I am 6'1", 220 pounds, and a casual paddler (10-15 times a year). I have used a half dozen kayaks over the years. The Envy is my favorite for small water and slow moving water. It has a large cockpit, fairly comfy seat (although some are better) and has a high weight capacity for its size. Other small kayaks that have listed capacities of 300+ pounds still seem to plow the water with me in it, but the Envy holds my weight well (although I can not imagine having 330 pounds in it without wearing a snorkle).
Love the fibreglass---I think that the extra rigidity is responsible for the speed and apparent weight capacity. However, I would not risk crashing the fiberglass through anything more than class 1 rapids. Even so, my 5+ year old Envy has taken its share of abuse, and still looks good. Only minus is the little straps that you can adjust for the position of the seat back. They don't hold very tight, and will loosen to the most reclined position. I seem to have to tighten them every half hour or so.
You can't go wrong with this kayak for small water paddling.We have owned two Envy kayaks since 2005. They replaced larger ones, for ease of cartopping and handling in shallow areas. The boats carry surprising loads with aplomb (folding chairs, beach umbrella...) and track like trains considering their length. After several years of bottoming in seaside marshes and careful beaching, the hulls show very few scratches. I have added fiberglass reinforcements at stern and bow rub areas. One of the boats fell off the roof of my car and suffered no damage at all (luck helped, but the fiberglass quality at Evergreen is top notch). We have also been out on big water: large ocean bays, Lake Erie, St. Lawrence and big rivers. Although we avoid such environments, the boats have brought us home safely, if relieved, when we were caught out in meter-high seas.
Downside: the excellent seats tend to come unglued from the bottom and out strain on the mounts. I used four fiberglass tabs on the seat bases to keep them flat and solid without straining the hull. The carry handles can be protected with rubber washers and an extra layer of webbing, and have lasted, including being used for safety lines when cartopping. Owners might also want to check and maintain the seal around the bow hatch, which may allow a few drops in.
We love our boats!
I have 2 Envy's (2006 and 2009) and we love them. They are light weight and easy to enter and exit. They track and maneuver well, and have an amazing amount of storage space for a small format boat. Their load capacity is listed at 350Lbs, which is 10's of Lbs greater that close rivals.
The Envy is fast and stable for its dimensions, looks good on the beach, and feels safe for paddlers with reasonable experience. And they attract a lot of attention at the beach and at the ramps!
Our suggestions (minor...since this is a great boat!) are:
All that said, this is the nicest boat we have paddled in this class period...which explains why I own two and we are delighted with both.This is an update to my earlier review (06-06-07).
Evergreen does not have good customer support, you can only reach them through MEC so if you need parts...or to talk to service....you're "outta luck"
- The seat on my boat squeaks, which alerts the beaver and eagles when I am trying to approach and not disturb. I fixed it by putting rubber inner tube between seat bottom and boat bottom.
- The WEB handles tear after several years, and if you don't notice in advance your first clue will be your beautiful boat dropping to the ground.
I wrote the earlier review after having only using this kayak for one weekend. Now that I've had a whole summer with it I felt I needed to do a rewrite. I have to admit that my earlier minor complaint about the seat still stands. However, the solution was to purchase a Sealine self-inflating seat cushion. Adding this cushion has made a big difference.
My earlier comment about maneuverability was not valid... I had to improve my paddling technique. This boat is a gem. It's well built, very light and very nicely finished. In addition to everything that's right about this kayak; I get comments from many others about how great it looks. This boat is aptly named. If you're looking at boats in this size range this one should be at the top of your list. You won't be disappointed.I bought a second hand Envy after test paddling several types of small kayaks at a local store. For a recreational kayak, this one is a fantastic choice.
Superbly light, very easy for one person to load on and off the roof rack. Has great zip in the water, very light, fun and easy to paddle although you tend to zig zag a bit due to the flat, wider bottom of the kayak. There is a built-in, thin skeg molded to the bottom but it doesn't do much for tracking against waves, wind, etc. The seat is not great, but I like that the back of the seat is easily adjustable for extra back support should you want to have a mid-river coffee break. I find that the seat is moderately comfy for the first couple hours, then it's a bit of a numb bummer. The bigger the bum, the less of the numb.
My kayak has been up and down off the roofrack dozens of times over the last couple of years and it has held up fairly well. There are some scratches and small gouges from where the ties bite into the soft sides but nothing major. The nylon carrying handle keeps coming off which is a minor annoyance, more so when the kayak slips out of your hand and crashes to the ground when the handle breaks. The bottom has been scraped across stream bottoms and rocks and aside from some scratches it has really held up extremely well.
I haven't done any over nighters with the kayak but with the two sealed bulkheads, you can store enough for a one or two night stay. Keep in mind this is not a sea kayak so you won't be able to cover the same distances without a lot of paddling power. I use mine mostly on smaller creeks and rivers, although I have had it out on the great lakes a few times on calmer days.
One of the best kayaks you can get in the recreational day-trip category. But that's just my two cents.