Submitted: 06-24-2011 by Zumbafan
I'm new to kayaking and started looking for one when my doctor recently ordered me off my legs for 3-6 months due to AVN in my knee. I normally have a high cardio workout teaching Zumba classes 5-7 times a week so I needed to find something to give me an upper body workout. I've found it in kayaking and weight lifting. As I said, I'm new to this so forgive my mis-spellings or blunders in lack of kayak techno terms if I make mistakes here.
I researched for a few weeks and narrowed it down to the Vapor 10XT and a Dagger Axis 10.5 footer. Both GREAT boats. These reviews helped me tremendously!! I demo'd the other boat and a simple Old Town kayak (not near the quality of the Vapor) and liked both boats. For price point I chose the Vapor XT; that and the fact that the cockpit is larger and I hope to take my grandson with me next summer.
The other boat had a movable skeg whereas the Vapor didn't. I thought the tracking might be better on the more expensive boat with the high tech skeg, but the Vapor actually felt a bit more true when I gave it its first voyage. Perhaps it was the water conditions when I tried the other boat, but in any event, I took my Vapor out tonight for the first time, and it went straight for any pin point I kept my eye on, even going cross current.
I bought the 230cc paddle (as recommended in these reviews) and found that I still banged the side of the boat on occasion. Perhaps that is due to my novice paddling form.
I was amazed at how easily it went into very shallow water and over submerged trees that I didn't see until I was on top of them. As I went over several bogs, it only hung up once. Easy enough to back my way out, too! It sits nice and high on the water.
I love the covered day well feature. Because it doesn't have a water proof seal, I bought a $20 waterproof floatable bag to put my cell phone and keys in. Easy enough.
Having a bum knee that is not supposed to bear any weight for 6 months, I splurged for the strap-on 2-wheeled cart that hooks onto the boat so I can push or pull it wherever I want without carrying it. Great for getting it up and down the hill to our boat landing from our truck bed. And yes, I was able to get it up into the truck of our Superduty Ford (pretty high off the ground), so I count that as a blessing being that I'm a 5'5" female with a bum leg. That speaks volumes to me as I look forward to getting healthy again.
The foot pegs are easy to adjust and though the padding in the seat isn't as thick as the Dagger, I was comfortable for my one hour ride. I bought a kayak life vest and I think the shorter vest helped in that respect, too.
Love the molded in paddle rest with the bungie strap. My paddle seemed secure though it crosses the cockpit when strapped in. The other boat straps the paddle along the side which would seem a bit less likely to get hung up on tree branches, etc. if resting in tall grassy areas or by tree branches.
I wish the cockpit edges were just a tad bit thicker or rounded, as it is not comfortable to pick up w/bare hands... my only true gripe but I can live with it.
The boat was VERY stable even going against the winds and cross the current. I felt very safe, even as a novice. Now I just need to work on my exit strategy!
Can't wait to spend a good portion of my weekend in it. Though I love both the Vapor XT and the Dagger Axis 10.5, I'm very happy with my choice.