Submitted: 10-22-2008 by thinkpolicy
I have 20 years experience in kayaks: rivers, rapids, and surf. Got this because it was on Craigslist for $150 with paddle and vest included, and the guy had never even used it. Yeah, I was pretty happy.
But after pulling it out and using it about eight times on lakes, moving rivers and some easy class III rapids, I am in love. Don't have the skirt, but just got a little wet. All part of the fun. I have no doubt I could get this boat through some easy class IVs with a skirt.
It's very light, which makes it maneuverable in moving water considering how well it tracks. People who complain about the nose moving slightly back and forth when they paddle are used to sea kayaks and don't realize that if it tracked any better it would be no good for smaller rivers and rapids. It's not meant to be a sea kayak or white water boat, but it's a great little all arounder if you like doing a little of everything.
My 9 yr old step-daughter is tiny (looks like she's 7) got in it and paddled all over a lake in 15 to 20 mile/hr winds with no problem. She'd never been in a kayak or canoe before. She was tired, but happy as can be and felt very empowered.
I like to camp out of my boats, and this one's a little small inside (all the tubing) for storing much. If I had a water purifier and some MRE's I could go out for a few days if I made use of every inch of deck space.
I really enjoy putting my hardshell ontop and this goes easily in the back of the minivan. I've had a Folbot (great boats) and was really surprised how quick I could get the AF pumped up and in the water, and then deflated again. No problem at all getting it back in the bag. When in the bag it's not heavy at all (for an average male) and not very large.
The screw in caps for the big valves have a little tether that breaks right away. So I keep mine in the little pouch on back of the seat when it's packed which keeps them safe (Don't lose the caps).
For an overnighter or going far from shore, I recommend the wedge pump. The hand pumps won't fit in the boat. I got the Coleman pump from Walmart for $9; it works just fine. Can do it alone, but it's a little easier to have someone else pump. I won't tour in it, though, until i get the wedge.
My overall impression is that this is a VERY high quality boat. I feel very safe in it, and have dragged it all over rocks around rapids and ground it into sand with very little to show for it on the hull. Almost couldn't believe the lack of scratches. I sprayed the top with Walmarts cheap orange water repellent spray. Dried beautifully and repels water even better now. The boat does collect a little water on the deck above your legs.
I really love this little boat.