Vagabond Description

The Vagabond is a kayak brought to you by Phoenix Poke Boats, Inc.. Read Vagabond reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

Phoenix Poke Boats, Inc.
Vagabond Reviews

Read reviews for the Vagabond by Phoenix Poke Boats, Inc. as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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The Phoeniz poke boat/…

Submitted by: paddler2831203 on 12/27/2023

The Phoeniz poke boat/ vagabond weight for 16 foot fiberglass is 58 lbs


Incredibly versatile, fast,…

Submitted by: paddler507632 on 5/21/2019

Incredibly versatile, fast, efficient boat. Put 200#s of gear in it and expedition. Put a rudder plus sail rig on it and sail it. Stand Up Paddle it! A rudder with a padded tube attached to rudder cables in front of your ankles (standing just behind thwart) is best setup for SUPing it. BTW, this is a "pre poke boat" design, poke(y) boats = short keeled and slow. This is my 4th 1970s era phoenix yak, did the Grand in the Slipper recently.


Poke boat tracking

Submitted by: hollis on 2/25/2017

I have the kevlar Vagabond and love it, but found the paddling a bit difficult as one other reviewer here has said... with paddling on the right the boat would swing to far to the left and vice versa. So a made sort of a keel with one of those after market car/truck side bumper... You know the type that has a strong adhesive that attaches to the side of your vehicle to stop other car doors from denting your vehicle; it's less than an inch wide and can be long enough for the 2-person Voyager. It paddles much straighter now


hideous, just hideous…

Submitted by: paddler236294 on 6/25/2015
hideous, just hideous construction. Deck isn't so much formed to the hull as it is taped with a single layer of fiberglass tape along the inside. Then its trimmed along the outside to fit. Not finished at all. Big open seam all the way around, ground roughly at the ends. they cover this seam with electrical tape; which itself is ugly and fails almost immediately. There are bubbles and dry spots in the glass as well. No way this is a $2500 boat. No way. Better constructed boats out there for that money. Luckily the ugly factor translates into a reasonable used price. I paid less than 500 dollars for my 2 vagabonds.

Once you repair or get over the looks, the boat is quite usable. I find it tracks incredibly well for a decked canoe. A skeg could help it. My wife who weighs about half what I do had trouble keeping it going straight with a child in the front seat. I had a lighter child up front and weigh more and it tracked well but still easily steerable. Stern sits very low. Bow has some good wave cutting height to it, but not a heavy water boat.

Seats should be a class action suit. They are horrible. Sitting in the yard wasn't bad, but after about 5 minutes paddling, my legs were asleep. Fixed by moving my position occasionally.

Easy paddle. fairly fast. very stable compared to a classic canoe, but probably just due to the weight distribution. very little oil-canning. The "light weight paddles" they sell at Phoenix are well usable, but not something you'd want to keep if you used the boat much. Think West Marine "emergency paddle" quality. 3 way adjustable. 0~25~45ish. mine came with the foot rests... a must. Also has the buoyancy bladders to insert into the bow and stern. a nice addition for a heavier than water boat.

Overall, good boat but not at all for the money Phoenix wants for it. Its just too raw, ugly and un-finished. Not nearly as sturdy as other glass boats, though it is light. You can make hand built boats well and make them expensive or you can build ugly and sell it cheap.. you can't mix and match. The boat is about as nice as their web site. Functional and bare bones.


I purchased a used Kevlar…

Submitted by: clansweeney on 7/3/2014
I purchased a used Kevlar Vagabond about a year ago and consider it a valuable addition to 'the fleet'. It's critical to evaluate a boat based on design intent - it is NOT a white water boat and it wouldn't be a good choice for a day with heavy chop. And YES, the factory seats are a (fixable) crime against humanity.

BUT NOW THE GOOD STUFF: The boat is durable and spacious. In the kevlar layup at about 40#, it's a dream double for an old guy with 'old shoulders'. Although keeless, skegless and rudderless... I find the tracking to be acceptable. I regularly paddle on sloughs and into narrow channels and the ability to spin a 16' boat in it's own length is sometimes far more critical that rail-like tracking.

I have a couple of singles, but I use the vagabond for 1) 'first paddles' with friends curious about kayaking, 2) touring with grandchildren and 3) when I want 'pick-up truck' capacity that a single will never have.

The forward seat can be repositioned for single paddling, but I prefer to simply paddle from the rear. Moving the seat is NOT that easy, and I think you end up with a trim that is a bit 'bow down'.

Last note: the boat is monoque shell without bulkheads -- don't forget flotation bags!


I've made numerous…

Submitted by: paddler234103 on 7/5/2011
I've made numerous adjustments and alterations to the craft to make it work for me. First, moved the front seat back beyond center. Drilled new holes and added a support. Second, added a back rest support to make the seating more comfortable. Finally, I glued and fiberglassed a keel under the back seat to improve tracking. After these improvements, I love the boat. I'm large at 250 lbs, and not mobile with knee replacements-- tell your kids not to play football, it's overrated.

The adapted Vagabond works for me. One of a kind and ugly, but reasonably fast, easy to enter, and best- no one will steal it off the car when you stop for lunch on the way home


My 1987 Vagabond is the F/N…

Submitted by: Yanoer on 4/23/2010
My 1987 Vagabond is the F/N construction and saw most of it's use before I bought it 7 years ago. I'd use the lighter kevlar construction more, if I had one. I use mine solo exclusively for short outings and day trips.

I removed the front seat, installed a foot brace at the back set of holes for the front position of the front seat. I sit on two 3.5" thick square boat float cushions placed with the back edge just on the front edge of the back seat. This is where I get the best response with the 48" bent shaft Zaveral paddle. The Vagabond responds quite nicely to control strokes with this trim. Single blading from the back seat also works, but the bow is a little too light without some ballast toward the front and I usually paddle with no added load. The Vagabond responds very, very nicely to control strokes from the position just in front of the rear seat.

Kneeling with knees on back seat and butt on rear of cockpit trim also works, but ballast is needed up front to improve trim.

I shortened a portage yoke to fit between the screw holes for the front seat and place it in the back two holes of the seat mount, secured with two of the seat bolts, to portage the boat with decent balance. I move the yoke forward one set of holes while paddling to secure the spare paddle shaft and whatever else needs secured.

The Vagabond is relatively unaffected by wind when compared with undecked canoes. The downward slope from cockpit to stems allows the car hood & trunk lid to open farther than with standard canoes, when it's on the rack.

It's an ugly, spartan boat, but don't discount it's handling capabilities without experimenting with trim first. Trim makes a big difference with the Vagabond.

I'm 5'6", 155 lbs and have 14 other canoes & kayaks.


Kind of an odd little boat.…

Submitted by: Redbone311 on 8/9/2007
Kind of an odd little boat. But fun non the less. Way over-priced. But I got mine used (1st owner bought it and never put it in the water for over a decade) for a few hundred dollars.

Forget about sitting in the middle position in the boat for solo use. It makes the bow plow in the water and the boat wanders - big or small paddler. Sit in the rear position and it works out much better. Never tried it with two paddlers. Looked like it would be too crowded. But then I am 6'2" and 230 lbs, so with two smaller people it might be fine. My girlfriend uses the boat and likes it as she is a novice paddler and enjoys the stability.

Pros: Very stable, and quite quick for the effort expended. Canoe paddle or kayak paddle works well. Whatever you prefer. I tried both in the boat and to my surprise I like using the canoe paddle in it better.

Cons: Very uncomfortable seating. The seat is a nightmare, and the sides of the boat itself are too narrow. No room for your legs. Even less room in the boat for gear.

Final thought: My advice - get a canoe if you want access to gear, or a kayak if you want the efficiency.


Love this boat, people think…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/13/2003
Love this boat, people think it's a kayak, but it's really a decked touring canoe, sort of a cheap version of a Kruger, in looks anyway as I've never paddled a Kruger. Light (about 45lb.), seaworthy especially with a skirt, fast, stable, easy in & out, works just as well as a single (moveable bow seat). Mine came with both canoe paddles & kayak paddles, we &/or I only use the double paddles. Drawbacks: seats are uncomfortable, fixed by adding Crazy Creek chairs. While rudders are available, I added a skeg, which it needed.