Consistent with Pakboats' philosophy, the Quest 155 is designed to be as simple as possible without compromising function. It's truly a folding/inflatable hybrid and seems to combine the best elements of both: It's light like a folder (32 pds), and fairly simple to assemble like an inflatable. The removable deck is an ingenious feature that not only makes it easier to assemble than most other folders, but also makes loading/loading gear easier. With the deck removed, it also dries quickly for packing. The polyurethane hull is durable and easily patched if needed.
The storage/transport duffle bag has ample room for accessories. In addition to the kayak I also carry two 4-piece paddles, a pfd, splash deck, water shoes, a 65 liter dry bag (folded), and all other needed accessories.
Now that I'm familiar and comfortable with the process, the assembly is simple and reasonably expedient. At a casual pace I can assembly it in about 30 min. Of course the first couple times required considerably more time. The first time took me about 90 minutes, the next couple times a little more than an hour. By the 5th or 6th time it took about 45 minutes, and by about the 8th time I was able to assemble it mostly without referring to the instructions. Disassembly and packing only takes about 25 minutes.
In most conditions there seem to be no practical differences between the Quest 155 and similarly sized hard shells. The hull is rigid (more than the Cooper), and tracking, primary and secondary stability are excellent. It's also responsive to leaned turns and corrective strokes. The velcro deck/hull seam is more watertight than I expected: Little or no water enters the boat from waves/wakes, and the seam is high enough that it's usually not submerged when put on edge (leaned turns, etc.). I have narrow hips, so I also ordered the optional hip pads, which are comfortable and provide a snugger fit. I also have the optional foot pegs, which, for me are a necessity for better control and efficiency.
The Quest seat is by far the most comfortable kayak seat I've ever experienced. It's designed so the paddler is suspended just above the keel, and this seems to eliminate virtually all pressure points. I'm also happy to report the initial minor issue has been completely resolved. Initially the seat was positioned a little too high, thus making the Quest feel less stable. Pakboats resolved this with a minor adjustment, which lowered the seat so it now sits about 1-2" above the keel. It's now both very comfortable and very stable.
This is where the Quest really shines over all other kayaks I know of, folding or hard shell. The deck opens up completely at the bow and stern sections enabling remarkably easy and fast loading/unloading. The storage space is ample as well. Since the cross-ribs are completely open at the top, there's nothing to hinder loading/unloading, or limit dry bag size. For camping trips I use a 65 liter dry bag that fits completely in stern section, with plenty of spare space; an 80 liter bag would probably fit. There's enough space in the bow section for a 40 liter bag.
The Quest 155 is not only an exceptional folding kayak, but a great kayak overall, and an absolutely phenomenal value compared to other high-quality folders. While the craftsmanship and aesthetics aren't on the same level as more expensive folders, for the majority of paddlers this is trivial. While the Quest might not "look" as good, to me it's easy assembly, great performance (esp the comfortable seat), ample storage space, ease of loading/unloading gear, and light weight make it a great kayak. All other comparable-quality folders cost at least 50% more, and most cost at least twice as much.
So far I've been out mainly on large rivers and bays. It tracks well with good speed and stability but also fairly agile for a long boat and responds well to corrective strokes. I didn't get the rudder kit but may do so next year because it doesn't come with footrests and I may want the rudder for big windy lakes. The seat is amazingly comfortable and easy to adjust. I've tried many boats but none had a seat like this...pure bliss. The decking and hull material seems tough and durable and it looks pretty cool, and the internal frame provides good stability. The directions could have been clearer but being a guy I probably wouldn't have read them anyway. I was able to get it together in about 2 hrs but I'm sure it would be much faster if I did it again. Most comfortable boat ever.
I had a lot of questions about it and the staff at Pakboat was very helpful and patient. They are obviously very proud of their product and should be. I've never tried a Folbot or other folder but I cant imagine they would outperform this boat...especially for the price. Folders are a bit unusual with regard to spray skits and storage procedures. Keep in mind you don't have waterproof hatches so plan on buying some dry bags, but all in all its a great design and different than the usual boats you see on the water. I'm very happy with it....and so is my dog!