Kayak choice and packing up

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Kayak choice and packing up

Post by Suza » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:45 am

I have been researching the purchase of inflatables to replace our rigid kayaks. We have recently purchased a small 25' B+ motorhome and do not want to trailer our hard shells. Choices have been narrowed considerably by my interest in the drop stitch floor and higher inflation of DS kayaks.

Excuse me while I regress a bit, but I feel it is necessary to explain our needs. We are experienced, but by no means expert, flat-water paddlers (small lakes, rivers and streams). Open water paddling is limited to smaller lakes with some wind chop, but nothing extreme. We enjoy exploring the shorelines, bird watching, photographing nature; husband does some occasional fishing.

My current boat is a Perception Tribe 9.5 SOT which has been great for me: easy entry/exit (from shore/dock/or on the water), very stable, and self-bailing. I especially like that I can move around, reposition my legs, and even dangle them over the side. This freedom is important as I do a lot of photography while paddling plus it affords me longer paddling times. Downsides are less than perfect tracking, reduced maneuverability, wind affect, and water in the boat; I paddle mostly with scupper plugs in place to reduce the amount of water in the boat, but the wide with of the deck results in a lot of paddle drip accumulation.

My husband has a 12' recreational/touring AquaFusion Breeze, equipped with an adjustable skeg. It has an enclosed cockpit, but with a larger opening than some sit-ins. Still, it's too confining for me and a bit tippy for photography.

We are considering the AdvancedFrame Convertible 10'10". My husband could use the cover, or not. Or possibly the AF sport or AF Expedition for him. I like the Convertible 15' as it gives the option of tandem paddling (if we didn't want to bother setting up two boats) or taking one of the grandkids out on the water. However, we have never paddled tandem (might not be ideal for us) and the larger model is just too big for me to handle alone, on land. Wish it came in a 12' length.

Features I like about AF convertible:

Hybrid design most emulates the rigid kayaks we are accustomed to
Doesn't look like an inflatable raft with "pointy ends"
Construction and engineering seem top notch
Deck most like the SOT
Versatility with added options (foot pegs, rudder, spray skirt, closed deck)
Availability of replacement parts

This will be our first inflatable so I have tons of questions. The boat assembly seems fairly simple, but it is a bit more complicated than just throw it out on the ground, pump up three chambers and launch. I know this is the trade off to get a boat more like a rigid kayak but with the portability of an inflatable.

Please let me know if I am way off base, here; my immediate concern is packing the kayak up to get it back into the RV (assuming we drove to the launch site). How much is involved in drying it enough to get it folded up and back to our camp where it can be dried more thoroughly? It seems the fabric "skin" that covers the boat would take more drying than the usual PVC construction, with exposed side chambers. Do you have to remove this cover to dry out the air chambers or can this be accomplished with it left in place?

I have a lot of questions, but will ask them in dedicated threads, if I can't find answers in other posts.

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Post by PJohanson » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:36 pm

Hi Suza
I think you will like using these inflatable kayaks, based on your experience with other kayaks!
If you're used to paddling a 9.5 foot sit-on-top, you will probably feel very comfortable in either the AdvancedFrame, or Sport which are easy-entry kayaks with a fairly wide open cockpit. The StraitEdge is a sit-on-top which you'd probably find works much like rigid SOTs, and it has scupper plugs!
I encourage you to consider having TWO kayaks rather than the big Convertible, if you are a small person like me. I find the big Convertible is almost too heavy for me to lift by myself into the trunk of a car, but I can carry one end of it when it is inflated and someone else carries the other end. (Don't drag these kayaks! :)
The "extra work" of inflating two kayaks is only about six minutes. It's worth it.
For your husband, based on his 12 foot rigid kayak I'd recommend the Expedition. It's excellent for the activities you describe, and more. My own Expedition has been paddled by several men of various heights (5'8 to 6'4), so he should be able to fit.

These kayaks can be folded up soaking wet and stuffed in their carry bags, no problem. At home I puff them half-full of air and they dry just fine.
Most times I use mine, the top and inside are almost dry. I sprayed the deck and the insides with a water-repellent spray as recommended here on the forum.
After I get out on shore, I tip the kayak on its side and let the bottom face the sun. The hull dries in a minute or two, especially if I wipe it with a rag or bandana. The deck takes longer, so I don't always dry the boat completely before taking it home. Don't leave it fully inflated in the sunshine for long, as noted on the forum!
If the shore is muddy, I wipe off the hull with a rag or bandana as I am folding up the boat.
These kayaks are very well made. My own Expedition is five years old and going strong. I have an older version of the Lagoon which is over seven years old and has been inflated/deflated over a thousand times.
There are lots of comments to read about different models of kayaks here in the forum. Do some reading and ask more questions! Cheers.

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