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Reviews for Explorer 380x Kayak by Sea Eagle


Rated: 8.36/10 Based On: 22 Reviews


Explorer 380x Kayak by Sea Eagle

Length: 12' 6" - Width: 39.00" - Starting at: $999.00
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09-03-2014
Submitted by: JMSSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     For the last two years I've owned both a SE 385 FastTrack and a SE 380X Explorer. Both are excellent inflatable kayaks each with their own strengths and weakness but the 380X Explorer is the best in my opinion. First, a little about my wife an I. She's 5 foot 0 inches and I'm 5 foot 8 inches and we are both very overweight. If you're a tall person or weigh over 200 pounds then this review will pertain to you.

The SE 380X Explorer is great for people who are heavy but no so much if you are tall or have long legs. The extra large 11.5" diameter tubes are excellent at holding lots of weight while keeping the kayak high in the water. Much better than the 10" diameter tubes on the 385X FT and WAY better than the 9.5" tubes on the current 2014 model 385 FT! With two people in the boat plus coolers and gear the 380X Explorer still sits high on the water while the 385 FT sits very low and sometimes allows water into the boat during fast turns especially in light whitewater. On both models the person in the rear sits very far back while the person in front sits just ahead of the middle of the boat. This causes the boat to rise in the front and drop in the back. Having the extra air volume in the 380X Explore keeps the water out even in moderate whitewater. Having larger tubes does pose one problem though. There's less room width-wise which can cause the tube to pinch you and cause discomfort. Riding two up in the 380X Explorer the person in the rear has less room than the person up front due to the tubes converging at the rear. Riding two up in the 385 FT both persons have more than enough space without the tubes touching them. On the SeaEagle website it says that both boats have 3'1" of interior width but I disagree. The 380X Explorer has a few inches less due to the larger tubes.

Regarding leg space the 380X Explorer wins hands down. According to the SeaEagle website the 380X Explorer only has 2" of extra interior space but it feels like a lot more. It's possibly due to the placement of the D-rings that hold the seats to the boat but I don't think so. When riding in the back of the 385 FT my feet touch the back of my wife's seat but in the 380X Explorer I have 6 inches of space which is just enough for me to place my cooler there. My wife has the same amount of legroom on both models. If you're taller than 5'8" or have long legs I highly recommend you look at the larger 420X Explorer or 465 FT especially if you want to bring a cooler or two or plan a multi day trip.

Both models track great on the water but the 385 FT tracks best and glides further on less paddle strokes especially with the front keel inflated. The 380X Explorer track great with the removable skeg installed but just ok without it. The larger tubes on the 380X Explorer make it susceptible to wind even with the skeg installed. For lakes and other flat water the 385 FT is best but on bayous and especially whitewater the 380X Explorer without the skeg installed is king. Our fully loaded 380X Explorer with two riders can easily float in as little as 5" of water but the 385 FT needs at least 8" due to the inflatable front keel even with it un-inflated. On rivers or shallow bayous the keel gets stuck quite often on rocks, tree stumps, and sandbars. Tree stumps grab hold of the keel and won't let go which means a trip into the water for me to get the boat free. The 380X Explorer gets stuck less often and when it does I can rock the flat bottomed kayak back and forth and usually get free.

While the 385 FT has some great features that make it superior to the 380X Explorer like better tracking,longer gliding per paddle stroke, and more interior width it does have one fatal flaw. It does not hold up to the extreme Texas heat. The material used to make both models is top notch and have held up to rebar, sharp rocks, sharp tree branches, and being dragged across concrete while inflated but it's the welded seams that hold the 385 FT together that are weak. After each trip I always inflate the boats and wash them to keep nasty smells from sinking in then let them dry in the sun. Last summer both boats were drying in the back yard when I noticed the 385 FT was losing air. Seems the 100 degree heat had melted the 'glue' holding a seam together and air came pouring out. I tried using the included patch kit but to no avail. A quick call to Sea Eagle headquarters and a replacement hull was delivered in 4 days! Sea Eagle has THE BEST customer service hands down! No questions asked, they just sent a new hull. Last weekend my wife an I went for a trip down the San Marcos river in the 385 FT. The San Marcos has Class 1 and minimal Class II whitewater but nothing the 385 FT can't handle. After portaging a large dam we set the 385 FT on some gravel on the side of the river and ate lunch. Fifteen minutes later we heard a loud swoosh and looked to see that the heat had once again melted the 'glue' on not one but two seams and the boat was toast. It was only 95 degrees that day but the gravel rocks must have been hotter. My sister was using the 380X Explorer that day and it was sitting right next to the 385 FT with no leaks. The 380X Explorer has larger weld seams which make all the difference in the heat. My new 'second boat' will be a 420X Explorer due to it being built better plus the extra legroom.

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08-04-2014
Submitted by: BVSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Sea Eagle Explorer (47 years in business!) is an excellent class IV rated white water inflatable - yes you heard right: inflatable - kayak.

I have had different types of hard shell and I can honestly say the Explorer soft shell 380x is an amazing Kayak very forgiving, you can sail, add a motor or paddle it. at the end of the day deflate it and pack it in your car trunk. this Kayak is very rugged and durable awesome unit highly recommend it.

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07-03-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     If you enjoy the water you will love the Explorer 380x made by Sea Eagle. This inflatable kayak is tough and rugged and yet fairly spacious even for someone who is 6'8" like myself. It holds up to 750 lbs including cargo which gives plenty of space for overnight trips.

The 380x can handle class 3 and 4 with ease. this kayak is great in white water in addition to paddling in the ocean. I have used it to travel down the kayak down the Snake River in Wyoming and "kayak surfing" in California. I agree that a directional stabilizer or fin is needed if you do not want to fishtail while paddling on flat water.

I do wish that the kayak had a spray guard to limit the amount of water during white water kayaking. All in all, this is one inflatable that everyone should enjoy!

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07-01-2014
Submitted by: JboSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Very happy with this so far. Have done high class III's on the Potomac and it rode the high waves without ever feeling like it would flip. Problem is that it fills with water very fast since Sea Eagle does not yet make any kind of splash guard for it. So you have to dock and drain it from the valves. Otherwise, it handles quite well for it's size, even through some tighter turning. On flatwater, the skeg is A MUST. Otherwise, you will fishtail a lot. I hope Sea Eagle makes a splash guard to fit the 380 soon. But overall, a very fun all around kayak that transports easily.
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06-20-2014
Submitted by: jmSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     My wife and I took the 380x out for our maiden voyage yesterday. Class II/III WW on the Colorado river. We went with rafter friends for support and river advice. The only reason I gave an 8 is that the self bailing is not that great. You sit in water once you hit any WW waves. Otherwise the boat was extremely stable and comfortable. It forgave a lot of bad moves through the class III WW. Never came close to tipping. Even when going through waves that were two or three feet high. Scary for a first ride but now I'm looking forward to a second run.

I would say the control and steering are comparable to a canoe. You can't turn on a dime like a hard shell kayak but you don't have to worry about tipping. At 50 yrs old I'm more into the safety and comfort than high performance sport kayaking. I'm 6'1" 225lbs and had plenty of room. The high back seats were very comfortable and secure. I may go to a higher deluxe seat for my wife. She did not enjoy sitting in the water.

The 380x seems to be high quality and very durable. I spent a little more money for a boat that will last many years. I ran the boat up the concrete exit ramp and it didn't even scratch the bottom.

So with the self bailing exception, the 380x is all that I hoped for in an IK. Safe, stable, durable, comfortable and fun. I look forward to many years of river runs and camping floats.

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09-23-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     What a great inflatable kayak. I have been kayaking for over 20 years in a variety of hard shell kayaks. Being of age now and having had several surgeries, my legs just aren't what they used to be, so I have been searching for a solution to getting out of our kayaks with my weakened legs. I fitted it with a seat similar to the optional fishing seat, and what a dream come true. It is so stable and easy to get in and out of now. I can keep up with my wife in her 13' Perception America except in strong wind. Sitting higher in the fishing seat as opposed to the Deluxe or Pro Highback seats makes paddling a breeze.
I highly recommend this kayak fitted with or without the optional fishing seat.

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07-20-2012
Submitted by: PHSend Email
Rating: 1 of 10

     We purchased one a few years back and had used it a few times...performance was so-so. The kayak isn't very steady, always feeling like its going to tip over, even on a calm lake. Material does feel very thick and durable but after using it about 4 or 5 times we put it away for some time, and when we re-inflated it had stains all over. We contacted sea eagle to see what to do about and sent them pictures, but nothing. They recommended simple green and said that would probably not work and would not affect the performance of the boat...I wish I would have gone with a hardshell, even a cheap hardshell would have been better.
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08-18-2010
Submitted by: WessSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We purchased this boat this spring as a whitewater tandem since my wife was wary of paddling alone. We intended on running the upper New in WV. The boat is great in mild whitewater...with the valves closed. We ran the Lower Yough in SW PA this weekend. A much smaller river that packs a big punch with most of the rapids rated III/IV. We still ran with the valves closed because if the rear paddler is a little larger, he sits in about 2 inches of water that slows quick moves required on this river to a great extent. Getting hung up on a rock can spell disaster as the boat quickly fills with water and made it like trying to turn a battleship. I have contacted Sea Eagle to find if an additional floor can be added or a thicker floor installed to displace the water that enters when the valves are open.

I still like the boat but with the design as it is, the floor needs to be thicker to displace the water so the rear paddler sits at or above the water level and the self bailing feature really works, because as it is now, it really isn't a self-bailer, at least not with the high back seats.
I can attest to the fact that even filled to the brim, it still CAN be paddled.

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07-20-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is my first kayak. I've rented hard shells for flat water paddling. I've been on commercial rafting trips through class IV.
My first impression of the 380X is the rugged construction. I took it out in the San Francisco Bay the day I received it in 30 knot winds. I really couldn't control the direction or make any headway by myself. On a lake the next day with little wind the boat was great.

I have the optional fixed rudder and I think it helps the tracking. I ordered the thigh straps and took it to South Fork American Fork to run the Gorge. It was flowing 1500 cps. With two people first time, self guiding, class II rapids blind, the boat forgave our many mistakes. For the class III section we had an experienced guide showing us the lines. We flipped in a scary place but I was able to dolphin kick myself back in kayak in calmer waters. The guide we met was impressed with the boat's capabilities and the boat really forgave our many mistakes.

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09-15-2009
Submitted by: DWCSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I've been padding solo canoe and kayak (hard shell) for nine years. Just got my 380X last of August. Outfitted it for W.W. Got the optional bow float and made a custom foot rest. Added a set of thigh straps. These two elements are key for W.W. First 3 times on the lake. Did 6 miles on a narrow dam controlled river. Class I high 2's. Had to get technical with some moves. With drains open the boat looses performance because all the water doesn't exit the boat. At the end of the run it was holding quite a bit of water under the floor. This makes the boat handle sluggish. Thinking of retrofitting the floor with foam. With the rib shape of air floor water has a place to accumulate.
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09-15-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     After a lot of online research, I picked up a Sea Eagle Explorer 380 in June. Spent the summer fishing the Cannon and Mississippi river from the Explorer. This is one well put together boat, very tough and stable. My son and I did a run down the Porneuf river through Lava Hot Springs, many rapids and small waterfalls. At not time during all my trips I have I felt unstable like a regular kayak. The boat does not track like a regular kayak, but some practice in rowing and the rear stabilizer helps (think quick shallow strokes). I works well for two people to fish out of. My recommendation would be skip the tall back seats and go with the deluxe kayak seats, much better back support and comfort. They also let you sit 4 inches higher for easier fishing. The deluxe foot pump allows me to fill up the kayak in 5 minutes or less. Yes the Sea Eagle Explorer is more expensive but I look forward to many years of kayaking without it wearing out.
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09-09-2008
Submitted by: QuigleySend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

      Paddled at the Bay of Quinte in Ontario.

With the directional stabilizer boat tracks straight & moves slower than a kayak but faster than a canoe.

Paddling into a strong headwind requires effort but this is really a great boat that will handle open water & for some reason is easier paddled sitting up front as possible, & even easier when there is some weight behind you as the boat will carry it's momentum better.

Big waves & boat wake are easily handled & still water is surprisingly fast.

Tandem paddling gets you moving at a brisk pace & there is lots of room for two people to sit comfortably with some gear.

The Deluxe seat will put you higher up than the Pro seat & is also a good platform for fishing. You can jump from the dock into the boat without worrying about tipping.

This is a very fun boat & it will do everything from solo to tandem paddling with relative ease. The 380X was faster than the 340X solo. See my 340X review.

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06-19-2008
Submitted by: KenSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've been fishing lakes in a Sea Eagle 420X for the past week. Most days in pretty high winds. ANY inflatable watercraft is going to be lumbering on flat water and catch wind like a sail. Nature of the beast. But the SE 420X was BY FAR the best inflatable I have ever used...AND my absolute favorite fly fishing boat of all time. I ordered a 380X after the 2nd day. I don't need the extra length of the 420X.

I paddled this boat for hours in 30 mph wind on an East Texas lake, transiting open water and along shoreline structure while fishing. I have no qualms with the way it handles. Does it handle as well as a hard boat? Yes... a canoe. But not a kayak. But for an inflatable kayak, that's as good as it gets! I even paddled the boat for an hour while my brother fished where I was sitting in the bow and he was fishing from the stern. 290 lbs of former football lineman sitting over the skeg and 30 mph winds...and I had no problem keeping him in position for fishing the shoreline we were covering.

But my favorite things about this boat are that it is ultimately comfortable and it has nothing on it to foul a fly line when fishing. These are the two most important ingredients for any fishing boat in my world.

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01-29-2008
Submitted by: JPSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     We purchased a 340x and a 380X one each for my spouse and I in 2007. We are experienced paddlers with canoes and hard shell sea kayaks. While the Sea Eagles are sold as kayaks, they are really more like an inflatable Canoes (in terms of load carrying) that you paddle like a kayak, and which behaves like a raft.

In flatwater any substantial wind will seriously affect your progress and while this may be true of all water craft the effects are really serious with the sea eagle. We purchased the boats for long (read 7+ days) treks in rivers of Canadian wilderness. The boats are great for that. Have taken them in Class 3 rapids fully loaded, while you do get wet, the boat rides the rapids just like a raft. No more long portages. One benefit of these inflating crafts is that they load on aircraft at a fraction of the cost (or impossible for) hard shell watercraft. They pack inside your vehicle and no wind drag. We plan more river trips in 2008.

I agree with most other positive comments on this site (regarding comfort, paddling, skeg etc). When loaded with equipment in flat water with chop the self bailing plugs usually do not work very well.

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08-31-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I first reviewed my 14 foot Sea Eagle in 2004 & thought I would add a couple of observations. I have used the boat in a wide variety of conditions & I still enjoy the boat's versatility. She excells at camping & load carrying. We took her to Baja Sur Mexico & was a comfortable day long fishing craft during an extended camping trip. Also discovered that she was perfect for birding & approaching wildlife - very quiet - you can't make noise if you bump your paddle into the side. Can be a bear in the Sea of Cortez winds, but all the paddlers I saw were working hard. Now that I have a home, I plan to buy a hard boat that I can throw onto the roof of my truck & go. The ritual of inflating, deflating, & wrestling her into a packable unit grows tiresome for casual paddles around the area. I could leave her ready to go, but fear the elements would get to her. Still, she has been a great boat & I will hang on to her for road trips & other suitable adventures.
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08-19-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought the 380 two years ago as a go anywhere boat. Nope this won't give you a hard shell's performance on flat water but if you are looking for quality, load capacity and at an economical price, this is a great boat. The skeg will really help out in flat water as will not carrying your stroke past 90 degrees otherwise you get that left/right fishtail go nowhere movement. The hull is rugged raft type material. This is a great multi purpose boat which will find itself at home in an apt closet.
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07-22-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought the boat 2 years ago because my wife insisted on a tandem. As it turns out, this boat is a perfect starting out boat for newbys. With the skeg mounted, the tracking is good on flat water, I think this boat may be impossible to capsize, we have paddled the Puget Sound and many lakes between there and Los Angeles. It handles ocean as well as lakes. I haven't tryed witewater yet in it but plan to next month. I strongly recommend this boat if you are thinking about giving Kayaks a try for the first time. I also own hard kayaks but we keep coming back to the Sea Eagle because it is stress free and holds everything you could want.
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07-05-2004
Submitted by: JTRSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     First, this kayak is not comparable to a "hard" kayak, but it will fit in the backseat or trunk of the smallest car when deflated. I purchased the boat to be used as a fishing craft in swift river situations. I have now owned this craft for 2 years. It handles well and performs admirably up to class III (I have not had to brave anything higher so far). The optional stablizer is almost necessary for flat water paddling. It is certainly a tough craft. I have bounced off many rocks and often suspend the craft on rocks to fish. I have even stood up in this kayak but this is definitely not recommended nor safe. The 380 is a good stable IK for fishing or fun in moderate white water. By the way, the fly fisherman's optional seat will raise your seated position about 3 inches--very helpful when fishing.
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06-01-2004
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I puchased the 380x because I have no place to keep a hard boat right now. I have been very pleased with craft, accepting its limitations. It is broad & doesn't have the speed of a sleek hard boat, but you gain a ton of comfort. For camping it's hard to beat its gear carrying capacity (850 lbs) and it's by far the most stable boat I've owned. The removable skeg permits very straight tracking & it can be removed for whitewater. I've paddled the California coast, Lake Mead, Kern River & lower Colorado river & the boats versatility has been exceptional. If you accept the craft for what she is, you have a versatile workhorse that will handle a variety of conditions.
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05-02-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 7 of 10

     Not bad for an inflatable kayak. Though it is a very hard boat to paddle in flat water (maybe due to the large surface area in contact with the water) VERY VERY poor tracking for beginners in flat water. This is contrary to what they state on their web site .I think on their site they stated that there could be "hours and hours of flat water paddling enjoyment". Well, for beginners, it's going to be hours and hours of paddling in circles. That was my only major disappointment. (According to their website though, an optional stablizer is suppose to help improve tracking greatly. Another 40 bucks US) I haven't tried the boat yet in white water but from the looks of it, it's built to last so when I get better I'm definitely going to take her down a class 2 or 3. Prepare to get WET! because of the boats width, the water dripping from the paddles tend to drip on the pontoons and splash back into your lap or your seat. I will be upgrading my paddles as the flat ones that came with the boat weigh a ton. Other than those few things, this boat is good price wise and is pretty portable. I hope that with enough time and experience, maybe the boat will prove itself to me.
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05-14-2002
Submitted by: MSTSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Been paddling the 380x for one full season in whitewater. This boat can handle up to class IV- pretty well. It is made of a hard WW Raft-like material, Denier 1100. The boat is 12' long and about 36" wide. Tracks well in moving water, tracks poor flatwater.

The only drawback is that it floods rather quickly in big water. It drains eventually, but if you get stuck in a big hole, you sure do feel like you are one with the river!

It comes with inflatable seats, but I prefer to paddle it kneeling down. It is still quite comfortable and you can see a whole lot of the river downstream.

If you are looking for an inexpensive white water "Ducky" this boat has what it takes to get you out on the river safely. I have just upgraded to a WW K1 and will not be selling this boat due to the overall amount of fun I had last whitewater season. It will always find its way back to the river.

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05-02-2002
Submitted by: RTSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I know, it's not a hard shell kayak...but it never claimed to be. I just took my Sea Eagle on her maiden voyage and was satisfied with my first trip. It really only took 5-10 minutes to blow up with the foot pump. and after hooking up some seats and attaching the optional 'directional stabilizer', a friend and I paddled across a nearby lake.

Two 6' 180lb guys fit in the kayak/canoe comfortably. If I would have adjusted the straps on my seat more I could have put my legs straight out, so the interior has plenty of room. I haven't tried it without the rudder/stabilizer; with the stabilizer in place it tracked straight. I felt the 380x was a sturdy, reliable craft. Since the bottom has so much surface area you can't get moving that fast, but it turns ok and is comfortable. One negative is that it seems a bit wide for the type of strokes I wanted to do. Since you're not packed in like a sardine you've gotta pay for that comfort somehow!

I'll try to post a follow up when I do some summer paddling, but I predict this will be very enjoyable for some leisurely River Running and Class I/II action, with a little current to keep things interesting.

For someone looking for a recreational paddling solution, the 380x is a nice combination of comfort, stability, and portability.

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