Decided to rent again this year for two reasons.
- Still a little up in the air on which Kayak I want, this gives me an opportunity to try a different style from last year
- Wanted to have two identical Kayaks for Julie and me, Kayaks handle differently so one or the other may have to work harder to keep up if they are different
Here are my basic requirements
- Fiberglass, polycarbonate is heavier and lugging in/out of water every day is a pain
- No Third Day Hatch, just takes away from packing options in the rear hatch, anything I need on the water I will have in cockpit or deck bag
- Full Size front hatch cover, don’t want to be messing with trying to get stuff down some 8” round hole twice a day
- Rudder, makes things so much easier, especially for Julie on her first trip
- Proper Seal between cockpit and hatches, this is more on the condition of the boat, last year had issues with leaking into hatches because the silicone seal was essentially gone
Ended up Renting from MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op), they had better selection of boats and the price was cheaper than all other outfitters, $510 plus tax for 17 day rental is very reasonable in my opinion. They also allow you to pickup day before after 3pm and return before 1pm the day after at no additional cost and threw in car carrier kit and spare paddle which I had to pay extra for last year, definitely a bonus.
Ended up going with the Seaward Cosma, a little smaller than I had last year as it’s only 16’2” long but had everything else I wanted. Not as much cargo space as last year either but with two boats shouldn’t be a problem. I did go down and inspect the kayaks because I thought might be a little small but definitely not, very happy with advice from staff.
Another nice feature on the Seaward boats is the Smart Rudder System, instead of having to turn rudder by pressing rudder pedal forward and back with each foot, the pedals are fixed and you turn by pressing forward like a gas pedal, suppose to be much more efficient, will see.
Would have preferred the Seaward Tyee for this trip as it’s bigger but they only had one available and wanted two exact Kayaks for the trip.
Other outfitters I checked out
Swift Canoe/Kayak – No availability on touring Kayaks meeting my requirements, had a few plastic wilderness boats but can’t stand them, have rented twice and just don’t like them at all.
Muskoka Outfitters – They don’t have a lot of demand for touring kayaks so limited selection, wasn’t happy with service, called in and they said they had the Kayaks, were busy and said they would call back when they confirmed details, after a week I called back and they said they didn’t have anything in stock during the time of our trip, also meant would have to drive there to pick up (2 hours each way)
Paddle Toronto – Checked out their boats when I was down at Harbour Front, great selection but only do hourly/daily rentals and very expensive, almost 3 times the price to rent for the day and they don’t do extended rentals.
Complete Paddler – Only carry polycarbonate Kayaks