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Submitted: 06-04-2009 by donvt
Recently bought two of these after comparing several different models. We had sold a Wilderness Systems Pamlico tandem that fit us and our two kids (2 & 5) but was too big and unwieldy for solo use or even for some of the family use. We have done some touring but decided to get a couple small recreational boats for use with the kids. We have used these boats on regional rivers (Lamoille river) with great enjoyment. It's small size made it easy to access the main river from a smaller tributary, as well as to haul it up and out of the river where there was (sort of) a good place to take out.
Memorial weekend saw use in the Westport River (MA) where it dumps into the ocean. Boats handled well - were lively and fun in the waves and boat wakes but we always felt stable. Cockpits are quite large, providing plenty of room for paddler, stuff, and child. There are even a couple of molded in pockets and a drink holder at the front of the cockpit for the kid, and one in front of the seat for the adult. The large size of the cockpit opening allows plenty of room for paddling motion without thumping the passenger....seat was relatively comfortable, much better with a simple $9.00 foam pad (like what hunters use). Same provides a fine seat for passenger.
The Vapor has a molded in paddled rest and a molded in open-topped, rear compartment. If you upgrade to, I think, the XT, you get a paddle tie down strap, a hatch for the rear compartment, and a better seat. For the money, we chose not to. You can buy these all separately, as well. you can also get a spray skirt for (at our retailer) about $80.
Our time spent in the boats in windy, wavy, tidal conditions was fun, and relatively dry. They are easy to load by your self on to a car, drag or carry to and from water and easy to maneuver in tight quarters. the capacity of over 300 lb means that the boat floats up and over waves with no trouble at all and can operate in mere inches of water. The short length means that the wind doesn't cause too much trouble (easy enough to correct with paddle stroke). Probably helps with tracking that the bow and stern have a pronounced keel.
Summary: Love the boats, perfect for our use and priced much better than the competition that we felt was inferior, for our use. Easy to maneuver, fun, stable but short length means 'top speed' is far from that of a longer, touring boat.
Tip: buy a drain plug (about $10) and install it for easy after paddling drying out. Get a couple of inexpensive foam cushions (@$10/each)for a passenger (and to supplement paddler's) seat.
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