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Submitted: 08-07-2013 by jamoaque
This boat is a good option if you need portability. It is stable and comfortable. It tracks well, but also turns well for its length. It has decent tie-downs and excellent weight capacity. You can add a spray skirt if desired. (Also note that if you are NOT using a spray skirt, and you have long legs as I do at 6'3", you can open the zipper of the bow a bit to allow you to bring your knees up a bit.)
When fully inflated, this yak cruises decently for an inflatable, although you would need the backbone to get the best gliding and speed capability out of it. (Using the backbone does take a little extra set-up time and also adds some bulk and weight when transporting the folded/deflated boat. Make sure you have the backbone well centered. A lower-weight, easier-to-use, more compact option for enhancing glide may be to use the high-pressure drop-stitch floor instead of the backbone, although this adds more cost.) With the standard configuration, GPS showed close to 3 mph w/ fairly easy paddling, 3.4 to 3.9 w/ steady to firm paddling, and up to 4.4 or so at a sprint (add about 0.2 to 0.5 if you are using the backbone, and subtract about 0.2 to 0.5 if you are under-inflated). Note however, that without the backbone, its speed capability is equivalent to only about a 10-foot hardshell. It seems that since having it fully inflated is important for best performance, but the instructions warn you to NOT over-inflate, then Advanced Elements should include an accurate, low-pressure-range gauge with the necessary adapters with each boat they sell to ensure proper inflation.
The boat does have a rather slick appearance. Seems very durable. One potential drawback is that it does take a while for it to fully dry out after use - so if you don't have the option after a given paddling to leave it inflated for drying out, you would need to later then lay it back out or even inflate it to allow it to finish drying out. Another drawback could be that there is no drain valve.
Overall, a good quality portable boat w/ decent performance.
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