Length: 12' 0" - Width: 25.50" - Starting at: $849.99See More Details about this Kayak
I would recommend this kayak for someone who wants a light weight, moderately priced nice boat...and it's pretty, too! Great for beginners and intermediate kayakers
If you paddle you likely enjoy other outdoor activities. I'm no different, I enjoying camping, hiking and backpacking, so I was looking for a kayak that fit the following criteria:
• stern hatch, possible bow hatch – at a minimum it had to carry a tent, sleeping bag and food for a weekend trip
• 12-14' touring kayak with maximum empty weight of 50lbs
• price under $1400 new
• not made in China
After borrowing boats, demoing at festivals and renting over a three year period (I paddle a lot, don't think I'm a once a year warrior) I narrowed my choices to a select few models. In the end, the Straight fit the criteria. I was leaning towards the 14' boat until I gave the 12'er a try. I'm 5'10" and 165lbs and the 12' boat is what I went with. I've paddled this boat for nearly four months and have no complaints, not to mention the boat gets many compliments.
It has great initial stability with a fair amount of gear in the hatch, in a dry bag stuffed in the bow or empty. Unlike many other 12' boats it has a hull that lets you get on edge. I'm able to maneuver as well as any smaller boat. I've run the class II Hiawassee, played around longer in eddies and tougher stuff and opened her up in the flats to catch-up with friends that left earlier.
The boat is easy to put on the roof of my Outback. I've portaged a few long hauls and didn't grow tired with it on my hip nor over my head. For those wanting a rudder I'll repeat what I heard from a senior paddler, "Learn proper paddle strokes and skip the rudder on any boat under 14'." Sage advice, not to mention you save $200 and 5 pounds!
Safety is a concern for all paddlers since we can't breathe water for very long. The boat has deck lines on the bow, enabling an easier self or assisted rescue. Look at the 8-12' boats on the river and you won't find deck lines any place.
The hatches are typical, if you get the boat swamped they'll leak a bit but no hatch is 100% sealed. The stern hatch is very easy to access while in the boat, btw. The decals come off way too easily.
Ultimate test is on the water or is it a service call? I had an issue requiring me to contact customer service. The contact cement they use must be weak. Both of the foam padding parts on the thigh brace came loose after one month. The company sent new thigh braces and they arrived within a week. They also sent hip braces too even though I never mentioned that item. I've been lazy and haven't replaced the foam nor have I put additional contact cement on the loose portion. I think the production person may have skimped on the glue as the remaining area is secure after much use.
Still to review – a salt water paddle and high winds.
If you want a new, fun, inexpensive all around boat for $800 or so (USD) I'd high suggest you give the Straight a look and certainly don’t discount the fact it is only 12'.
PS - I often wonder in reviews what the 2nd option would be so I'll share mine with you. If I was to buy another 12' boat I would get the Delta. However, I bought the Straight, spray skirt, cockpit cover and carbon paddle for the price of the Delta.
Once I got past the breakers, about 1/2 mile out, the boat was quite pleasant on the rolling sea with just enough stability that I didn't feel nervous and enough secondary stability that I stayed very buoyant and stable as the waves rolled under me. I now understand primary and secondary stability much better.
The 12 foot length made it a nice surfing boat and it was very maneuverable and responsive. The waterproof bag in the bow hatch... failed and the rear bulkhead was not entirely watertight, but I think in more capable hands it would have taken on much less water. After a few hours of ocean pummeling we transitioned to the ICW on the Sound side of Topsail Island and paddled on calmer water with a stiff northerly breeze, about 17 knots worth. Again, the boat just rode up over swells and wakes from the bigger boats on the ICW and I did not feel unstable at all.
The boat was quite fast for it's length and handled very well. The seat was quite comfortable, even after about 4-5 miles of paddling, with no unsettling effects in my lower limbs. On the downwind leg, headed home, we had a right rear quartering wind and there was some tendency to weathercock but a slight lean and the occasional bow stroke was all I needed to track straight.
I am planning to work up to longer trips so this will not be my long term boat, but it seems like a great boat to get a base-set of skills in. I would recommend it to anyone. It is a light quick boat with features normally found on much more expensive boats. That makes it a solid buy, especially if you want to get started kayaking without dropping four or five grand for a composite. I kitted it out with a Sealz 1.7 skirt, a Werner Skagit paddle and an Astral V-8 vest. For the 56 degree water, I had a full sleeve wet top. A local loaned me a helmet and I was grateful for it.
The Strait 120 exceeded all of my expectations so I rated it a 9. I have very little experience to compare it to anything else or it may have gotten a 10.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!