I see this question all the time posted on facebook. What should I buy. I can tell you my experience. I started with a inflatable. Intex Excursion 12 foot tandem kayak that I turned into a one man kayak. I put a wooden floor in and a center seat. This helped with getting in and out of the boat. I had a firm floor to stand on getting in and out. I used this boat only on lakes. I would not take it on rivers because of the chance of getting holes punched into it. Well that did not matter, I got holes after holes after holes. I would not recommend a inflatable even though the price is attractive.
I then tried my sons 12 foot Ascend fishing kayak. I did a couple river trips in it, even one time putting out riggers on it to keep from falling over. The first trip, I put in at downtown Mount Vernon and did not go 100 yards ill I went over going over a small low head dam. That was no fun. I also went over about 20 miles down the river when I brushed against a log on the side of the river bank and over I went. That one was no joke, the water was deep and cold and everything went floating everywhere. It took me a mile to catch up with all my stuff, because I bungee corded things in instead of strapping it in with cam straps.
Trust me that thing was heavy and not one that you could put on top of your car easily. After going over twice, I put the outriggers on the side but that made it impossible to paddle so that was out.
I got on line one night and ordered a Pelican 120 Mustang and picked it up the next day from Dicks sporting goods in Heath. It looked good, it was fast. It was stable, and it could carry 375 pounds so it was just what I needed for a long trip. There were some flaws in the design that were found out by almost drowning on the trip to Marietta last year. I got caught under a log and the deep well in the back, witch is a great place to store your fishing gear when out on the lake catching bass but not a great place to store things for long trips. It filled with water, I got caught under a log and things just got worse. That gets into another discussion, Dry Bags. The most important thing I have on the boat is Dry Bags. Everything goes in a drybag. Walmart sells them cheap, 12 to 14 bucks I posted a picture of one in my previous posts. Back to the boat, I brought the boat home, and did some major alterations, and have since altered it twice more. I think I have it just the way I want it now. It works good. I did take this boat on a 109 mile trip down the Muskingum last June.
I wanted a boat that I could carry more equipment in, so I purchased a Ascend H12. It is very heavy, hard to load on top of a vehicle but is reasonably fast in the water, tracks very straight, and can haul everything including the kitchen sink.
I would not suggest loading your boat up with tires for your next camping trip, but it sure did come in handy on the Fall clean up this last year.
All I can say is talk to people, define what you are buying a kayak for. Maybe even try out some friends boats first before buying, and don’t forget the DRY BAGS!