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Submitted: 09-14-2013 by tchapin
I've owned and used a lot of different folding boats over the last 30 years and I have to say that the Pakboat XT-16 has become my favorite.
Here are my thoughts.
- Spray deck velcro holds great and is dry. It will leak if you put the velcro seam underwater but normal waves and splash don't get in. The best part is that you can really pack your boat efficiently before you put the deck on.
- Volume: The XT-16 does not have a lot of volume, it's only 16' long and the beam is only 26". Most folding doubles are 17' long with 31"-36" beam. We do a lot of backpacking with the kids so our camping gear is definitely on the light and compact/compressible end of the spectrum. We just did a trip on the flatwater section of the Colorado and we able to pack full camping gear, food and water (8 gallons) for a 5-day desert trip. Because you can pack everything without the spraydeck on, you can really do a much better job of utilizing the available space.
- The XT-16, and I assume the XT-15 and XT-17, sit very low in the water. You are much closer to the water than other doubles I have owned/paddled. With the relatively narrow beam and low height above water, you can have a much lower paddling angle if you want. The low deck will have more water over the bow or sides but it's not a problem. Haven't been out in any nasty conditions yet but I don't expect any real issues.
- Speed, tracking, handling. The XT-16 is very fast and runs straight. It's only 26" wide so it's quick to get up to speed, holds it's speed well, but also feels 'sporty' and can be turned easily when you want to. The frame is very rigid and the assembled boat is the most rigid folder I've ever paddled. You don't feel as much flex in ocean conditions as you do with most folders. Primary and secondary stability seem fine to me but I haven't really tried to push it too much.
- The XT-16 is by far the easiest and fastest to assemble double folder that I've had. Some of the folders that use rear zippers probably have similar ease and speed of assembly but I haven't used them.
- Seats are very comfortable and the backband that is part of the spray deck works very well.
- There are a lot of D-rings on the hull below where the deck velcro is. This makes it very easy to attach deckbags or whatever you want and the number of D-rings gives you a lot of position options.
- Hull and deck materials are high quality and the hull will be very durable, no worries here. We have a Pakboat Canoe which has the same PVC hull material and there are barely any marks on the canoe after 10 years and a lot of trips.
- Pack size: The duffle bag that comes with it gives a stated packed size of 33"L x 21"W x 14"H. The XT-16 with all normal gear is just under 50 lbs and the duffle bag has compression straps that can shrink it down a bit more and you can get near enough to the 62 linear inches (L+W+H) that most airlines use. This means that you can proabably fly with the XT-16 in one bag without overweight-oversize charges.
The Pakboat XT-16 is one of the best deals out there. The kayak is lightweight, fast, stable, easy to assemble and is very versatile. It does have limitations, mostly the volume of gear you can pack into it, but with careful packing you can use this kayak for week-long trips.