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Submitted: 04-09-2013 by tandemfamily
We just purchased the Equinox 12 Tandem for $449 at Costco and includes hatches, seats, paddles and a foam carrier w/straps. We took it out on the bay and in comparison to the Malibu tandem I would say that the Malibu tracks a bit better and stays a bit drier than the Equinox. The Malibu is a bit more comfortable on the lower back as they positioned the seats more upright.
However, for the price the Equinox was half as much as the Malibu and had it been just a couple hundred less, I would go with the Malibu. But for a $500 difference I would say for beginners this is sufficient for flat water kayaking. For transport, it weighs about 20 lbs. more than the Malibu so the Equinox is somewhat challenging to get up on top of the car.
In regards to racks, we initially started off with a J-rack. On our way home from picking up the Kayak the rack unlocked causing the kayak to tip over, ropes to snap off the front end of our car and the brand new kayak was suddenly hanging off the side of our CRV on the freeway! Very frightening! Apparently there was a defect to the J-rack (kayak stands upright on it's side in a cradle) and the rack's customer service dept. has expressed immediate attention to this issue. We are in the process of sending them estimates for the cost to repair our vehicle as well. After that experience we opted for a different set up with a flat mount instead. We also had loop straps installed under the hood that can be used for tie downs instead of the hooks underneath the vehicle. This worked out much better and prevented the nylon straps from rubbing against anything sharp.
We took our kayak out for the first time this weekend and had a great day! Other than everything in the kayak getting soaked, it was a fun ride! Next time we will have a few holes drilled for drainage in the seats and get some dry bags for our stuff!
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