Hope this helps
Posted by: Waterbird on Apr-17-13 8:03 PM (EST)
Have you paddled either of these kayaks? Have you sat in the cockpit?
I have the Journey. Once you've paddled the Journey you won't want the Equinox. The Equinox is slow by comparison due to the extra inch in width.
Eddyline kayaks have a drawback that concerns me in your case. Although the cockpit is quite large compared to other sea kayaks, they are also fairly low in the thigh area, and the low height and downward angle of the thigh braces might be a problem for your leg swellig. I have normal legs and found the thigh braces actually painful. I cut them out and glued a strip of neoprene to cover the sawed edge. That helped a lot. You can order the kayak without the thigh braces. I don't miss them and find that I have good contact with my knees against the underside of the deck.
I wouldn't say the Journey is more "capable" than the Equinox except for speed. I would consider both very stable in all kinds of conditions. The Journey is suitable for a beginner in terms of stability, so don't worry about that.
If you're looking primarily at thermoformed kayaks (which I think is the best material, in my opinion), the next brand to look at would be Delta, specifically the 12 or the 14. The Deltas have a much deeper cockpit and MUCH more volume at the bow and stern than the Eddylines. Deltas are amazingly stable boats in rough water. They feel difficult to tip over and don't require a lot of skill even in waves. They have a ton of carrying capacity for camping.
The main drawback for you of a Delta is that the cockpit is smaller than the Eddyline cockpit (2.5" shorter), but the greater depth at the front of the cockpit compensates to some extent for that. Exit is the challenge. Your toe has to clear the front of the cockpit. Both length and depth of the cockpit help that. Excess body weight hinders exit because it's harder to bend your knee back.
Deltas are hard to find but worth looking at. You ca find them used on Craiglist. I own a Delta 12.10. The deck shape is not as good as Eddyline---Eddylines have raised structures built into the deck to stiffen it. I find that the Delta plastic is thinner and/or softer and depresses more readily, but the quality is still quite good. Eddylines are stiffer and esthetically superior, no doubt about it.
I found the Delta 14 and 15 quite slow and not maneuverable. The Delta 12 is very maneuverable---like in and out of coves in a marsh---and has surprisingly good speed for such a small boat. It's probably as fast as the Equinox, with better turning.
SEATS: The Eddyline seat is, well, awful. I replaced mine. The Delta seat is better than most, especially if you add a simple foam pad.
The other two thermoform kayaks available in the U.S. are Hurricane and Swift. I don't recommend the Swift hull---Eddyline and Delta are both far more stable in rough water. Hurricanes are significantly cheaper, but the plastic is also very noticeably thinner and softer, easily felt in the flexing of the whole kayak in the water. So that brings you back to Eddyline and Delta.
You see, it's hard to find the perfect kayak so you have to choose your priorities. In your case I think the cockpit fit should come first, especially with respect to your weight and your leg swelling. If you have doubts about the greater length of the Journey, I would get a Delta 12.10 rather than an Equinox.
Feel free to e-mail with any questions about Eddyline and Delta.
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