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Reviews for Manitou 14 Kayak by Necky Kayaks


Rated: 8.91/10 Based On: 45 Reviews

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09-06-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Necky Manitou 14 is an excellent choice for beginners as well as advanced kayakers. It performs well on flat water or in ocean surf. The fore and aft bulkheads offer substantial storage. The design of the kayak allows a paddler to develop their skills and continues to be fun to paddle.
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07-03-2014
Submitted by: Eileen PugeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Absolutely a great kayak. Comfy to paddle on all types of water (ocean and lakes). Easy to get in and out of and accessories are available from all suppliers. I am sold on Necky kayaks.
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08-08-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     A few months ago I purchased the Necky Manitou 14 after much research. I wanted a bit of a crossover kayak... flatwater and class I,II river. I have had it on the lake on a windy day and the skeg helped it track well. On the river great. I have packed it for an over night trip and there is plenty of volume.

I am very pleased that I did my research and I believe chose the ideal boat. I am 5'3" and 120 lbs., so the cockpit is a good size and love those thigh braces.

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08-04-2013
Submitted by: BrendanSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Bought this boat on sale last year for CAD 900 as my first kayak after demoing about 5 or 6 boats. Have really enjoyed it so far. I live in the Canadian Rockies so wanted something that could do rivers, lakes and potentially something on the coast. The Manitou seemed the best able to handle all of these out of the boats I tested. It is much, much faster on flat water than your standard 10 foot rec kayak but if also very stable. I've also taken it down class 2+ white water without issue. Will be trying class 3 soon I hope.

Before buying it I noted someone complained that getting back into the kayak after it flipped is hard because of the seat back being too high. I recently practiced this and after admittedly failing on the first 4 attempts I was able to comfortably get back in the kayak despite the seat on the 5th and all subsequent tries without using a paddle float. So the seat is not a safety issue and it is amazingly comfortable. To be honest, the main reason I bought this kayak is because it is SO comfortable.

The only negatives about the kayak are that the hatches are not water tight if you roll the kayak. A roll will likely result in a significant amount of water in the hatch. Also, the skeg box and cable in the rear hatch take up a lot of room which can be irritating it you need to pack gear for a multi day trip. I much prefer the skeg to a rudder though but I feel like it could have been designed to use less space in the hatch.

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07-27-2013
Submitted by: K-A TSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Perfect for the beginner kayak-camper! Stable, easy to re-enter from the water, gorgeous, lots of cargo space. Wouldn't trade "Little Red" for the world!
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07-26-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I found a 'deal' on a 2012 Manatou 14 composite. They aren't making them anymore, and I couldn't resist! What a shame. Beautiful boat! I've only used it once, on a lake that was like glass. It tracked great and was very fast. I covered the same distance I usually paddle in a fraction of the time. I didn't get enough time in to really evaluate it as a storm blew in pretty hard.

I am not sure that the seat back was adjusted properly and so it was a bit uncomfortable. I am not sure that it will adjust any tighter for more support. Other than that, I really like it a lot and can't wait to give it a really good workout.

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10-08-2012
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This year is my second year for paddling the Manitou 14. It paddles and fits me well. Turns when leaned. Very stable for this 5'2" female. The seat fit good last year but I've since dropped 25# and even though I changed the backs position, I'm now experiencing discomfort where the two materials meet. In the seat 'pan' where the black and gray materials come together, the gray has a pronounced ridge which presses on my tailbone.

I still enjoy this kayak and have decided to purchase a replacement seat and backband that Necky has on their website, to the tune of about $130.00, but it will be worth it. Even though it's inconvenient, I will still enjoy my Manitou 14.

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10-11-2011
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife (age 72) and I (age 75) just finished a 10-day kayak camping trip on the Green River from the State Park to the confluence with the Colorado in Utah (about 120 miles). Wowzee! What a great trip.

My wife has a brand new Manitou 14 and mine is more than two years old. (Her Old Town Cayuga 13 was stolen during the past summer. Bummer!) We had few problems with either kayak. Necky has made a major design improvement on the hatch covers. They used (mine) to be a pain in stretching the neoprene inner cover to secure the hatch. Now...it's easy (hers). Nice going Necky! However, prepare for a little leaking in the rear hatch of either model. So...just make sure to use dry bags. The skeg plays a role in this. I personally love the skeg, as does my wife, who chose the Necky because it does have a skeg and keeps the Manitou on track in high winds. But...it takes up hatch space. And...when I recovered my kayak at the end of the trip from the shuttle operator , guess what? The skeg was gone! Yikes! Somehow through dragging on the sand or getting caught on rocks in some the of the lower water rapids (class one) it must have broken off. So, I'll call Necky next week and find out what can be done.

Otherwise, I love this kayak as it's a good all around kayak. Now that we have used it for small and large rivers, streams, and lakes, we will take it to B.C. next year and kayak the ocean bays. Also...we carried 10 days of food and camping stuff, took along a MSR water filter for drinking water. This kayak carries an amazing amount of camping equipment including a small tent. A bit like backpacking on the water. Two hatches are very, very important if thinking of camping with a kayak.

I give the Necky Manitou 14 a thumbs-up and recommend it strongly. (Personally I was disappointed to learn they moved their operation from the Northwest to Old Town, Maine.) It seems that when a larger company buys out a smaller one such as Necky or Old Town by Johnson Outdoor Products, there is a lot of enthusiasm lost in the process. Old Town factory in Old Town, Maine, is a shell of what it once was and their spirits (IMHO) have dropped significantly. My motto...keep it small and personal! But it's better than building kayaks in China. So a strong salute to Necky and Old Town!!!

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07-26-2011
Submitted by: MarjaSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I took the plunge and traded in my Necky Rip for a faster model. I love this boat, I can finally keep up with my husband and son! I did have to take the knee braces out, I have fairly heavy thighs, they got jammed under them no matter what adjustment I used. This also makes the entry and exit easier. Also when I did a wet exit yesterday for safety practice I ended up with some water in both hatches.
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05-13-2011
Submitted by: sbSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had this kayak for a year and enjoy paddling it. I wanted a good multi-purpose kayak. This is my 3rd kayak and is the best so far. I wanted a boat that I could take out on Lake Superior in wind protected waters and rivers. It's a little short for big water but handled fine and turns well for a 14ft boat on small rivers.

Like others have said, it's quick but only to a certain point, you can paddle harder but it won't go any faster! I hardly use the skeg but packing the rear hatch is more difficult because of the room the skeg box and cable take up. I've used other 14 ft boats that had bigger rear hatches and room to store a second paddle in which is nice on trips; with this kayak, it won't fit - I put it on top.

The only other thing I've noticed is the skeg box drops down at the back, so if you slide over river logs, the skeg box will catch it at the back instead of sliding over smoothly. If I drag it across sand the skeg box will dig in, so I drag it backwards.

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08-31-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     After thousands of hours and thousands of miles kneeling and paddling in canoes (1946-2006) my knees gave out and the only way I could find to be able to keep going out on the waters under my own power and still be able to enjoy the same kind of "feel" was in a kayak. I live on the shore of Lake Erie which is where I do 99% of my paddling anymore. Here, the shore is all rock and most times the winds blow free.

In the last 4 years, I've owned 6 kayaks. What I've found through experience is that for the conditions out here, what is required is a kayak with a large enough cockpit for easy entry and exit so I can launch the boat and literally jump aboard before the next wave swamps me or throws the kayak back onto the onshore rocks. Tricky! When coming back to shore, essential to be able to climb out quickly as soon as I get into the shallows before the kayak bottoms out on the rock bottom. When the wind blows out here (which is most of the time) the waves build and usually what we get is a chop. Steady winds also beget some goodly swells. Depending on the wind direction, we also can get some good size waves breaking both offshore and onshore. So, these conditions call for a kayak which will handle both big waves and short chop equally well while retaining good stability, whether heading into them head on, quartering or broadside, or having them pushing you along from dead astern. Another prerequisite is a kayak that tracks well in all the above conditions without need of a lot of correcting and thus tiring strokes of the paddle.

I'm not into rolling kayaks. If I want to get wet, I'll put on a bathing suit and go for a swim. My reason for being in a kayak is the same as it was for being in a canoe, the experience of being on the water (and not in it!). At my age (67 fast going on 68) with a bad back and knees that have seen better days, comfort is a big factor. So is ease of paddling because I just can't push a paddle like I used to 30 years ago. Those days when I could paddle full tilt for 14 hours a day are but a fast-fading memory...

Admittedly, I haven't had the opportunity to try out every kayak on the market but thanks to the internet, have managed to read specs and reviews of many boats. After hours and hours of research, I decided that the Necky Manitou just might be the boat to fulfill all my needs and so I started searching "for sale" ads on Kijiji and Craigslist hoping to find one at a reasonable price. As luck would have it, I found one a little over a week ago and bought it, Best deal I've ever made! This boat meets all the criteria outlined above in spades and as an added bonus, looks real good, like a "real" sea kayak. What more could a man ask for?

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08-11-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Composite. Very sturdy. Beautiful. Tracks well, when the tracking sucks, the skeg brings it back to "tracks well." Does not turn on dime, but will turn on a nickle, assuming you know how to paddle a kayak.

Very, VERY efficient hull design. Glides through water with minimal resistance (parasitic drag). Very comfortable seating position/composite seat. Surprisingly so, to be more specific.
Dry bay stays mostly dry (few drops of water) even after complete submergence of the dry bay. I was surprised with this little fact.

All in all, I love this kayak. I would, however, exchange this for a pure carbon fiber kayak ($5k) as an even exchange, but that is pretty unlikely

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11-16-2009
Submitted by: wild louisianaSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     first of all I'd like to state that this kayak is not hard to turn like twenty or so of the other reviewers would have you believe. I'm new to kayaking and one of the first places I took it was to an extremely tiny and winding creek that I had never explored before. I had no problem maneuvering around downed trees and tight corners. You just have to lean it away from the turn and use the correct stroke. The stability is only a factor while getting in and out and that's pretty good as well. It handles well in big water even when taking waves sideways. you can also lean it pretty far over. I've yet to turn it over. The speed is pretty good but as others have said it does get hard after you push past a certain speed. all in all it seems to move at a fair rate.

One thing I don't like is the seat. I hate it. I first removed the back cushion and rigged the nylon strapping to where it would still support the seat back. A whole lot more comfy. The plastic that's under the cushion has a nice flex to it while still being firm. I still hate how bulky the seat bottom is and will eventually figure something else out for it. This is the 2008 version. It looks like they've done some work on the seat for 2010. Another note is that the hatch covers are not hard to put back on. you just have to roll them up and then roll them on.

I would recommend this kayak to anyone who is just beginning and wants something a little more serious to grow into. I myself am going to sell this and stick to poling my canoe. This is a roomy kayak and I am just 5'8" and still feel cramped. legs and lower body falling a sleep for hours is not good for you at all. Next time I want a small boat with speed and beautiful handling characteristics I'll get a solo canoe. that way I can sit and kneel; a lot more ergonomic. Just some food for thought for those considering a kayak.

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08-31-2009
Submitted by: DavidSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I recently acquired a new Necky Manitou 14 (polyethylene plastic))for the lakes and coastal areas of the Northwest. After two months of using it in streams, rivers and lakes of central Oregon, I am enjoying this boat very much. I will compare it to the Cayuga 13 (Old Town) which my wife has and I have used for two years in every type of water environment.

The Necky 14 tracks very well, especially with the skeg in high winds (better than the Cayuga 13 which has no skeg). It turns well for a boat of this size, better without the skeg in use. The Cayuga at 13 feet turns faster and easier, which is what I would expect. The Necky cuts through the waves, especially when laden with extra gear in the bow and stern...fun on the large lakes when wind comes up.

I find it takes more effort to go from medium speed to higher speed with the Necky as compared to the Cayuga 13. The Cayuga is more stable with a wider cockpit but that's no big deal as both are very comfortable. Since I use my Necky for fishing as well as paddling (mostly), I have stayed in the boat up to four hours at a time. So, in summary, the Necky 14 is a great boat, especially for the money (sale with REI).

To be honest, if I had one kayak to buy for doing everything (streams, rivers, and coastal bays), I would choose the Old Town Cayuga 13 because it is sooooo easy to paddle, very stable, extremely comfortable, and moves out easily. In the future, I will demo the Tsunami 14 and make a comparison. I've heard many good things about that boat as well. We are on our way to the Oregon coast for the month (with RV) to try out the coastal bays and lakes there. What we are finding as long time canoers but recently converted kayakers, is that it would be nice to have two types of kayaks: one like the Cayuga 13 for smaller bodies of water (streams, rivers, and lakes) and another larger kayak about 17 feet that does well in the ocean bays, large lakes, and open ocean.

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08-07-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Purchased as my first kayak in April this year. Hatches are a pain, but re-sealable after several practice sessions! Might add that they seem reasonably waterproof after several unplanned flips. My limited paddling skills prevent me from rating the tracking, but have had no difficulties even in mild chop while using the skeg.

Overall very pleased, and will soon take basic courses to improve my enjoyment.

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07-01-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I purchased the composite Manitou 14 in May 2008 and have used it a lot.

Pros:
The composite boat weighs only 42 pounds and that makes it really easy to carry. It is a very stable boat and tracks well in most conditions. I like the skeg, since it is out of the way until you use it, unlike a rudder. I engage the skeg about half way down in strong following seas or confused seas and makes going straight easy in these conditions.

Cons:
While it is easy to paddle at its cruising speed of about 3 MPH, it takes a lot of effort to step it up to 4 MPH. It is also not very good in strong headwinds. Because of the design of the chines, it is hard to edge and get a quick turn. That can be a pain in the twisty bayous of the Houston Bay area. The seat is hard plastic and is a true pain in the butt. I am adding a foam seat pad recommended by Necky and will see if this helps.

The seat back is a band, which is great for me with my bad back. I make sure it is in my lumbar region and I am fine. I thought I would miss having a full seat back, but I was surprised at the comfort. Because the back band is lower than the coaming, it makes it easier to put the spray skirt on than the extrasport seat back on other Manitous.

I do not know how to roll, but took classes in rescue, having the boat upside down many times. The hatches allowed a small amount of water, but with dry bags, you should be OK.

All in all, this boat is a well made, stable, light, but not real fast or easy to turn kayak.

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06-30-2009
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     We picked up two 2009 Polyethylene Manitou 14's this spring at one of the local outfitters here in NB. 1st impressions: Attractive, reasonably light, bomb-proof durability, and EXCELLENT value for the money! Probably the thing that has impressed me most is how my 5'1" wife has taken to it... she is by no means a watersports person, and the Manitou has proven to be a stable and comfortable craft for her.

They track exceptionally well. I only find the skeg to be necessary if the wind comes up. That said, turning just requires proper paddling technique (which I'll admit I'm still learning). And it is light enough for those smaller of us to easily manage out of the water too. It's also not a bad fishing platform, and I intend to add rod holders to mine soon. Not so sure on the watertightness of the Neoprene Hatch covers as others have said... I practiced rolling mine, and had it upside down for several minutes... while there wasn't a pile of water in the fore and aft hatches, there was certainly enough to soak your gear.. dry bags are probably a good idea! Foot Peg system is easy to operate and seems much sturdier than others I've looked at. The ExtraSport seat is really very comfortable, but you HAVE TO adjust it right, or it will totally suck. BTW, attempting to figure this out for the 1st time WHILE on the water has a high likelihood of NOT going or ending well...

I only give it an 8 because I've not tried any similar craft to compare. (Just my Dirigo Tandem plus and Manitou II Tandem.. and those are barges in comparison!)

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04-24-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Just got another Necky: a Manitou 14 Recycled this time. Took her out on a choppy sea with winds up to 20 mph and all I can say is that I am more than happy with this kayak. She keeps her course straight with no need for the skeg (maybe in more confused waters she might), totally agree with the review below, it is not a recreational kayak, nor she is a true sea kayak, but who cares? for a day trip shooting the breeze this kayak does it pretty well.

Can you roll her? yes you can, seat doesn't allow you to go all the way on your back but she snaps right back up anyhow, re-entry requires a bit of toiling & moiling for you to get the drill. didn't find any water in the hatches & just a bit of it in the cockpit.

Excellent tracking, good stability both primary & secondary, good pace to cover some distances, all packed out in a very stylish craft. I don't agree with her being sluggish to turn, proper paddle strokes get her to turn fairly easy.

Happy as a clam with this girl and the color conceals a lot!
Bravo Necky!

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04-13-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This boat is a sea kayak for the real world. It is fast, tracks like an arrow and rarely needs the skeg except in a stiff tail wind. The seat is reasonable comfortable for about an hour and a half before I start to get antsy. It is very seaworthy and has all the requisite features of a safe boat for medium body water. It is not a recreational boat where you can hang your legs over the side while you catch some rays. It is more like a motorcycle where you'll be fine if you stay on your toes.

All in all a very good boat for someone who wants to flirt with sea kayaking without hitting the really big water.

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09-16-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I both bought a pair of leftover 2008 model Manitou 14s. This is the first kayaks for both of us, but I have some limited experience with other models. I will say that so far these kayaks are well worth the purchase. They handle well and for the most part track well too. I just rolled mine this past Sunday on a lake and even after having it flipped upside down for more than a minute all the hatches remained dry even after the kayak itself had roughly 4 inches of water in it. I did notice the outer edges of the neoprene were wet, but no leaks. My dry sack stayed dry!!! I will agree though that the yak itself does not turn on a dime. It tends to be sluggish and this was prevalent during the slalom exercises a friend and I did. He was able to dart in and out of the submerged trees in his Prijon Touryak and I was not nearly as nimble in the Manitou (hence why I crashed head on into a tree). Overall though the yak itself works fantastic and is relatively comfortable. Even our 9 year old has learned to paddle in the Manitou. I love the Manitou but I do think that something with a little better response would be nice.
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09-06-2008
Submitted by: ScottSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Just bought the (recycled/select) Manitou 14, I upgraded from a Sun Velocity with a skeg.
I'll start with my one and only gripe, maneuverability. It turns okay but as compared to the Velocity, which you can pirouette on your hip, it's sluggish to what I'm used to.

Other than that, on calm weather it glides and tracts like a dream. I find the seat and thigh braces very comfortable, though I can see how some may not like it, it has a larger then most kayak seats out there. The skeg seems okay but you do lose a bit of space in the rear hatch. However, if you pack right it should be okay. I like the skeg slider it's nice and easy to use. The weight, for a poly boat is quite reasonable. Oh and the price is great, if you can go for the recycled, the color sucks but you get the Manitou 14 Select for a cheaper price.

I suggest that you go to a dealer where you can demo, everybody's different and you may not like the Manitou or you may love it. Find the boat you love and keep on kayaking!

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07-24-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I upgraded to this kayak from a small starter rec boat two years ago. After comparing a lot of boats in this price range and trying different ones at demo days, I was sold. At 52 years old, I don't fold up like I used to and need back support. The seat system along with the performance of the boat made the difference. I settled on the plastic model only because of budget limits.

Most of my paddling is done on day trips lasting 10-20 miles and 4-6 hours in length. The boat has been great in waves and chop up to 3 feet and tracks extremely well. I have not tried to roll it, but normally I don't wear a spray skirt.

The cons associated with this boat are: Hatches are difficult to attach (but have never leaked), foot pegs are small, and knee braces are pretty much non-existent (corrected on new models). I would recommend this kayak to anyone wanting to upgrade from a starter boat. It is forgiving to inexperienced paddlers, but has enough performance features to keep up with a developing paddler's skills.

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07-23-2008
Submitted by: Blue LouSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought the 14 poly about two weeks ago and so am thrilled. Tracks as beautifully as my Old Town 136T but not as barge-like. The skeg is all I hoped it would be in windy conditions and moderate chop. Weather cocking is a thing of the past.
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07-23-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Have had the Manitou 14 for 6 months now and I must say I'm delighted with it. It tracks very well even with the skeg up. The seating is very comfortable. Have had it out in all conditions which, in an Irish summer on the Atlantic, amounts to winds force 4 to 6 gusting to 8, heavy rolling swells and boomers. All in all very stable and reassuring even in terrible conditions.

However in self-rescue situations the high seat back can be a bit annoying so try and stay in the boat, if you turn turtle then carry a paddle float or use cowboy scramble method of re-entry. Solo re-entry can be tricky in heavy seas and the seat complicates things. However on long trips it more then makes up for it. Comfort at my age is everything.

I cannot recommend this boat enough though, it's a great work horse, stable, reliable, strong and relatively light so I can get it on and off the car solo.

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07-09-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I'm a rookie. I've had my Manitou 14 Select for about a month. I take it out for at least an hour 5 nights a week. 1 hour ago, I had it out in a small craft advisory in 2 to 4 ft seas just off of Drum Point at the mouth of the Patuxent River where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. I was paddling right directly into the 15 kt wind. I made just about zero progress. But boy was she stable. It was really really fun. A month ago I'd have been scared to death. But it was GREAT! I LOVE this boat! But what do I know, it's my first.
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07-08-2008
Submitted by: mdvSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had the Manitou 14 for almost a year and have paddled it in protected coastal areas, lakes, and rivers. I've been having a blast with it. Early this year I've been taking it up the Charles river, which, near the source, is quite twisty.
I got this kayak for a couple of reasons:
  1. size: I'm 6'2 with size 13 feet (200lb) this fit me.
  2. Room for skill development in kayaking.
I've been very happy with both.

Pros: Tracks well, relatively stable without being a barge. plenty of storage, very durable. Fast boot, can take moderate waves.
Cons: Skag knob doesn't always stay in position. I've hit my hand on it a couple of times (mentioned in another review), foot pegs could be a little more comfortable (they are small bars, that after a long trip eat into your foot.)

The hatches are really only accessible on land. Anything I want to get to is on the deck. Getting the neoprene covers is not easy either.

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04-30-2008
Submitted by: tgSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     One major gripe so far...
I like to paddle at a steep angle, and for people like me that knob that lowers the skeg couldn't be in a worse position. I was constantly banging my thumb on it while paddling. If I keep the boat I'll have to grind the stupid thing down so that it's flush with the boat- something the good people at Necky should consider in the future. That, or locate the knob slightly behind the cockpit to it's reachable but out of the business area. The rear cargo hold is cut into 2 smallish halves because of room required for the retractable skeg. 3rd, and last gripe it that those cargo covers are a real pain in the butt to get on.

Good points are that it's a fast boat, and tracks incredibly well. I had it out in very windy conditions, and could go at 45 degrees into the wind without getting off course. Not a very maneuverable boat though for the same reason. I had planned to take it on rivers when I bought it, but there's no way this boat would be responsive enough to avoid trouble.

If you're going to be on the ocean or a lake, have a low paddle style, and are only doing day trips, this is the boat for you. After I grind off that knob I'll change my score to 8 or 9.

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01-28-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have had my Manitou 14 for a year now and have paddled it in a variety of conditions both on the Indian and Banana Rivers here in Florida and also on the open Atlantic (always within sight of shore).

This is a very good boat. I am very happy with it. It's a great boat and you wouldn't regret having it in your fleet. I picked it up after RAPIDLY outgrowing a VERY cheap and VERY beginner's rec kayak. See, that's the thing about kayaks when you are starting out (I'm in my second year)--if you are addicted to the sport (like me) and you go out a lot (again, like myself), you can outgrow your boat. Well I had my Manitou out for almost a year twice a week and loved every minute of it. It's a poly boat so it is tough as nails. The cockpit is wonderfully comfortable and spacious so it's great on hot Florida days when you want to put your legs out on the fore deck and sunbathe or paddle it like a sit-on-top (!). I've also had it out in 2 foot storm chop and 3 foot ocean swells (I admit it-- I got rolled/dumped -- BUT I LEARNED HOW TO WET ENTRY AND PUMP HER OUT!).

It is a very stable boat with excellent handling characteristics. Good for cruising and hard core paddling alike. Then I got my 17 foot sea kayak and left the poor thing in the garage for almost 8 months. THEN my sea kayak developed a leak around the skeg box (very typical and no biggie). So after my re-sealing and repair I needed to let it cure. Long story shorter: I paddled my Necky Manitou 14 for a while again while the sea yak was healing. I missed the Manitou. When you look in the aft hatch and see the simple but nearly-impossible to go wrong skeg box (molded as part of the hull) you can see that it is doubtful IT will leak.

Bottom line, it is always good to have more than one kayak and I would never sell my Manitou 14. A good solid stable friend that always provides a nice paddle.

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10-08-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is my second plastic Necky as I own a Gannet that I am quite fond of as it was my learning platform. The Manitou is longer and a bit faster, it is also a bit less stable but I felt comfortable in it after just a few moments.

The Gannet tracked straight as long as I had the skeg down. The Manitou tracks like a train with or without the skeg which I use mostly now to counter wind effect. The boat moves beautifully in flat water but has also handled some significant chop and confused seas on Tampa Bay. It has a good turn of speed and allows one to cover ground quickly with a minimum of effort.

I like the seat for comfort and the drink holder but the seat adjustment straps seem needlessly complicated. The skeg that retracts into the hull is an improvement over the Gannet skeg that was hung off the stern. I do day trips so the hatches have not been of much use to me but I like having them.

In all this is a fine boat for its intended purpose of day touring and rec kayaking. It's a "9" only because so few things are perfect.

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10-05-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought the poly version in March and have used it extensively on Lake Erie ranging from completely flat conditions to 3 to 5 foot chop. Necky doesn't recommend conditions above 2 footers, but it has been extremely stable/predictable in all situations.

The speed has also been more than satisfactory. I don’t have great form and can cruise at 3.5 knots without much effort over 8-10 miles. The cockpit is roomy and the seat is very comfortable. The drawbacks are minimal. It would be nice if a hatch were readily reachable while underway like the Tsunami 14.5, which I also considered. The second time I removed the front hatch cover, the neoprene started to de-laminate. Necky customer service was phenomenal and sent a new one asap with no questions asked.

Overall, a great boat that I would highly recommend.
I would also highly recommend www.mountainmanoutdoors.com. Great product knowledge, customer service and the best price I could find anywhere.

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07-30-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Thought it was time to add my review to the list. My first kayak was a Necky Manitou 14. I wanted something in the 12-14 ft range that wasn't too tippy or tight fitting. I tried the Manitou and several sizes of Tsunamis and a few other kayaks. Things I like about the Manitou is it tracks nicely, and is reasonably quick given it's size. I like that it has hatches both front and back. It has a skeg that I don't use too often. It works well when it's windy, and sometimes for when I'm shooting photos. Mostly I leave it up.

The seat is very comfortable, but the seat back is too reclined and too tall for me personally. Maybe because I'm short, but it hits the back of my pfd. I like to paddle sitting upright and don't lean against the back too much, though as the day goes by and I get tired, the seat's reclined position is kind of nice then. There is a bit of fumbling for the seat adjustments when trying to find the right strap to adjust. There are little hooks on the end of the seat straps to hook them out of the way, but one hook nearly caught in my pfd straps one time. All that being said, once you're familiar with the system and everything is adjusted, it is a comfortable kayak.

The cockpit is rather wide and tall for me, a short paddler. I can barely get my knees up into the bracing (which are just little pads glued under the cockpit area). Someone taller or with longer legs might not have a problem with the cockpit area. I think real thigh braces would be a nice addition to this kayak. (Necky says they can be added.)

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07-30-2007
Submitted by: Ron BSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought the Necky Manitou 14 as my first kayak and after 8 trips I still love it.

Selecting a kayak was very easy: I am 6'7" (2m) tall with a 36" inseam and this was the one that fit me best. The seat is very comfortable and the yak tracks great, is fast and very stable. Being a near-beginner I fully expected to flip this 24" kayak on my first trip, but in spite of 2' waves I still haven't made my first dump. I'm sure it will happen someday though...

In case Necky or any other manufacturers are listening, here is my improvement list:
- a waterproof "glovebox", i.e. a small compartment for keys, wallet, permits etc. I cannot believe no kayak has this!
- longer or moveable tracks for the footbraces. When a boat is 14' long there should be no reason that a 7' person would not fit.

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07-09-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I finally bought this kayak after coveting it for almost a year after having outgrown my first kayak, an Old Town Castine. This kayak is everything the Castine is not: fast, light and maneuverable -- like a racing ski compared to a good intermediate ski. I had it out on a windy day on Cedar River Flow, and the skeg definitely makes a difference, tho' I'm still getting used to it. The jury is out on the hatches so far (not as convenient on the go like the Old Town "tupperware" seals). I've tried other friends' "better" boats: Swift Caspian Sea Kevlar (fast, but TOO delicate), Current Designs Kestral TCS (not impressed), but this one has the best combination of speed, handling and poly durability. Color me very happy.
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07-09-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I purchased my new Necky Manitou 14 a few weeks ago but I waited until I had a few outings under my belt before I reviewed it. I bought it for the purpose of making it my all-around “go-to” boat and I think I have a winner.
While it is billed as a “rec-touring” or “day touring” boat, it has some characteristics of larger, more expensive touring boats. At 14+ feet long and only 24 inches wide, it tracks very well and has good to above average speed. In a recent outing I estimated I was averaging 2 to 3 mph with little effort. Picking up the pace and doing some harder paddling I probably got to 5+. In conditions where tracking is difficult the skeg comes in very handy. I find that it most efficient when only deployed about 30 to 40%. The rear storage compartment sacrifices some space to the internal parts of the skeg and the control cables but with a little creative packing it still holds a good bit of gear. The fore and aft dry storage compartments are triple sealed and have so far held 100%. The open hatch is first covered with an elastic neoprene cover, followed by a hard plastic panel, followed by 2 snap-lock straps. The neoprene cover can be difficult to replace at first but I found that by first rolling it inside out, hooking the widest end on the hatch lip and then rolling it the rest of the way on, all the while keeping steady pressure on, it goes on fairly easily. At only 50 pounds it is incredibly easy to carry, load and unload as compared to some other boats I have owned in the past. Also, it was 12 to 16 pounds lighter than several other similar models I demoed in this same general size and class. That being said, it was also slightly more initially “tippier” than some of the others I tried. It is slightly narrower and has a true “shallow V” hull. Some other “day touring” boats had a modified “shallow V” with some hard chines. After you are in and start moving, secondary stability was very good. I have made several outings on a lake and some wider rivers where I shared space with fishing boats. The first few boat wakes I encountered I turned into them and rode over the waves. The sharp, narrow bow cut through some of the larger ones. As I got more comfortable, I stayed on course and paddled on, taking the waves from the side. My only minor complaint would probably be for the seat. The bottom is comfortable but I felt that the back may sit a little too high depending on the style of PFD you wear. Even when it is in the lowest setting, it still sits an inch or two above the rim of the cockpit. The height adjustment can only be changed while one is out of the boat as the back has to be tipped back approximately 60+ degrees and then slipped either up or down to a new position. I suppose you might be able to reset it while still in the boat but you would have scoot all the way up in the cockpit, reach 2 hands behind your back and make the changes completely blind. Thigh and back angle adjustments are easily reached on the sides of the cockpit and have clips to hold excess strapping out of the way. A drink holder is a nice touch.
Overall, I am very happy with my purchase and “pro” the Manitou 14. In my opinion it’s “cons” would be it’s need for a little more storage, a slightly better seat and more initial stability. I give it an “8.”

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07-06-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased my Manitou about three months ago for paddling rivers, flat lakes and the sound. This is my first boat. I'd test paddled 12' WS Pamlico, Pungo, and a 13' Tsunami. As well as a Perception Carolina 14.
I preferred the Manitou over all the others due to it's speed, stability and wave cutting design. Initially I expected to be camping overnight, but haven't had the opportunity to use the compartment storage except to test the boat under load. I noticed no difference in maneuverability while paddling the yak filled with camping gear. I initially had a little trouble peeling on the neoprene covers, but after a few tries I got the feel of it. My first opportunities to test paddle were in the sound off of the North Carolina coast. The days were breezy and 1 to 2 foot chop wasn't uncommon as well as a noticeable current. Initially I was nervous starting off in moving water but due to the Mantou's superior design I was able to quickly develop confidence in my paddling skills and tackle wake conditions found on the Intercoastal waterway. After experiencing flat narrow rivers and choppy coastal waters I have to say the Manitou is up to the challenge in all conditions. But it really shines when cutting through the waves. I can't get out in the moving water enough! The drop skeg is a nice feature when in the windy sound, aids in tracking. Otherwise tracking is never an issue. I'm 6' 0" 175lbs and I appreciate the roominess of the Manitou. I'd expect someone taller with fifty pounds more weight would feel similarly. Highly recommended craft for someone who wants a rec boat with true sea kayak design features.

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06-25-2007
Submitted by: AndrewSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is my first owned kayak - I wanted something all around for cruising, weekends/overnights etc, to be mainly used on slow rivers and lakes...

It's a great, great boat - tracks really well, and handles the choppy water that we get here really well. I seem to be able to paddle past most people without working too hard - the cruise speed is definitely higher than the 13 etc and the Perception boats which I also tried.

I'm 6 ft. and I find I am just about nearing upper limit for the foot bars - any taller and I think it would be a squeeze - that said, my 6'5" mate had a go and managed to sort it...
Very smart machine.

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05-14-2007
Submitted by: BillySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have paddled this kayak some more and I still love it. The only issue I have with it is that it seems to sit a little low in the water the I am curious to how many people have noticed this if so contact me. Even with that the kayak performs great and is very fast. My friend has a hard time keeping up with me in his WS Tsunami and I am casually paddling. I love the skeg and it works great. The only thing that worries me is how long polyethlene hulls last I want to keep this boat forever!
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05-08-2007
Submitted by: SqurlprtsSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Update to my December posting. Over the winter I continued to use my Manitou 14 to kayak to and from work. It's a two and a half mile trip one way. The boat handled some really dicey conditions, better than I did. Granted, with 13mph winds and chop that consistently forced my bow to slam in the water, the kayak handled it all and still got me home. As one who is constantly out in the elements, I know about layering. Now I know about layering for kayaking. You can use less as long as you have a wind break and spray skirt.

I've also ventured out into the ocean with my Kayak for the first time. THAT was an experience. The boats length does make it want to turn parallel with the surf and I found that to be how shall we say, undesirable? Short of that and as long as you maintain a perpendicular orientation to the waves while heading out, you will poke through and get past the surf zone. Having only paddled wide rivers (1/2 -1 mile wide) the ocean swells took me some getting used to. All in all, it was very exhilarating and I think I've made an addict of myself. If this kayak is considered tippy by some, then I've been getting some good balance training. I don't have many kayaks to compare this against but so far it has performed exactly as it was designed to. The only thing I would change is possibly more storage but that's it.

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04-26-2007
Submitted by: BillySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just got the boat and took it for its first paddle. To begin with I have only paddled recreational boats but I always buy above my skills so I can grow into it. I tried the dagger spectre 15.5 carolina 14.5 old town adventure 16 I heard the wilderness systems was a dog in the water by numerous people so I didn't even try it even though I fit in it nicely. Ia sat in many others in which I did not fit in. My impressions are.. The manitou and dagger had the best performance and were also the most tippy. The manitou seems to be the fastest out of all of them. The boat glides effortlessly through the water and it seems to have a top speed that never changes no matter how hard you paddle so you might as well relax and cruise along at a pretty fast pace. The boat turns well but you have to lean in on the turns. The manitou 14 seems well made for a polyethylene boat and I like the hard hatches that protect the neoprene hatch covers. I am 6-2 235 and I fit in this kayak quite comfortably. The seat is pretty good not as nice as the one on the tsunami. Everyone that says this is a recreational boat does not know what a recreational boat is. This boat is thinner has a more prominent bow and is considerably faster than any recreational boat and including some of the touring boats I have demoed. The hull cuts through the water and is very efficient for a 14.4. The reason I wanted to stay in the 14 foot range was because of weight I didn't want to wrestle with a 60 + pound boat on top of the roof of my jeep. The manitou only weighs 48 pounds. Just remember this kayak is not a open water sea kayak I bought it to go up and down the river and fish on lakes and ponds. once in a while I may venture out on the sound on a nice day

If you want a recreational boat get a old town loon 138 what a gem of a boat I might still buy one as a second boat for my gf or for someone to go along with me. If you want a step up with some performance get a manitou.

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12-26-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife finally agreed to let me get a kayak and I settled on the Manitou 14 from REI. I'd paddled in the Patapsco, the large river that ocean going vessels use to get to Baltimore. Handled quite nicely in pretty much all weather. We've since moved down to North Carolina and I've taken it out several times on the New River. Where I take it out there's a narrowing and the current picks up to several knots. I've been able to traverse it, go with and against the current. The Manitou 14 stays very straight when I traverse the current and is very forgiving at maintaining forward momentum going against the current. As I get more experienced, I intend to take it out in ocean via the inter-coastal water way.
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11-01-2006
Submitted by: DeanoSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Update on earlier Manitou 14 review... Unable to roll this boat because there are no thigh braces to hold you in when you're upside down. Called Necky, and the only thing they had to say was that none of their thigh braces would fit this boat. I suspect that the Zoar braces would fit if a different seat back/adjustment were used. So, if you buy a Manitou 14, and you take it into rough water, you'd better have your solo paddle float rescue down cold.
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09-21-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Looked at several kayaks and went with the manitou after research and test paddles. at least 25 times out this season in conditions ranging from sea to quiet lakes - an excellent kayak! plenty of storage, less than 50 lbs, retractable skeg is fantastic. enjoy.
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05-12-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just got a Manitou 14 after paddling a Manitou 13 for a while. What the 14 gives up in initial stability and maneuverability, it more than makes up for in speed, and the way it handles in wind and waves. Plus, even though it's a foot and a half longer, it's only four pounds heavier than the 13. The seat is the same very comfortable seat of the 13. If this boat had a 3/8" pad under the footpegs, and better thigh stabilization, I would have given it a 10 (I added those myself).
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03-22-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I live south of Tampa, FL on the gulf coast. I have paddled this boat at least once a week since December. Calm water to 3-4 ft swells, calm to 20 kt. winds. This boat slices through the water! Been to Egmont Key in this boat (4.5 mile trip in open water!). Just went 17 miles and averaged 5 mph! This boat is also rock stable. Nearly flipped over twice from waves, but it righted by simple bracing. Use the skeg on windy days, otherwise tracking is perfect. Plenty of deck rigging. I would also recommend a seals extreme tour sprayskirt. A perfect combination.
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11-10-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I love this kayak! I was paddling a Necky Looksha Sport which was ok but I couldn't get it to track well & it drove me nuts. I hated to have to resort to the rudder just to stay on track. I tried a bunch of different kayaks, different brands/types/price ranges but the Manitou 14 was perfect from the second I put it on the water. I spent several hours a day for 5 days on it on the coast of Maine & it was outstanding. Smaller people may find the cockpit too roomy but I'm close to 6' tall & have long legs but I was very comfortable in this boat. My feet & legs would go to sleep in the Looksha but I didn't have that problem at all in this boat. The retractable skeg is great; there when you need it & completely out of the way if you don't. Nice weight for a plastic kayak too, 50lbs., I have no problems putting on the roof of my Suburban by myself.
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