Submitted: 10-23-2005 by Kevin1963
The Prijon catalog describes the Touryak as a wonderful blend of stability, comfort and performance in a mid-sized kayak, and I couldnít agree more. The Touryak was my first kayak and I will never regret having bought one, it does a little bit of everything and it does it well, just the way the manufacture intended it to be.
For me it is what I would call an all around kayak, and I think it would be an excellent first boat for someone who was just getting started in kayaking yet wanted more features and capabilities than you would find in a recreational kayak.
When I first started looking for a kayak I was looking for what I would refer to as the Holy Grail of boats, a kayak that could do it all and do it well. I had only planned on owning a single kayak (that didnít last long) so I wanted the most bang for the buck and this model seemed to fit the bill. So what do I like and dislike about this kayak, well lets take it apart item by item.
It looks nice, yup you heard me, I like the way it looks, and it has nice lines, form, shape and angles. The bottom line is I think you have to like the way something looks in order to appreciate it fully.
For my first kayak I thought it would be safer to have a boat with slightly more initial stability then secondary, besides I enjoy bird watching and photography so a stable platform was important to me. Having said this you would think that secondary stability would have to suffer but I donít think so. Iíve had my Touryak out in four foot white caps on the lake and never rolled it over.
Speaking of rolling, I learned how to roll a kayak with my Touryak which is no easy task to teach yourself. The Touryak is easy to roll but being 24 inches wide it is slightly more difficult then my 21 inch Barracuda. The thigh supports are very comfortable and adjustable with a wrench that stows behind the seat and the seat it self is adjustable with a single line lanyard. In all I found the seat to be comfortable and easy to adjust but a little to spacious in the hip region (just add hip pads).
So how does it track? Well, it tracks pretty well. As with any kayak corrective strokes are necessary to keep it going straight from time to time. I elected to install a Prijon rudder after experiencing some weather cocking when out in the open lake.
Could you get by without a rudder? Well that all depends on what you want to do with this kayak, if youíre headed out onto the open lake then I would say get the rudder but if your just hugging the shore or paddling on rivers then you can get by without it
In respect to the rudder, I think Prijon makes one of the better rudders on the market in ease of installation and use with gas type pedals for operation. The rudder is a composite material, foiled shaped and balanced.
Hatches: the hatches on the Touryak are the tried and true neoprene with a hard plastic cover over it, they are easy to get into and have been water tight so far. I like the shape of the hatch openings in that they are elongated so you can actually fit things into the cargo area verses other manufactures who make there hatch openings round and to small. What good is all that cargo space if you canít fit anything into it?
Pack nets: I like the bow net that comes with the Touryak; you can actually put things under it and roll your kayak with the comfort of knowing that everything will be there once you roll back up. Some of the nets that I have seen on other kayaks are nothing more that a few strands of bungee cord which seems too little, too late and generally in the wrong place.
Keyhole cockpit: for my first kayak I wanted a cockpit that didnít feel to restricting, as if it were going to trap me in it (a common feeling for us Newbeís) When I use the Touryak I tend to be in and out a lot so a larger cockpit was an advantage, this also allows me to lift my knees up and stretch on longer paddles as well. For bird watching and photography I now have a place to put my equipment for speedy access.
Paddle Float recess: since I use a Greenland type paddle the recesses in the deck behind the cockpit are an advantage. A wood paddle on a plastic deck slides around a lot but once I slide my Greenland paddle into the built in recess and tighten them down with the installed straps it pretty much stays in place. There are also recessís forward and aft of the cockpit so you can rest your paddle on and use as an outrigger for entering or exiting.
HTP Plastic: I get the feeling that in this day of fiberglass and composite materials that the ole plastic boat is looked down upon but it to has its advantages. For one thing cost, plastic is much less expensive. Two, repairs, unless you get attacked by a Killer whale then the worse thing what might happen to you kayak will be the scratches and bumps it gets while in the process of being used.
Of course it has its disadvantages to, such as weight (itís a little heavier but not at all bad) and if you leave it in the sun on a hot day then it might warp. But in all the HTP plastic blow molded (not Rotomolded) kayaks are excellent boats, you probably wonít see one in the Olympics anytime soon but I think they are an excellent alternative to the pricier Fiberglass/Composite boats.
Foot space: One of the problems I had with some of the kayaks that I tried out was getting my feet in a comfortable position (Male size 11) I had to cock my feet off at some odd uncomfortable angle to sit in the kayak and this of course became uncomfortable after awhile. No problem here with the Touryak, plenty of room even with boots on.
Deck fittings: Iím the type of person that will lash just about anything to the deck of my kayak and once again the Touryak excels here as well in that it has heavy duty d-rings and a grab line on each side of the kayak that runs the length of the boat. There is also a quick release line on the starboard side for lashing your kayak off to a tree or another kayak to be towed. T-handleís are installed on the bow and stern of the boat for ease of lifting.
So what would I change about the Touryak. Well two things only with the first one being the seat cushion and backrest. While doing paddle float rescues the backrest often comes loose; which allows the seat cushion to float away and the backrest comes out of its slots, so you might find yourself sitting on top of it. To overcome this Iíve tied a knot in the bungee cord that holds the backrest in place which seems to help by making it tighter.
The second thing I would change is the lip that surrounds the cockpit, sometimes it is difficult to get a good seal on your spray skirt and a sharper edge would be better I think or maybe I just need a new spray skirt?
Other than that the Touryak is everything that the manufacture set out to create and in years to come as I buy different kayaks I will always keep my Touryak as my general purpose, can do most anything kayak and as stated in their catalog ďa wonderful blend of stability, comfort and performance in a mid-size kayakĒ.