Top positive review
191 people found this helpful
Simple, Tough, Stable, Fun
on 24 April 2013
If you don't intend to go kayaking with "passengers", I recommend one of this kayak's "baby brothers" (basically the single-seat versions) as they are more compact, lighter, and therefore more portable.
If, however, you intend to take friends/family out... this is the best I've come across (and I've tried about 6 others)
Let's start with the packaging and work from there:
The kayak comes in a reasonably-sized box, and is folded inside it along with a multi-lingual "manual" (nothing to it really) and puncture repair kit (more on that later). Since the entire package is wrapped in a transparent plastic bag inside the box, removal from the box is very simple.
Okay, let's get on to the product itself:
Before we get to the boat, it's worth noting (as others have said) that you need to buy a pump for it! The Sevylor 2x2Ltr double-action hand pump is simply brilliant for inflating this product, and total inflation time is under 5 minutes once you've had a practise.
Also, it doesn't come with the paddles, so you'll need to buy those separately (lots of options out there, so take your pick really)
Remove the kayak from the package and release the two straps (not the velcro ones, the ones running through the compression locks) and unroll the boat. You'll note the blue section on the outside of the roll unfolds in the opposite direction to the rest of the boat itself, so consider this when orienting the thing if you're inflating it at the side of a river or lake! You need about 4 meters of jetty or suitable ground (no broken glass or anything that'll cut the material) to set up in.
With the boat unrolled, locate the inflation valve for the bottom section (at the rear of the kayak) and inflate this first.
Now, on the side pontoons there are very cool inflate/deflate valves. Make sure the valves' bottom sections are screwed in nice and tight (mine arrived loose so I had difficulty inflating the pontoons the first time I tried, but quickly found the problem and tightened up the deflate valve caps).
With the deflate valve caps tightened up, open up the inflate valves (which are part of the same valve assemblies ON TOP OF the deflate valves) and use your pump to inflate them. If you're using the Sevylor 2x2Ltr hand pump (recommended) simply inflate the pontoons until there is significant resistence on the pump (you'll know it when you feel it) then close up the valves securely (unlike some of the other valves, the side pontoon valves are pressure-sealed and air won't escape when you disconnect the pump).
Now inflate the splash guard covers on the ends of the kayak. You don't need to use the pump for this, as a single lung full of air will inflate them fully. Now, be careful here because you'll find they want to deflate immediately as soon as you stop blowing into them (slightly annoying). To prevent this, push the valve firmly before you release your lips (or pump if you're using one) and keep it held firmly down while closing the valves (this applies to the seats - discussed further down - too)
Now fold the two inflated end pieces (the blue sections) over the ends of the boat, attach them to the slide locks on each side of the boat and be sure to secure the shotcord (elastic cord) around each of the attachment points (this'll keep the splash guards in place and prevent water getting into the kayak on the ends).
Now comes the seats (which as others have said aren't exactly "brilliant", but not too bad once you've figured out how they work and get used to them.
Inflate the seats (I recommend using a pump for this, and you'll need to press the valves firmly down before you release the pump to prevent sudden deflation) you're going to use, then ensure that the straps attaching them to the kayak aren't twisted. Orient them towards the front of the kayak... you'll know they're facing the right way when the straps go BEHIND the seat backs!
Now here's a tip! The splash cover on the rear of the kayak contains a velcro-locking compartment on its underside. Place the puncture kit inside there and close it up nicely. This way, should you get a puncture while out on the water, you stand at least SOME chance of being able to seal it up (be that on the water or on land at the lake/riverside.
The material is very rugged, and resistant to an impressive amount of abrasion (brushing up against rocks, roots, riverbed and even wooden jettys). I watched a video on YouTube before buying this one of a man in this kayak's baby brother (identical materials and construction, but smaller with only one seat) taking it through some rapids on a very fast-moving river. He brushed past lots of rocks and the thing held perfectly (no leaks).
Properly inflated, this kayak DOES NOT bend badly when you step into it (most inflatable boats do, and that's a bad thing). You can adjust your position confidently... but if the kayak does want to fold or warp where the weight is concentrated, it means you haven't inflated it properly (so pull it out of the water and add some air to the three main sections before taking it out into open waters)
As I mentioned above, assuming you've properly inflated the kayak, it doesn't want to warp or bend when you get into or out of it (or when adjusting your position). It's remarkably stable (even when you're leaning to asist a rapid turn) and even if you did somehow roll it over, because it's inflatable it'll continue to float even if the interior filled with water. That's a good advantage to have if you have a tendency to roll kayaks (though the better solution would be to seek training to help you learn how to be more stable)
It sits higher in the water than wooden and fiberglass kayaks (makes sense... it's inflatable with a flat kiel) but because it has a flat kiel, it isn't as prone to rolling as wooden/fiberglass traditional kayaks.
Well, if you've ever been kayaking or boating before, you already know it's fun. If you haven't and this is your first attempt... you're going to seriously enjoy it!
With it being so fast and simple to get this kayak ready for the water, and with it being so tough and stable... you'll be able to relax and enjoy your time on the water without worrying about sinking or ending up in the drink.
It packs so small that it fits easily into a car boot (I actually strap mine to the pillion seat of my motorbike). Solid kayaks require either a trailer or a roof rack... so this is a huge plus!
It's not particularly heavy (weighs less than 15kg, and feels substancially lighter than that when pulling it out of the water)
It rolls up into a sort-of "backpack" you can carry on your back (though I wouldn't recommend it as it's not terribly comfortable to carry in such a way). Fortunately the backpack straps are adjustable enough that you can carry it like a duffelbag (easier to do, more comfortable).
Get to know the kayak before you take it out to use. I unpacked it on my front lawn and spent about half an hour getting used to it (inflating it and figuring out what's what). That way you won't feel pressured by the desire to get it in the water (which can lead you to miss important things, and compromise your safety)
With two people aboard, there's a lot of extra room for carrying a picnic (or even camping gear). The max rated load is 200kg, but (though obviously you should use your best judgement as your experience may vary) I've had around 250kg in it and it still sat high in the water (without incident).
Remember if you're going out as two adults and one child, place one adult at the front, one at the back, and the child in the middle (optimal boyancy).