had the kayak into water but anticipate it will perform beautifully.
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02-27-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am a 53 year old woman and have been paddling a canoe just about my entire life. About 5 years ago my husband and I decided to try kayaking while on a trip to the Adirondacks. We were instantly hooked! We paddled a tandem kayak because it seemed the natural progression from paddling a canoe together to paddling a kayak. So we tried a lot of different tandems and decided on the Old Towne Loon Tandem. We had some great trips with it, but all of our Kayaking friends had their own kayaks and I decided to try paddling on my own - and I loved it! The following year for Christmas I bought my husband an Old Towne Castine but come spring, I was begging for my own. We couldn't afford one that year so he frequently paddled the tandem by himself and I took his singel Castine. Well...the following spring I tried out a bunch of singles and actually settled on the Manitou without having the opportunity to paddle it, just bought it on the reccommendation of the paddlers and sales people at a local tent, camping and canoe/kayak store. I have not been disappointed at all. I LOVE this Kayak! And all of our friends who try it love it as well. It is light, fast, tracks fantastically and turns so responsively. We love to paddle rivers and streams with some white water, up to class II and it has always handled perfectly for me. Our streams here in the North East are very rock and boulder filled and my Necky Manitou navigates them with ease. It is stable yet not a "tugboat" at all, infact, I can easily keep up with all of the men that we kayak with. I purchased mine in 2005, but it was actually a 2004 model and the seat in mine is way more comfortable than the new one that they are using. My only complaint is the positioning of the things to adjust the seat with, they bump into my knees when I get in and out of the kayak and you can't rest your knees up when you are just floating because they bump into the adjusment things. But other than that, I have never been in a better kayak! I can't wait for some warm weather to get out on that water in my Banana Yellow Manitou!
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10-06-2005
Submitted by: knfSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I owned two Manitous, a Pungo 140, and three kids Carolina 12 for couple years now and I am very pleased with the Manitou’s performance. My family paddle in Minnesota and Wisconsin rivers and lake. We (me, my wife and four kids-ages 5, 6, 7, 9) went river camping several times the past couple years and had a blast. The Manitou should be able to hold enough gear for a weekend trip. I am 5'7" and 200lb, but I don't seem to have problem with the seat adjustments at all as others have observed. It's quite comfortable for me and my wife. In fact, the wilderness Pungo 14 with the 3-phase seating is quite uncomfortable for both of us. I have backache with the Pungo seat after paddling for a few hours whereas I don't experience the same with the Manitou.

I even took my brother-in-law to Wolf River in Wisconsin and we paddled the Manitous in solid class III white water without problem. He tipped over a few times initially but once he got the hang of it he paddle well. The kayaks have big scratches from the sharp boulders, but are very sturdy and well built.

I am very pleased with the Manitou and will definitely buy more as my kids get old enough to paddle them.

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10-03-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     After much research on the internet and at local dealers, I chose the Necky Manitou. Based on my criteria, it looked as though Necky was reading my mind with this kayak!

At 5'11" and 150 lbs, the cockpit opening is perfect size. I have size 11 feet and they are not cramped. The seat adjusts easily. The kayak is light enough to load and unload with ease.

The Manitou tracks very straight, I was very surprised. And stability was much better than anticipated. For a recreational kayak with a width less than 25" I'd say Necky deserves an award for stability.

The bulkhead/hatch... The rear bulkhead is a plus, with the rear hatch that opens for room enough for a full day. I have had it out three times this past week in windy and rainy salt conditions, and I take it to the car wash afterwards for a bath. The rear compartment stays BONE DRY. It is truly waterproof. I really want to give this kayak a 10 but the reason for the 9 is probably why it is so dry back there... the neoprene cover is tricky to put over the opening.

All things considered, I highly recommend this kayak. Necky you did an excellent job with stability and overall design!

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09-05-2005
Submitted by: Wil GSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My first kayak, but a lot of canoe experience. I chose this kayak as a compromise. I wanted something more than the standard rec boat, but didn't need an ocean going clipper ship type. The Manitou WORKS. It is light and small enough to easily throw on and off the top of my bronco, yet is capable of weekend trips. It is truly a good compromise. For $600, you can't beat it, no way.

The boat can also take a beating. I have run it over lots of submerged logs, a few hard landings, and been careened off a number cypress trees in the black water systems I am usually in. None of this did anything to the Manitou.

Only one complaint - the Extrasport seating system. This is a real Rube Goldberg system. The ratchet adjusters kept knocking on my knees, and there were far more adjustments than I would need. I have been working on re-doing that set up. So far I have removed the ratchets.

The boat has earned my confidence. I would have given it a 10/10, but for that seat system.

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09-01-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have now owned my Manitou for one year. I have paddled with the best of them and kept up to speed with the fancy 18 ft fiberglass boats that cost over $3000. I have never paddled the longer yaks with the big price tags…so maybe ignorance is bliss...but Necky got it right with this one!!! No complaints.
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09-01-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     For reference, I am 5'6" in height and weigh 150 lbs. Having paddled a few "recreational" sub-10 foot kayaks at a friend's cottage, I knew I wanted to get into kayaking, but was well aware that I wasn't impressed with the tracking or efficiency of the "toy" boats. At a trial day at a local paddle shop I tried boats that ranged from $300 to $1800. I noticed that the longer more expensive boats tracked a straighter line and glided better, but would also severely dent my pocket book. After trying several longer and more expensive boats, I tried the Manitou.

Once out on the water I found that it would glide nearly as well as the longer boats, but turned easier. I decided that it matched my value point and purchased one. That was June of 2004. Since then I've paddled countless miles on lakes and rivers. It still tracks as straight as the day I bought it.

Once I was cutting the mouth of a small bay up the Door Peninsula (Wisconsin) and a terrible storm swept up. I wasn't skirted and the waves grew to nearly 5 ft. The Manitou was completely swamped but kept me high enough out of the water to successfully paddle inland to take cover. Had I been in a boat without the sealed stowe in the stern and the float beam in the bow, I wouldn't have made it to shore with the boat. I owe my quick learning curve and skills to the exceptional behavior of the Manitou. The extra $200-$300 cost to get into a Manitou over a short purely recreational boat will pay for itself quickly because the experience will be so much more enjoyable and rewarding that you'll be out on the water more getting more use out of your kayak.

I highly recommend this boat to anyone who is a beginner looking to learn true kayaking skills. The rating of 9 is a result of two gripes I have about the kayak. 1. There is no drain plug. 2. The hull is curved deeply at the point where my feet rest and after a long day out on the water my ankles become fatigued. I can eliminate this fatigue by wearing water sport shoes and in cooler weather I just wear my mid-top hiking boots.

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08-07-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've had my Manitou a little over a year now and still love it. The tracking and maneuverability is fantastic. I took it on a trip to Tampa recently and had it out in Tampa Bay and in the Gulf. It handled current, a stiff breeze, 2-3 foot swells amazingly well. Cannot recommend it more highly.
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08-04-2005
Submitted by: DaveSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Manitou is a great kayak. I had little experience with kayaking. When I decided to buy a kayak I was suggested this one from a retailer. It’s a great cost for what you get out of it. It’s great for starting off in as well for learning much, you don’t grow out of it right away. The whole time I’ve use it I’ve never had a problem with the seat or any thing. I'm 6'3” and I have plenty of leg room to spare in it. When I was looking at other kayaks most I couldn’t even fit in because the pegs wouldn’t go back far enough. I have about 3 slots up on the Manitou.
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05-24-2005
Submitted by: Randy
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have read with interest these reviews and am happy to provide one. It's helpful to know what I was looking for. I'm 6'1", 210, and have been bobbing about in a plastic Keowee (approx. 9'6"long, 29 inches wide) for about 10 years. It’s a good kayak to beat up on the rock filled streams and rivers of W. Pa. like the Casselman or the Yough (easy parts) or Chartier's Creek.

The Keowee is rather slow on flat water so I was looking for a faster kayak, without having to spend $1200 or so for a dedicated touring kayak. I also didn't want to sacrifice all the maneuverability that I am used to having with the Keowee.

That said, I attended an REI (thank you REI) paddle day here in Milwaukee where I now live and tried out several kayaks. Keeping in mind the above, here is a short review of the ones I didn't like:

  • The Dirigo 12' and 14' paddled like barges, and I couldn't find a comfortable paddling position.
  • The Blackwater 11.5 seemed to nose down in the water-maybe I'm too heavy for it. I tried a Carolina 14.5 and it was fast, but it seemed overly tippy, and even with the rudder, wasn't very maneuverable. The balky rudder would only retract when I exerted all my strength on the upline, and with the rudder up the kayak weathervaned terribly (it was a very windy day). So it looks like a "real" touring kayak is not for me.
  • I also tried one of those new plastic Mad River Adventure Canoes but with only one person in it refused to be turned into the wind.
So for the good news: I really enjoyed paddling the Manitou "Sport", it has a lot of initial stability, much like the Keowee, but it seems much faster. I was tempted to buy it but realized that that would only be an upgrade to what I already have. The price is right, so if you are looking for an all around rec kayak I recommend it.

I ended up buying the Manitou (the 12'10" version) because it had the right combination of attributes that I was looking for. It's much faster than the Keowee, turns better than the Carolina(and costs a lot less), its way more nimble than the Dirigo and it only cost me $540 because I bought the discounted demo boat!

I also bought a seal spray skirt and so far have not had the problems that I've read about here in the reviews. I've been out in Lake Michigan (no further off-shore than 100 yards) and felt very comfortable in the Manitou, gently riding the easy swells.

I probably will never use it in those rock gardens of w. Pa. but it's a great counterpoint to the Keowee, and I look forward to paddling it on larger rivers and lakes.

I give the boat a 9 because I don't like the intrusive seatback adjusters that jut into the cockpit opening. I'll probably take them out, it seems like adjustment overkill to me.

Hope this is helpful.

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05-10-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Once in a great while you're able to become friends with an inanimate object. Such is the case with me and my Manitou (the 12.8' version, that is -- I have no knowledge about the SPORT version).

I "replaced" my Manitou this year with a kayak which competes with the Manitou that is almost 3 times the price, but I kept the Manitou just in case, and I'm glad I did so.

The Manitou has a seat back angle adjustment that can be adjusted on the fly (just like your car seat), the footpegs can be adjusted while you're in the water, it cuts through the flat water as though it's traveling in air, it tracks divinely, it is friendly, and it is sublime.

I spent 1800 dollars to replace my Manitou but this coming Wednesday I'm taking out the Manitou. We have a date. I love this boat. The designers did well. When you outgrow the Old Town offerings, the Necky Manitou is your next step.

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05-03-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought my Manitou after several months of Internet research and shopping around for opinions. This is my first kayak and I had a lot of requirements. I wanted to be able to do river trips but also flat water touring. Of all the opinions I heard, the Manitou was the best choice. A Demo weekend finally came and I got the opportunity to paddle one. The boat is forgiving, even to a novice like me. After some practice, I was able to edge it and turn with greater precision than I had thought possible. The storage is ample, despite the lack of a forward bulkhead and/or hatch. I am 5'10" and have quite a bit of room in front of the foot pegs to stow a dry bag. This boat’s light weight, size and versatility make the boat a great buy and great boat to paddle.
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03-27-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I’ve paddled canoes for years but this is my first kayak. I went to Canoesport (they’re awesome) in Houston, TX and told them my needs. They hooked me up with the Manitou and it’s an outstanding boat. She’s stable, maneuverable, and an absolute joy to paddle. My one beef is the lack of a forward bulkhead and hatch. Even so, the rear bulkhead provides more than enough buoyancy to float the boat and my 160 lbs. when I roll it. Not that it rolls easily, I did it on purpose for practice. She tracks amazingly well and is very responsive to leans when turning. Right now I’m glowing orange from sunburn but still can’t wait to get back on the water tomorrow.
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02-21-2005
Submitted by: D Ray FletchSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently traded in my Necky Zoar Sport for the Manitou. After a long day of paddling I realized the 14 foot 57lb Zoar was more than I need. I was extremely surprised to find out that the Manitou out tracked and out maneuvered. I can't wait to get back out on the water and compare more. My wife has the Old Town Castine, she loves it. I still prefer the Manitou at 45lbs. I bought a dry bag to take place of the missing front hatch. {Necky what were you thinking} Front hatch and bulkhead would have made this boat a 12 out of a 10.
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10-14-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought my Necky after reading lots of good things from this message board. I recently purchased the Old Town Adventurer 125 for my husband and wanted something similar but lighter and tighter fit…which is exactly what I got. I love this boat…it’s quick, light and easy to turn. The spray skirt thing is tricky...I haven't found one that fits great but have settled on a Seal Islander which I purchased on Internet. The storage is not great but I am not going out for days of camping. I basically use this boat for a great exercise machine...and wonderful yak for fishing and photography. It is great for women and seniors who can't lift over 45lbs. I am going to purchase a deck bag which should solve the problem of not having storage accessible from seat. I do like that feature in the Old Town...but I just bring my husband along and throw all the big stuff in his boat...ha!
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10-10-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     The nearest dealer is 200 miles from home. This dealer handles only canoes and kayaks across a wide spectrum of manufacturers. The owner, knowing the type of kayaking I do, gave the pluses and minuses of several kayaks without making any recommendations. I was very excited because it served to strengthen my opinion that the Manitou is the boat.......I purchased it, put it atop my VW Golf TDI and drove back home.

The following day (2 days ago) it went into the water and performed exactly as I had anticipated after reading all I could find on the Internet...especially the reviews on this site. I guess that I was a bit surprised (pleasantly) that it turned as well as it does without a rudder (with a lean). Regarding the hatch arrangement, I was not surprised at it being tricky to seal and that the fabric gets wet if water splashes on the top. I don't envision using it much but still, it will be a minor "pain" to take it off to dry after an outing on a choppy day. Regarding the ease of placing the seal, the dealer suggested using 60 grit sandpaper to rough the edge and underneath side of the lip. I did and he was correct.

Thanks for all of the reviews ..... I really am glad I made the purchase.

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10-10-2004
Submitted by: RaimoSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I agree with all the favorable reviews posted here. My wife and I have two and love them. As far as the high seat back, after the first paddle, I took out the seat backs, cut two inches off the length and duplicated the hole pattern of the removed piece. Installed at the lowest setting and now the spray skirt fits fine and the seat is more comfortable. And it's not just a calm water boat. We've had them out in 3 foot breaking waves with no problem. Sure, the spray flies but that's where the fun starts!
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10-04-2004
Submitted by: Doc BoinkSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Although I was a WSI who taught small craft safety (rowing, canoeing, sailing), many years ago, I have never ventured out in kayaks before. At age 58, I decided to follow a friend's lead into kayaking and without any knowledge of kayaks whatsoever bought a Perception 'Dancer' (great classic kayak for white water--wrong design completely for quiet water trips and large inland body touring). Soon sold the Dancer and started looking for a more suitable recreational kayak.

Several local kayak sellers suggested the Necky Manitou, explaining that it was a good recreational kayak with modest sea-keeping qualities (in other words a hybrid--not quite a sea-capable kayak, but able to track well, handle modest chop and weather within reason, and good for close-in estuaries).

I have found my new Manitou to be everything my 'kayak consultants' claimed it to be. Crafted of sturdy superlinear polyethylene material, it is built well, with great initial stability for my 160 pound 6 foot tall frame; underway, it tracks exceptionally well and enables fairly fast speeds on smooth water without much effort. A comfortable seat, adjustable, supportive backrest, and a rear sealed bulkhead (foam block bow flotation) all add to the utility and enjoyment enabled by this boat; of further benefit is the slightly larger cockpit, allowing easy access and egress.

At a weight of 45 pounds, it is an easy lift to stow on a cartop (even easier on a Honda Civic station wagon!), and shows promise of lasting for a good number of seasons.

My impression is that the Necky Manitou is a great kayak for beginners who want a boat that will 'grow' with their kayaking knowledge to accommodate a variety of still-water kayaking experiences, and provide many seasons of pleasure on smoother inland water. My only complaint is that the poly material is a bit too translucent--I'd have used a brighter, more opaque poly material (such as is used in the Wilderness Systems 'Pungo" series), since their deeper yellow is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the slightly 'washed out' Manitou yellow. A small complaint, perhaps.

In summary: money well spent for a great all-round recreational type kayak.

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10-04-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I as well as our three daughters ages 4, 8, and 10 recently began enjoying family kayak outings, mostly in large recreational boats such as Acadia II tandems and Sundances as well as Swiftys and Americas.

For my wife's 40th birthday, I arranged time off work for both of us while the kids were in school so that we could take a formal kayak introductory lesson together. The instructor outfitted both of us with Manitous for the day and we both really enjoyed the experience and purchased one shortly thereafter. Other reviews have expressed concern about rescue re-entry with the high seat back; when we were performing paddle float rescues during the class, neither of us had particular difficulty getting over the seat and we represent a size range from 6"1" 210 to 5"7" 130. Our instructor did say he had drilled new holes to lower it slightly more than the factory fit, but I still don't think the lowest available "stock" position would be a problem for re-entry.

We purchased the Manitou for ourselves, but our instructor assured us that our older kids would enjoy paddling it as well. We wanted to get a good intro boat for them, but were concerned with the width and lack of tracking length found in typical beginning rec boats like the Swifty. My 8 year old paddled the boat for the first time with me yesterday and has now foresworn her previous affection for the America 11. She really loves the boat and had no trouble beginning the outing by paddling one mile upstream in a somewhat slow but by no means still river. When I told her I would be posting a review, she said, "Be sure and tell them that it feels really fast and I like the way it leans but won't roll over. It's easy to turn, but I had no trouble keeping it straight." It sounds to me as if my 8 year old is getting a good lesson in tracking, carving turns, and secondary stability from the Manitou. We will probably wind up with another Manitou in the near future.

Some notes about the Manitou: the high seat back is very comfortable, but does make fitting a spray skirt problematic. I had to return the initial skirt I purchased because it stretched over the seat back creating a seam of fabric that dug into my back. It was no trouble finding a skirt with a more relaxed fit (a Gull), but I would recommend testing the fit in the boat before purchasing. I don't let my daughters use skirts yet and they have no trouble staying dry. The boat is very well made and is the only "rec" boat I know of with perimeter lines and good paddle float rigging. My rear compartment has stayed dry and the Manitous from our lesson also stayed dry despite a lot of wet side up time during the course. Despite a boat weight of only 45 pounds, the plastic is high quality and does not seem to scratch and scrape quite as readily as other boats. All the deck fittings are recessed into the plastic within the hull: a really nice touch for an entry boat. There is no paddle park, but I added one with a fitting just behind the front bungee.

The neoprene hatch cover has a bit of a learning curve, but goes on easily with a little experience. The plastic hatch cover is tethered to the perimeter line, but the neoprene one isn't. I used 2 mm cord to tether mine and keep it from getting lost. The foot braces are metal and feel more secure than plastic ones I have used; they also adjust easily while in the boat thanks to tabs that are in front of the braces themselves. The seat and seat back are very comfortable and both my wife and I can adjust for good fits with the thigh braces. The bow and stern handles are on the ends of the boat where they should be for easy access while in the water. The handles themselves are quite comfortable and, unlike rubber handles, do not chafe with car topping bow and stern lines. I did have a little flaking of the bow foam flotation, but that was easily fixed by duct taping the corners while I had the float out to install flotation bags. Bags are probably not absolutely necessary with this boat, but I am neurotic about installing them wherever there are no bulkheads.

This is a great boat for my kids to start off with, but I must admit that I enjoy paddling it as well and have spent very enjoyable hours in the cockpit. The Manitou is much more of a true kayak than other entry level boats. It is fast with good tracking for its length. It leans well and carves into turns and is stable without being stodgy. While I look forward to a bigger boat sometime in the future (Elaho?), I am thrilled to be starting our family's kayak education with a Manitou.

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09-24-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My Manitou found its way into my collection last weekend and I couldn't wait to get it into the water. My interest in kayaking began five years ago and last year, together with another dedicated individual, we began a kayak and canoe club for kids. We have several kayaks in our collection including River Runners, Mainstreams and Paluskis (which I had personally paddled). An 8 hour expedition on the Saugeen River near Walkerton, Ontario made up my mind about wanting a new kayak. Based upon the advice of a local kayak instructor, I purchased the Manitou. He assured me that this was indeed his kayak of choice, and highly recommended it. Although the same length as the Paluski I had paddled for the past several years, I found that the cockpit, which was 6 inches longer made entry much easier. As an avid photographer, my concern was a place to safely store my camera, which the Manitou offered. Paddling the Manitou is a dream. It seems very stable and tracks very well and I found the seat to be very comfortable. I have a feeling that I am going to enjoy this little boat for a long time to come.
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09-07-2004
Submitted by: Thatch
Rating: 9 of 10

     After reading lots of reviews and hearing great things about the Necky Manitou, I decided to buy one. Though likely not the best approach, I purchased mine sight-unseen from an eBay seller - thankfully, the trasaction occured without incident and I received my boat just before the Labor Day holiday.

Prior to taking delivery, I was a little concerned about the cockpit size - literature states 16.25" wide. Being 6' and 195 pounds, I had visions of shoehorning myself into the boat. Worse yet were the thoughts of dying a slow, agonizing death as I squirmed around in an inverted kayak. Thankfully, my concerns were totally unfounded. The cockpit size is really very comfortable and a nice balance - provides protection from spray while still offering enough room to move around a bit. Perfect. High back seat with ratchet support adjustments makes for a comfortable ride for sure.

Stability is as other have written - very good initial stability - inspiring confidence for us new paddlers. Tracking is very good for a kayak with such reasonable length (~13')- not sure how the design enables this, but it works well. Kudos to Necky design team.

Manitou paddles very easily - I don't have much to compare with, but I took my GPS out with me on the lake to see what I could do. Easily maintained 3.5-3.8 mph and with a little extra pace, kept the hull moving along at over 4 mph. Max speed - wasn't able to drive the boat over 6 mph on the lake, but that was less a reflection of the of the boat's design and more related to my physical design.

After completing my "sprint" and regaining the feeling in my arms, I hopped out of the boat and easily loaded it into my truck. Fantastically light and easy to handle. Again, perfect.

The good far outweighs the bad, but I have noticed some negatives during my short stint with my Manitou - know that I don't have much experience with other kayaks and may no tbe being completely fair.

The bow floatation appears to be a rectangular chunk of low density foam which easily sheds when kicked lightly or nicked with paddle during transport. Thinking this block of foam will need replacement or additional floatation purchased sometime within a year or so. Not sure if this is similar to other kayaks in this price range, but I would think it could be improved. Second observation, the hatch is a sealed bulkhead with a neoprene cover stretched over the access port and a lightweight plastic cover over the neoprene. This would explain the water "resistant" nomenclature used by Necky - not sure if the rubber (Old Town style) hatch covers are better, but these could easily leak in my opinion. As with many kayaks that clain waterproof, a dry bag probably makes sense.

Other than those two (what I consider minor) complaints, I think that the Necky Manitou is a FABULOUS boat and I look forward to many more trips to the lake and Delaware River before old man winter closes the door on the 2004 season.

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08-23-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I am a newbie at Kayaking. I have taken intro to paddling and an intermediate course as well. My instructors provided me with a 16.5 foot boat that was about 21-22 inches wide, and weighed about 60 lbs or so. I loved the boat, but it's a lot of boat for a small woman of 5'2" tall and 113 lbs. I decided to buy the Manitou. I have paddled on two rather long paddles so far and was quite impressed that this is considered a "recreational" Kayak because as all of the other reviews have stated, it's a wonderful boat. At 45 lbs I can actually car top it by myself.
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08-09-2004
Submitted by: L.D.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I got my manatou a few weeks ago and so far I am very pleased with it.It tracks great(without skeg or rutter)it has a reasnable sized hatch at back and bungy cords at front.I went on a lake on a very windy day and I was hitting 4 foot waves and not at one time did I feel I was going to flip over. it is a very stable boat.I recomend this boat to kids,adults,beginers and experts.The necky manatou is a fine peice of work.
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07-29-2004
Submitted by: NCB
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased the Manitou a couple of weeks ago, and so far I think it’s a wonderful vessel. I’m a new kayaker and have paddled it on Lake Champlain 3 times now. Weather conditions have been light to moderate breezes with small to medium waves and “swells.” The boat has performed perfectly, tracking straight, maneuvering and moving quickly to any destination. I wanted a boat that was light, easy to car-top, compact and had relatively high performance. It seems to meet all of these, and has a budget price tag to boot!
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07-29-2004
Submitted by: JPDSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is an incredible little boat! I was a bit sceptical of some of the claims in the other reviews here but it really is an incredibly fast kayak, not only that but it goes exactly where you point it yet turns easily, in fact it's so responsive to leaned turns that under normal paddling conditions sweeping is unnecessary. Fit, finish and comfort are great and it's light enough to be a joy to transport. On top of all that its a very pretty little boat. Attention Necky.... whoever designed this kayak deserves a raise.
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07-28-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I bought each other Necky Manitou's for our wedding gifts to each other a couple of months ago and we have been having a blast with them. I did a lot of research and not much actual testing, but with the help of a very helpful staff at Collinsville Kayak, they dialed us in to the perfect yaks for us. We live in Connecticut with lots of different types of water to experience and we've been taking advantage of them. The Necky's are lightweight (45lb's) and easy to handle out of the water. I can get them on top of our Grand Voyager by myself with no problem. The rear hatch is adaquet for day trips, but probably too small for an overnight. The bungee/rope decking is awesome for strapping down all kinds of stuff that you might want at your fingertips and keeping the paddle safe when you need hands free.

Now for the nitty-gritty- We've had the Manitou's on big, slow rivers, sometimes going up river and against the wind and the low profile/high draft made challenging conditions a peice of cake. I've gone through tight, swampy areas and the 12'10.5" is incredibly nimble and manueverable. We've also taken the Manitou's out on Long Island Sound which is a wavy 15 mile wide inlet from the Atlantic Ocean and they handled the small waves with ease. Our first fast river experience (very little white water, but some swift sections) was really fun and the Manitou's felt very stable. In all conditions, the Neckys track fast and straight as an arrow when cruising and turns quickly just by thinking left or right.

These are our first kayaks, so we don't have much to compare, but we give the Necky Manitou four thumbs up. Every experience we've had with them has been fun and enjoyable.

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04-27-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I agree with all comments made in the review by FVH. I was looking for a kayak as a back-up to my QCC-500. I wanted a shorter boat to paddle in tight winding creeks with fairly strong currents (a 16'10" boat is a bit much for this), but I also wanted a second boat for family/freinds to use, that could allow them to cruise at a comparable pace and in comfort, with me in my QCC. The Manitou fits the bill admirably. When I demo'ed the boat, I was carving figure "8s" with ease, yet in the stiff cross-breeze, it tracked arrow straight for several hundred yards back and forth, I don't know the winds speed (maybe 8-12mph), but If I had traveled the same distance in my QCC (empty and rudder up), I'm sure I would have had to lift a knee on edge for several strokes to compensate for the wind. The Manitou has very good initial stability, I was actually a little surprised to get it up and hold it on edged turns so easily. The speed I get from the Manitou is also good. Since I can't accurately factor for wind, current and waves, all I can do is give my honest opinion/comparison which is that at my average cruising/daypaddling speed of 3.2-3.8 mph, the effort is no different between the Manitou and the QCC. The manitou starts to need a bit more effort at my workout pace which is around 3.8-4.5. After around 4.5 mph the bow seems to plunge a bit. I never could quite get 5 mph to show on the GPS, but then I don't plan to race it, I just wanted to see if the manitou could keep up, and I think it does. For day paddling purposes, the Manitou performance, stability, and comfort is a 10. Now I'll be as critical as I can. The seat back does stick up a bit to high for a comfortable (watch you package fellas)paddle float rescue. The seat will bend fwd a little to allow to slide over it, but it's not ment too. The padded knee contact points under the cockpit/deck are comfortable, but I can already see that I will have to re-glue the left side padding in a few months. Lastly, there is not a whole lot of storage in the "water resistant" (not water tight) hatch but it is adeqate for a day-tour or a spartan over-nighter. I think that they could have managed space a little better by installing bow floatation that is shaped to "form fit" in the nose, and allowed for better stowage in the bow, beyond the foot pegs. The rectangle of styrofoam in the bow does provide good floatation though. Like I've stated, I'm trying to be picky, but (without repeating observations already made by FVH)I am extremely pleased with the value.
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04-01-2004
Submitted by: FVHSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Another demo in my quest for a recreational/light day-touring kayak. And this one was a really great paddle.

Stability is excellent. Good initial stability. Performing some braces showed up a comforting secondary stability. I felt very stable in this boat. Seat is exceptionally comfortable. Very cushy; I could sit in it all day. The high back is nice. Although I do wonder if its height might cause difficulties getting back in after a wet exit (not that I tried! . Very comfortable. Foam padding for knee bracing is also in just the right spots.

This boat tracks like it's on rails. I was paddling it in light winds and light swells, and it just pointed straight ahead. Neither the breeze nor the small swells moved it around at all. Super easy to keep it on heading. The hull is suprisingly fast. I had no problem moving it along at 6 or 6.5 km/h (according to the GPS). It was very quick for a boat of its dimensions. Turning was no problem. Lean it over, or use your paddle as a rudder, and around she goes. It tracks very well, but that didn't seem to really get in the way of turning when need be.

Beyond all that, it has some nice other features. The rear hatch with bulkhead is nice. A block of foam in the bow gives you confidence it'll float properly in case of a wet exit. Bungy cords on both front and rear decks, and perimeter lines as well. Someone was thinking when they designed this boat. And at 45 pounds I can easily cartop it.

I really can't fault this boat. It was a delight to paddle, and it's set a very high standard for the remaining boats on my "demo list" to attempt to meet.

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