folder dayak-online-plans Pontoon-comparison.htm index.htm
Dayak vs One Man Pontoon BoatEverybody asks me "Why should I build this boat when I can buy a one man pontoon raft for about the cost of the Dayak materials?"
Most people should by the one man pontoon. They're good boats. They're cheap and light and they row well too. They don't row as well as the Dayak but they're still good boats.
The Dayak is wider and more stable. Small one man pontoon boats are narrow and they usually come equipped with surprisingly small oars. They're scary to row in big water. Biger one man pontoon boats are not so light and they're not so easy to row . And pontoon boats do not have any dry storage below decks.
My boat rows circles around a pontoon raft. It's far more stable and it holds camping gear. And I just like to make things. The great majority of all potential customers will be better off with a factory made pontoon boat. But I wouldn't make that trade. Not now. Not straight accross for a Dayak. This is the best boat I ever made. Rowing it is an abosolute gas.
You can darn near row it back upstream. You can cross a big heavy roller current straight across without losing distance downstream, and park on the other side. Any time you want. You can stop in front of a big mid-river boulder with a gnarly downstream hole below and take your time while deciding "should I go right or should I go left?" Stop on a dime. Spin around anything. Rattle over 3" inch riffles. This is a very fun boat.
One final point of comparison is draft. One man pontoon boats keep the raft itself plus the passenger afloat with two parallel, sausage-shaped pontoons. So only a few square feet of pontoon area actually contact the water. In order to displace enough water to offset that weight the pontoons have to sink down a good 4-5 inches into the water.
The One Man boat, on the other hand, has a much larger bottom area to actually contact the water. So, in order to float the One Man the boat only needs to sink down into the water a few inches. So it floats well in shallower water. They're both relatively easy to drag across a shallow riffle so I'm not sure how important that is. But it is a real difference. The high-in-the-water float of the one man boat is (also) one of the reasons it turns so quickly and effortlessly.
Cost is never a reason to build your own boat. If cost is your most important factor then buy a used boat. I build boats because I like building things. I enjoy the process. And you do get a unique hotrod boat in the process.