Great little kayak, have owned it for a few years now and have put it through its paces. The pros: very stable while sitting even though I am a bigger guy at 6' 122kg or 268pounds. I am able to stand up but not very confidently, the foot placements are a little to narrow when standing for me. very lightweight, I used to walk mine about 4km to a spot with not many problems, easy to lift and put on a car top. good size center storage hatch, a lot bigger than most recreational kayaks we get here in Australia. Good quality components used such as the handles etc.
The cons: -tracking is pretty bad, even in little to no wind conditions it always wants to turn either side. -obviously, due to the width of the yak being 85cm, you won't be winning any drag races in it. Most of the clip in seats are terrible for someone my size, I dealt with it for a long time and only just recently upgraded to a universal raised kayak seat. Being higher up now, the stability has gone down a bit and feels more tippy, Although, it does beat having a wet and sore back after each session!
The Malibu Mini-X is light, compact, has a really nice deck with great fittings. High quality hardware, handles, rod holders, hatches are all of high quality and well placed. The rough textured finish in mango color with black hardware really attracted me in the showroom. On water the boat is very stable, easy to maneuver, I can move around on board, sit wherever in any position, exit and reenter any time. Easy to reach anything and probably even stand up is possible. I feel lots of freedom after the sit-in, lots of great features here in small package.
But now the cons:
I checked the bottom only after taking it home and it was my greatest surprise and disappointment. The rough textured finish is great on the deck but on the HULL? Come on! A three year old knows smooth bottom is crucial for boat speed. Texture on the boat's bottom is like a permanent hand brake on the car! It was accomplished probably to hide the serious imperfections on the bottom; the centerline is not straight at all, obvious curves and twists, along with humps and dimps around it recalling the beach dunes. Mine is a blem or all Malibus like that? In my anger I partially sanded the bottom right away to make it more movable on water so I can't even return it, and now planning to build up with epoxy and straight out a center line then paint and sand the whole hull. Yes, that's I have to do with a brand new boat to make it work properly!!!
On water its horribly noisy, impossible sneaking up on fish. Chug-chug-chug when you paddle and when you are not. Fish will be spooked away. Yes, and this is an angler boat. The noise probably comes from the scupper holes, they are on the wrong spots, not on the lowest points, so water onboard all the time including under the seat. Yes, I'm sitting in water all the time as well as my gear. But hell, it's a watersport!
After all if you learn to look over the really badly molded sluggish hull with rough texture, wrongly spaced scupper holes, chugging annoying noise, and getting adapted to your daily Navy Seal training by sitting in water for several hours, and enjoy observing premature evacuation of fish, you'll be a happiest fisherman and happiest owner of the Malibu Mini-X.
They are very stable, I am 6' and approx. 215 lb. and I feel confident stand-up paddling in calm water. They track well for their size but I have to paddle harder to keep up with larger kayaks, which I anticipated from the get go.
My major beefs are that the front rod holders cause reels to drag in the water and the molded in foot rest. Adjustable footrest models are now offered by Malibu now, though. The Mini-X is well suited to throwing in a truck, van or larger SUV and getting on the water on the spur of the moment.
I had it for 2 years now keep it loaded with my fishing tackle. Now I'm 64 and have learned to appreciate my comfort so I added a Crack of Dawn Apex 1 Deluxe Kayak Seat and it made the hatch completely unusable with the seat (and me in it). So I tool the hatch out and reversed it so it opens from the front and it works pretty good that way.
The rod holders are nice when paddling but a rod left in them when fishing gets in the way (they stick up to much) so I mounted Scotty rod holder on the center counsel, angled low and it holds my spare rod completely out of the way while fishing and two more right in front of the original rod holders behind the seat. They can be angled low and keep rods out of the way of casting.
This year, I mounted a trolling motor on the stern like the Bassyaks do. Stuck a battery under the seat and bought a Harbor Freight trailer (small one with 12" wheels) That I caught on sale for $224.00 and found a coupon online for 25% off any one item. I lengthened the tongue and welded it all together.
It's amazing how stable it feels and I've never felt I have ever come close to tipping it over. When the weather is warm, and I'm in a spot I want to stay awhile, I'll set sideways on the hatch with my legs in the water. I've stood up on it and have fished a few times but I'm overweight with a bad back and knees so I prefer sitting.
Overall, for the fishing I do on a 6700 acre lake full of stumps and lily pads all around the edge, it's just about perfect.
I managed to strike an attractive deal at West Marine and purchased another Mini-X, particularly for it's light weight and remarkable stability. With a little personal tinkering I got it rigged to fish my favorite waters for redfish and specks.
Other reviewers have mentioned that the Mini-X does not track well and is slow. It is relatively slow as yaks go, but the tracking issues are more a case of how you paddle. For a hole shot use a mild paddle stroke to get the yak moving and then use a slightly elevated and stronger paddle stroke with the blade passing as close to the side of the yak as possible and it will not dart all over the place. You can use more power in your stroke with the same technique into stronger winds and the boat will track decently although it will not set any speed records.
The Mini-X simply laughs at big boat wakes and heavy chop. You will stay quite dry under these conditions as the shape of the bow efficiently deflects water from chop or waves rather than the water pouring over the bow. The Mini-X sits quite high in the water so strong winds do get a grip and can move you about. Use the three pound folding claw anchor and the boat will stay put and secure in winds stronger than you should be out in anyway. 5'6" rods will fit easily in the square center hatch pointed toward the stern. Or two piece rods will do the same, but you cannot safely get 6' rods in the hull of the Mini-X . .
If you are looking for an inexpensive yak for fishing or play and are not looking for serious speed on the water, the Mini-X is very hard to beat. Even very big fellows will find it remarkably stable even in rough waters and less hardy females will find the Mini-X easy to load by themselves. I have had a number of other small and light SOT fishing yaks and none of them can match the overall confidence the Mini-X provides when fishing big water or during poor weather conditions.
Last, the Mini-X is of very high quality and will not break the bank: leaves you some money to get a really decent rod and reel. Be sure and get a quality padded seat to keep your six o'clock from going numb about the time the fish start biting.
This Kayak is very stable, has plenty of storage up front, mid hatch and rear storage area. My fishing crate fits easily in the rear, with room to spare. I would recommend this Kayak to anyone looking for a fishing Kayak, whether space is a concern or not. It is so light and compact you can easily load on a car or in a short bed pickup without strain.
The front moves back and forth under aggressive paddling, as is expected for a 9 footer. No complaints from an owner of two Ocean Kayaks and one Wilderness Tarpon. It is a Dry and stable ride!!
10 out of 10
If you want to treat a kayak like garbage and still have a solid product at the end of the day, this is the one to get. better options come standard with this kayak, so don't miss out. wide seat, plenty of room (I'd say seats someone 150 to 200 lbs comfortably).
ONLY CONS: you're giving up speed for stability with this kayak, tracking is not the greatest...
I have taken it out on a small residential lake as well as some Tampa Bay estuaries and it was very very stable. I had two scupper plugs underneath the bottom of the seat and I stayed mostly dry (only water from paddle drip and fishing pole).
I bought it used but I have not really noticed much water inside the hull after a few hours of fishing (less than a cup?). The front end does waver when paddling hard but this kayak handles very well. I can do a 360 virtually in place. Malibu also seems to have a good customer service dept. because I talked to live people and they returned my calls when no one answered (I had some questions about warranties).
As others have stated it's a bit cramped if you start throwing in rod holders and depth finders, which I've done. I bought it for its compact size and ease of use. It's a breeze. I throw it in the back of my 240 Volvo wagon and it fits perfectly in it, which is reason enough for it to be a good purchase. The tracking is not good, but not terrible. I got the rec-diving version and comes with a HUGE center dry hatch (1'x 1') right between your legs which is one of the best features second to its stability.
Each stroke you make makes the front end move, but that's a compromise you make with its length. It's not the fastest kayak, but have had hours of fun on this yak and its easy to haul around. I've had huge stripers jumping feet from the bow and has served its purpose. A fishing platform and troller. You won't be disappointed for something as little and easy to use as the MINI X! I bought mine for less then $500 brand new!
I love the Mini-X for its grab and go lightness, it remarkable stability, and it takes barge and ship waves better than my larger kayaks. It is a bit slow as other reviewers have noted, but it is not that bad. Also, the tracking is not as bad as I had read on other reviews. Keep the paddle close to the hull and it goes where you want it to go, but it will turn on a dime and give back change.
It is a joy to load, especially after a few hours of serious paddling and fishing. I cannot find anything about the Mini-X I don't like: it does what it was designed to do well.
build quality 9
hull speed 2
weight with rod holder and seat 7
overall satisfaction 6
Have owned the Mini for a couple of months. This kayak would be best in slow moving rivers or large ponds. The Mini is extremely stable and can turn on a dime. When you start from a dead stop, it feels like you are pulling a dog house behind you.
Because of the width of the boat I use a 240 paddle and it has surprising speed for a short wide yak. In fact I sold my Prowler 13 yesterday because this boat flat outperforms it in every way. I am actually able to get more speed out of this little 9'3" yak than the 13' prowler in part to the fact that it is 20 pounds lighter at 39 lbs. Also it handles better in big rough water and is not fazed by large boat wakes. The boat will do a 360 in place. The light weight makes it a breeze to load on a rack or in a truck bed by yourself.
The boat sits higher in the water than most SOTS and is a lot drier ride, not much spray or water in from the scuppers, I was always wet in the prowler. It does have a little hull slap once in a while on the smaller waves depending on your angle to them, but it is minor. The yak also has a surprising 350 lb. capacity. The quality and finish of the poly it is made out of is great and it is almost slick when wet and cleans easily.
The storage is ample and I can fit my 240 2 piece paddle in the center hatch. I am also able to fit a 6' rod in the front hatch after removing the bucket. The hatches are very water tight in normal use. Flipping it in the surf lets some water in, but I think it comes through the rod holders.There is a paddle holder on each side of the yak which is a nice feature because you can secure a spare rod under one of them. This is a great little all purpose yak that is flat out fun.
If you prefer a yak under 10ft, reasonably light in weight, very stable, useful on semi-protected bays, back creeks then I would surely recommend this craft.
The Mini-X is not fast nor does it have much glide, but that’s to be expected given that it is intended for fishing in conditions where maneuverability is more important. It tracks surprisingly well for its length (9'3"), and I can turn it on a dime and stop it just about as fast. As long as nobody wants to race me (and as long as I don’t need to go very far quickly), I don’t notice the lack of speed.
The Mini-X has better initial stability than any rec boat I’ve tried, and although a LOT of effort and lean (with the help of thigh straps) finally caused me to reflexively use a brace to right myself, I was never able to actually tip it over.
For fishing, it is a nice size for me -- I don’t take a lot, and I like to be able to reach everything (the forward hatch is the only thing that really takes any effort). The Mini-X actually has more storage capacity than I need (at least right now ... I know how these things go ... voids demand to be filled ...). It is quite comfortable and stable to sit sideways on. I have stood in it, but haven’t tried casting while standing yet. My balance is not the best, and I decided it would be wise to work on that first. Others who have stood in it compared it to the X-Factor and said the Mini was not as stable. I do have to be careful when paddling that I don’t scrape the sides of this wide (33") boat with the paddle (my paddle is 215 cm, and I am a high-angle style paddler ... and would probably be better off low-angle in this boat). It is not normally a concern unless I fatigue, but I’m sure the fish are alerted by the noise whenever it happens!
There’s enough room in the Mini-X for me to straighten out my legs completely with space left over -- and I have looooong legs (in fact, lack of leg room put me off every kayak “designed for women” that I tried, and a few others as well). The foot wells are placed OK for me; placement may bug some people so I would definitely recommend trying before buying, and make sure the trial is long enough to judge your long-term leg comfort. I do prefer that the foot wells spread out support on my foot, unlike foot pegs and I’m also happy to trade the “just OK” placement (by my standards) for not having any footpegs to grab my flyline Speaking of which, the basic boat has very little to snag lines and such; any problems I’ve had in that regard were definitely user-generated (mindless accessorizing can quickly negate the benefits of the Mini-X’s clean design).
Being able to easily car-top the Mini-X on my minivan’s existing custom roof rack is a real bonus. I could handle car-topping a much heavier ‘yak, but a longer one would definitely cause overhang issues on my vehicle. In addition, the 38-lb bare weight is nice, not so much because 38 pounds is a cakewalk for me, but because it (naturally) ends up being considerably heavier once outfitted for fishing, and the fact that the gear is in it makes it awkward to carry -- the lighter weight is certainly welcome then.
I do recommend getting a pair of scupper plugs for the seat holes if you want to ride dry more of the time. Although it’s usually a dry ride (in the seat), any kind of rowdy paddling, plopping into the seat, leaning, and so forth gets me a wet rear end if the scuppers are open.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the Mini-X’s suitability to my purposes. I wouldn't change a thing about it. I have not used it on moving water yet, but intend to amend this review after I do.
The mini paddles great for a short yak. The nose does want to walk a little but you can compensate by easing up on the stroke a little. It has surprising glide for its size and is super stable- I can stand and flyfish in calm water. The kids absolutely love it; even my 8 year old son can manage this boat. The mini-x makes a little man feel big and a big man feel little!
The mini has a weight capacity of 325 lbs. At 170, I had a nice, dry ride. By adding kids we loaded it to about 250 before water started seeping in the seat scuppers. The boat has tons of leg room and I found the "foot-wedges" to be very comfortable. As expected, at 9'3" long this boat will turn on a dime. It has four well-placed handles and bungee type paddle/rod holders. A nice feature for fly fishers is the large flat area in front of the seat-no place for line to tangle easily.
The mini-x weighs just 38 lbs! Easy to load or portage; manageable for the kids. For the price, features, and performance, this boat will be mighty hard to beat!