I have done the Schuylkill many times -- mostly starting at or near Fitzwater Station, taking the canal up then down the river to 422/Betzwood. Of course you have to go back to the Fitz for drinks...
Overall kayaking in this area is a lot of smaller creeks, a bunch of smallish lakes, the Schuylkill, Delaware, and Brandywine. Unless you are kayaking near the airport or in the Delaware bay there isn't much reason to go for a large touring kayak and the smaller kayaks are a bit more versatile (10-14' max).
Any of the kayaks you mention are fine, if they fit you well. Just throw in front float bags but the reality is the majority of the water around here you can stand up and empty the boat where you stand. I really only use mine when we have lots of rain or on a big lake like Nockamixon -- when the creek is a total 4-5 feet wide not really worried about my boat swamping.
I like having a kayak with a cockpit on the larger size. As the water levels go down you may have to get out a bit on the Kill and walk. A bit easier to have a kayak you can drop into in the middle of a shallow river, then something you need to squeeze into.
I use a Dagger Axis 12 most of the time. I like it since the cockpit is a bit smaller than some of the ones you mentioned but still larger then normal. We do have limited basic whitewater on the rivers, just enough to get some water splash that a big cockpit (like a Pungo or old town) can take on water. My friends with Pungo we have to dump or pump a few gallons on most Kill trips where I will only have to sponge even without a skirt.
It is a really good idea to try to demo the kayak a bit before you buy. EMS does a demo day in May at Green Lane. You can also demo kayaks at Nature's Way near Lake Nockamixon (not sure they have a store -- I think it more a lot with kayaks on it), Wilderness Canoe trips (they rent for the Brandywine and sell, so should demo), and the EMS near me rents -- they might let you rent and if you decide to buy give you discount. If you want to drive you also have the Jersey Paddler in Brick and Bel Haven in the Pine Barrens. There are other places as you get closer to the shore. These places should let you demo kayaks now if you have cold water clothing.
The Paddlesport expo is next month in Jersey -- you can get some great deals on gear and kayaks if you are in rush -- http://www.jerseypaddler.com/paddlesport-2013/ Good place to buy a nice paddle, PDF, and clothing at least. If you do want a Pungo they sell out fast every year.
Kayak Deck Gear Bags
|Table of Contents|