Submitted: 06-04-2008 by ST
I wish I had seen the last review for this before I bought mine. There just were hardly any reviews out at the time.
I got mine for 429$ from an ebay seller. A week later I see the horrible review, AND the company is liquidating the Monarch I folding kayak on ebay itself now. No bids at 300$ and now they relisted at 200$. Mine including a super cheap seat, and some foot blocks that do not fit anywhere of use. So, if the company is clearing them out at basement prices, what does that tell you.
Anyways, I would not care if I was happy with the purchase. I was avoiding an inflatable, and thought I would like this instead of just the typically expensive folding frame only types.
It took 2 hours to assemble the first time. And if you can get it to under 30 minutes with help, in daylight you will be doing good. This product, in the dark, with cold hands and no help is going to be a useless pile of parts, some small ones which you will lose. I could handle the pain to assemble AND missing the clearance prices if it was even just OK on the water.
The folding design, a mix of a flexible skin pulled over a rigid hull made of a sections of die-cut corrugated polyethylene sheet (it looks like heavy-duty Coroplast), cut and scrape you with harsh edges as you put it together. The hull is made from a number of sections or modules with a frame between each pair of modules, which are basically bendy plastic ribs. The rib edges are far too bendy for the pressure needed to hold the folded colorplast panels in place. The attachment quick-attach bolts are also too wimpy and and hard to reach in place. The design does allow for very lightweight construction but at the cost of the strength and ruggedness. If you step on it, a kid hops on it, or you do not put your hands right over the ribs when getting in, you will stress and put unintended bends in the colorplast.
Anyways, it was hard to get into based on cockpit size compared to only being able to touch it at a rib section to lower yourself in. Then, it was very unbalanced. I am no racing or expedition pro, but after years of recreational kayaking, found it very hard to keep upright on flat water. Its more like a block of styrofoam than a kayak.
As noted in the review that just came out, but was not out a few weeks ago when I bought this - it blows around in the wind. It is not that it just does not track, which it does not, it is so far beyond not tracking. The freaking wind actually blows your kayak in all different directions. Oh, and I do not mean storm wind, I mean a comfortable breeze.
Anyways, they are supposed to have revamped the design and tweaked it and have a new improved model out. The design is very innovative, it does offer the lightest weight going, and the manual was very well detailed.
My advice is avoid the Monarch folding kayaks, and if you are going to get a Foldlite-brand folding kayak, wait until the new improved versions have been out a year or more and get the reviews first.