When Delta Kayaks launched in 2005, its lineup of exclusively thermoformed plastic kayaks was quickly recognized as being among the finest. The company’s latest offering, the Delta 16 kayak, continues to vault this lofty reputation.

Delta 16 Kayak Specs
Length: 16’
Width: 22”
Weight: 50 lbs
Maximum Weight: 275 lbs
MSRP: $2,350 USD or $2,495 CAD

The Delta 16 is a high-capacity kayak

Delta’s wizardry with the thermal forming process stems from over 30 years’ experience stretching plastic for other industries. Under the direction of kayak industry veteran Mark Hall, Delta boats leave the factory with smooth lines, impeccable detailing and a high gloss finish to rival any quadruple-clear-coated sports car. All this at considerably less cost, and less weight even, than comparable composite kayaks.

Delta says the 16 caters to paddlers “who have been waiting for a full-figured British style design with more dry storage typical of North American designs.” At 16 feet long and 22 inches wide, the Delta 16 feels sporty but packs an impressive 55 gallons dry storage into three voluminous hatches—50 percent more than many similarly proportioned Brit boats.

An elegant touring kayak for intermediates

While some aspects of the design are informed by the Atlantic approach—the shallow-V, soft chined hull and optional skeg, for example—the Delta 16 kayak shows a healthy dose of Delta’s West Coast roots, albeit in a trimmer package than the standard Pacific tourer. The front and rear decks are high to aid expedition capacity, a rudder comes standard and the seat is outfitted with an adjustable-height backrest.

Even with the front deck pod (more on that below), the cockpit is comfortable for paddlers up to six feet tall. Trimming on the fly is easy with the sliding seat. Hip padding is non-existent so smaller paddlers should invest in Delta’s optional hip pad fit kit, or an hour shaping custom inserts.

Woman paddles a Delta 16 kayak
Feature Photo: Stephanie Park

The Delta 16 moves the day hatch from behind the cockpit to the front deck for easier, drier access. Even better, it’s watertight and roomy enough for more than just a PB&J sandwich, easily swallowing a paddling jacket, SLR camera or even 10-liter dry bag.

On-water acceleration is quick for a 16-foot boat, thanks to a sharp entry point low on the bow. Combined with moderate rocker, the hull tracks well even without deploying the skeg or rudder.

[ Read more: Skeg Or Rudder For Your Sea Kayak ]

With a light paddler and empty hatches, the Delta 16 sits quite high in the water, but adding some payload increases primary stability. Edging feels confident and releases the 16’s sporty side. I threw it on edge for a low brace turn and was surprised to find myself quickly facing back the way I came.

Delta Kayaks’ attention to detail

Unique hatch covers use quarter-turn locking knobs, bungees and integrated rubber rim gaskets for a seal that’s dry and user-friendly, even with numb fingers.

Standard features reflect Delta’s commitment to detailing: self-rescue straps and easy-draining curved bulkhead behind the cockpit, full decklines and leashed hatches.

The optional skeg is deployed with a string to eliminate cable kink. Molded-in cable routings are rudder ready.

Go far with the Delta 16 kayak

The Delta 16 kayak combines some of the latest great ideas in sea kayak design with the tried-and-true characteristics of an elegant tourer. It’s best suited to intermediate paddlers who want a light, nimble kayak that still knows how to go the distance.

This article was first published in the Early Summer 2011 issue of Adventure Kayak Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.


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