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Submitted: 01-11-2013 by MMF
This was my first kayak, purchased in February 2011, but I have been paddling it for over a year on over 100 trips, average trip about 8 miles, longest per day 35 miles. I have used it on small Panhandle Florida creeks and rivers with downfall (flat water with little elevation drops), large rivers (upper Missouri, Apalachicola) and lakes large enough for wind-driven waves.
It's not as maneuverable as my 10 feet Dagger award which I use as a transitional river kayak in Canada, but it seems to be as good as or better than kayaks of equivalent length. It seems to be much faster than my husband's Perception Carolina 14 and even without a rudder or skeg tracks as well, except when confronted by crosswinds and high waves as we were on Lake Ilo in North Dakota. However, it did not take in water on that trip, and my husband's did (no skirts). Although it required much more strenuous paddling, I have no complaints about its performance under those conditions -- it's stability was awesome.
I am 5 feet tall and it is made for a taller person, so I really should add an extension to the pedals which is set at its limit and the width makes for less than comfortable edging. Both hatches are tight and large enough for camping gear and water, there is room in the cockpit for additional storage if necessary, but have not had to do that. Fully loaded, one doesn't notice the extra weight after about half an hour of paddling. It was tested on a fast, rocky bottomed river, Brule in Wisconsin with class I and II rapids. I could feel the thermoform skin flexing on the bottom, but examination of the hull showed no damage or stress. We maintain and properly store our kayaks when not in use, but the coat on the Expedition looks like new.
While we are careful about maintenance and storage, I pretty much give this craft everything it comes across -- over logs, rocks, tight cornering, and downfalls and it has not disappointed me in its performance.
It is 38 pounds. A new version of the Expedition which is much heavier by over 6 pounds was introduced in 2012 and I have not tried it, but if this version is on the secondary market now, I would have no problem recommending it to someone who kayaks the kind of venues we do. It would have been nice, however, to have a better way to secure the craft when left all day in a primitive camp site -- there are no holds or loops which cannot be easily cut, although the carrying loops at both ends of the kayak are much easier to use than the Perception's.
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