04-03-2013Submitted by: Rolff
Reviews for Mini-X Kayak by Malibu Kayaks
Based On: 20 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 Years ago I had a Mini-X which I eventually sold because I wanted a faster yak for fishing. As things go I am not getting younger (66 now and still muscular for a fossil) and I get tired of loading my Prowler 13 by myself or during windy conditions. I fish the protected bays of South Louisiana so I wanted some stability, particularly with a stringer of fish hanging over the side of the yak in water full of gators.
I managed to strike an attractive deal at West Marine and purchased another Mini-X, particularly for it's light weight and remarkable stability. With a little personal tinkering I got it rigged to fish my favorite waters for redfish and specks.
Other reviewers have mentioned that the Mini-X does not track well and is slow. It is relatively slow as yaks go, but the tracking issues are more a case of how you paddle. For a hole shot use a mild paddle stroke to get the yak moving and then use a slightly elevated and stronger paddle stroke with the blade passing as close to the side of the yak as possible and it will not dart all over the place. You can use more power in your stroke with the same technique into stronger winds and the boat will track decently although it will not set any speed records.
The Mini-X simply laughs at big boat wakes and heavy chop. You will stay quite dry under these conditions as the shape of the bow efficiently deflects water from chop or waves rather than the water pouring over the bow. The Mini-X sits quite high in the water so strong winds do get a grip and can move you about. Use the three pound folding claw anchor and the boat will stay put and secure in winds stronger than you should be out in anyway. 5'6" rods will fit easily in the square center hatch pointed toward the stern. Or two piece rods will do the same, but you cannot safely get 6' rods in the hull of the Mini-X . .
If you are looking for an inexpensive yak for fishing or play and are not looking for serious speed on the water, the Mini-X is very hard to beat. Even very big fellows will find it remarkably stable even in rough waters and less hardy females will find the Mini-X easy to load by themselves. I have had a number of other small and light SOT fishing yaks and none of them can match the overall confidence the Mini-X provides when fishing big water or during poor weather conditions.
Last, the Mini-X is of very high quality and will not break the bank: leaves you some money to get a really decent rod and reel. Be sure and get a quality padded seat to keep your six o'clock from going numb about the time the fish start biting.
03-24-2013Submitted by: cjakayaker
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have yet to see anything better in moderately priced SOT fishing kayaks. Light enough for easy transporting. Rod holders and tackle storage. Maneuverable and comfortable. Stable for hard hook-sets and speed-boat waves. Perfect for small rivers, lakes, & ponds. 5'11" & 225lbs. Will get a 2nd one soon.
07-17-2012Submitted by: jlf
- Rating: 10 of 10 I was given this Kayak as a present five years ago....loved it in always....yep it tracks tough.. wobble side to side on the river...in the ocean it is totally stable and easy to dive off and climb on (abalone) leavin the area thinkin of selling/after reading the reviews...I think NOT!!!
06-23-2012Submitted by: texican15
- Rating: 10 of 10 The mini is a great kayak for many different situations. I got this kayak for my fiancť and she loves it. Its small and light weight making it easy to drag or lift. It can carry everything you need for a day of fishing. Even though it is short, it had great stability. I can stand in it no problem. Also, it's fun to play with in the surf or in small rivers because it is very maneuverable. It's hard to beat in the class it's in. It is a great paddling kayak for everyone in the family.
07-15-2011Submitted by: brucefriis
- Rating: 8 of 10 This yak is what it is... small versatile great for people who like recreational kayaking. The best thing is it size; lets face it not everyone has space to store a 14 foot yak. Not fast, okay tracking, great for just kicking around in.
06-08-2011Submitted by: dave
- Rating: 10 of 10 The best small yak I have ever paddled. Tracking was excellent speed good and stability the best! I will be buying more of these for my family members as they are so easy to transport!
05-26-2011Submitted by: IAH
- Rating: 7 of 10 Very stable and maneuverable indeed but tracking can be difficult. It's not a kayak for speed. It's very light and can easily be carried without the use of the trolley. Excellent for fishing in lakes or ponds.
02-08-2011Submitted by: Geoffro
- Rating: 7 of 10 Was very pleased with the Mini X as it is so light to transport etc...But very disappointed with the hatches...Leaked like a sieve.
08-11-2010Submitted by: CrazyRo
- Rating: 10 of 10 I am extremely satisfied with Malibu Kayaks Mini-X! I have owned it for a year and a half. I have taken it into the surf on South Padre Island, and many times into the Lower Laguna Madre for stable fishing fun. I initially purchased for a first Kayak for my three boys to share (one age 10; two young adults). It turned out to be everyone's favorite. Efren with South Padre Island Kayaks (10111 W US Expressway 83 La Feria, TX) gave me and my boys a demo and I was very impressed. He was very helpful and I will be buying another Malibu Kayak from him soon!
This Kayak is very stable, has plenty of storage up front, mid hatch and rear storage area. My fishing crate fits easily in the rear, with room to spare. I would recommend this Kayak to anyone looking for a fishing Kayak, whether space is a concern or not. It is so light and compact you can easily load on a car or in a short bed pickup without strain.
The front moves back and forth under aggressive paddling, as is expected for a 9 footer. No complaints from an owner of two Ocean Kayaks and one Wilderness Tarpon. It is a Dry and stable ride!!
08-03-2010Submitted by: sb
10 out of 10
- Rating: 10 of 10 Bought this kayak and took it to Lake Travis in Austin and it was amazing. Even with a broken paddle this kayak could move. Extremely durable. My roomate cranked down on the towstraps with his body weight (not a good idea)- no warping, and not even a scuff. Thrown off a cliff.
two people around 150 lbs a piece can sit on this somewhat comfortably. Majority of the time had a third person hanging onto it in the water. No problems encountered until third person on board, only then did it overturn (it was loaded well over 500 lbs at that point). It is extremely stable and easy to get back into.
If you want to treat a kayak like garbage and still have a solid product at the end of the day, this is the one to get. better options come standard with this kayak, so don't miss out. wide seat, plenty of room (I'd say seats someone 150 to 200 lbs comfortably).
ONLY CONS: you're giving up speed for stability with this kayak, tracking is not the greatest...
12-01-2008Submitted by: Jae
- Rating: 9 of 10 This kayak is a nice vessel for all around fishing. I know people say it is not the best in tracking but if you do not need to cover miles and miles of distance this kayak is just fine.
I have taken it out on a small residential lake as well as some Tampa Bay estuaries and it was very very stable. I had two scupper plugs underneath the bottom of the seat and I stayed mostly dry (only water from paddle drip and fishing pole).
I bought it used but I have not really noticed much water inside the hull after a few hours of fishing (less than a cup?). The front end does waver when paddling hard but this kayak handles very well. I can do a 360 virtually in place. Malibu also seems to have a good customer service dept. because I talked to live people and they returned my calls when no one answered (I had some questions about warranties).
09-22-2008Submitted by: Jay Anderson
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought this kayak with the idea of lightweight and size in mind, due to the fact that I live in a tight space. I've taken this kayak out about ten times already and I really love it. I've brought it out in San Francisco Bay in pretty high wind and rough waters and the Mini X is very stable. I've had big yacht wakes come at me that give you that uncomfortable feeling in your stomach and I was amazed at how well this little kayak handled the waves.
As others have stated it's a bit cramped if you start throwing in rod holders and depth finders, which I've done. I bought it for its compact size and ease of use. It's a breeze. I throw it in the back of my 240 Volvo wagon and it fits perfectly in it, which is reason enough for it to be a good purchase. The tracking is not good, but not terrible. I got the rec-diving version and comes with a HUGE center dry hatch (1'x 1') right between your legs which is one of the best features second to its stability.
Each stroke you make makes the front end move, but that's a compromise you make with its length. It's not the fastest kayak, but have had hours of fun on this yak and its easy to haul around. I've had huge stripers jumping feet from the bow and has served its purpose. A fishing platform and troller. You won't be disappointed for something as little and easy to use as the MINI X! I bought mine for less then $500 brand new!
04-09-2008Submitted by: BMT
- Rating: 10 of 10 I fish from an OK Prowler 13, Tarpon 100 and OK Drifter: I wanted a lightweight yak with high stability for those fishing adventures on the Louisianan Gulf bays when I don't need to travel far: so I purchased a Malibu Mini-X from Kim and Ryan of Dixie Kayaks in Katy, Texas: their service and willingness to please is second to none !!
I love the Mini-X for its grab and go lightness, it remarkable stability, and it takes barge and ship waves better than my larger kayaks. It is a bit slow as other reviewers have noted, but it is not that bad. Also, the tracking is not as bad as I had read on other reviews. Keep the paddle close to the hull and it goes where you want it to go, but it will turn on a dime and give back change.
It is a joy to load, especially after a few hours of serious paddling and fishing. I cannot find anything about the Mini-X I don't like: it does what it was designed to do well.
02-18-2008Submitted by: Nels
- Rating: 10 of 10 We just purchased two Mini X yesterday and took them out on the Gulf today. This is only our second time in a Kayak and it was impressive. They where very stable, Just as we had beet told and read on the review sites. My wife is very unsure when it comes to water and we had a canoe that was just to tippy for her and she had a ball in this Kayak so that is saying a lot. After reading a post on this site about stacking them to hull, I gave it a try and it worked well. We are looking forward to our next time out.
08-23-2007Submitted by: ice
- Rating: 6 of 10 This my take on the Malibu Mini X.
(1 = poor / 10 = good)
build quality 9
hull speed 2
weight with rod holder and seat 7
overall satisfaction 6
Have owned the Mini for a couple of months.
This kayak would be best in slow moving rivers or large ponds. The Mini is extremely stable and can turn on a dime. When you start from a dead stop, it feels like you are pulling a dog house behind you.
08-09-2007Submitted by: cougar
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought the Mini-X back in May to fill a hole in my fleet. I needed a very maneuverable boat with stability to fish in small to medium winding creeks with up to class II rapids. Wow what a surprise, this boat can handle anything you can throw at it. I have had this little yak in Lake Erie in 6' breakers and it handles them easily. This boat surfs the waves great and is able to climb right up the face of them as they are cresting. The stability of the boat is awesome, I have the fish and dive package and it is a great fishing platform. The only time I was able to flip this yak was when I was surfing and I was going so fast I couldn't keep up paddling and made a mis-stroke and got blown out by the wave. Re-entry back into the yak is easy even in the surf.
Because of the width of the boat I use a 240 paddle and it has surprising speed for a short wide yak. In fact I sold my Prowler 13 yesterday because this boat flat outperforms it in every way. I am actually able to get more speed out of this little 9'3" yak than the 13' prowler in part to the fact that it is 20 pounds lighter at 39 lbs. Also it handles better in big rough water and is not fazed by large boat wakes. The boat will do a 360 in place. The light weight makes it a breeze to load on a rack or in a truck bed by yourself.
The boat sits higher in the water than most SOTS and is a lot drier ride, not much spray or water in from the scuppers, I was always wet in the prowler. It does have a little hull slap once in a while on the smaller waves depending on your angle to them, but it is minor. The yak also has a surprising 350 lb. capacity. The quality and finish of the poly it is made out of is great and it is almost slick when wet and cleans easily.
The storage is ample and I can fit my 240 2 piece paddle in the center hatch. I am also able to fit a 6' rod in the front hatch after removing the bucket. The hatches are very water tight in normal use. Flipping it in the surf lets some water in, but I think it comes through the rod holders.There is a paddle holder on each side of the yak which is a nice feature because you can secure a spare rod under one of them. This is a great little all purpose yak that is flat out fun.
06-26-2007Submitted by: S Chase
- Rating: 10 of 10 We just bought two Mini X's. One is a fishing version. We love that they stack on existing factory cartop luggage racks. No need to buy j-racks! Great in choppy water and calm.
06-19-2007Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 Yesterday, I finally launched my new Mini-X.
Weather was just a little frisky; NW winds 5-10kts with a 2ft chop and power boat wakes. The yak performed just great... even better than I expected. Tracking is very good provided you do not exert a too powerful paddle stroke. If you find the bow starting to walk, power down and the yak tracks well. Owing to the short wetted surface, it does not glide too far after a series of stokes. Not a problem for me since I'm not planing long trips. I'm more interested in short distances to favorable fishing spots(I have the fishing package offered by KFS), nature paddles into the back creeks (good platform for photography). The stability is awesome. I feel quite comfortable on board regardless of the chop. Heads into the wind well, no spray comes on board. The only water which actually did manage to get to me was only the drips from overly enthusiastic paddling.
The approx 40 lbs, while not a light weight for me, was manageable and launching went smoothly; haul out too (my wife helped me). I hope to gain more strength as I progress.
If you prefer a yak under 10ft, reasonably light in weight, very stable, useful on semi-protected bays, back creeks then I would surely recommend this craft.
03-26-2007Submitted by: fishingcat
- Rating: 10 of 10 I tried out a slew of recreational and fishing kayaks before purchasing a Mini-X in August 2006, ostensibly for fishing small inland waters and to be able to access more bank and/or wade fishing opportunities on easy rivers. It took me quite a few paddling trips to get around to actually fishing from it ... I was too engrossed in seeing what it could do, and the magic of paddling OVER fish instead of casting to them! Thus far, I have only used it on flatwater because thatís what my current paddling skills dictate.
The Mini-X is not fast nor does it have much glide, but thatís to be expected given that it is intended for fishing in conditions where maneuverability is more important. It tracks surprisingly well for its length (9'3"), and I can turn it on a dime and stop it just about as fast. As long as nobody wants to race me (and as long as I donít need to go very far quickly), I donít notice the lack of speed.
The Mini-X has better initial stability than any rec boat Iíve tried, and although a LOT of effort and lean (with the help of thigh straps) finally caused me to reflexively use a brace to right myself, I was never able to actually tip it over.
For fishing, it is a nice size for me -- I donít take a lot, and I like to be able to reach everything (the forward hatch is the only thing that really takes any effort). The Mini-X actually has more storage capacity than I need (at least right now ... I know how these things go ... voids demand to be filled ...). It is quite comfortable and stable to sit sideways on. I have stood in it, but havenít tried casting while standing yet. My balance is not the best, and I decided it would be wise to work on that first. Others who have stood in it compared it to the X-Factor and said the Mini was not as stable. I do have to be careful when paddling that I donít scrape the sides of this wide (33") boat with the paddle (my paddle is 215 cm, and I am a high-angle style paddler ... and would probably be better off low-angle in this boat). It is not normally a concern unless I fatigue, but Iím sure the fish are alerted by the noise whenever it happens!
Thereís enough room in the Mini-X for me to straighten out my legs completely with space left over -- and I have looooong legs (in fact, lack of leg room put me off every kayak ďdesigned for womenĒ that I tried, and a few others as well). The foot wells are placed OK for me; placement may bug some people so I would definitely recommend trying before buying, and make sure the trial is long enough to judge your long-term leg comfort. I do prefer that the foot wells spread out support on my foot, unlike foot pegs and Iím also happy to trade the ďjust OKĒ placement (by my standards) for not having any footpegs to grab my flyline Speaking of which, the basic boat has very little to snag lines and such; any problems Iíve had in that regard were definitely user-generated (mindless accessorizing can quickly negate the benefits of the Mini-Xís clean design).
Being able to easily car-top the Mini-X on my minivanís existing custom roof rack is a real bonus. I could handle car-topping a much heavier Ďyak, but a longer one would definitely cause overhang issues on my vehicle. In addition, the 38-lb bare weight is nice, not so much because 38 pounds is a cakewalk for me, but because it (naturally) ends up being considerably heavier once outfitted for fishing, and the fact that the gear is in it makes it awkward to carry -- the lighter weight is certainly welcome then.
I do recommend getting a pair of scupper plugs for the seat holes if you want to ride dry more of the time. Although itís usually a dry ride (in the seat), any kind of rowdy paddling, plopping into the seat, leaning, and so forth gets me a wet rear end if the scuppers are open.
Overall, I couldnít be happier with the Mini-Xís suitability to my purposes. I wouldn't change a thing about it. I have not used it on moving water yet, but intend to amend this review after I do.
08-02-2006Submitted by: david
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have a ws tarpon 120 and I love it. But I've been looking for a smaller, lighter boat for quick trips and kids. I bought the mini-x after a short demo and I couldn't be happier.
The mini paddles great for a short yak. The nose does want to walk a little but you can compensate by easing up on the stroke a little. It has surprising glide for its size and is super stable- I can stand and flyfish in calm water. The kids absolutely love it; even my 8 year old son can manage this boat. The mini-x makes a little man feel big and a big man feel little!
The mini has a weight capacity of 325 lbs. At 170, I had a nice, dry ride. By adding kids we loaded it to about 250 before water started seeping in the seat scuppers. The boat has tons of leg room and I found the "foot-wedges" to be very comfortable. As expected, at 9'3" long this boat will turn on a dime. It has four well-placed handles and bungee type paddle/rod holders. A nice feature for fly fishers is the large flat area in front of the seat-no place for line to tangle easily.
The mini-x weighs just 38 lbs! Easy to load or portage; manageable for the kids. For the price, features, and performance, this boat will be mighty hard to beat!
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