The design brief was simple: create an easy-to-use, performance-minded, rotomolded polyethylene kayak that provides years of reliable service. Built-in drink holders and utility trays, dual helms and MirageDrives — plus a mast step for the optional Sail kit — give the Outfitter serious legs, and the boat's wide beam, relative to its tidy length, delivers a stable, stowable and comfortable platform.
Read and submit reviews for the Mirage® Outfitter.
This is my second Hobie tandem mirage kayak. I used my previous boat since 2009. The new seats are terrific, keeps you dry unless big wave comes over the side. There is a drain you can easily open to let wave water flow out. I've added the larger rudder so I can also sail.
As a photographer, I do love having my hands free when on the water. Pedaling is easy on my knees, and I frequently tow kids on a tube or smaller kayak behind the boats with no issues. Biggest challenge for me is the out-of-water weight. I'm using the boat a lot on a lake with a rocky shore where I can not store the boat on the beach because it will get bashed by waves. Thus the kayak has to be lifted up onto a dock and carried to the shore-- very heavy for two people. Loading on to top of my van is cumbersome as well. But the boat is so fun much I overlook this once on the water.
Why did I upgrade? The earlier model had stress problems in the front well where the mirage drive is installed. Also, thedry well was never dry. I'm VERY hopeful these issues will not happen with 2016 model. The new model feels slower, (which I know is subjective) it just seems to sit heavier in the water. I'm not sure if it is wider. The new seats have elastic straps on the side for adjusting seat angle. If any of your users have even slightly wide thighs, you may want to test the seat first to see if the straps annoyingly rub your thighs. I know Hobie has upgraded the scupper wells to add the scupper cart as those were also stress points. I find that cart difficult to use on land because I have to tip the heavy kayak over to install them. In water the carts is great.
It is well built, very stable, easy to pedal, easy to maneuver in the water. The rudder control is within a fingers reach. It has beverage holders, and storage compartments. Very flexible. Want to give you feet a rest from pedaling, then paddle. Tired of paddling, the pedal. Much better then a basic kayak. As far disadvantages, it is not designed for white water rafting.
In summation - the perfect kayak for couples on a day outing!
Now to the Cons:
The Kayak does have hull slap. The hull slap and the extra width that makes it so stable also makes it move slow especially in choppy conditions. My average speed over the two hours I paddled was 3.1 mph with standard paddles. The notion that the Pedal mechanism is easier to paddle is very subjective. So rent one and try before you buy.
My advice is to not plunk $3K into this machine and find it does not work. The issue with the pedal system is there is too much of stress on the Knees when compared to Bike pedaling. So Prolonged use of the Pedal system could cause problems with the Knee (again personal opinion). From that point of view, it is a no-go for me. I liked all the features of the Kayak, but the kind of stress on the Knee makes me shy away from this Kayak. I would rather have my knees and use them for another occasion like walking and running and biking than spend it all on pedaling the Mirage Drive.
This Kayak is awesome! I pedaled fast, maneuvered beautifully! I plan to buy another single seat Sport for every day. I had such fun! next time I'll bring along the sail & try it out :)