Submitted: 11-21-2004 by tmann
I am no novice. I own 2 Mainstream kayaks and will buy a 3rd one next week. All three will be Patriots. I have heard some talk about the Patriots not tracking well and need to refute this since I coached and observed many kayakers who think they know what they are doing. Every kayak I have tested for tracking passes easily when tested under windless/currentless/calm conditions. Simply push the empty kayak through the water and if it tracks off course it will be immediately obvious. Most kayaks have tracking problems because the paddler either pulls harder on the side he has the strongest arm or dips the paddle closer and strokes longer on one side than the other. If your strokes are consistent on both sides, then tracking will not be a problem.
Bottom line, the Mainstream Patriot is a well crafted kayak and is designed to do many things which is does very well. It performs with little effort, is safe and stable, and can carry all that you need for an enjoying day on the water. I have made some simple modifications to my two kayaks for extra bungy cords and a cleat for tying off an anchor cord. The longest I have sat in my kayak has been 7 hours to photograph wildlife and found it a bit stiff, but I can modify the seat for comfort if need be. Weight can be an issue when tired but is not unmanageable if loading is planned for taking in account terrain between your vehicle and the waters edge. I rate this kayak an overall 9 for practicality and suggest a padded seat cover to minimize the only detractor which is a hard seat. Buy one. You won't regret it.