Give Kayaking a Try

August 15, 2023 at 1:35 p.m.
Roger Urbaniak with his new kayak and Sparky the dog looking on with curiosity
Roger Urbaniak with his new kayak and Sparky the dog looking on with curiosity

…by Roger Urbaniak | 

Longtime Northwest Prime Time columnist, Roger Urbaniak, offers a few thoughts on his new kayak

I love being outdoors and I love being on or near the water.  When I can combine the two activities, I find my spirits lifted and wide smiles frequent.  

Sixty-five years ago, I purchased an 18-foot aluminum canoe with savings from paper route. I still use it a few times a year when accompanied by my friends. Unfortunately, my canoe has gotten heavier over the years, amazing how that happened.  I seldom lift and transport it now without help from a friend.

Two years ago, I noticed a new 10-foot kayak for sale at Costco for $350 and on a whim decided to give it a try.
My Subaru Outback already had a cartop carrier that allows me to carry the canoe and adapts well for the kayak. My Outback model came equipped with places to insert eyebolts both front and back to help stabilize my craft during transportation. After some experimenting, using rear eye bolt and interior securing points, I worked out a way to safely carry my kayak short distances by simply sliding it into the hatchback area with the seats down. The kayak seems to have built in features that allow me to accomplish some new creative way to use it. The engineering thought that went into the design has proven to be impressive.

Features I enjoy with my kayak start with its 45-pound weight with an easy area to grasp for carrying. Handles both fore and aft together with an extremely durable surface allow me to gently slide it along the ground without appreciable damage. Handles can also be used if a friend helps me with portaging. Surface storage with straps allows me to carry fishing equipment behind me while straps on the sides have found several uses. A built-in seat and plenty of leg room add to comfort, while the hull design and sitting close to the water provides surprising stability.  

The paddle has adjustments for tilting the paddle blade and snaps together easily. aving the paddle in two pieces also allows for easy storage and transportation. Paddle design keeps water from dripping into the boat while in use. Snaps allow use of extra interior waterproofing or use in areas where waves may be too high for the sides.

Loading and securing the kayak in a third of the time of handling the canoe is making me want to use it more often. Being able to load it by myself whenever the mood suits me ensures that I will frequently do so. My only drawback thus far is exiting the kayak upon my return.  Since I am not able to beach the kayak, I need to wear sandals and exit into the water. Exiting gracefully is something that I am still working on.

Occasionally I see fishermen with kayaks specifically designed for fishing. Features such as rod holders, propulsion assists, fish finders, etc. are luxury items that I may possibly yearn for in the future, but their $3000+ price tag makes me wonder how hard I should wish.

For now, I am happily enjoying a craft that allows me to be on the water within 20 minutes of having the inspiration to do so.
My canoe allowed me to enjoy being on the water up to the age of 80; I am hopeful that my kayak will see me still enjoying water outings well into my 90’s.

If you see me on the water smiling, don’t forget to wave.  You may want to give kayaking a try yourself and share the fun.

Roger Urbaniak writes about the Great Outdoors and other topics from his home on Mercer Island. “Rogers Outdoor Channel” is the place to learn about the adventures of Northwest Outdoor Enthusiast Roger Urbaniak along with his lovely wife Linda and trusty pooch Sparky. Visit for more information or email Roger at or visit
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