The StraitEdge2™ Kayak is a thirteen foot sit-on-top tandem kayak that incorporates an aluminum bow and stern frame to improve tracking in open water conditions. Its self bailing ports can be opened in rough conditions and closed in calm or cold conditions making a kayak that can be paddled in up to class III whitewater with improved trackability on open water. Three seating positions allow for the kayak to be set up in solo or tandem mode.
Read and submit reviews for the StraitEdge2.
Let's start by saying this is not a standard kayak, but of my three kayaks this is the one I use the most. Why? It's just pure fun.
Although designed as a tandem, I almost always use it as a single. Being able to quickly convert between single and tandem is a wonderful feature. At only 13 feet it works as a tandem if you and your partner are well synched. Being an inflatable is rides high in the water. It is exceptionally comfortable. Tie the bow or stern to a tree and it makes an excellent place for a shady nap. Too hot to paddle, jump in the water and cool off. This is the easiest kayak to re-enter. Still too hot (long Texas summers) open the self draining baffles and let in some water to keep you cool. What this kayak is not - a fast touring or expedition kayak. But honestly, my 17 ft CLC kayak stays home most of the time.
Finally not only is it well made, deflated it folds flat enough to fit into the trunk on any car including my Fiat 500. No roof rack needed.
AE makes a great product. This will last me for years and years. We hit some rocks under the water a few times with no scuffing or noticeable wear on the underside of the boat. It is tough!
It takes about ten minutes to blow up properly, and when inflated, it is as stiff and heavy as a normal sit on top kayak.
It all fits in the trunk of my car, and fit well in the back of my friend's Honda Fit.
Tracking- ummm yeah.
It was a little sluggish to paddle and had a tendency to spin around, similar to a big whitewater raft that you'd rent for a day. It took some real thought and finesse from the rear paddler, with steering technique like occasional back paddling and braking to keep a true line. This made for some excitement since we were novices to the river and ended up going backwards through some class II rapids right off the bat. We were laughing at our inability to keep it straight, but after a while, we worked up a rhythm and kept it on track.
The boat is not bad, just different than your typical sit on top. For all the incredible portability, the paddler gives up a slight bit of mobility and control on the water. Since ours was a downstream trip, we still made great time. We just needed to learn how to control the tendency for the boat to spin.
I think that the Advanced Elements thigh straps will help me in keeping the boat on the straightest course, and I'm picking up as set before getting on the water again. Since you steer this boat with your hips, when paddling, it's easy to feel the boat want to oversteer in the opposite direction of the paddle stroke.
I highly recommend this boat, but admit that it is not as mobile as its less portable cousins.
Stability is excellent. I have never felt like it is tippy and it is relaxing to be out on the water.
Durability. No problems so far. We are careful not to drag it and avoid branches and rocks. What I do like is that you can remove the tubes and repair them much in the same ways as a bike inner tube.
Performance wise we are happy. Since it is an inflatable it will not be as fast or track as straight as a hard shell but we have been on rivers and lakes all this summer and had great fun.
The kayak lives up to it's purpose. 230cm paddles seem to be the minimum length needed because of the wide main air chambers. Everyone who has used this has commented on it's amazing level of stability. And everyone who has used it has ended up taking a nap somewhere during their StraitEdge 2 adventure- I keep going back to the stability and comfort of this kayak- even newbies feel safe enough to lay back and close their eyes for a nap, trusting it will not tip in the ocean swells.....
I still give it an 8/10 due to the bulkiness when folded and the speed compared to hard shells, otherwise an excellent product with a very high standard of customer service.
Having the Kayak On the Sailboat (29ft)’ Update:
Having finally taped over all the sharp spots on the topsides rigging, I am now able to inflate/deflate the straitedge 2 safely on the foredeck- this is much easier and faster than being limited to the cockpit for inflation (see previous posts). I now deflate and drop the kayak straight down the forward hatch; first thing I do when going on board is to pull kayak out of hatch, pump it up on the foredeck, toss over side- takes around fifteen minutes. Very convenient and easy.
Have now towed this thing behind the sailboat for over 120 miles with absolutely no problems. It cuts through/over the water so easily I seriously doubt it has any real effect on sailing performance. When sailing singlehanded out of sight of land and other boats I drop in a gallon bottle of water, the paddle and an abandonship bag; the extras are still light enough not to put any strain when towed; the Velcro attaching the carry handles is surprisingly strong.
Other Uses for the StraitEdge 2 that are Not in the owners manual….
The number one impression remains the stability of this thing. Have never felt at risk of tipping this over, no matter how stupid I’ve been. Have not tried it in surf yet.
I emailed Advanced Elements (always fast response, and informative) about the possibility of towing this thing behind my sailboat using the carry handles as the hitch point; they replied that so long as the kayak was not taking on water, and the inside remained dry, it should be OK. I looked again, somewhat dubiously at the Velcro holding the carrying handles on, but finally got up the courage to try it; they were right, it tows fine, appears very secure and has no problems tracking behind the sailboat. I have now towed it for a total of about forty miles at speeds of up to 7 knots without any problems. I managed to even wrap the kayak around the mooring line of another boat as I was towing it (Genius that I am, I forgot for a moment I was towing something and made a 90 degree turn a little to soon). After a very sweaty few seconds watching the tow-line stretch, the weight/ momentum of the sailboat literally dragged the kayak up and over the mooring line (about 2ft above sea level at that point) with no damage to the kayak or the mooring (only my ego; my buddy had the audacity to video the whole thing…).
Comfort-wise this kayak is hard to beat; the longest distance I have done was about a seven mile round trip, and it was comfortable all the way. It is not a hard kayak to paddle solo, I have not tried it with two paddlers yet. The hard shell sea-kayakers I came across who were stopping for a break partway across the harbor (yes, they got there faster than I did…) had rafted up and sat upright in their seats and ‘rested’ holding on to their neighbor’s kayak; in the StraitEdge to take a break you dangle a leg over each side, drop the seat back, lie back, rest your head on the stern inflation bag, cover your face with your cap and take a real nap; now that is what I call ‘resting’…. Every single time I have been out on this thing, I have ended up stretching out and taking a nap at some point….an ‘airbed’-on-a-‘waterbed’ is hard to beat... And not to forget ‘StraitEdge Lazy Snorkeling’; lie straight ACROSS the kayak, legs straight out one side, head and shoulders hanging face down over the other side in the water, snorkel and mask in place and drift – I suppose you could kick with fins on if you wanted to, but then it wouldn’t really qualify as a true ‘Lazy’ technique…..
I am very pleasantly surprised with the quality of this kayak. The responsiveness of customer service has been excellent; they certainly pay attention and have been very helpful. A very good product.
Have taken the Straitedge II out x3 now. Continue to be impressed by the basic stability. Have been out in significant ocean swells with winds up to 15 knots with no problem. I have to reiterate that if you are intending doing distance paddling as a solo paddler, you will get there in the end, but it is not a fast craft and you need to plan accordingly. I have paddled this with a passenger, but only with one person paddling; Progress will increase significantly with two paddlers- it would be a light kayak with two person power. Paddling into the wind was not to bad at all- a pleasant surprise.
This kayak had no problems holding two passengers, combined weight of 390 lbs; we could have loaded her up with plenty of extra gear with no problem. If you want a very stable, load bearing sit-on kayak this is a good choice.
On the sailboat (29 ft): Easy to toss over the side, easy to retrieve back on board. This is an easy & quick kayak to inflate/ deflate on land with a flat surface, however you need to be a little creative on a smallish sailboat such as mine. Moving it around on the sailboat is a lot easier with two people. It is much easier to move it around on the boat solo if it is inflated. However this takes up valuable space, and you have to be very careful where you lay it topsides because of the proliferation of sharp ended cotter pins in the standing rigging and blocks (I keep forgetting to bring tape out to cover the sharp areas…). Consequently I usually unroll it in the cockpit and let the last third drop into the cabin; I inflate the outer shell, which makes it easier to handle, then pull the whole kayak out into the cockpit and turn it sideways so the ends are hanging over the sides (inflating the outer shell first means it keeps its shape, doesn’t fold over the side: this means the floor can be inflated without worrying about kinks). Then I inflate the floor and end pieces; the order of inflation remains the same as how their Directions suggest. Drop it in the water and off you go….When sailing I often store it inflated inside the cabin; easy to just pull it out and drop it over the side at the destination. Getting in and out of the kayak at the swim ladder is ridiculously easy; stand on last step facing the sailboat, drop butt in kayak- the thing is so stable I have had no problems getting into and out of the kayak.
This is not a fast kayak. It will get you there in the end, but it does not glide as smoothly as the Nantucket kayak. This is also not a light kayak to haul around: OK if moving it short distances when folded, but still a significant weight to carry any distance.
Benefits are the fact that it can be easily deflated and stored. Drying out is definitely easier than the Advanced Frame kayak (one less layer of material to dry). It tracks reasonably well, not as good as the Malibu II, not as good as the Advanced Frame, certainly not as good as the Nantucket.
Will pull to one side, then the other in a glide.
Very comfortable to paddle but need paddles longer than the 87" paddle I used, due to the size of the outer air chambers. Turns very easily.
Easy to get kayak on board sailboat with 2' freeboard; just pull up one end up first, the rest will follow with reasonable exertion. Tracking is not up to Advanced Frame level, but still relatively easy to paddle in a straight line.
I tied this up to my swim ladder, lay back for a moment and discovered a secret with an inflatable: I woke up an hour and a half later, feeling very relaxed... very, very comfortable.
Being a sit-on-top the ride is definitely wet. The stability is very good: I chased down all and every good sized wake coming my way: very stable, even side ways. Able to drape both legs over same side without a problem. Even stood up to see if I could....
Will continue review after next 'sea trial'...