Cruising with a kayak

(We were hacked yesterday - apologies about the "swim caps" post.)

About once a month we get an email asking us where we bought our kayak and whether we like it. We have been avoiding reviewing it until we tried it out as a snorkel platform  because that is one of the top reasons we bought the kayak. We’re in warmer waters, snorkeling with the kayak so now we feel we can give it a better review.

We bought ours at West Marine and then later learned that it is actually an Advanced Elements kayak made for WM. You can get them on Amazon and we’ve seen them at water sports stores. Our overall review is: we would buy it again if it were lost or stolen. High praise!


Pros:
  • We love the fact that we can stow the kayak in our lazarette when we want to, not an option with a hard kayak.
  • The inflatable kayak is super stable. We can stand in it which makes getting in and out of the kayak from the boat easy (especially with our fender step).
  • We’ve used it in conditions (wind, waves) where we probably shouldn’t have, especially on Vancouver Island, and it performs surprisingly well for an inflatable. If you buy one, make sure to get the backbone. We found it makes a big difference in tracking.
  • It’s tough. We’ve put several holes in our dinghy and none in our kayak despite the fact that we use our kayak much more often than our dinghy and we drag it up and down rocky beaches.
  • The sides are soft and it is very easy for us to get back into the kayak from the water without scraping our skin. It is also soft on our boat—meaning that it doesn’t bang the gel coat in the water or when bringing it aboard.
  • We like the fact that you can move one seat to the middle position as well so you can paddle it as a single more easily.
  • It can carry a lot of cargo. We can strap stuff on the bow and stern, pack stuff in by our feet or paddle it as a single with jerry cans in it.
Cons:
  • Inflating and deflating is a pain in the arse.
  • The wind catches the puffy tubes and makes paddling in a straight line in windy conditions more difficult.
  • It does not track as well as a hard kayak and it takes more energy to paddle because it is less streamlined.
  • It’s wider (beamier) because of the tubes so we found we needed longer paddles than we expected.
  • I wish the seats were a bit sturdier/more supportive. Maybe newer models are?
  • The zippers get crusted with salt and are difficult to use. I’m not sure how the manufacturer could fix this.

4 comments:

  1. Donna and Marvin26 November, 2011 09:49

    Hey! Would putting some Zip Tech (the waxy stuff you apply to the zippers on a dry suit) work on the kayak? You'll still get salt but the wax works its way into the teeth and should help keep things sliding. Probably board wax would work the same way?

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  2. You need a 12 volt kite pump. 5 minutes to inflate the kayak or the dink. Set the correct pressure, turn it on, drink beer while it pumps. Total deflation as well. A Bravo pump is about 250 US for the best one. Worth every cent. Check
    Waterstrider.com. You can use it to make friends too as everyone will want to use it.

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  3. Will have to try to grab some Ziptech. We will probably want it for our wetsuits anyways. Thanks!

    Do the 12v pumps have very long cords? We usually inflate our stuff on the foredeck.

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  4. You can get the pump as a self contained unit. These are the pumps kite boarders and base jumpers use to inflate. Do a search on Bravo Kite pumps and you will find it. The one we use is a Bravo 12, it might be called something different now. The bag contains the pump and a 5AH 12 volt battery. You charge the battery via 110 or 12 volt and then use it where you need it. No cord required. As I said expensive but worth it. Enjoy your blog very much.

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