Current Musing: Murray and Darling River Systems (On hold - COVID-19)
Sunset

Kayaks

After shortlisting a number of various brands, I found an older fiberglass Mirage 580 on GumTree and an inflatable Sevylor Rio on Facebook Marketplace that were within my budget.

Note that I have no affiliations with any of these bands. A Tiderace or Rockpool seem like the best choices, albeit I have never even paddled either kayak. Most of the UK speed records are with the Rockpool Taran, the Americas seems to have a bigger mix, albeit the Epic is common. Being locally made in Australia, the Mirages are common there.

Rockpool Taran

Holder of most of the kayaking distance records around the UK.

Length
5.49 m / 18’
Weight
24 kg (glass)
Capacity
238 L
Material
Glass/Kevlar/Carbon
Price
£2,458 GBP (2019)

Tiderace Pace 17 Tour

Another high performance touring kayak.

Length
5.22 m / 17’1″
Weight
22.5 kg / 50 lb (carbon)
Capacity
223 L
Material
Glass/Carbon
Price
$5,190 AUD (Glass 2019)

Epic 18X Sport

This was the boat used by Freya Hoffmeister on her trips around Australia and South America. The weight savings or quality control seem to have led to a few reports of thin spots on the hull and this delegated it down my list.

Length
5.48 m / 18’
Weight
19.5 Kg / 43 lb (performance)
Capacity
173 kg / 206 L
Material
Kevlar/Carbon
Price
$4,125 AUD (performance 2019)

Mirage 582

Australian made, this is a true, expedition proven sea kayak. The later model of the secondhand 580 I finally purchased.

Length
5.8 m / 19’
Weight
17.9 Kg / 39.5 lb (carbon)
Capacity
197 L
Material
Glass/Kevlar/Carbon
Price
$5,295 AUD (carbon 2019)

Upper section

I really had no idea what to use for the trip. I considered everything from lilos, rafts and other inflatable devices. Without realising how bad the flows were, I decided on finding a pack raft with duel layer protection to help prevent punctures in rough conditions that had a carrying capacity of at least 120 kg.

I found the Sevylor Rio 1-Person "Fishing Canoe" for sale secondhand on Facebook Marketplace for $200 and was sold. A lighter packraft like the Kokopelli Nirvana is probably more suited to this leg.

Rio 1-Person Fishing Canoe

18-gauge PVC with a thick tarpaulin bottom and tough nylon cover.

Length
2.9 m / 9"5'
Weight
11.5 Kg / 25.4 lb
Capacity
159 Kg / 350 lb
Material
PVC
Price
$500 AUD
Kayak View

Kokopelli Nirvana Self-Bailing Packraft

Narrow trim, aggressive rocker on the bow, and a large-volume stern which performs best in Class 1 to 3. 210 denier TPU Nylon sidewalls and 840 denier TPU Nylon floor. Designed for shallow water.

Length
2.3 m / 90'
Weight
5.6 Kg / 12.4 lb
Capacity
136 Kg / 300 lb
Material
TPU Nylon
Price
$1,050 USD

Other contenders included:

Original Trip

I short listed about 5 or 6 boats when considering doing the Darling River. There are sections of rocky stream beds through to flat open water, and you would need a strong boat to effectively handle everything, while being able to carry a full load.

Dagger Stratos 14.5 L

This was the longest of the crossover kayaks I was considering, its ability to carry a load and speed on the flat water would have made it my first choice.

Length
4.42m / 14’ 6″
Weight
24 kg / 53 lb
Capacity
136 kg / 300 lbs
Material
Plastic
Price
$1,359 USD (2019)

Liquidlogic Stinger XP

Crossover kayak capable of much harder whitewater.

Length
3.79 m / 12’ 5″
Weight
25 kg / 55 lb
Capacity
136 KG / 300 lbs
Material
Plastic
Price
$1,199 USD (2019)

Other contenders included: