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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sea Eagle Kayak Update



You may live in an area where bugging out by water may make a lot of sense. When the bridges were closed after the 911 attacks, some people left Manhattan by kayak. You may not live on an island, but bugging out by water may be easier than by land. Many people live in apartments and don't have storage room for a full sized kayak or canoe. However, a good inflatable kayak can be stored in a closet or even the trunk of your car. Even if you never bug out in one, they can provide loads of fun right now.

I've owned my Seal Eagle 420 inflatable kayak for about eight years now. My lovely wife wasn't too keen when I bought it. For one thing it cost about $1,100 dollars. They made similar kayaks out of a cheaper material for a whole lot less. It didn't help that there were similar sized cheapo inflatables at a local store for under $100.

All was forgiven years later when we used the kayak to abandon ship in the dark. After navigating shark infest shoals we made a successful landing through the surf onto a beach. To be fair, she'd already warmed up to the boat well before then. It's large, stable, and durable. It survived landing on oyster beds and being ground against barnacles. The boat still does not leak.

In general, we are very happy with it. There are a few things that gave me problems. The first is that it didn't come with a pressure gauge. The standard kit did not include one. That had to be ordered separately. Another issue was with the foot pump used to inflate it. By the second year it had broken in half under normal use. We also found the “deluxe” seats were too low. The tiniest bit of water in the boat would get your butt wet. Cheap marine seat cushions give enough lift to solve the problem.

Later I bought a nice 12volt air pump. That was great but did not survive getting submerged in the shipwreck. Fortunately, the manual foot pump had been replaced with an inflatable hand pump with built in pressure gauge. It cost about $40. The gauge was full of salt and sand after the shipwreck, but I was able to take it apart and clean it. Works fine now. It only takes 5 or 10 minutes to pump up the boat by hand, and that's for an old fat guy like myself.

The last annoying thing is that the swivel clips that hold the seats are prone to corrosion. They might have survived in a fresh water environment, but salt water ate them up. Just replaced all eight of them for about $23.

All in all I've been very happy with the boat and the company. I'm not being paid by Sea Eagle, I'm just a satisfied customer. The boat has stood up to years of use and abuse. If your life ever depends on an inflatable boat, best to get a decent one.

-Sixbears

2 comments:

  1. About twenty five years ago when I first was interested in kayaks I could not justify the price of a rotomolded Rubbermaid special so I opted to build my own stitch-and-glue... soon a half dozen skin-on-frame kayaks followed. Those can be built for about a couple hundred dollars or less if you are a good scrounger. Tom Yost out of Colorado has created a pile of foldable type home-builds and provides the designs and instructions for free on his page at.
    http://www.yostwerks.org/
    He also has the more traditional skin-on frame versions
    http://www.yostwerks.org/WoodSOFMain.html

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    1. They are great boats. Buddy of mine did a stitch and glue two person kayak. I've made a couple strip canoes, also rebuilt a skin on frame.

      I went with the inflatable because I could always stuff it in a compartment when I didn't need it. No room to secure it on the boat. It also tows well and just bounces off of stuff without damage.

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