Lightweight Touring Kayak Review: Stellar Kayaks S14-LV

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

This article was part of a feature testing five compact touring kayaks while on a trip in Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands. The other boats in this roundup include the Current Designs Ignite, the Hurricane Sojourn 135, the Swift Saranac 14, and the Delta Kayaks 12S. Read the review of the Stellar S14-LV below.

“This feels like a sports car!” marveled one happy tester, who enjoyed the S14-LV’s quickness in all types of water and playful maneuverability on edge.

Stellar S14-LV Specs
Length: 13’9″
Width: 22″
Weight: 37 lbs
Material: Kevlar/Fiberglass (advantage layup)
Price: $2,295

Stellar’s background in building rowing shells and surf skis is evident in the design—and speed—of the S14-LV. The 13-foot-nine-incher was the fastest of the sit-inside kayaks we tested, falling only slightly behind the Ignite on cruising speed and besting the ‘ski on acceleration.

The LV stands for low volume—the deck height in front of the cockpit is a thigh-spooning 11.4 inches, making this the snuggest fitting boat in the group. Our smaller testers loved the dialed in, performance feel; larger paddlers should try the standard S14.

With a svelte 22-inch width, the S14-LV is 1.5-to-two inches narrower than the rest of our fleet—making it our favorite for nimble turns. Add the low rear deck and unobtrusive backband and it was also by far the easiest to roll of all the boats.

Photo: Virginia Marshall

The shallow-V hull and soft chines provide smooth edging and solid tracking—dropping the S14-LV’s sturdy skeg deftly managed pesky crosswind on a bumpy, open-water crossing.

As expected, the S14-LV’s lower volume meant it was a tighter squeeze for our gear, but testers couldn’t complain about the dry contents and the easy on-and-off f the Tupperware-style hatch covers.

Available in four composite lay-ups, from tough fiberglass to ultra-stiff, uber-light Kevlar and carbon with a honeycomb core—there’s a great value option for any performance-minded paddler. And, yeah, we’re definitely digging the racing stripe.


This article originally appeared in the Adventure Kayak
Summer/Fall 2016 issue.

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