Saturday, August 3, 2013
This is the start of my inflatable kayak tests. It's a Sea Eagle 420. The toughness, payload and stability are the factors that swayed me to this particular boat.
I carried the folded boat, seats, paddles and foot pump in one trip about 350 feet to the lake in one trip. Of course, I'm a big guy who used to do a lot of backpacking.
This is it before inflation.
This is about 10 minutes after, fully inflated with the seats installed.
The seats, at least for me, took a bit of fiddling around. Only by the third attempt was I reasonably comfortable. When I deflate it, the seats are going to be left in when rolled up. That will be one less thing to mess with.
Unfortunately, I was alone with no one to take pictures of the water test. Sitting alone in the front seat, it paddled well. It's not going to set any speed records, but with the skeg installed, it tracked fairly straight.
Delivery was 5 days ahead of the estimate. Even with the free shipping offer, it came overnight. Maybe I was lucky, but that was impressive. The only thing missing from the order were two small cargo bags. Sea Eagle said they were back ordered.
One thing I think should be included is a pressure gauge. They are only $12, and it seems to me that it's a critical item. Proper inflation pressure has a direct effect on durability and performance. I've one on order, as I didn't realize they were not part of the package.
This is a bit more boat than I was originally looking for. After some thought and research, I decided to upgrade to a tougher inflatable. A cheap boat that can't do the job is no bargain. In the next couple months the boat is going to get a real workout. Sea Eagle has a generous 180 day return policy. I'll know before then if it's going to do the job.