Submitted: 03-30-2011 by speed4theneed
This is a great little kayak for creeks, streams, and fast moving rivers up to class III rapids. You could use it for lake and calm ocean (close to shore) use as well, but then you may want to buy a longer kayak that would track better. It tracks and maneuvers as well as it's size would suggest. It maneuvers worse than an 8 ft kayak but much better than a 14 ft, and vice-versa it tracks much better than an 8ft kayak and worse than a 14 ft kayak. This is what makes it ideal for creeks, streams, and narrow rivers where it is long enough to track fairly well but short enough to maneuver when called upon.
I bought this kayak mainly for weekend camping trips with friends. This usually involves leisurely flat water in winding streams and rivers, but also involves some slight whitewater excursions. I wanted something cheap enough I could abuse fairly well while being big enough to store a weekends worth of gear, clothes, and supplies while also being small enough to be able to maneuver well in tight, technical rapids. This kayak performed all the above admirably.
While this kayak's rigidity is pretty good for being plastic, it will never match the rigidity of a fiberglass kayak--it does flex, especially on the bottom when running over rocks during whitewater use. This does make it harder to paddle than a fiberglass kayak, but then again a fiberglass kayak would easily cost twice as much (and usually more) and not be able to take as much abuse.
This little baby was able to hold 3 sets of clothes in dry bags, 3 soft ice chests of the 9 can variety (2 behind the seat, 1 between my legs), plus typical camping gear such as my full size tent, backpacking stove, utensils, flashlights, towels, hygiene products, etc., with room to spare if I needed. I am 5'10" 180lbs and the kayak does not appear weighed down even though I store upwards of 60lbs of 'gear' (over 20lbs of the weight was due to beer, in full disclosure).
Weekend camping trips isn't exactly what it was intended for, but it does so quite nicely as we are mostly socializing and not in any hurry to get done anytime soon. In any event, even weighed down with my 'necessities' it still outperforms the canoes. Without any gear, it glides as well or better than any non fiberglass kayak less than 12 ft in length.
For what it's worth, the seat is pretty comfortable for a kayak, especially a 'cheap' one, but let's not get carried away: sit in anything for a few hours at a time and unless it's a plush recliner it's going to bother you a bit and need to be adjusted from time to time.
Also, the rear storage cover is water resistant, but not fully waterproof. As long as you remain upright it can take the occasional dunk as well as any water that naturally washes over the kayak during choppy water. I've never found any water inside the dry storage when this was the case. However, I had the misfortune once of having the kayak submerged under a log for a few minutes before I could dislodge it. When I opened the cover I found about a quart of water inside, which isn't much but absolutely enough to ruin electronics. So if you need to absolutely keep things dry (clothing, electronics, etc.), put them in dry bags before putting them in the dry storage compartment.
One last thing of note: if you intend to take it out in the rain or whitewater or just want to be prepared for the unexpected shower, you will want a spray skirt. It takes size medium skirt. I bought a medium Coleman skirt for my kayak and it fit snugly around the cockpit rim.