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I live at a lake with my company in sight just 2 km (~1.2 miles) away. To get to work I have to cross the city, which is not only expensive in terms of money, it also costs a lot of nerves. That's why I think I should go to work in a canoe. What do I need to learn to do that?

I thought about an inflatable one because I can easily carry it the few meters from shore to my workplace and I need to be able to ride a bus with it. One of my choices is the Sevylor® Pointer™ K1 Kayak - 1 person (YouTube).

Does this look like a smart idea to cross the lake of Zürich with it every day? Mostly it's a pretty easy lake without large waves or strong drift.

PS: I'm fine with a "may get wet" I just don't want to get soaked on a daily basis, Especially in winter.

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    Related question. I have no experience myself, but I recommend to, at the very least, get a dry-bag for your stuff. And I'm sure there's other traffic at Lake Züri, so make sure you're visible!
    – gerrit
    Jul 9, 2013 at 10:13
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    I sooooo wish I could conoe to work, this sounds amazing!
    – user2766
    Jan 20, 2014 at 16:31
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    The product link is broken. Could you please replace it with a product name/description and a picture directly in your post?
    – Mr.Wizard
    May 12, 2014 at 16:44
  • I've stumbled upon your question recently and I've immediately thought of this: youtube.com/watch?v=YfTjlXvD25g video meant as parody, but when you thing about it longer, it's quite a cool idea May 26, 2022 at 20:21

1 Answer 1

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To answer my own question.

I checked it with different dealers and experts, and all of them said that if I want to use it on regular basis, I should consider inflatables as toys. Also here in Switzerland, it counts as a flotation device, and is not allowed more than 150 meters offshore. I bought myself a hardshell kayak for about $300 more, and next Monday I will paddle the first time to work. Let's see how this turns out.

UPDATE: It's been now 3 weeks, my hands are a bit sore, I lost 2kg, and I'm feeling better than ever.

I was lucky with the weather so far, except one little storm, which was pretty exciting and gave me a good adrenaline rush. I can store the kayak on the shore, because pretty much everyone was so excited to hear that I'm commuting with it, that I even got a place for it with a roof for free. If it happens that you'd be able to commute by kayak, do it! It's the best anti-stress activity ever. It takes me around 5 minutes to get it in/out of the water and crossing the lake is another 15-20 minutes.

The equipment I use right now

  • Paddle float for emergencies
  • Water pump for staying dry when a wave hits me
  • 360° flashlight for visibility
  • Headlight for additional visibility when it's dark (sometimes I work until 10pm so it helps me get the kayak ready too)
  • Crewsaver life vest
  • Werner carbon paddles
  • Wheels for easy carrying
  • Splash protection (you'll definitely need that if you want your pants to stay dry)
  • Lid for storing the kayak and keep it dry inside
  • Security/tow-line to prevent the kayak from floating away in case of emergency
  • Dry bag

Here's a video of my morning (around 7:00 am): Kayak Lake Zürich (YouTube).

UPDATE 2: Bought a drysuit for winter, since the water got very cold and if I'd fall into it, I'd have less than 5 minutes to get back in before having no more power left and drown.

UPDATE 3: After nearly a year of commuting by kayak I paddled from Zürich to Amsterdam, it took me 17 days to get there and I got some valuable experience out of this trip. For electricity I used 2 power banks in combination with a solar panel. Next time I go on a trip like that I'll look into buying new wheels for the boat, as you want the axis in the middle of the boat so you don't have to lift the whole weight of the packed boat.

The Rhine is a wonderful river to travel on, although there's a lot of traffic on it; but if you know how to handle it, it's no problem at all. I'd never paddle the Rhine-Amsterdam Canal again because there are no places to get out, the waves can be lethal and the wind will tire you before you know it (it's the Netherlands which means the wind blows from the ocean inland without being slowed down by forests or mountains).

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    Would be pretty awesome if you update the answer in a while with your experiences, I at least would like to know!
    – Samuel DR
    Jul 11, 2013 at 11:48
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    Cool! Do you ever have fog on the lake? If you do, you may want to add a compass and some sort of fog horn to your equipment. Jul 30, 2013 at 11:44
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    Wow. +1 for the updates, thats very helpful. And good luck on your trip to Amsterdam, especially in the Rhine rapids! May 13, 2014 at 7:45
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    @JimBeam - By Private Motorized Transport (Car, Motorcycle) including Traffic 40-50minutes, by public transportiation 45minutes (and alot of people), by kajak (4min motorcycle, 15minutes kajak) +10 for putting it in the water and taking it out. This makes a total of 29minutes. So i'd say it gives me alot of time i can let my mind loose, i guess that's a good thing.
    – Jeredepp
    Sep 8, 2014 at 7:06
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    Going to work by a kayak, how cool is that ! Oct 16, 2015 at 7:48

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