Long Trips

Hi to all,

I'm italian (sorry for my english), i'm 30 years old and i'm new in this forum and in kayak's world. I live in a small city in the east coast of Italy, in front of the Adriatic Sea and I've been on a kayak a few years ago and it is a fascinating experience.

Now i'm interested to purchase/build my own wooden kayak but, beyond of having paddled for a few km, I haven't technical knowledge about that.

I want to make long trips along the coast whit the possibility to bring the necessary to camp some nights. I'm oriented to a Chesapeake 17 which ensures a good stability and stowage, but is it really suitable for this kind of trip? Is there a more appropriate kayak? What are the most important features to know to buy a kayak more suitable to me and to this kind of trip?



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RE: Long Trips


Your English is a whole lot better than my Italian will ever be! The 17LT will work fine, that's what they were designed for. I built one for my wife as her first requirement was stability. They're also remarkably fast for a hard chined boat and you will be able to put many km/day on it. And they do cary an amazing amount of cargo.

Sounds like you live in a beautiful place. We will demand pictures of your boat and the Adriatic Sea when you get in the water!

This forum is a great place for information before, during and after you build. Don't hesitate to ask anything here. This is a vast knowledge bank.

George K

RE: Long Trips

Please take a look at a trip I recently took in my LT17 with the added MKIII sail rig. Very sea worthy configuration. In this forum you will find a recent post by me describing the trip and some of the large seas I encountered. Look for the recent post with MKIII somewhere in the title.

I would imagine you have the perfect location for a nice touring kayak!


Here is the link to the trip pictures.


RE: Long Trips

myself, my Bro in law, my dad, and my cousin have personally spent 6 days, in Everglades National Park, unsupported out of a 17LT, WD12, WD14, and a plastic boat. In the 17LT I was paddling mostly to maintain course, my bro in law in the WD14 had plenty of time to fish, my 70 year old dad in the WD12 got along pretty good, my poor cousin in the plastic boat was paddling like a crazy person to keep up with us.

In any of these boats you will need to pack light to get it all to fit. At first your food and water take up an incredible amount of space. As each day goes by, you eat and drink your way into the boat, and it gets easier to pack. Being a group of 4, we had larger stoves and cooking gear than I would have packed for a solo trip.

For excursion type camping the 17 or 17LT is the way to go. I find that the 17LT has a bit of trouble with following wind and seas. This is not really a problem below about 15 knot winds. I have not been disappointed in my 17LT, it takes me anywhere I dare to go.

RE: Long Trips

jnjclark has the right idea. Think:"backpacking". What you are doing is basically like backpacking, except that your watertight compartments hold the gear instead of your back. Size and weight of everything is important. WATER is definitely the heaviest item.

RE: Long Trips

As far as having a high volume kayak to stow a lot of gear, Id be hard pressed to belive youll do better than the Chesapeake 17 - lol - unless you go to the 18, but I wouldn t recommend it lest you are particularly stout.   While I dont own a Ches. 17 Ive known of it and owners for the last... wow... since the later nineties and Ive NEVER heard a sour note. Its straight up a successful design.

If you really want to pack on miles, you might want to consider a sail rig, MKII or MKIII.  Even in just fair wind youd be amazed at how effortlessly you can rack up miles. In a good wind youll be THE fastest kayak on the water.



RE: Long Trips

I have a CH18, that I build for multi-day distance expeditions and love it. Choosing between the 17LT, 17 and 18, I think, really depends on your physical stature. I chose the 18 because of my long legs and size 13 shoe size (I am 6-4, 220 lbs). The 18 can haul a lot of gear and handles well. Though I would recommend a skeg or rudder if you plan open water expeditions, due to a strong tendency to weathercock.  Cheers! Dave

RE: Long Trips

Shoe size can be an issue like you say. Im 5'10" and my shoes at size 11 can be a bit large depending on the brand and style. My all time fav for warmer weather are my FILA Skeletoes - roomy fit in the WR180 while running sneakers can be a little large and stick at points. The problel partly is too much rear heel prjecting backward.  Ive thought of getting bulky but warm foot wear and literally cutting off the excess heel and toe of the sole to facilitate fitting neath the deck.  At 6'4"  the 18 seems likke a great choice.



RE: Long Trips

Thank you very much for all the answers and suggestions.


@what could go wrong?

You've built a fantastic kayak. Thanks for your experience, it could be an ispiration. I've alredy seen some kayak with the addition of small sails like this:


(image only for example)

but i think that isn't my priority. Probably i have to take small steps, one by one.

However is this an addition that can be done after the construction of the kayak or need to make changes in design to a standard 17 or 17lt?

I had already thought about the possibility of mounting a rudder to correct the direction especially in moments of particular fatigue in the arms. I think is it not included in 17 plans? Is this addition can be done after the costruction?


I'm 1,84 cm, 78 kg (6'04'', 172 lbs) with 45 shoe size (11.5) so i think 17 is suitable for me, right?

I'm also interested in the use of solar panels on the upper part of the hull for the energy during stops (obviously the minimum necessary)...any suggestions about this?




RE: Long Trips


although I have not tried a 17 myself, your shoe size and weight indicate that would probably be a suitable choice. As for adding a rudder, yes that can easily be done later after the kayak is constructed. That is what I did. 

RE: Long Trips

sail and rudder after the kayak is complete has been done many times.

Solar panels?? I have built a few, and bought one. $30 for the store bought one, completely useless. 0.08 amps of charge under bright sunlight. The two that I built are much mor powerfull. 0.4 and 0.7 amps of charge, costing $20 and $40 respectively.

The problem is that while the sun is up you will want to be paddling your kayak. The batteries also pose a weight and complexity issue. Lead acid batteries are heavy and bulky. LIPO batteries are more expensive, lighter, and need a specific charger. I would be better to limit you electrical needs, and plan your batteries accordingly

Check out Micheal Davis' website search for mdpubs and solar panels, it should come up.

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