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  second the suggestion of a folder
  Posted by: willowleaf on Apr-04-13 11:34 AM (EST)

There's a vast difference between an ultralight inflatable craft that you might want to pack into a small alpine lake or shallow stream and a kayak that is rugged and maneuverable enough for the rough water, winds and strong tides of coastal Alaska.

I agree with the suggestion to look at folders like the Pakboats rather than inflatables. The new Pakboat XT-135 models, properly outfitted (and as Celia points out, this will include a drysuit, and I would add a sea sock) are seaworthy enough for the Pacific coast. Since they are replacing the soon-to-be-discontinued XT-15, you
may be able to find discounted deals on the latter. We've had an XT-15 for nearly 3 years and it's a fully competent touring kayak that is under 40 lbs. It tracks beautifully even in wind and strong current and handles rough water well. With its ladder-like aluminum frame and six inflatable sponsons, it handles pretty much like an equivalent sized hardshell, though I feel it and my other folders take steep waves even better than my hardshells by absorbing some of the force (the sponson buoyancy helps this too).

Feathercraft is coming out with a sturdier skinned version of their 25 lb Kurrent folder that could be ideal for all of your planned usage, but that will run you close to $4,000, properly outfitted.

A skin on frame folder is going to be safer and easier to handle in wind and tidal conditions than any inflatable that I'm familiar with. Also a much dryer ride since you can use a sprayskirt over the models with standar cockpit coamings.

 Great Products from the Buyers' Guide:

4-place Boat Trailer

Dry Tops

Heel and Pegpads™

Women's PFDs

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