Submitted: 08-14-2003 by MuleMarine
I purchased the Critter for my college graduation. Kind of a reward to myself. I had never used a kayak before this, but I did have a lot of canoe experience. I was a little worried about stability and tracking issues before my "initial" launch. I have to tell you, I was amazed at the ease and stability of this kayak! I believe itto be much more stable than my Alumacraft canoe. I even began feeling a little brave and started to challenge the river by taking "shortcuts" through all the tree "snags". It slid easily over limbs a few inches under water. (Kansas has mud water, visibility less than 1mm) I never felt as if it would dump me or even kick me out! I did manage to dump it when I got between the current and a tree snag, but it was easy to bail out of and get downstream. This is a very forgiving Kayak. Dumping the water from the kayak was a chore so I recommend a bilge pump of some kind. Tracking is so-so. It is easy to get headed in the wrong direction with one sweep of the paddle, leading to overcorrection to the other direction, and back and forth. With practice it is easy to overcome. I purchased a Pelican spray skirt about 1 hour before an overnight 25 mile river trip. Saturday went with no excitement, but Sunday we got trapped in a severe thunderstorm (KS is known for them), with 30mph wind and 40-50 mph wind gusts (estimated), lightning, thunder and even some pea size hail. Rain was heavy limiting visibility to less than 50 ft!! We stopped when it began to hail and used our kayaks for cover. With a quick look on the GPS we discovered we where within 5 miles of our destination. So we put back in and set an insane pace for our destination. Without our spray skirt we would've been in trouble, probably would've spent half the time bailing, and half the time paddling. Wind was not much problem, except when heading into it. It didn't affect tracking all that badly when paddling horizontally with the wind. Waves were around 8-10 inches but never really swamped the cockpit. The boat did cut through the waves nicely, making me feel very comfortable, and with only minimal overlap of the bow. I recommend this kayak to who ever wants a kayak for any reason, experienced or beginner it is a fun little boat. Size is conservative making overnight trips a challenge for overpackers! We're planning a 3 day 2 night trip to the Jacks Fork in MO. It will be a challenge, packing wise and we'll see how it goes. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions, I'd be happy to answer any that I could.