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As a big fan of Eddyline kayaks - and I own five of them - I find the Equinox fits in a niche between the twelve foot Skylark and the sixteen foot Nighthawk. Like its little sister the Skylark, the Equinox has an ample cockpit and fine initial stability for fishing, photography, and less-than-experienced paddlers. Like its big brother the Nighthawk, the Equinox has a good turn of speed and tracks very well even without a skeg. With thigh braces, a fully adjustable seat, and bow and stern bulkheads and hatches, this hybrid is a "pocket battleship."
Recently my wife and I were paddling in some rather heavy chop, and she felt more comfortable in the Equinox than she would have in her Nighthawk (Although in a race next month she will paddle the longer kayak.) Last spring my buddy had little problem keeping up with my Nighthawk while in the Equinox. At a light forty-five pounds, the Equinox is easy to put on and take off the roof rack of my car. It has become my "kayak of choice" for most of my paddling adventures.
For racing and long crossings, the Nighthawk has the edge.
For expeditions the Phoenix (a sadly discontinued model) is preferable.
For shorter, "let's just get out for a paddle" trips in most conditions, the Equinox has become my first choice.
On to my new yak... Equinox.
White, gorgeous, big enough (but not TOO big) cockpit, very responsive (rudder, only used in windy, open waters), at 14' is perfect for waters around our area - Homosassa, Florida, (scooting up rivers and narrow feeder creeks). I love this kayak and this will likely be my last purchase because she feels like my Best On-the-Water Friend. Reliable. Steady. True-blue.
I agree with the reviews below regarding the excellent tracking ability of the Equinox; also the hatches stayed perfectly dry amidst lots of splashes. I can't speak to the durability of the hull, as I was careful to avoid dinging the borrowed boat.
I'm 5'10" and 180# and I found the cockpit to be very spacious and the seat comfortable. Adjusting the seat back was a bit tricky when seated in the kayak, but once I got it dialed in, it fit like a dream.
I'd also like to mention that I really liked the Eddyline spray skirt that came with this kayak. It kept me perfectly dry and was easier to stretch into position than others I have used in the past.
First impression: My objectives were to get a high quality boat that was light enough for me to wrestle atop my car solo that would allow me to do modestly challenging flat water in the windy Midwest. The Equinox meets these qualifications. It is a thermoform boat so it is very tough while having a weight that approaches a composite. As with every Eddyline boat I have seen the build quality is excellent. It is a 14 ft boat with sealed compartments fore and aft with a weight of 45 lbs making it easy to flip on top of my Camry. The boat is very rigid and highly resistant to the dings and bangs of launching and landing on rocky shorelines. The cockpit opening is large (18.5 x 35 in.) making entrance and egress easy but mandating a spray skirt to keep water out during even modest edging. The boat easily handles my size. The standard footbrace just fits my 34” inseam and my size 11 feet fit as long as I don’t try to wear Tevas.
Second impressions: Eddyline designed the Equinox as a transitional boat with the high primary and secondary stability of a recreational kayak but length and hatches of a touring boat. They have succeeded in these objectives. With its 25 in. width, shallow V bottom, and hard chine constructions the boat has very high initial stability. Even complete novices are very comfortable. The boat makes a good platform for fishing, photography, and even putting your knees up and eating lunch. It also provides solid secondary stability needed to learn to rely on edges and leans. The seat is comfortable for me for 3 or 4 hours. There is plenty of room to stash a few days of camping supplies in the hatches.
Third impressions: While most of my paddling has been solo, I have put in enough miles with others to know that the Equinox is very easy to keep straight even in strong quartering winds and 2-3 foot waves. The boat does not have a rudder or skeg and does not need one. I have also learned that while the boat edges great it does not turn terribly quickly. One paddler, who is an instructor, did not believe me until he tried it. Sweeps and leans have to be greatly exaggerated to have the desired effect. I have tried it once on a small muddy Midwestern river and the limited agility made it less than an ideal boat. While the boat is not a dog, you have to work harder than your fellow travelers to keep up with equally skilled paddlers in true sea kayaks.
Overall: This boat is exactly what it is supposed to be. It is an extremely well designed extremely well built introductory kayak for someone that wants a high performance recreational boat or a low performance touring boat. It tracks well and probably for most paddlers will be more boat than they ever need. It has also convinced me of the quality of Eddyline products and of their thermoform plastics. I suspect that some folks will feel they want a higher performance boat in a year or so. I tried an Eddyline Fathom for an hour the other day and covet it mightily for its increased speed and nimbleness.
My wife and I did a L.L. Bean Kayak Walk-On Adventure - that little taste of kayaking hooked my wife and me. I then began to read and research as much about kayaking as I could over two months (never knew a kayak had two stability factors – initial and secondary) plus I learned much more, including different opinions (skeg or rudder). Followed that up with a day class on kayaking and two weeks later a half-day private class (we did wet exits and rescue techniques). We rented a couple of times going out to local lakes and then decided that we should buy our own boats.
I am either at the top of the middle age bracket or at the beginning of the senior bracket; in any case I am no longer at my peak strength ability. So knowing that I would be carrying these on top of my vehicle and wherever we would put in, weight become a major issue. All of the boats that we had used so far had been polyethylene boats and most were 50+ pounds, I also saw some weighed less. The qualities of a thermoformed boat were generally less weight, extremely durable, no hull distortion or warping from heat/storage/transportation, etc.. Fiberglass and Kevlar provided the lightest boats and are strong but appeared not as forgiving as a thermoformed boat. With a budget in mind and my experience level as a beginner I could not justify a high-end fiberglass/Kevlar boat. So I narrowed in on thermoformed boats – wanted to demo boats from Eddyline, Hurricane, Swift and Delta (I know I’m missing somebody). Found one kayak dealer who carried the first three boats I listed. I was unable to find anyone who had a Delta that I could demo – I would have like to try one.
Of all the boats that I tried, different models from each of the manufacturers’ I narrowed in on a length, I wanted something larger than 12’ but not something as big as a 17’. I finally went back and forth between the Eddyline Equinox and a Swift Saranac (both the 14’ and 14.6’). The Swift felt more stable in general, the Eddyline less so, however, in testing both in different conditions I found the Equinox a better tracker and was very easy to turn (tried a little edging – not a lot mind you).
I bought the Equinox and have taken her out several times, and each time I go I feel more and more comfortable with the boat. Just an FYI, I am 6’2" (long torso) and weigh between 190-195 pounds. Comfort wise (cockpit) it feels not too tight or too loose.
The only reason I give her a 9 and not a 10 is I’m old school and nothing can be perfect? So far I just haven’t found any faults… maybe next year I’ll have to update this review to a 10. Can’t wait to take her out again.
Tracks straight and true on windless days. Can be pushed around a bit by stronger winds, but correctable. Excellent fit and finish. A pride to own. My rating of 10 is relative to other boats of similar length.
My first outing in a kayak which was supposed to be "very stable" resulted in rolling over at the launch. I switched to something said to be suitable for a beginner with "great primary stability and good secondary." I rolled that one over the first time I tried to apply a little force doing a draw stroke. Looking around a bit more, I decided that the hull design of a Tsunami 165 with its shallow V and distinct chines (easy for a newbie to feel and hold the secondary stability) would work for me. It did, but the tradeoff was a rather heavy boat at 65+ pounds, one a bit hard to turn, a tad ponderous to move out, but great once you got it going. So I wanted something smaller and lighter, and more "agile" but with the same type of chined hull and stabilty.
I did my research looking for another hull design with a shallow V and chines, and ended up speaking to Joe at Eddyline. Joe went into detail about their design objectives and, after describing my size and build, said go with their Equinox. He hooked me up with a local dealer (Great Lakes Kayak in Lake Bluff Illinois) who had a demo and several new boats in stock. The demo was the next day.
I spent a minute looking at the hull design with its distinct chines, we put it in the water, and I said, "Gee, it feels a bit twitchy." No, that turned out to be just quicker response on a lighter boat than the one I was used to (the 45 pound claim Eddyline lists is correct.) The Equinox is also superbly balanced, providing faster and more precise reactions than I was used to from my heavier, and longer Tsunami. The first paddle was all it took to feel what is indeed very good initial stability and then a quick lean and --- YES, THERE IT IS-- very distinct and wonderful secondary stability. This little puppy has simply marvelous secondary stability. If you want to tip over, you have to work at it. I bought the new one right on the spot.
I took it out for three hours late yesterday on Lake Michigan after a storm, conditions mostly flat with gentle 2 to 3 foot swells. It handled them comfortably. You paddle, it moves out fast. Tracks dead on, and turns on a dime. I started to have a lot of fun and managed to lean over and start to 'carve' without feeling the least bit nerous or needing to.
After wringing it out and trying out all I had been taught, This kayak is a great sports car. A responsive hull that feels like it is one with its paddler and responds like my son's Mini Cooper, you give it the input, and it leaps to respond! Speed is no doubt less than longer, narrower boats, but seems plenty fast for it length/beam. Again, if there is any trade off in this design it is would only be 'top end' speed, which I am quite willing to give up for its sports car handling and agility.
Comfort? The cockpit is a perfect fit for me, despite my large size and the boat's relatively short length. The footbraces are a snap to adjust, and the tigh and hip braces fit me fine, even with my large upper body build. The seat looks hard, but after three hours without a break, it proved to be very comfortable. I did see the other review which has some reservation about the seatback comfort, but even with a wired-together and fragile back, I was fine once I picked one of the three easily-adjustable seat back heights. (Adjustment is a ten second, one screw process, with no need for tools.)
The build quality and detailing is outstanding. I would recommend this boat for anyone like myself, new to the sport and with any issues at all about stability. I can also see that it would be a great boat for those who need something lighter than a full-on touring kayak or want a boat to go out and just have fun for a day.
I plan on keeping the Equinox for a long time, since even if I can get to a level where I am a 'pro' I cannot imagine getting rid of something this responsive and this much fun.
I still have the poly HV Kestral for the creeks. So you long legged large folks give it a try and you will be delighted that they finally built a kayak for us that has room yet is fast and stable.
Great job to Eddyline for designing a perfect 14 foot kayak! The Equinox is now one of my favorite all around kayak for short or long trips. 5 Star rating on the Equinox, the value and performance is superb!
PS... I am 51 and have tried many kayaks out there! I rarely will give such a review, but this kayak deserves it! Eddyline Kayaks have proven to be a superior design with high performance for our family, and we recommend them highly to all our friends and guests!
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