NC 17 Quest

by  NC Kayaks
17' 2"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

NC 17 Quest Options

  • STD

    55 lb
    Fiberglass Composite
  • LT

    46 lb
    Fiberglass Composite

    NC 17 Quest Description

    The NC17 series is an extremely fast and effecient touring kayak. With excellent Rough Water handling characteristics, great tracking and virtually no weathercocking. In Flat Water conditions it is incredibly smooth and fast! It's designed for large bodiies of water including Open Ocean. While still maneuverable enough for great fun on the lake. The NC17 series truly shines in Open Water. Designed to track arrow-straight without the assistance of a rudder or skeg. With as few as three paddle strokes you can go from a full stop to full speed. You can feel the boat accelerate with every stroke. While you may not be a racer, the speed is also pretty handy when you're battling currents or simply wanting to get from point A to point B with less effort and time. The NC17 series best fits paddlers measuring 5'0"- 6'2" weighing between 100-240 lbs. with up to a size 13½ shoe.

    NC 17 Quest Specs and Features

    • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
    • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
    • Seating Configuration: Solo
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
    • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
    • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

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    NC Kayaks
    NC 17 Quest Reviews

    Read reviews for the NC 17 Quest by NC Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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    I have paddled 6,000 miles…

    Submitted by: paddler1616274 on 7/26/2021

    I have paddled 6,000 miles in my NC 17 Quest. I have paddled seven times across our Great Lakes (Lake Michigan (5), Lake Superior (1), and Lake Huron (1). I have competed in raced in MI, WI, MN and WA. I have paddled in shallow rivers, across rocky rapids, high flood waters, been challenged by rain, hail, and chased by tornadoes. I have dropped my kayak from atop of my car and truck more than once. This model is a high performing, excellent tracking, nearly indestructible kayak I strongly recommend.

    Mike Stout aka Lake Rider


    I bought my NC 17 Quest…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/31/2018

    I bought my NC 17 Quest three seasons ago. Since then, I have paddled over 2,700 miles during MN shortened seasons. I have solo paddled across Great Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior, and paddled the Straits of Mackinac (passing immediately below the Mackinac Bridge).

    In addition I have paddled the St. Croix, Namekagon, Minnesota, Rum and Cannon rivers. While I have not paddled the entire length of the Mississippi River within MN, I have paddled the headwaters and the remaining two-thirds to the Iowa border.

    My NC 17 Quest delivers (exceeds) on every promise and am considering a Great Lakes journey in 2018 that has never been attempted before. I would never consider such a feat if it weren't for my having confidence in NCKayaks.

    Highly recommend. Can't speak highly enough about their product and team.


    I had been mulling the…

    Submitted by: paddler236669 on 3/16/2016
    I had been mulling the addition of a kayak to my life for a few years, knowing I needed a stable boat but one that would certainly grow with me and have the ability to trek the beauty of Puget Sound on overnight adventures. I found the perfect boat at NC Kayaks. The 17 foot all glass boat is extremely stable in rough water and in the months since my purchase I've had the opportunity to load it with full overnight gear and travel with ease for a 12 hour round trip paddle solo (Ok it was my third trip in the boat... I went for broke .. haha!). While I am still a novice paddler I can honestly say I feel like the boat simply doesn't care.

    As for NC Kayaks themselves ... I had the benefit of being a friend with one of the builders and the process of meeting the owner and witnessing the dedication to truly hand-built craftsmanship means a lot to me. These are not stamped out boats. The quality level is evident and I can tell is a labor of passion for everyone in this shop.

    I recommend both NC Kayaks and can tell you I feel like my Quest 17 will last a lifetime regardless of the skill level I obtain. This is a pro-level craft built for any skill level. Do yourself a favor and add these guys to your short list.

    P.S. if you are in the Seattle metro area ... give them a call and ask for a test paddle in Tacoma (I got to race a pacific white-sided dolphin, he is colloquially known as Glen).


    My Quest first came with a…

    Submitted by: BillVang on 9/13/2014
    My Quest first came with a hole in the bottom which was damaged by the carrier. I contacted NC and the shipper, had the boat inspected by the adjuster for NC, sent the kayak back to NC, and they sent me a new Quest, which was a step higher finish wise, at no extra cost. Talk about beautiful!! I have paddled on smooth lake water, and on water with two foot waves plus, 25 mph wind, and am very satisfied with handling, comfort, and speed. Thanks NC for a well engineered craft.

    I purchased my NC 17 Quest 7…

    Submitted by: paddler235875 on 8/22/2014
    I purchased my NC 17 Quest 7 months ago and I haven't been disappointed. This kayak tracks very well even in windy conditions and turns well when edged.

    Because this was the first boat that I'd purchased in quite a while, I went with the following options: the lightweight layup, a hatch in the bulkhead, and a metal flake finish. This boat is very light, I can pick it up and put it on my shoulder with one hand. The primary stability is good, and the secondary is excellent. The bulkhead hatch allows me to put my tent and a camp chair in the front without having to disassemble my tent and I don't have to share the cockpit with my camp chair.

    My boat is dark blue with gold metal flake, and it is a head turner. The gel coat finish is flawless, and the boat looks like its made of bronze in the sun. I was worried that I might not like the metal flake while paddling, but when I'm sitting in the boat I don't get any glare off of it.

    Long story short, a 10 in my opinion, one of the best touring kayaks I've paddled.


    I purchased an NC Quest about…

    Submitted by: nojoe on 8/10/2013
    I purchased an NC Quest about seven years ago and have no regrets! I got the light layup option and definitely feel that it was a good investment. NC recommends the light layup because it is actually a stronger layup than the standard one. The design is quite clever, eliminating the need for a skeg or rudder in nearly all conditions. Tracks like a dream, turns like a nightmare (when in motion). When steering, you won’t notice anything different about this design. However, when you need turn the kayak completely around in the opposite direction, I've found it much easier just to stop the kayak and then turn. When she is moving, she wants to hold her course!

    I am 5'10, about 155 pounds and I love the fit of this kayak. I have a small fleet of kayaks and this one is my favorites for long term comfort. It has become my primary boat. The flange has a secondary benefit of protecting the boat finish both on and off the water. Like a protective bumper extending a half inch (all the way around the boat), it has saved the gel coat from getting scratched on many, many occasions.

    I love the back hatch, but the front hatch is a screw on type that gets stuck on a hot summer day. I combat this by loosening the hatch a bit before taking it outside in the sun. If it still gets stuck anyway, I splash water on it to cool it a bit and cover it with something for a minute or so. I understand NC has switched suppliers now, so that may no longer be an issue.

    The people at NC were great, and the build and delivery estimate was right on the mark. I had some trepidations about purchasing a boat sight unseen, but It was a good buying experience. The boat was packaged well and was quite a beauty when delivered brand new! She has some fading now and scratches from heavy use, but she still looks great on the water.


    Purchased a Qwest and Qwest…

    Submitted by: paddler235139 on 7/24/2013
    Purchased a Qwest and Qwest LT in January. We are beginning paddlers in the NW but learning quickly. For the price you can't beat the Qwest. If you can go for the LT version the lower weight makes more of a difference at the end of a long day than you would think.

    Because we live in the NW we were able to see the boats before purchasing and the guys were patient with us and answered all our questions.

    Overall impression is very good. This is a boat that wants to go straight and fast. No need for a rudder. Paddlers just starting will quickly settle in. If you want a nimble surfing boat this is not it. Down wind / down current turns are a challenge. With that said we had both boats in the Oregon surf last weekend and they did fine. Punched thru 3' to 4' breakers without a problem. On flat water we can keep up with anybody.

    There are a few things I would change. First, the grab lines are inadequate for rescue work. I have relined the deck all the way to both ends and it's much better. Second, the grab handles need to be single line, not loops, that extend past the ends of the boat. In surf conditions when you are trying to control a boat while in the water it can trap a finger or leverage the boat out of your hand instead of letting it rotate. Third, we are having trouble sealing the hatches. In normal rainy conditions it may only be a couple of tablespoons. In a full day surf class when your in (capsized) and out of the water a lot we got well in excess of a cup.

    Summary assessment is this is great starting boat for normal touring particularly at the price. Much better than any roto mold boat I've seen. An easy retrofit makes it much safer in challenging conditions but is not needed if most of your kayaking is on calm water.


    Brilliant boat; well made,…

    Submitted by: paddler234867 on 12/26/2012
    Brilliant boat; well made, performs well in all types of conditions, very light so care has to be taken. Would have liked to have thigh grips as I am 6 ft and 75 KG but this is the boat to have. I've been paddling 38 years.

    May 2010 I ordered an NC 17…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/14/2011
    May 2010 I ordered an NC 17 Quest to try the MR340. I'd never been in a Kayak and hadn't padded anything at all in 30 years. I didn't like the idea of buying a boat without trying it out but there aren't many kayaks in my part of the country. So, I took the leap - and I'm glad I did. I spent four or five nights a week and all day Saturday out on the lake trying to get ready. It took me that look to get my body ready for the race but the boat was comfortable on the first day. I had to pretty much teach myself about kayaking but, even without any training, the boat was absolutely great for four days down the Missouri River. At one point I had to make a choice between going over a wing dam or heading out into the main part of the river right behind a fully loaded barge. I took off out into the river and the boat was terrific handling all the crazy waves the barge kicked up for the next mile or so downriver. Never once did I feel afraid of losing it.

    There are only a couple of things I'd fault. One is the organization of the lines on the boat. I plan to rig mine differently at some point. I also plan to replace the seat at some point.

    Overall, though, I'm very happy with it. It really does track well and, with a little practice, it does turn nicely. This isn't a boat I'd use in a rocky river but I'd go anywhere in open water in it. Good looking, very well built, a lot of fun to paddle long distances.


    I just bought one last week…

    Submitted by: paddler233818 on 9/20/2010
    I just bought one last week and took it out promptly for a 16-mile trek thru Hammersley Inlet and around Hope Island. The boat glides superbly after just a few strokes. Turning is a little challenging. However, with edging, bow rudder, and a sweep stroke, it turns ok. I need to play with it some more to see what the best combo is to turn it in a radius of its own length.

    Speed-wise, like I said earlier, it glides and goes. Very pleased. It rolls easily as well. I am an intermediate kayaker and if I can roll it, then it must be easy to roll. The back deck is low enough that I can lay back flat on it.

    The hatches are great - secure and keeps good dry. I kept my jacket in the bow compartment and it was dry.

    The guys at NC are great. They made a few customizations for me before I picked it up. Very pleased.

    Overall, I am very very pleased with the boat. I give it a 8 because nothing deserves a 10 - ever. And surely there is something out there that I think will be better. I am an anti-superlative guy so an 8 is very high mark for me.


    I have now owned this boat…

    Submitted by: bernerz on 8/6/2010
    I have now owned this boat for several years and feel qualified to give it the review it deserves. Coming off of a Wilderness Systems Manteo this boat was markedly lighter and straighter tracking. That being said, it requires more effort and skill to turn. Comparing the two would be apples to oranges.

    The Quest LT is a very light boat for its size. I put it on the scales and got 42 pounds. It is top quality construction with choices of colors and options I have not seen from other companies. I was also able to go to meet the builders/owners in Tacoma. They are confident about their product, they are all about quality, not mass construction. They have used deck fittings and thru-hull fixtures that are built to last and remain watertight.

    As for how the boat handles, tracks like a dream and glides forever after only a few strokes. It is relatively easy to hit cruising speed with minimal effort and waves, wind, and current present very little obstruction. Primary stability is reasonable for the experienced paddler and secondary is amazing. I have not rolled it yet, but I haven't tried either. The rub rail detracts slightly from the lines of the boat but keeps the spray away.

    I have only a few gripes with it. First is the foot pegs, on longer outings I need to install heel pads. Second is that I would have like to have seen more rounded rub rails. These are minor things having to do more with the owner that the boat itself. So why rate it an 8? A 10 would imply that it is the perfect boat, flawless in any situation or need. That being said, this boat is perfect for my needs and I will paddle it till my arms fall off.


    I purchased the NC 17 Quest…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/3/2010
    I purchased the NC 17 Quest in February 2009 from NC Kayaks, the light-layup version that weighs 46 pounds (instead of the standard 55 pounds). I live in Rhode Island, just half a mile from Narragansett Bay. It survived its long shipping trek from Tacoma, WA in perfect condition. I have been kayaking for only two years, but I have been doing a lot of it. Most of my trips have been on Narragansett Bay, with additional trips near Cape Ann in Massachusetts and the Connecticut Coast.

    The kayak does everything it was designed to do: it is very fast; it tracks exceptionally well; it is well-constructed; it is light and therefore easy to carry; it has plenty of storage space in its bow and stern hatches; and it is easy to roll. For these reasons, it earns a rating of a full "10". Let me elaborate on my assessment. At the end I'll also mention what the kayak is not optimal for.

    Receiving the kayak in February presented a practical problem, because the bay was only 34 degrees F. Not having the patience to try it out several months later, I took it to a YMCA pool that was having kayak lessons. First, to my pleasant surprise I didn't tip over. I was used to a much wider Seda Viking, so with my lack of experience on narrow kayaks I expected the worst. I'd rate the primary stability as moderate: not too tipsy, but in 2-foot seas I'd hesitate to try to take a photograph off to the side. Second, I was pleasantly surprised to roll it successfully five out of six attempts. My surprise came because I had learned to roll in the same pool only a month before and I had not practiced between those visits. The only roll I can manage on any kayak is a lay-back roll, and the Quest's low stern makes it easy. The seat and combing also aren't too high to get in the way.

    I haven't yet attempted to load up the kayak with gear for an expedition, but I can attest to quite a bit of room under each of the two hatches. Because the kayak has no skeg, moreover, the rear storage section is roomier than otherwise.

    I love the kayak's light weight. At 63 years old, my knees aren't what they used to be and I value a light boat. To me the light layup is worth a $1000 premium. The kayak's long length adds to its hull speed, which I greatly appreciated on long trips of 20 miles or more. I also have no trouble keeping up with younger, stronger, more experienced kayakers. I am 6 foot, 1 inch tall, and the kayak is plenty roomy for my long legs and size-12 feet.

    My knees received some support from the inside of the combing, but I wanted a snugger fit and added foam knee braces. I am narrow at the hips and also added padding there. Customizing the kayak presented no problems. Because the kayak is narrow, one constraint is that I can't comfortably wear my chunkiest boots, but the tradeoff for speed is worth it to me.

    My only complaint is a minor one: the front and rear perimeter grab lines don't extend all the way to the bow and stern. I wish the company would have an option for perimeter lines to go all the way forward and back. Despite this complaint, the kayak excels in all those other design specifications; it earns the top rating.

    The NC 17 Quest is not my only kayak, because different designs are optimized for different conditions. When I want a "play boat" for rock gardens, where maneuvering quickly is required, I use my Necky Chatham 16. This boat has more rocker than the Quest, and unlike the Quest the bow and stern are more pointed – without a more vertical keel structure. The Chatham is also plastic, so I feel uninhibited as I try to master taking off and landing through surf. The Chatham is heavy but I'll work around that as long as it is not my only boat. Finally, when I want a kayak with very high initial stability – such as when I take a novice out on the bay – my old Seda Viking serves that purpose.

    In sum, the NC 17 Quest does everything it was designed to do. No boat meets all needs, and therefore I wouldn't call it an "all-around boat." If you have some experience and want a high-end fiberglass boat, I strongly recommend this product.


    The Quest is my cousin's…

    Submitted by: schlippg on 12/16/2009
    The Quest is my cousin's kayak but he is getting over knee surgery so I got to try it to make sure there is nothing wrong with it (I know it is tough but someone has to do it). I like it but at 6'4" and size 12 shoes I am too big for it. I fit in but my feet are jammed in and after an hour I would be too numb.

    In defense of NC, their recommended limit is for a person of 6'2" and that is probably the very limit. It is a very fast and well made kayak. I tried it in kind of cold weather so I did not push the limits of lean stability. I really like the seat, it supports the back and thighs just right. If you are 6' or shorter it would be a great boat. It is neat the way you can order colors.


    Just got my new NC17 Quest, I love it! Everything is exactly…

    Submitted by: tecleose on 6/1/2007
    Just got my new NC17 Quest, I love it!
    Everything is exactly as I ordered, the boat was shipped common freight and was unharmed! Thanks Yellow.

    The boat tracks very well as promised!
    It is very stable! I entered from a floating dock in 12 feet of water, and stayed dry! The boat turns fine, for a 17 footer! I have only logged 5 miles in the kayak, so I can only give you a little detail, but I think I made a very good choice! I look forward to many more miles.


    My wife just got one of these…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/11/2006
    My wife just got one of these beauties, and I won't speak for her except to say she loves it, she can carry it, she loves the custom fade color, and she thinks it fits her perfectly and paddles like a dream. I agree the hatch size is smaller than the clip-on hatches others use; On the other hand, I hope we find that these are dry, which should make packing small items in slightly less bulky dry bags work OK. We'll add more info as we gain some time in these boats, but see my review of my NC 19 for initial general comments about NC. Great company.

    I ordered the NC17 with some…

    Submitted by: hhmt on 7/20/2006
    I ordered the NC17 with some trepidation about shipping from Washington state to Minnesota, but I needn't have worried. It made the trip with no problem. The carrier who delivered it would have stayed to see me open the well-constructed corrugated "box" if I had given him half a chance! So far, I have not taken this model to the "ultimate" test (Lake Superior) but 90% of the paddling that I do is inland lakes, and it has performed well there... no rudder/no skeg. Because of the hull design, I've learned to always use a sprayskirt in anything except deadcalm water. I do a lot of edging (it edges nicely) to turn and to reduce weathercocking (minimal) as needed, but with a stiff 3/4 20 mph wind at your back, you definitely want a skirt, because when put on edge you will take on some water. This is NC's "light fiberglass layup" so I can carry it by myself, in a pinch. I'm a 55 year old female, approx 180 lbs, so I really should be able to carry it! The feature I thought might be a little strange (the rub-rail) turns out to be a great asset, especially when going down steps or steep embankments. It makes it real easy to lift overhead, because the rail affords a place to grip the boat. I haven't packed yet for extended camping. I like the style of hatch (screw in) but openings are a little smaller than average and it may take some creativity to load. Seat is comfortable, although I added a 1/4 inch foam pad. Foot braces are strong & rigid, and I have good contact with the deck without thigh braces. I haven't mastered a roll, so I can't comment on that aspect of handling. Great looking custom paint job...yellow to lime green. Eye-catching! The boat feels really solid even though it is light weight. I don't feel like I have to "baby" it at all. If I were to do over again, the only thing I would do differently is I would not order the "extra" front bulkhead hatch.Too difficult to reach the hatch cover from the cockpit. Or maybe I just have short arms! Elizabeth from Minnesota