Read and submit reviews for the Kestrel 170T.
My only minor complaints are that the deck bungees used are 1/8" and have limited holding strength, and the paddle-holder bungees are glassed in through the kayak shell which would make it very difficult to replace.
Kayak seating is exceptional. Very comfortable/adjustable seats, and the spacing of the seats allows non-synchronized paddling. This helps for taking out the kids and letting them practice. The center hatch is large enough for a small child to sit in, but not comfortably or for very long periods of time given the limited leg room. Would be great to hold tons of gear.
This kayak paddles very well. Obviously not as fast as longer sleeker tandems, but can easily maintain 3.5 mph cruising and can hold 5 mph with effort. Two adult paddlers would be a bit more efficient! Stability is excellent. Can easily get in/out of the seats on the water.
Kayak turns very well with the large rudder and is lots of fun around motor boat wakes. Dry ride in the two-foot swells we've experienced and absolutely no rolling concerns with young kids.
Wide cockpits and light weight make this kayak enjoyable to get into the water. Much easier to cartop and portage than most. Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a quality kayak at the beginning to intermediate recreational/light touring level.
I also discovered that the rudder cables were not stainless steel so they rusted and froze up. They are easy to replace but that's what I get for buying a Chinese made boat. Hopefully they have discovered this problem and fixed it.
Bottom line: we still like the Kestrel but can also see where the Gemini could be a good choice. Take your pick.
Next, the final stability is excellent but the bottom is not flat. It's a definite V-bottom which means you can lean it into a wave. It also has almost a bit of a keel which helps the rudder work. Of all the boats we tried this rudder worked the best in every way.
The cockpits are large and easy to get in and out of. You don't feel cramped sitting in it. The seats are among the best with high backs. With over 400# in the boat it still has plenty of freeboard.
The construction and hardware are good quality. Advertised weight is 65# but I have not checked it. Testing with GPS, I think we are cruising at close to 4mph but I need more testing to average this out better.
There are very few things I would change about this boat.