Submitted: 09-24-2011 by Sarita
I bought the Sevylor Tahiti HF79 inflatable last year and I'm still enjoying it a year later. I had already been an avid kayaker prior to my purchase but I needed an inflatable because I drive a Miata. At a moment's notice, I can pack the kayak, 2 seats, 2 paddles, the pump, and pfd in the trunk of my convertible. This for me was worth its weight in gold and considering I paid $115, excluding add-ons, scored a screaming deal!
A few add-ons/upgrades are necessary for a richer experience:
There's plenty of room for a dry bag, or two, but the floor will get wet, even if you close the bow self-bailing cover. I wish there was a way to attach the paddle to side. Speaking of attachments, the ties for the bow and stern covers are helpful when attaching a rope, anchor, or bag. Knocking on every piece of wood I can find, so far no punctures. I try to be careful around rocks, asphalt and grassy areas and carry duck tape...just in case. I also attached a strap on the bow & stern so that I can pick it up instead of dragging it. Oh, and as far as air pressure goes, there's a gauge on each of the air chambers that basically don't work. My pump has a gauge too but that broke shortly after I got it. So my advice is to try not to over-inflate and hope for the best.
- get a high quality paddle. This thing is a beast on windy days, specially going upstream. The only reason I went with a 2-piece paddle is because I can't fit the full length with the top up. You're definitely exerting more effort given that you sit lower and the two air chambers force you to paddle wider, like a canoe - think of it as a good workout rather than an easy paddle. That said, I've taken a front passenger for ride and paddled the yak on my own, no problem.
- I got a double action hand pump so the yak and seats are ready to go in 15min. You'll need at least 2 different sized pump connectors for the double lock valves.
- Definitely get the skeg for a noticeable difference paddling around large lakes. It's not a fast ride but it's super comfy.
- Get the high-backrest seats. I sit cross-legged and get pretty good back support for about 4 hours.
There are better inflatables out there for sure, but for <$150, the Tahiti goes in the smallest of trunks and rides confidently in large bodies of water.