Submitted: 04-24-2006 by JKO
I took my Castaway on a three day river trip. The kayak had plenty of storage, and handled well fully loaded. I liked that there were multiple points to clip small caribiners around the hull, very handy for deploying a small anchor and keeping various small bits of gear secured. The multilple rod holder locations were very nice to have.
The stability of the Castaway was very nice to have on the short runs of rapids we had, as well as making entry and exit of the kayak very easy. The kayak is a little bit to slow to turn to make it a good rapids runner though. Wind was a major problem on our trip. Most of the day we were contenting with 15 to 20mph steady winds. On the long straight aways I did have to fight with the kayak to keep it on track. (It kept wanting to go nose into the wind) When the wind was calm, I had no problems with tracking. In fact I found the Castaway a pleasure to paddle.
The seat was pretty much constantly wet, either from paddle drip, drip from me wading, or rapids splash. I used a two inch thick flotation cushion as a seat to stay up out of the water for most of the trip. A scupper hole for the seat would of been nice to have, on this boat without a major redesign your rear is going to be wet, and I would rather have the extra water draining instead of being trapped.
The only real serious negative comment I have to make is that when the kayak is fully loaded, the rear storage hatch is barely above the water line, and I believe was the source of the water that collected in the hull over the span of a day(approx a gallon). I am seriously considering siliconing the circular hatch closed.
What impressed me the most was how little damage the hull took from the rocks and gravel I ended up running over during the trip. I expected to find large gouges and scratches at the end of each day. None ever surfaced. The bottom of the boat is scraped, but I think the Castaway could make many more trips before taking any serious damage.
I would give the Castaway a 10 if the rear circular storage compartment was located in a different position.