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What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:37 pm
by Stoney Mike
Hi all, hopefully this is the right place to post this.

My car will be heading in for an MOT next week. Depending on the outcome of the MOT I may be looking to a new car, so looking for recommendations for the perfect car for a sea kayaker (and climber).

As much as I'd love a campervan I can't afford a fully fitted out one and don't have the time to fit one out myself. So I'm thinking of an estate car.

The main criteria are:
Needs to be suitable for carrying a sea kayak (I have a scorpio, about 17 1/2 foot long)
Needs to be long enough for a 6'1" person to lie down to sleep in the back with the seats folded down
Economical for multiple long drives around Scotland as well as city commuting
Good handling in winter (will also be heavily used to drive to the mountains in winter)

I quite like the idea of a hybrid (would got for plug in, but with street parking, don't have anywhere to charge up at home). What are peoples thoughts on these compared to a modern petrol?

Any recommendations?

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:05 pm
by Fozzy
I had a Skoda Superb 4x4 estate TDI which I was getting over 50mpg with and a huge boot. Rear seats don't fold flat but I was ok with a thermarest. Great car.

I've just changed it to for a Nissan NV200 van, removed the bulkhead and I've got over 2m behind the rear seat so have put in a camp bed, with a shelf across the back above my feet and a cargo net. Wet stuff in tub on floor at back, dry under bed at back and can store clothes, stove etc on shelf, anything else still goes under the bed. Passenger seat folds flat so a guest seat and bed is a sofa, I can still fit another seat in if I'm entertaining. Just starting on insulation and carpeting but £150 covers all of that. Even the boss like it!
I'll be fitting winter tyres and with front wheel drive will go most places.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:56 pm
by pathbrae
Saab estate to Toyota Auris estate. Both big enough boots. Toyota has remote keyless entry which I now consider essential for a kayaking car - no more "which pocket did I put the key in" under BA, spray deck, dry-suit etc. when I remember what I've forgotten.... Winter tyres (or Michelin Cross-Climates) take care of winter roads. Hybrid is nice to drive but don't believe the mileage claims!
Loved my Saab though...

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:12 pm
by Bod Bagby
Any big-ish estate will do it? Focuses are surprisngly spacious. I have a Skoda Superb. Before that a phev Mitsubishi Outlander but that was simply too tall for loading boats easily (or I am too short!); and fuel consumption was 2/3 the diesel Skoda, even plugging the phev in at work everyday. What Pathbrae says about keyless is very true...

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:53 pm
by jamiemagee
Echo the above really. Bigger estates with keyless entry. Look at the ones with 4wd if winter driving is a big one, plenty out there. If I knew I was driving in winter conditions I'd look at winter tyres too.



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Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:01 pm
by G7AFM
Not wanting to put a dampener on things just be cautious with keyless entry not proving to be the safest system.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:55 pm
by Chris Bolton
I have a mk3 Focus estate, 1.0 petrol econetic, which does 50mpg without a boat 45 mpg with. The roof rails allow wide spacing of the bars and no problem carrying a sea kayak. The back seats fold flat, and space for two 6 foot people to sleep.

I don't trust keyless. I had a spare key cut with the immobiliser chip but no remote, this is fully waterproof and I just put it on cord round my neck, under my top, with a plastic tube over the blade to avoid cutting my clothes.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:04 pm
by Stoney Mike
Thanks for the replies. The Auris is a model I was looking at, a few near by on autotrader. The focus sounds alright too, is 1.0 not a bit small an engine?

Interesting debate about keyless, not something I'd considered before.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:05 pm
by jamiemagee
Mine is keyless start but not keyless entry. I can push the button through my drysuit/ drytrousers but can drive the car without fishing out the key. Useful for a quick shuttle.



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Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:23 pm
by Chris Bolton
The focus sounds alright too, is 1.0 not a bit small an engine
You would think so, but it has two turbos and makes 125bhp. Focus and Auris seem about the same size. An open canoeist friend sold his Superb to buy an Auris.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:09 pm
by Spikeedog
I'm selling my old Range Rover. In Aboyne. Check it out on the Royal Deeside buy swap sell page on Facebook 😎 Fantastic car. Thirsty though. Comes with Thule roof bars.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:02 pm
by Stoney Mike
Thanks Spikeedog, unfortunately doesn't sound like it meets the economical category though.

Good luck selling it.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:00 pm
by Jim
Buy my 307 SW - great for boating and sleeping in and the air conditioning works.

(not actually for sale, the engine has serious problems, but the air con does work).

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:14 am
by Mark Gawler
Stoney Mike wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:37 pm
As much as I'd love a campervan I can't afford a fully fitted out one and don't have the time to fit one out myself. So I'm thinking of an estate car.
Don't rule a Van out, a friend did a cheap fit out, the professionally work which included window, insulation, lining, leisure batter and lights for about £1200. He then added a futon from Gum tree job done.

Saying that a Van may not meet your economy requirements, 30 MPG with boats on the Motorway (better on A roads). Winter handling not so great either.

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:44 am
by Stoney Mike
Thanks for all the suggestions. Fortunately the MOT wasn't as bad as expected so hopefully I'll get another year out of it yet, but good to have the suggestions for when it inevitably starts becoming a money hole or gives up entirely!

Re: What car for a sea kayaker?

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:28 am
by MikeB
Volvo V70. Massive load space, and the front passenger seat can also be folded flat. Rear seats go completely flat.