Submitted: 05-27-2009 by nthome
We bought this kayak so our whole family can go kayaking together. I usually paddle my solo (a Prijon Capri Tour), and my husband paddles in the stern of the Manitou II with our 4 year old son in the jump seat (which is also located in the stern) and our 10 year old daughter in the bow. We also looked at the Perception Acadia II 14.0 and the Dagger Blackwater II 13.5. The Perception and Dagger look almost identical, which is not surprising, since they are both owned by Confluence Watersports. We liked the fact that the Necky has 2 separate cockpits, whereas the Perception and Dagger have 1 long open cockpit.
Pluses: Hatch is watertight; seats are comfortable; foot pegs are easy to adjust; kayak is easy to turn when we're not going too fast; both paddlers' seats adjust forward or back; jumpseat is removable; bow has foam flotation; kayak is very stable.
Minuses: It's heavy (75 lbs!); it seems to track to the left (we didn't get the rudder, which might have alleviated this); it's more difficult to turn when we're going fast; I am 5'4" and when I sit in the bow, the foot pegs are too high for my feet - I have adjusted the seat and the foot pegs over and over, and there's no way I can use the thigh braces and the foot pegs at the same time; speaking of the thigh braces, they have no padding whatsoever (I'm guessing this is because since the seats are adjustable, there's no one place to put padding).
Overall, the Manitou II does what we expected of it and we will enjoy it as our family grows. When our 4 year old son is old enough to paddle in the bow (probably about age 6), we will graduate our 10 daughter (who will be about 12 by then) to a solo and permanently remove the jump seat; then when our son is ready to graduate to a solo (probably about age 8), my patient husband can finally enjoy a solo, too!
But for anyone reading this who is deliberating between a tandem or two solos, I have to agree with everything I've read - solos are definitely the way to go unless your life circumstances (e.g. having a 4 year old) necessitate a tandem. Tandems are heavier, turn with more difficulty, and just aren't as enjoyable.