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Reviews for River X Single Kayak by Sevylor

Rated: 8.3/10 Based On: 10 Reviews

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Submitted by: Bill RSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is a great boat, I use it mostly at Wilson Creek which is about 100fpm gradient. Going over boat busters at Wilson Creek, if you take the boof to the right, it feels a little uneasy free falling without being "locked in" it also drifts a little due to wind which can make your lines a little trying but in general it's an awesome white water inflatable at a fraction of the cost of an Aire...
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is my first boat. I recently got into kayaking after a great white water experience on the Yak in Pennsylvania a few months ago. My brother owns an outdoor store so I got a decent deal.
Important things to know:
  1. Don't leave home without your pressure gauge, you can easily ruin your boat forever by over inflating and you'll track horribly by under inflating!
  2. Keep the bailing holes closed if you don't want to be wet and you aren't out on really rough water. I learned this the hard way by struggling in open slow water.
  3. Take your bag and pump with you, I attach it to the clip on the back of the chair so that it will stay attached if I were to roll. This is not a rolling boat.
  4. If you are going to use this at all on open water get the rudder, I use it all the time on the Potomac and it is a much more enjoyable experience. Mine fell apart after about 20 uses but Stearns replaced it for free which was great, I would give them an A+ for customer service!
Ok, so about the boat. I'm the most popular boat in the water when I'm out, everyone from the docks and other boats including the taxes and million dollar skips check me out so if you want attention you will get it.

This boat handles fantastically in the ocean and rough rivers going against the current, straight as a dart and a lot of fun paddling! nfortunately it rides the waves going with the current and I'm never sure if I'm going as fast as I think I am because of this so be prepared for that.

I bought thigh braces and use them when I don't use my rudder and it helps make me feel more secure. I am jumping the wakes of speed boats in the Potomac as much as I can which is a ton of fun! You will get wet paddling in this boat though even with a good technique because you sit so low. I'd recommend a pump but I haven't bought one yet!

Setup and tear down are fairly easy once you've done it a few times. There is a trick with the rudder rope though, you don't put it through any of the holes from the back of the rudder on the boat like you'd think because it doesn't really work at all then so the side ropes that connect to the foot pedals should go right from the rudder assembly to the pedals around you, there is no other way to do this and get a good use out of the turning with the footpetals. You'll need to readjust on the water.

This is a good exercise boat for open water and you'll enjoy paddling BUT you won't want to do more than a few miles. I just bought an Advanced Elements Expedition to get a touring boat to have something more fun for open water. It is nice to have a second boat so friends can come now too!

The skin is tough as nails. I took my baby to Harpers Ferry and the Shenandoah Rivers and got caught up on lots of rocks because of the low water level and had to really punish my bottom of my boat to get off by shifting my weight. She held up nicely and I have no holes. Make sure the bailing holes are closed securely though as they'll leak if they aren't completely closed! I take my boat out and dry her each night after I've used it to avoid mildew.

She'll spin on a dime which is nice but it is tough to keep up with hard shelled! My longest trip was a 10 mile excursion on the Shenandoah River with friends who all rented and they did better because I sat on rocks a lot because of the really low water level. I wouldn't take her back to that river at this water level, maybe the spring!

I'm 6 foot and 225 and I don't feel cramped in my boat.

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This is a follow-up to the review I gave a year ago. I've had ample time to experience the River XK-1 and I have some more understanding of its value or lack of it. I have a good 20 rides in mine now.
It is not a calm water kayak albeit has no problem floating in calm water. It tracks terrible if you are fighting a current and trying to paddle against it. It can be turned on a dime and can spin like one. The self bailing holes must be plugged to experience any real speed in calm water. They of course will probably leak as mine do. If you are rafting conflicting water (rapids and calm), you'll have to make your bailing decision before you inflate because you can not access the plugs after inflating.

It gets great marks for ample supply of D-rings and the thigh straps. It hauls 400 lbs. and inflates to a rigid form. I find my biggest problem is when maneuvering a rock garden in a fast current, getting broadsided by large submerged rocks cause the boat to stop and the rider to want to keep going. A top heavy rider may find it too unstable. I have scarred mine and have had to do some minor repairs where some glued edges have given up. I probably overinflated on too hot of a day and caused that problem myself. The repair kit seems to have enabled my fixing the issue.
From what I hear about the newer versions of this kayak, if you could take the best features of both, you'd have a great kayak. It is a boat for a big paddler as a fully inflated floor will help keep your butt off of the rocks. Of the 4 or 5 inflatable and hardshell kayaks I've owned, this is the only one I've gotten tossed from (see early broadsided comment). The tubes are slippery when wet and slightly impede deep water reentry. If you inflate the floor before the side tubes, your base will be wider and you'll gain some stability. It is rated for class IV white water or whatever you dare attempt. I doubt I'd take it past class III due to stability issues.

I have to give this kayak a 10 on cost, a 9 on features, a 9 on durability, a 5 on tracking, a 6 on stability, and a 6 on speed/drag for an overall rating of 7.

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Submitted by: KELLYSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I just bought the XK-1 (2003/red)and it presents a slight learning curve. This is a first impression after only 4 hours in it. I'm 250lbs and carry my weight high so the XK-1 can be a little tippy with me. I took a spill the first big water I tried a crossing maneuver on. The open water handling is bit of a chore as it lacks a skeg or rudder. If you are doing some paddling between the whitewater expect some poor tracking, especially into the wind or current. The advanced rocker takes the big swells with ease and it zooms in the white water. It bailed fine and deck firmness was excellent. It is a bit heavy for treking it any great distances (portages) but rides fairly shallow on the water. The thigh straps make great shoulder harnesses for carrying it. Lots of room for me (big guy) and my gear and cooler. The seat doesn't offer great support but it offers some. It is not a touring kayak.
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Submitted by: KevinSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just purchased my River X online from for $339 which looked to be the best price around. I was a little bit apprehensive about buying a whitewater kayak from Sevylor with images of pool toys staying in my head.

My kayak arrived at my home and I promptly set about putting the kayak together, test inflating it and seeing how it performed in my swimming pool.

Yesterday I took the kayak to the Esophus Creek in the Catskill Mountains of New York. This is a somewhat steep rock strewn creek with class II-III whitewater. The kayak performed very well and it was easy to maneuver around rocks and caught eddies very easily.

There were a couple of large standing waves where I was able to test out the self bailing floor. The River X does bail very slowly with larger whitewater and becomes a bit heavy until the water drained out in about 15-20 seconds.

The outer hull seems very strong and I was able to inflate the floor to a high degree of firmness. The only downside to the kayak that I can see so far is the use of cheap pool toy boston valves. These valves make inflating and deflating the kayak a lot more of a chore than with the Aire and Vista kayaks that I own.

Overall this is an excellent inflatable kayak for the money, and I hope to use it for many years to come.

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Submitted by: BgBtSend Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     Looked like just the ticket so I bought it. Nice features, but I', 5'10 200lb. Not the boat for me. You have to be a fairly small size to be comfortable in this. Getting in is a PAIN! Seat collapses under your butt and difficult to get positioned once you are in it. Trying to pull the seat side/back up will dump you faster than you can say "Oh $hit!" I know you smaller frame folks that like this boat will get a laugh from this, but I sincerely warn large folks to steer clear of it!!
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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is an early review on my impression of the Sevylor River X K1 for those considering one. I havenít had it on whitewater yet, but it spins great on flat water just like a whitewater boat. Carves well for a ducky also. I entered the water seal-diving from a bank about three feet to simulate a ww feel. While a raft wonít slide off the bank as easily as a hard shell ww boat, it is MUCH more stable hitting the water! Iíve tried a ducky on ww before, and I can tell already that I will like this one better.

If you are looking, consider paying for a 2003 model because there have been some changes. Thigh straps and a foot brace now come standard (thigh strap easily added/removed). I assume that six d-rings have been added also, because they are not present in the photo ads, but they are on mine. They are nice for securing coolers, gear, etc. I am quite pleased with the quality of the outfitting, sturdiness, and the feel of the boat in general. I am 5:11, 160 pounds, 33 waist. My hips are nice and comfortably snug in this boat, but those with MUCH larger torsos might need to think twice before buying.

I donít have many negatives to offer. If you like to buy American, forget this boat. Itís made in China and the company is French. I suspect Chinese labor costs are largely responsible for the low cost and high value, however.

Documentation is virtually non-existent. If you are new to rafting, you will have to figure it all out yourself. Fortunately, it isnít rocket science. I would not expect the greatest customer support at this price, but I did have a question and I received a prompt response via e-mail.

When I first tried to inflate the boat (there are 4 air chambers), two of the rings that attach the cap to the inflation port popped off way too easily (much like the way some gas caps are attached to the car so you donít lose them). I donít really consider this to be a quality problem, but it is a concern. I reattached them, but until I had time to work on it, I kept the loose caps in one of the drawstring mesh bags on the back of the seat.

This boat comes with a mesh carry bag, but there is no way I could get the boat folded to fit well inside it. Instead, I use it just for the seat, straps, foot peg and other gear. The boat folds easily into a space of about Ď2 x Ď2, 8Ē x 7Ē with only four folds. Good enoughÖ It is no longer worth the stress on me (or the boat) to try to compress it to a smaller size. Material is very stiff and hard when cold, so it would probably be worthwhile to bring it inside to warm up some before inflating/deflating or folding.

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I recently had the opportunity to rent this boat for a trip down the Rio Grande north of Santa Fe, N.M. Talking with the outfitter, he indicated that the boats had turned out to be a good investment and after the better part of a season, they were holding up quite well. At 5'10" and 185 lb, I had a tough time squeezing into the seat. Once in, the seat offered no back support. Imagine sitting on the floor, your legs straight in front of you, and the only support comes up to your belt. That said, some adjustments helped and a little jury-rigging, or a new seat, would probably take care of the problem. The boat is designed for white water and handled appropriately in Class I through Class III. The self-bailing was nice. I am used to the Stearns and had to adjust my paddling stroke in order go straight on flat water. I would not recommend this as a touring boat, but down river it was great and I bet it would be fun in the surf.
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Submitted by: MBSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Dollar for dollar I believe this is an awesome inflatable boat. The boat was purchased for my wife, and she has been enjoying the boat on class 3 water in maine. I tried the boat on a local wave, the boat would carve and I was able to pull off enders. Also, the boat can be rolled. Our only complaint is the lack of foot pegs. All around superstable, highly manueverable boat.
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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Strickly a whitewater boat. I tried it on flatwater and it is painfully slow and does not track well at all.

My Stearns Mad Dog tracks much better and is faster. Probably because It has a fin. More comfortable, too. But my Stearns is not self bailing and conversly doesn't do white water well. I got the River X just for whitewater.

I took my new River X down the upper American River last weekend. I was with a guy who had an Aire Force so it was a one one one comparision.

The River X is shorter and narrower than the Force and not as stable. I did get dumped but I think I had more fun than the other guy. It is very maurverable. It is rated for class IV, but you better be a real good ww paddler, or a real good swimmer.

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