The Top 10 Kits of 2016

Most Popular Kayak Kit

1. Pinguino 145: For the 6th year in a row the Pinguino 145 has outsold any other kit. With efficient cruising speed, an extra large cockpit option and plenty of stability this kayak is versatile and popular for kayak fishing, photography, light touring and day paddling. At only 36 lbs, she’s easy to cartop. Just because she’s the most popular, it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s right for you. Folks under 5’4″ prefer the ease of paddling provided by the swept down deck on the Pinguino 145-4PD (see below).  Read More 

Stable Wooden kayak kit

2. Pinguino 145-4PD: For the 3rd year in a row the Pinguino 145-4PD is nestled in a close 2nd. With an identical hull design to the Pinguino 145, the difference lies in the deck. The 4PD has a smaller, arched cockpit design for a closer paddle stroke and to help facilitate lay-back rolls. She’s a popular option for smaller paddlers who desire stability and also for folks who want to take the Pinguino into the surf zone. Smaller paddlers and folks looking for a light play boat should also check out the Arctic Tern 14, Selkie and Ronan (see below).  Read More

Greenland style touring wooden sea kayak

3. Murrelet: Three years ago the Murrelet became the first touring kayak to outsell the Coho in over 10 years. In 2016 she held that same position. The Murrelet is a Greenland-inspired touring kayak that rolls beautifully. The most popular model in this series is the Murrelet 4PD, due to its extra storage capacity. This  review touches on the reasons for its popularity: “The Murrelet is a great kayak for Greenland-style rolling, and yet has some stowage advantages for long trips. I loved the light weight for car-topping and enjoyed paddling and showing off this wooden beauty. It’s stable enough for athletic beginners, and a playful, rough-water rolling machine for the experts.” Read More


4. Coho – Voted Best Wooden Kayak by Sea Kayaker Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards, we have sold more Cohos over the last 30 years than any other design. John created the 17’6″ Coho with plenty of volume for the gear needed on big trips. Her 23″ beam provides good stability when loaded for a long paddle. Excellent buoyancy in bow and stern make her seaworthy for open ocean swell and surf, as well as quiet water. Only performance could keep the Coho as popular as she has been for the last 16+ years. The Coho has been extensively tested by many a long distance trip including in the award-winning documentary Paddle to Seattle, where two friends paddle together for 97 days through the wilderness on a journey from Alaska to Seattle. Read More

Arctic Tern 14 Wooden Kayak Kit

5. Arctic Tern 14:  Sixteen years ago the Arctic Tern 14 was designed for Tsunami Ranger Michael Powers as a small play boat.  Michael wanted a smaller, more maneuverable kayak that he could take into the rock gardens and sea caves along the coast of Oregon. The end result was a kayak that not only performed well in the surf, but also works well for teens and smaller adults. At only 32 lbs she’s easy to cartop and her lower wetted surface makes keeping pace with larger boats a pleasure. Every year since her release the Arctic Tern 14 has hovered in the top five and in recent years her popular hull design has lead to two new kayaks: the Selkie and the Ronan (see below).  Read More


6. Wineglass Wherry: With its classic lines and wineglass transom the Wineglass Wherry has held steady in popularity ever since her introduction. Designer John Lockwood drew inspiration from the “beach skiffs” that were common along the New England coast during the late 1800’s. Used in the commercial fishery, folks launched through the surf and rowed out to the fishing grounds. Their narrow flat bottoms enabled them to be parked upright on the beach. Their “planked skegs” allowed them to be more easily built and avoided the added weight of heavy keels. Developed before the advent of power, they were superb pulling boats used year-round in coastal waters. Our Wineglass Wherry is a synthesis of two such boats–the Penobscott Bay Salmon Wherry and the Sea Bright Skiff. At only 90 lbs it’s easy to see why this 14 foot rowing skiff is so popular. Read More


7. Borealis: “The Borealis Xl is really the big guy’s dream: a quality kit touring kayak that combines a grand size with great looks and good handling.” -Review |  We have been approached by many a big guy thanking us for having a kayak kit that was made for them. At 17′, with a 25.5″ beam, 13″ deck height, and extra large 19″x36″ cockpit the Borealis provides the volume, stability, and ease of entry that bigger paddlers need. Despite being the most stable kayak in our fleet, its sophisticated multi-chine hull design has only 2.8% more wetted surface than our highly rated, award winning Arctic Tern 17′ design.  This means you get the benefits of a dramatic increase in initial stability, more space for gear, and a roomier, more comfortable cockpit without sacrificing paddling efficiency and performance. Read More


Pinguino Sport Lightweight kayak Kit

8. Pinguino Sport: Lightweight, playful and compact (only 13′) the Sport is popular for folks with space restrictions (i.e. aboard a sailboat) or who want the most stability with the least amount of weight but don’t mind sacrificing storage space and a little speed.  Review: “There are a lot of things to like: light-weight, lively feel, good manners in a blow. It also adapts well to lazing about on a calm day and tending to camera or fishing pole.” Read More


9. Arctic Tern 17: Voted “Best Kit Kayak” (Sea Kayaker Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards), the Arctic Tern 17 is famous for tracking well, and carving leaned turns while still behaving herself in wind and waves. While she shares the same beam and depth as the Coho (and is slightly shorter) her hull is hard-chined (see Hard Chine Hull vs. Multi-Chine). The Reviews say it all: ““I really loved this kayak. The hull design is top-notch, combining superb rough-water handling, good tracking, turning, and outstanding surfing ability for a touring kayak. A great choice for beginners interested in learning good technique and edge control.” 

kayak kit for petite paddlers

10. Ronan:   A brand new design, the Ronan hasn’t wasted any time finding it’s place in the top 10. The new Ronan is a more spacious version of the Selkie, which is a lightweight, hard-chined marriage of two of our most popular boats (the Arctic Tern 14 and the Murrelet). While 3” longer than the Arctic Tern 14, the underwater hull is identical, giving it the same efficiency in cruising due to low wetted surface area. Like the Selkie, the Ronan features a low sheer line with cutaway side deck panels that allow more body rotation and a more efficient use of a Greenland paddle. The major difference between it and the Selkie is its higher hull sheer height and larger cockpit, which allow larger paddlers the space needed for ease of entry and exit.  Read More



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