Submitted: 09-17-2003 by kwikle
I purchased a Walden Silhouette in Red this year. The layup and overall appearance of this kayak is very good. The inside and outside seams are excellent. The hatches are watertight, but with the way they are recessed extra care must be taken to ensure they are sealed properly. The deck layout needs some work, there are no recessed deck fittings, (RDF's) ahead pf the compass recess for storing a spare paddle, or for simply parking your paddle. There are no rescue lines along the cockpit, or ahead of the cockpit. The deck bungies aft of the cockpit are not helpful.
The seat in this kayak is ok, but not great, the same goes for the backband, ok, but I will be replacing them. I have demoed the seaward version and their seat and backband are no better. The skeg slide is the thin wire with the knob that slides up and down, with no steel bar. No problems to report yet. The footbraces are a little rickety and need adjustment, or perhaps replacement.
All this said, the kayak handles marvelously. I love the low volume fore and aft decks, the clearance for a traditional paddle is amazing, it is pure joy to just go forward in this kayak. It moves effortlessly along the water. Turning the kayak with a variety of edging and leaning techniques provides surprising results. I am still learning the secondary stability in this kayak, but I have started learning to balance brace in it, which is something that eluded me in my other boats.
Packing a boat for trips with so little volume is only possible due to the large oval vcp hatches. I practiced packing it several times before buying it, and I got all my gear to fit with room to spare, but I did have to chuck a few extras. There was plenty of freeboard aft after loading about 80-90 lbs of gear. (I weigh around 175) Looking forward to tripping with this kayak. I also like having my dayhatch fitted to the left rather than the right.
Handling this boat in waves and rough water is alot of fun, edging the boat while on a wave steers this kayak better than any other boat I've paddled. The angled bulkhead is great for dumping water after rolling, or during rescues. The listed weight is accurate and the boat is easy for me to cartop, (I'm only 5'8").