Length: 15' 3" - Width: 29.50" - Starting at: $949.99See More Details about this Kayak
I have been pleasantly surprised with the Dirigo XT tandem. It tracks well and paddles quicker than I expected for a large, recreational tandem kayak. Ours is equipped with an optional rudder, which I have found unnecessary for flat water lakes and slow moving rivers. I am sure that it will be a plus in windy conditions and choppy water.
The XT comes equipped with the upgraded ACS seating which we have found to be very comfortable. I store it inside in a Suspenz 3 boat free standing rack on it's side at about an 80 degree angle and have not experienced any structural bending or oil canning issues. I do leave the child seat in place which I feel provides some additional structural support.
Overall, we are very pleased with the Dirigo XT Tandem Plus in the short time that we have owned it.
The kayak is pleasantly narrow for a recreational boat and very stable. Most striking is the roominess, seemingly yards of space between paddlers. Dual cockpits provide a sense of privacy but offer so much open space that the feet of the stern paddler are in daylight. The design provides reasonable protection from spray. Intentionally paddling through boat wakes as a test, the kayak usually shipped no water. What the deck failed to shed, the cockpit coaming deflected. Aside from an occasional splash, the boat is generally dry. (I purchased two Seals Splash Deck skirts but found no need for them in warm weather and water. They will provide good protection in cooler weather while leaving a wide cockpit opening.)
The three layer polyethylene is much better than single layer poly. It is inherently buoyant and should resist the "oil-can effect" common with cheaper material, i.e., the tendency of the hull to deform. Listed at 80 pounds (seems lighter), the boat is easy enough to shoulder because of the easy grip the cockpit affords. I am an old 130 pounds and have no trouble loading it atop a car solo. Locking the seats in their forward positions and securing the seatbacks prevents the seats from unexpectedly sliding and changing the balance of the boat when carried.
The child "seat" has a structural purpose, serving as a wedge to support the deck against the hull. It is held in place by a pair of thumbscrews on the top and Velcro on the bottom. The Velcro is nearly useless. When removing the seat, both parts of the Velcro tape stuck to the seat, peeling free from the hull. And the seat should be removed periodically because the drain hole in its bottom obviously allows water to enter. Left in place, the dregs of water would turn foul.
-The hull is quite soft, subject to pressure dents. Plan storage accordingly--hanging from wide straps or in well-padded brackets; not upside-down because the deck deforms.
-The rear bulkhead in my boat was poorly fitted. It is a thick piece of closed-cell foam glued in place with an adhesive that adheres poorly. It arrived partly detached. Some fussing with silicone sealant made it all right, but it is a bit shoddy.
-The knee braces are flimsy but comfortable.
-The seats adjust forward and aft, sliding on aluminum tracks, but if the seats are anywhere other than in their fully aft positions, integral plastic locks tend to slip on the tracks. Adding SS hose clamps around the tracks fixed that problem.
The Dirigo comes in a version with a rudder installed (and fancier seats), but paddled tandem, that is unnecessary. Paddled solo in wind, a rudder could be an asset. It is drilled and fitted for a rudder, so adding the optional kit would be easy.
We took the Dirigo out on a breezy day on the local lake. It tracked extremely well, even in the wind. It is stable, surprisingly quick and very comfortable to sit in. My wife who is just starting to paddle felt very comfortable in this boat. It is a longer, heavier boat to transport, but you would never know in the water. My wife and I have no problem lifting this boat.
This is a great recreational boat that is versatile, fun and should meet the needs of a range of paddlers!
I love the space hatch in the back and the little water tight compartment in the front. The wife puts her keys and cell phone in the compartment and they stay dry. I am 6ft 2in tall and I fit very nice inside the back seat with lots of room for my legs. The wife fits in the front seat very nice and she also has lots of room.
The boat is heavy at around 80lbs so make sure you and the wife can lift the boat before you buy. I carry the boat upside down on my Thule rack on my Subaru Forester with foam blocks and straps. The boat is nice and stable on the roof. For the money, this is a very nice Kayak.
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