Submitted: 10-04-2010 by mv
posting this review because there isn't a whole lot of reviews of this inflatable out there. This is my first kayak period, I decided on an inflatable for ease of transport etc. & the Sawtooth is one the fastest inflatables available. I bought an American made prototype from the boat people last fall & after a nice summer I am very impressed.
Set up is a breeze as with most inflatables, using a bravo 6 pump I can inflate this boat in approx 10 min. I didn't care for the factory cheetah chairs so I bought a gts sport seat which simply clips into place in seconds. There is no footrest w/ the kayak so I use an Aire thwart seat as a foot brace. there are a lot of tie downs to accommodate such accessories (32 I think).
On the water this kayak is STABLE & tracks true w/ the removable skeg. On the stability it really shines, I have had this boat on Lake Erie in some serious chop & never once felt insecure about tipping over. I've had decent sized waves & boat wakes hit this boat from all sides & it simply handles them all perfectly. Self rescue is a snap, just grab a side tube kick your feet,pull up & you're on, it's that easy (I'm 5'7" 185).
This is a fairly fast kayak (again for an inflatable), at first I was disappointed with the speed, but I was using a super heavy paddle & had no idea what good paddling technique involved. After much research, money on paddles (Eddyline windswift for longer trips & Mitchell escape for sprints) & a lot of practice I found I was going farther than I ever thought possible when I first started.
Touring the western basin of Lake Erie, I was paddling for distances of 6 to eight miles in 2 to 3 hrs. this kayak probably maxes out at 4 mph at all out effort but a normal cruising speed is around 2.5 to 3 mph depending on the wind & surf. speaking of wind this boat isn't all that affected by it, the single side tube are low so you don't blow around too much.
Again it tracks straight, there is no wag in the front end as you paddle. It is also fairly responsive & turns well considering it's length & beam. The only cons I can find is this boat is it's sort of heavy (approx 42 lbs), compared to an Innova Sunny it's only real competition it's about 12 pounds heavier. this is a bladder boat also so it will take on water between bladders & the pvc skin after a long tour especially in rough water. Folding it up after use I pick the boat up, squeeze & water drips out for a minute or 2. bladders also gives this boat a longer drying time & you better clean it in hot weather or you will get a nasty smelling boat if it sits too long folded (yea it happened to me)
The bailing holes to me are more of a downside than a plus. again I have the American made prototype & the bail holes on this boat are a bit larger than the Chinese version but I find I'm sitting in a puddle of water, sometimes big sometimes small. during the hot months I don't care but now as the weather is getting colder I do. I am trying a wide array of duct tapes to cover the holes (none seem to want to stick to this damn pvc!) & have met some success.
This is a very well designed boat, if you are in the market for a easy to use performance inflatable kayak this is it. kudos to the guys from Aire, it's been a good summer.