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Submitted: 09-18-2006 by Rob S

I don't own an excursion, but my wife and I rented one for a ten day trip through the finger lakes in upstate New York. Our first reaction was disbelief that 9000 cubic inches of dry storage space could be so small--It sounds like a lot but looks like a joke! We had camping/B&B/hotel reservations for the next week + all up Cayuga lake and down Seneca Lake with no other vehicle at our disposal so we had to make it work. We spent lots of time paring down our already minimal gear, but when we went to pack the boat, we ended up taking most of that stuff after all. It holds a LOT more than it looks like it will. Not to say you don'thave to pack light, but we got a large family-sized tent in an XLong dry bag (my wife is clausterphobic), a large dry bag of clothes, and a medium dry bag of toiletries, etc. in the rear hatch. That last we had to put in the hold empty, then pack and close, but we made it fit. I was able to fit a not-full large dry bag of food behind the rear backrest. The front hold was just big enough to hold our two synthetic down sleeping bags in an large dry bag (again we had to stuff them in after inserting the empty bag into the hold) and our lasso chain lock to boot. We strapped a deck bag in front of the front cockpit, had our water bottles, fuel, paddle float, and rain gear between us, and our sleeping pads lashed to the top behind the rear cockpit. In short, we were able to make 10 days of gear (with about 4 days of food and one day's water) fit without putting any significant weight on top or leaving anything behind. The drawback is that it takes about a half-hour to pack up each morning. Nonetheless, we were happy in the end with the capacity. The comfort was decent. The boat is designed well with well-placed thigh pads, adjustable back rest, and no bulkhead between the cockpits so both people can get down and do a near-full stretch from time to time as needed. Our chief complaint was in the one area we thought would be the most solid based on other reviews, that of performance. One Caveat, my wife and I both have some very limited experience paddling, so we may not be the best to judge, but even after an additional 10 days perfecting our technique, we simply could not make the boat track, even in calm, still water, for more than very short distances. I may be wrong here, but I would definately test paddle this boat to see if you have the same problem. Of course, using the rudder solves this problem, and we weren't particularly concerened about the slight loss of speed resultant from doing so, but the finger lakes are often very shallow and the rudder would consantly be catching plants and dragging them around, making things considerably more difficult. There were probalby three full days and all sorts of shorter periods where the conditions were calm enough to be without a rudder, but we always had to use one. Otherwise, the boat performed well. As you might expect of a tandem, we were always stable, not too close together to paddle efficiently, and well balanced. The boat is heavy as sin with that much gear in it, to the point where my wife could not pick up her half of it to get it on shore sometimes. Others have commented that the cockpit is somewhat narrow. I don't know how it compares, but I am 6'2" and 225 pounds (pretty damn big) and I didn't have to squeeze in or anything. It was a narrow clear, but a clear nonetheless. Have fun!
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