Read reviews for the Yukon Expedition by Prijon Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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I looked for years to...
I looked for years to purchase a used Yukon Expedition as I was looking for a high capacity plastic boat to use on smaller creeks and rivers. I finally found an old one and at a good price.
There is no doubt in my mind that the last owner gave up on it because it doesn't track worth beans. It's really bad. God forbid you take it out on open water with waves hitting you from the side. It's brutal. On the other hand it's highly maneuverable and works great on twisty, bendy creeks and rivers. All this is due to the boat having a flat bottom and no keel.
My solution was to buy a rudder. You don't really need the rudder to steer the boat, rather it acts to keep the boat tracking straight and true. I spent as much on the rudder system as I did on the boat, but it was worth every penny.
Being that it's a Prijon - the plastic is stiff and seemingly indestructible. Don't hesitate to purchase one at the right price.
The Yukon X...phenomenal...
The Yukon X...phenomenal boat. A little about my kayaking experience. I have owned at least 50 boats ranging from canoes to recreational kayaks, sit-on-tops, to whitewater kayaks, sea kayaks and all the rest. I have been paddling for many many years. I have run everything from 40 foot waterfalls and harrowing class 5 to multi-hundred mile source to sea journeys and as well as some ocean kayaking. As a whitewater paddler that has transitioned to any-water paddling, I am always buying, testing, and selling kayaks. I currently own 4 yukon expeditions and am completely sold on them...for a few reasons.
I frequently take week long trips on rivers that often start in mountainous regions and end in flat areas. The need for a boat that can handle everything while loaded down from small, quick, tight rivers and creeks to raging class 4 wave trains and then the flats of lowland rivers has left me with absolutely no alternative than the Yukon Expedition. The plastic is widely regarded as the best in the business. Durability is unbelievable. Basically, this is a 14.5' whitewater kayak with a rudder.
The Yukon is really unmatched in maneuverability for 14.5' touring offerings. This is a major concern for my trips as the beginnings of rivers would be a nightmarish deathtrap (broach-fest) for most touring boats. With the rudder down, it will hold a great track. Rudder up, and you are in a long whitewater boat that looks to pearl off at any chance.
This boat is as indestructible as a plastic kayak can be. Of course any boat will not last forever, but these really are built like tanks. Rarely do I see a Yukon hull in bad oil-canning or warped shape. The stresses from low volume loaded runs will forever alter most plastic boats for the worse. My yukons do not have this problem.
As my trips are mostly or entirely unsupported and in remote areas, I need places to put things. For a 14.5 the volume of capacity is great. at 350lbs, the weight capacity is fine. The hatch openings are big enough to get larger items in as well. I add some additional outfitting to the decks to offer more tie down points as well. The under deck net makes a great place for a map case and my solar panel when not in use. Lots of room for everything I need. Always, a little more room is needed...like a backpack. The problem is, more room turns into more stuff. The capacity is more than ample for week long trips.
It is akin to a bathtub fit...spacious and comfy. The deck is high enough to move the legs about without the straight leg of death syndrome found in some lower deck boats. I actually will put comfort as a con as well and let me explain. The stock seat is not great at all. Prijon is function over comfort. To fix this, I take out the stock prijon backband as it is NOT comfy. I build a custom 1/8" x 1" aluminum bar and minicell high-back seat formed to my back. This seat back fits into the receivers for the prijon backrest. In the seat pan, I have a wilderness phase 3 pad with the leg-lifters for the most comfy sit you will have in a performance boat. I can go all day with this set up.
Well, it is fast enough to not lose sanity on a large featureless body of water. It will keep up with longer, faster boats as long as they are not actually paddling as hard as you are. The whole issue of speed is VERY subjective in kayaking. I gps test all my boats in this regard. The all-day (8 to 10 hours) cruise speed I can paddle in this boat is around 3.5 mph not factoring current or wind. While the yukon is not a poke boat, this is not a fast boat on flat water. The max speed will be hit fairly quickly. There is a big diminishing return on the effort you put in to the speed you get out after about 4 mph. But that is not the intended purpose. It is a net-speed boat for rivers. Where this boat excels is in moving current. In current, the maneuverability of the boat affords down-river speed. Very little time will be needed in slowing for set-ups, unbroaching yourself, etc...
This boat offers the most defined and relaxed primary stability of any performance tourer that you will find. The width and the hull shape create this. The secondary is rock solid as well. Rolling is easy as the boat basically falls into the upright after about 2/3 roll stroke. I have literally napped in this boat while deploying my kayak sail. It is a rock star in current as well. Again, this is where the boat excels. The looseness of the hull which one might cuss without a rudder becomes your best friend in heavy current. Without a keel, you are free from the normal anguish and current-slavery of normal 14.5' touring boats.
Now the Cons:
If you intend to use this boat on flat water, just be aware that the width and design limit the speed somewhat. It is not the fastest boat on the water.
The stock seat and backband are not the best for all day use. Some simple, easy modification makes this boat comfortable.
Flat water tracking
There are those who wish to say that super attentive paddling will alleviate the lack of tracking. Bottom line: you will always be fighting this boat to track straight without the rudder. Drop the rudder and you are going to enjoy this boat much better
Part of the design of this boat for whitewater performance causes the boat to plunge through the wave or rapid rather than lift over it. A good skirt will be needed to stay dry in waves or rapids. Somedays in the summer, we will paddle sans skirt...we just keep our sponges handy. A deck bag will deflect the water rushing over the deck and help keep you dry. Not that one should be alarmed at the prospect of getting wet while kayaking, but there will be some water washing into your chest in big features.
I would give this boat a 10 because of the unmatched performance abilities that are offered in this platform. However, since there is no perfect boat, a 9 it is.
Here is a link to a series of videos from a trip my group took down the length of the Greenbrier River in WV...I was paddling my mango yukon and there is a green one as well. enjoy and go get a YUKON!
I can't believe its been...
I can't believe its been 14yrs with the Yukon. Hats off to Prijon for putting out such a quality product, too bad the model seems to have been phased out. I'm still beating it on the rocks, pounding it in the bays/ocean, and catching my limit of different piscatorial species.
Plastic on the hull is still sound, netting and tie downs need replacing, but are still viable, searching for replacements. Deep red has faded to light, to be expected on a yak used with frequency.
This kayak has performed above and beyond my expectations, it gets me where I want to go, more importantly, it gets me back, almost lost her in an unmarked low dam which appeared as we flew out from under a bridge on a creek in high water conditions, sucked us under, churned us, I dove deep and shot out the outer lip, the Yukon washing machined flipped a few times, then shot out as well, carrying me the next couple of miles without a whimper.
If you see this kayak for sale, buy it. I never did buy the rudder, paddle it right and tracking is a non issue.
I just bought my Yukon a...
I just bought my Yukon a few days ago and have to say that most of the reviews on here are spot on.
The Yukon-expedition is a very nimble and durable boat. Even with the rudder down it turns faster than any boat I've paddled. It's not the fastest thing out there but holds a relatively easy crushing pase with little effort. I would say that surfing or in moving water this boat would be a riot. Definitely has the heart of a whitewater boat in a touring body. It's initial stability is very good. Secondary stability is pretty solid as well.
This boat was left outside, in the sun for about 10 years according to the guy I bought it from. That would be death for most plastic boats but not this one. It shows a lot of spidering in the plastic but I worked the plastic from front to back and got 0 cracking. I was very surprised by the plastic not being brittle.
Durability, stability, agility, and ample storage.
Not really a great boat for a smaller paddler.
Not really a fan of the hatch covers. They are a bit flimsy although I do like the fact they are so flush fitting!
All in all I would say if you find one, buy it.
I've owned my Yukon...
I've owned my Yukon Expedition since 1998. It's performed well on Class III-IV water in Wisconsin (Wolf River, section IV), perfectly on big open water (Apostle Islands) and there is no better boat to pick when doing extended touring on Class I-III water. With the rudder kit and a retractor line rigged, you can pull the rudder in whitewater. The hatch space fits all my camping gear- cooler, pump and float behind the seat; drybags, sleeping bags, stoves, mess, tent, etc. in the hatches-which have never flooded due to the included hatch covers and neoprene insert.
The drawbacks? Mainly the snubbery when you're on trips with others and their questions - "Is that a sea kayak?" when you're on whitewater trips; and "Isn't that a whitewater boat??" when you're on open water trips. It's neither, both, or more likely, in a class all of it's own. It's not perfect at either, but what is?? I own one boat and don't need any other for the water I paddle. Come on a 4 day trip on the Flambeau River in Wisconsin with me, and you too will be jealous at the beauty and handling of this boat! Oh, and eskimo rolling? Have a good hip snap. It's long, heavy, and deep. I can do it about 60% of the time, so have your paddle float and pump handy.
Have only been paddling my...
Have only been paddling my Yukon expedition for a month or so. This is my third Prijon and to address the seat issue, The inserts for backrest need to be opened up so the unit drops in full depth. The seat adjuster (which is not a problem on the glass models) needs to be slightly packed between the outer hpt and the black inner moulding, and the threaded plates that the 8mm allen keyed bolts screw into, need additional nuts welded to increase thread volume for a very tight screw up. Throw away the fibre type washer inside, it is another weak link. Am enjoying the Yukon, it is a different boat in the Sydney area, with an average speed of 7kmh over longer paddles.
Great boat for most people...
Great boat for most people who want a versatile FUN river boat that handles big water well. I've put over 1000 miles of river on mine, mostly class II with a few stretches of III. A paddler will quickly learn what this boat likes, and how to keep it there. If you only want to run III+ whitewater, you should probably buy something else. If you are looking for a qualified heavy water river exploring boat, this fits the bill better than anything else I've seen.
I owned and paddled this...
I owned and paddled this boat for a full season, approx 10 hrs a week. That being said I hated the boat. The boat needed constant attention to track in a straight line. You shouldn't have to work that hard. Not great when it was to be used primarily as a bay boat. I would say it is 75% a river boat and if you had to, it would get you there as a touring boat. I was hoping for a nice compromise but it wasn't.
On the positive it was a great creek boat, had fun in class 1's etc. But as a sea kayak of any kind it failed. BTW: I am swift water trained, and an avid whitewater and sea kayaker. I have owned and paddled many boats and this was by far the worst. I had other experienced paddlers jump in (to see if it was me) and their opinion was sell the boat! I did!
Again, a great creek boat but a total failure as a touring boat. Hence the 5 rating.
I have had my Yukon now...
I have had my Yukon now for five years and I love it. I have a fleet of six kayaks and I find I use my Yukon 3/4 of the time. I have used it for surfing in the ocean, class III whitewater river paddling and a week long river trip camping out of the boat, and it has never let me down.
It will handle multi-days river camping with its ability to swallow gear in its large hatches. It also paddles well empty.
It does have a tendency to not want to go straight if you do not have a paddle in the water, but that is because of its great ability to turn when asked to.
I have taken the boat down small whitewater rivers and have been able to catch eddies. It ferries well. It is unparalleled in its ability to punch through holes.
The only complaints that I have are that the seat mounting has not stood up to wear. I have torn the plastic at the side mount and have had to repair it, and the hard plastic hatch cover were torn off and lost while surfing.
This is a great boat! On...
This is a great boat! On my maiden trip, I was transporting my Prijon late at night through northwestern Ontario. Suddenly, it was no longer on my car. A quick stop, frantic searching (before the semi I had passed earlier caught up with me) and fast pulling off to the side. Upon inspection I found everything intact (aside from some pavement scaring). Since then the kayak has provided me with years of trouble free trips!
Happened on this page...
Happened on this page while trying to find a used Yukon Expedition somewhere close by. I have owned one since 2003 when I bough a buddy's well-used one, and have put thousands of miles on it. Here in East Central Florida, fishing the mangrove estuaries, the boat has been the answer to getting around and finding fish, but the oyster bars have taken their toll. Can't complain about the durability of the Prijon blowmolded polyethylene to resist the cuts from oyster shells, but the efficiency has definitely suffered.
One advantage for me personally is being able to sit on top of the hull just behind the cockpit, providing good visibility for drifting and casting a flat. Some of the reviewers go without a rudder; I gotta have one, it just makes maintaining direction so easy, and lets you concentrate on paddling and/or fishing. I also can confirm the seat mount problem, mine is broken and I can't get it apart to maybe get a new piece and fix it.
I wrote the previous...
I wrote the previous review but wanted to submit another in order to slightly to revise my previous regarding this boat, as I've found one problem with it that I think needs addressing by Prijon: the seat mounts.
The way the seat is fixed to the boat is unstable and weak: no matter how hard one tightens it down, the seat slides around when doing hip snaps and rolls -- and once in class III water the seat actually popped out of its housing. When rolling this boat or when in rapids and doing hip snaps and bracing, both the base of the seat, as well as the back rest, easily come loose and move backward toward the stern, sometimes popping out of its housing. This is not good. I have another Prijon, purchased for my daughter: a Capri. It's a great boat, but its seat housing presents the same issue.
Otherwise it's a great boat. This boat is easy to roll, is highly maneuverable, can take a great deal of gear, is tough as buffalo horn, is fast, can travel upstream brilliantly even in fast rivers, but when it comes to snapping your hips in a high brace or rolling, the seat will pop out.
To remedy this, I have tied ligatures of paracord between the foot brace mounts and the seat mounts. This is not an ideal solution but it's a temporary fix until I can find a better way to brace the seat to the gunwale and hatch coaming.
By the way, I paddled this boat half way across the state of Missouri (on the Missouri) last June -- it was fully loaded with about 150 pounds of gear, food, and water (I weigh 170) -- and it performed brilliantly in a 5 mph current around wing dikes etc, *without a rudder*. If you learn how to edge this boat, you do not need a rudder. That said, it WILL broach on you, especially in a river without a rudder, if you don't learn how to edge it.
Prijon: fix the seat.
What an extraordinary boat!
Contrary to some previous reviewers' opinions, one does not…
What an extraordinary boat!
Contrary to some previous reviewers' opinions, one does not need a rudder for this boat. You just need to learn how to paddle it correctly -- which is the case with any boat, but moreso with this one. A boat of this kind is highly responsive. This means that the paddler must be highly responsive. If one is used to recreational kayaks or more traditional sea kayaks, -- boats with extended keels, wide flares, and hard chines -- this boat will initially appear touchy. You might find yourself padding in a track and then, as if all of a sudden, the boat will veer right or left. In fact, this apparently sudden veering is not sudden at all: this happens because your paddling has been consistently uneven and a pressure differential has built up on one side of the bow. This slight differential goes goes unnoticed at first, due to its subtlety, but it gradually increases until the boat "kicks" right or left. All boats do this, but usually in less pronounced ways.
This is easily countered if you
(a) pay attention to the boat's bow wake, keeping both wake flows even in shape,
(c) learn how to edge.
If you learn these simple skills, you will find this kayak will handle with extraordinary grace. This attentiveness will eventually become second nature.
I purchased this boat for river touring and have used it extensively for both upstream and downstream travel. It handles extraordinarily well. It is FAST. Not as fast on a straightaway as a typical sea kayak, but its net speed on a river or in any highly dynamic mix of currents is -- because of its rocker, long length, and high volume -- much faster than longer, slimmer kayaks.
Its durability, stability, speed, and volume (including its storage capacity), make this, in my opinion, the ideal boat.
Have no qualms about taking it in rough water. Took it on a flooded river recently. Felt very very safe at flood stage with a strong spray skirt: downed trees, strainers, fast and high water, complex eddy lines, boils, holes, drops: No problem.
It also looks like no other boat, except the old Kleppers, I've ever seen. Slightly looks like the early (1970s) whitewater yaks of yore.
It's also bomb proof.
I have reviewed the boat...
I have reviewed the boat before under the name 'Bud' a couple years ago. I stand behind that review. I sold the boat so that it would force me to use my 'real' sea kayak. Bottom line is the sea kayak is less work to paddle, but also less fun. You could beach land the Yuke on rocks, seal launch it off rocks, side surf unto beaches with little thought, and take pictures in big and confusing water. It was a great surf boat.
The Yuke was a better recreational kayak then my current sea kayak and lets face it we use these things for recreation. There is a need for a good sea kayak that has some of the qualities of the Yuke. I wish the Mariner Coaster came in blow molded plastic. The Yukon is great boat if I didn't trip with fast sea kayaks I would still have it.
I've owned my Yukon...
I've owned my Yukon expedition since 2000, but have owned and paddled the Yukon Tour since 1997. I bought both of these boats in Whitehorse Yukon, paddled various stretches of the Yukon and tributaries, class I, II, and glacial fed class III rivers in Alaska. I've toured southeast Alaska, island hoping and camping for a week at a time, with and w/o rudder. In tidal waters the rudder is helpful, and fun to paddle. Compared to a sea kayak on open water, it's like a sports car, albeit regulated speed due it it's wide/forgiving hull. Stick to a sea kayak if you are a serious ocean kayaker. I've whitewatered the yk tour (boat sans bulkheads), and even rolled them with a weekend camp load. Taken my share of swims on faster moving tight rivers, and wouldn't rate it as a 10 for river a runner, but makes a great self support boat for big water like the Colorado, or ideally, the Yukon, MacKenzie, Liard, Snake..... you get the picture. Load her up and have fun!
I bought a Yukon...
I bought a Yukon Expedition in 1996 and paddled it full length of the legal Yellowstone (where it exits the Park to where it meets the Missouri in N. Dakota.) 500+ miles.
Since then I have paddled it at least another 500 miles of rivers in northern Sask, as well as class III in Idaho and Washington, and a 4 day trip in the saltwater San Juan Islands.
It's currently in my garage.
I have the rudder, but I took it off once I learned how to paddle this boat. The key is to NEVER allow yourself to get offline. Use 2x the strokes at 50% power, and steer with part of every stroke. The best use for the rudder would be on a open water day with a loaded boat and fighting a wind. Otherwise, paddling technique will keep you moving straight.
Are there faster boats? Yep. Boats that are easier to turn? Sure.
This boat is the Kawasaki KLR 650 of kayaks, and the Skidoo Tundra 250 of snowmobiles. (both of which are equally fun touring vehicles) It will get you there, and get you home, in one piece.
After reading about 6...
After reading about 6 different yaks I thought would meet my needs, I decided to buy the Prijon, yukon expedition. I thought the HTP type of plastic, and the molding process would be better than the other yaks I had bought, and sold due to not really caring for their performance.
I Love this boat!!
I find the boat easy to paddle, 20 miles in 7 hours, on class 1 low water. Not real speedy, but handles well, turns well even without leaning, is stable, and has lot's of storage space. I found the rudder effective on flat lake water, but have not used it twice on the floats I have been on. I am not sorry I added it to my boat, but it is not needed if you paddle enough to perfect your technique. Any yak will change direction when you stop paddling, as it sets in the water not on it like a canoe, and you need to keep in mind where you are headed, and what the river is doing when you stop paddling.
I have been caught off guard and the boat does go off in a strange direction, as stated in the other reviews, but have been watching and contribute this to various currents, and hydrulics in the river. Totally my fault, not the boat,IMO.
The trihedral hull with the slight rocker, combined with the stiff HTP makes the boat feel like a composite boat. Does not scratch easily.
the boat does plow a bit, but a crossover boat cant have all the best features.
I mainly river tour on class 1,2,&3 , and have been working my way up to #3 , correcting my bad habits,and learning about the boats habits.
It does not take long to be comfortable in this boat.
The seat back is kinda strange, as it "Pops" out of the slots that retain it. The neoprene hatch covers, while keeping the water out, are awkward to get back on, and I wish the tabs were at 2 corners instead of being centered on cover.
The boat goes through the waves instead of up and over so buy a skirt, either half or full.
I can lean the boat to the coaming without tipping over, but I had to paddle it for a couple of trips to get that comfortable.
I am tall, 6'5" and am quite comfortable, and can reach the footpegs while setting, to adjust. Plenty of room. I think Prijon has made a great crossover boat for those of us who do several types of water, and other than the seat back I have no complaints.
I have been paddling for 40 years and have been kayaking for 5 years. I hope this helps anyone who is considering this boat.
What great fun - I picked...
What great fun - I picked up a Yukon Expedition a week age and took her down the Cape Fear River in the sandhills of NC. I'm definatly a novice, but let me give this a shot.
The Yukon tracks much better than the whitewater boats that I'd paddled recently along the same track, quite a bit faster, and relaxing to paddle. (although certianly not as well tracking or fast as a 17' sea boat). She's stable as a rock, places that I'd been a little nervous in the WW boat, I paddled hard and blasted right through. Quite a lot of water comes over the bow, right up to (and in) the cockpit, but even with the extra water weight she was stable and easy to paddle right through the rough stuff (skirt is on order...)
I was comfortable taking the Yukon anywhere that the more experienced WW guys were going - while carrying all of their drinks, snacks and gear. Can't beat that.
I have owned the boat for...
I have owned the boat for over a year and have two other boats one a sea kayak and another a white water boat. I am 5' 11" and have a size 13 shoe.
The above reviews are accurate. I can only add that this is a very unusual boat and is not for everyone. I use it as my primary sea kayak now which is probably a bit of a surprise. It is very comfortable, very large, very maneuverable, and a lot of fun to paddle. It looks a little different, too. A friend told me it looks like a tug boat, which it does and I have used it to tow Brit boats off of rocks.
I do not have rudder, but I can see why folks might want one. You need to paddle the Yuke like a white water boat or even a canoe. You need to have a short paddle, bob your head and torso around, and link strokes. Once you get the knack of it the lack of lateral stability is a blessing especially in rough water which is where this boat really shines.
I can't give it a 10 because I like the number 7 better. The Yukon makes me giggle.
I bought my expedition...
I bought my expedition five years ago and since I have never regetted it. I have taken on a week long trip through the Everglades and many shorter trips through the back country in the Florida Keys were I used to live and even out to the reefs five miles in open water. I now live in North Florida and have found that it handels the smaller rivers here with out complaint. It is a boat that needs time to learn, but I have never had a rudder on mine and don't plan on getting one. If you take the time to develope good control, this boat will go anywhere.
I've owned my yukon ex for...
I've owned my yukon ex for about 5 years,bought it used, and mostly paddled it off the beach at myrtle beach, i've had this boat out in hurricanes, nor'easters and days where the ocean looked like a washing machine, this boat rules, i never felt unstable in it and always had a blast in the surf, i did modify the rudder pedals so they would slide and went through several rudder blades till i made a fairly flexible one out of glass and epoxy, this boat is bombproof, unfortunately i am landlocked now and the mighty yukon is in the basement.
41 year old, out of shape,...
41 year old, out of shape, newbie kayaker with recently acquired 4 year old Yuk Exp w/rudder. As with some of the other "youngsters", I find that most of the time, the Yukon has a mind of its own w/o using the rudder. I blame most if not all of this on my inexperience and poor paddling habits. I am fortunate to have a decent size lake about 5 minutes from my house and I get to "practice" about 3-5 hours a week. Practice, while not making perfect (yet), does help.
Strangely enough, I find that my Yukon (with the rudder UP) handles better in rougher waters than calm. On a calm lake it seems to prefer veering to the right. Rougher waters seem to produce a much straighter line. Again, I am almost positive that in calmer waters, I am trying too much/too fast and doing things very poorly. The rougher water forces me to stay more focused and slow things down.
For the most part, I really like (ok, love) my Yukon. I wish it was a little faster and lighter. While this might be viewed as a negative, I think of it as the opposite. The Yukon has provided me with enough pleasure/confidence/curiousity to WANT to pursue (in due time) a lighter and faster kayak. A lesser kayak would have had me selling my paddling gear all together and simply walking away from kayaking.
Rating anything for the first time is really a crapshoot as it is really a baseline for all other things to come. If somehow my Yukon had to rate me as a KAYAKER, I am sure I would receive much lower marks than I am giving it. I think a lot of shortcomings mentioned for this model are more the fault of the "yaker" and not the yak (as in my case). There is always something better if you can find and afford it. For me, the Yukon is a pretty good start.
I bought my Yukon without...
I bought my Yukon without the rudder - and you couldn't pay me to put one on. :) It's not a good tracking boat when you stop paddling - but that's easy to remedy by keeping up the occasional stroke. I've got a rudder on my Excursion - and for tandem paddling I use it. But if I have the Excursion out with the front cockpit full of gear - then I leave the rudder up. I guess I'm more concerned with being able to cross currents and not get hung up on river debris than I am about cruising in a straight line - but like I said - it goes where you point it as long as you are paddling... I rate it a 9 for 3 nit picky reasons.
1) My seat doesn't adjust front and back. I like it where it is - but I'd prefer to check it out a bit further back.
2) I prefer Perceptions foot keepers because I can move them forward and back from inside the boat with my feet. I have to get out and use my hands to adjust Prijon's keepers. If you're using a rudder then the gas pedal style is nice - but having to pull the center out and find the next hole is cumbersome.
3) The screws that hold the adjustable thigh braces on stick up above the rest of the coaming - and after a week of paddling they had really scratched up the shaft of my brand new carbon fiber Epic paddle.
I sent the paddle back because the blades were both delaminating anyway - but that's a review that I'll hold off on until after I get the replacement (so far I'd suggest you buy one you can inspect first rather than ordering one).
I have an older Yukon with...
I have an older Yukon with a rudder and the previous reviewer ( hey "dude"...) and I emailed back and forth some on the merits of adding a rudder to a rudderless boat like he had. I inherited this boat from my sister and I remember the very first time I paddled it. It was actually the first time I had ever paddled a kayak, so at the time, it wasn't the best introduction (it didn't have a rudder then). The boat was all over the place and I couldn't control it. Fast forward to a couple of years later when my sisters husband in the meanwhile had installed a factory Prijon rudder, and sis said I could have the boat as they had added 2 others to their garage. I couldn't believe that the same boat would behave much differently even with a rudder after that famous first experience, but it did. Now I'm going on two years with the boat and I've learned somewhat how to paddle the boat without the rudder by leaning to the opposite side and switching back and forth. Still this technique requires a lot of attention and when slowing down the boat still wants to go its own way, so most of the time I use the rudder and its a totally different boat. I've added a deck bag and flush mount rod holders to the back deck and its been quite a nice fishing vessel, very stable and with the rudder down I can hold a parallel drift for casting a shoreline or edge type structure. I thought I'd want to sell it when I bought my latest yak (Pungo), but I was wrong and I found myself missing the attributes of the Yukon for dealing with river current and wind, it sits lower in the water than the Pungo and its a totally different feel. So Pungo gets added, Yukon keeps its place and I'm looking forward to a sit on top for those striped bass further out in the rough stuff. I would recommend this boat for crossover paddling, but get yourself a rudder, this boat needs it.
(NOTE: My boat was...
(NOTE: My boat was outfitted for a rudder but did not have one installed. I will happily refer to it in the past tense.)
The Yuke is promoted as a "crossover" or "multi-use" craft (please give the swiss-army-knife phrase a rest!), purportedly equally at home in white or flat water. But in reality, no design is ideal for two entirely different types of paddling. I'm a flatwater paddler who wanted the versatility of being able to use it in whitewater. Bad choice. Better you be a whitewater paddler who occasionally does flatwater if you want to enjoy your Yuke.
If there is a paddling/bracing/leaning technique that will propel this boat in the direction you choose to travel, my varied attempts never stumbled on it. The dealer, of course, praised the boat & blamed my inexperience. I was originally determined to master the boat, but finally threw in the towel after 8 months. Spoke with other owners who admitted it is a humbling long-term "learning experience."
You will note reviews of other boats that identify a persistent veering to one side. The Yuke is more of a paradox, as it behaved differently every time I took it out. Sometimes quirky, other times downright contrary. Only once did it behave and I enjoyed my paddle. The one constant is, if you stop paddling it will immediately change course. Rudders, I'm told, are a big help. For touring use, don't buy one without a rudder unless you plan to add one.
On the positive side, the boat is very roomy for a large paddler. Tons of legroom, but the keyhole cockpit was a little tight for my long legs. Tank-like construction. I am a fan of Prijon's superior poly, but don't be fooled...it WILL dent if you keep it tightly strapped too long. However, it will easily bear my weight behind the cockpit. (Some boats feel like you'll break them when doing the shoehorn entry).
SUMMARY: My wife & I called it the "FOREST GUMP" boat. You never knew what you were going to get!!!
There is a lip on the back...
There is a lip on the back of the seat (the bottom part) and the seat backrest should have a bungie loop hanging off of it. Just pull the loop down under the lip and it shouldn't let the seat backrest slip off again. You have to pop the bungie loose to get behind the seat - and it's easy to forget to replace it. If it still comes off for you - then just tie the bungie loop shorter.
So far I've only sat in a Yukon - but the seat is the same as my Excursion's. Maybe Prijon should have the straps connect farther forward - and hinge the seat? Personally I'd rather just have the bulkhead all the way up next to the seat backrest so you don't put anything back there - but that space seems to be the norm for manufacturers...
I bought the Yukon...
I bought the Yukon Expedition because I wanted a very versatile boat to fill out my tupperware fleet. When touring with slower paddlers, I use the Yukon rather than my Dagger Atlantis, because with the faster boat, I don't work at all. But, I also wanted a boat that is quite maneuverable for rivers with a little white water between the flat stretches. The Yukon fits these criteria and is probably the most versatile boat on the market.
Although the width and length is the same as the Prijon Calabria (25" wide x 14' 5" long), the Yukon is not as fast as the Calabria, which parts the water more gently. The Yukon plows water a bit due to the increased volume; however, it is not so slow as to be a dog. It'll keep up with the fastest rec boats.
In terms of stability, the Yukon is really strong. It's more stable than the Calabria, which is also a very stable boat, and in fact is even more stable (secondary) than a Dagger Cypress, which is a 26.5" wide recreational kayak. I love Prijon's trihedral hull design. Basically, it has three faces: a flat one about a foot wide on the bottom to offer strong initial stability; and then a single chine on each side, with another flat face at about a 30-degree angle from horizontal. When you lean the boat, you can just hang on that secondary face forever.
I mounted a rudder on my Yukon, though I basically use it as a skeg. I control the rudder with a trim tab from Cascade Designs, because I am a T7/8 complete paraplegic and needed hand control of the rudder. Actually, I really wish this boat had a retractable skeg instead of a rudder. The skeg blade could be made of a stiff, but flexible material, so that if you slid sideways into a river rock with the skeg down, the blade would just fold over and snap back.
The wind doesn't catch much on this boat, so ruddering in the wind isn't really necessary. A nice skeg is all it needs for excellent tracking without leans.
As far as weaknesses, they've already been mentioned in previous reviews, and they aren't major issues. The bow will dive under waves, so the ride is wet, and the backrest with the two pegs that slip into slots has a tendency to pop out of place. I'm going to screw cloth hinges into mine, because the popping out is quite the nuisance. As I'm sitting in the boat in the paddling position, the back of my life jacket is over the backrest, because I had to extend my backrest to reach up into my functional musculature. Any time I stop paddling and lean forward, say to grab my water bottle, the backrest pops out of its slots.
Overall, the Yukon is a great go-anywhere, do anything boat. The significant rocker makes for excellent maneuverability for a boat of this length, and with a rudder (or skeg), you can paddle straight lines with no steering effort. As a bonus, some say that she has sexy lines.
For me, she's also good at overland kayaking. I get into my boat and leave my wheelchair on high, solid ground. Then I propel myself in my boat with carbide-tipped cross country ski poles with half-baskets. The rocker of the Yukon makes overland maneuverability pretty decent, and the Yukon works pretty good for seal starts, too.
If you're a person who wants to paddle every kind of water, but will be buying only one boat, you'll want to investigate the Yukon.
My wife and I purchased...
My wife and I purchased two Yuk X's in 1999. Over the last three years we have paddled them in everthing from class III to surfing at the coast. I love this boat! We purchased rudders but have used them more as a skeg than anything else. By putting the boat on edge, and using good technique, she paddles beautifully.
I have never been able to fill the boat up with stuff (with the exception of the time I loaded an 8" dutch oven, soft cooler, camping gear, and charcoal). I did read a comment about the drink holder that I think is correct. Put your bottle in the net under the deck (inside the cockpit), and it will stay in place. In the summer, I freeze a nalgene bottle and use a Outdoor Reseach padded cover to keep it cool longer.
If you like to surf, do be careful. Landing them loaded can be tricky. They will dive! Wake from large passing vessles traveling at "Squat" speed can be very dangerous in any kayak, but the Expedition tends to run into the trough real fast, torpedo the face of the second wave causing tons of water to pour over the deck. I started using a deck bag. It locks into place and you don't have to worry about anything being swept off the deck.
The Yukon-Expedition will let you explore, and it doesn't lock you into a particular type of paddling.
The Yuke can best be...
The Yuke can best be described as a fast-moving whitewater design with storage. It's a lot of fun to paddle. For those who care, it attracts a lot of favorable comments about its appearance (at least it does in yellow). The contrasting end caps are functional, but that also make the boat look like it means business. One reason for selecting it was a Prijon whitewater boat I bought years ago. The plastic was strong, light and as pristine as if it had been precision-machined from billet aluminum. No need to worry about the warps, cupping, etc. I've had in some of my "Tupperware" boats. I took delivery on the Yuke and noticed a number of hull defects, much to my surprise. It's hard to mold large plastic objects without some defects, but this was excessive, especially for Prijon. The dealer (a great one) immediately contacted Prijon. They offered an $87 rebate (no idea where that came from), which amounts to about 7% of the price. I've bought seconds from 30-40% off, so I said I'd take a new boat, and the dealer backed me. But, in the meantime, I paddled it in a variety of conditions. Having cut my teeth on whitewater boats, I find this one easy to keep going on a straight course. In high waves, with a wind on the aft quarter, it's a challenge, but it is for many boats. I don't like rudders and didn't order one. The boat is set up to add one with ease. The high points are performance and comfort. It accelerates quickly, turns/draws well (flat bottom) and tracks pretty good. The seat is very comfortable and the thigh braces and footpegs adjust nicely. The hatches are flush to the deck and easy to use. The grab handles are substantial. The downside is mostly quibbling. The cockpit coaming is part of the molding and may not be as sturdy as you like. Also, the large cockpit opening is a bit of an odd size and it can take a little time to find a spray skirt that fits well. The seat back has two thin supports that slide into slots in the base, so it can pop out and doesn't feel like it would take a good jolt. Might be better on a hinge. The drink holder is part of the seat and is designed for vertical positioning well up between your thighs. In other words, the temperature of your container and the temperature of your private parts will become the same. Since I freeze my water bottles in warm weather, I let them roll around in the hull instead of using the holder. Or, you can slip them under the deck net. Regardless of temperature, I really don't want anything between my thighs when I paddle. I'd rather see this part of the seat extended.
But, like I said, that's quibbling. This is one fun ride and, out of my eight, this one has become my favorite boat.
I recieved my Yukon...
I recieved my Yukon Expediton on July 22,2002. I still can't wipe the smile off my face. This is an almost indestructable boat that laughs at the abuse I put it through daily. It eats up rocky rivers and cuts through the rapids like a white water kayak. I've taken it through the pinelands, thrashed it in the surf, and had it two miles into the open ocean fishing for fluke. It holds everything you could wish to carry and easily fits my 6'2, 218lb frame. As far a tracking, I find it tracks well, if you are a dilligent paddler. A rudder would help if you are lake fishing and just floating around, however it is not a neccessity. I would reccomend this boat to any one looking for a kayak that does everything well.
Solid and versatile, I...
Solid and versatile, I enjoy my Yukon Ex on lakes, rivers and ocean kayaking in NorCal. The rudder is a huge hlp with tracking, but with it up, the boat turns on a dime and can navigate small creeks easily.
The biggest downside involves ocean kayaking. Without an upswept bow, the nose goes under waves and chop. The scariest experience I've had involved having the nose driven into a kelp bed as I was surfing a wave into a cove at Point Lobos. I had about 30 poinds of kelp to remove from eth deck before I could get into sheltered water!
This boat WILL NOT go in a...
This boat WILL NOT go in a straight line without a rudder! I am 6'1" and about 270 lbs and the boat has loads of space. As I said,the first time I used it was without the rudder and I spent the whole time going round in circles, however, with the rudder it is superb. This boat is the perfect 'all-rounder' and I am happy to take it out on the open sea.
I purchased my Yukon X a...
I purchased my Yukon X a year ago after paddling an Acadia for years. This boat has everything you would want in a combo boat. It's speed and stability allow it to handle like a much smaller boat. Tracking only becomes a problem with a strong wind at your back. A rudder would probably help on flat lake water but does not matter on rivers where I do the most of my paddling. This boat is tough and can hold an enormous amout of gear for extended trips.
I've had my Yukon Exp for...
I've had my Yukon Exp for 5 years now. I've bought two other touring boats before finally finding this Yukon. Now, out of my fleet of 2 Touring, 1 Tandem and 2 WW kayaks, this is my #1 boat for most paddling. I've used it on lakes as well as class III rivers (Lehigh River, PA). Mostly, I use it on slower moving rivers (Susquehanna River, PA) and for over-night/multi-night trips.
Holds a ton of gear. Compartments seal very nicely. The seals I have however, don't fit quite right anymore, I think I need new ones, these have been used pretty hard. Not for the beginner though, could be hard to paddle straight. I can paddle it with precision in whitewater and flat water alike. I can paddle it like an arrow in open water (Lake Erie) without a rudder (as long as it's not windy!). I don't have a rudder, but I suspect it would help the wind problem.
Very roomy boat. I'm 6'5" and have no leg or foot room problems. My first two touring boats had no cockpit room. The boat rolls fine ... with some practice ... even with gear in it. My girlfriend even rolled it after teaching her to roll only 3 months earlier! I never HAD to roll it though! Very stable boat.
Highly recommend as the Sports Utlility of kayaking ...
I have an older Yukon (...
I have an older Yukon ( non-expedition), Tour model that my sister gave me. It was her first kayak (used), but at the time she bought it, it didn't have a rudder, and as previously mentioned, it would veer to one side and keep going unexpectedly. Finally she bought a rudder, and with that addition, the boat really moves nicely in a straight line. This is my first kayak, so I'm not sure how fast it is, but it's very stable, if a little small for me. I understand that on the expedition version of this model that the cockpit is a little deeper, and of course there are the hatches and bulkheads. For me the boat is a little small (5'10" 210 lbs.), but I still enjoy it enough to keep it, at least for the time being. It is very stable, and seems very well suited to river use for a longer boat. I've been told that the hull design is exactly the same as the current expedition model except for the deeper cockpit. I may look at the expedition model at some point since I am so satisfied with this boat, but want more storage and capacity. If someone out there has one of the older Yukon models, I'd be real interested in how you like your boat.
I don't understand the...
I don't understand the comments about the tracking. It seems to me that with just a minimum of paddling technique (as was mentioned below--leaning/edging) this kayak goes as straight as an arrow. I almost didn't buy it because of all the "gotta have a rudder" comments. I'm glad I looked into it further, because I really like this kayak. I have had it on the Monongahela River (a relatively broad expanse) in the presence of multiple power boats and gusty wind with no problems at all. I paddle it upstream on the Tygart against and across visible current all the time, and I have no problems. I have taken it through class 3 whitewater and have had no problems. In the month that I have owned this kayak I have had been out paddling on every nice day (I live on the Tygart), and I like it more every time I take it out. I can certainly envision circumstances in which it would be convenient to have the rudder, but it's certainly not a necessity--especially on a river. My only problem with it is actually a problem with me, and that is that its weight makes it a bit awkward for me to heft up and down the river bank where I live.
Just tested this kayak on...
Just tested this kayak on the chicago river - stillwater. Man does this boat have a mind of it's own, kept going where it wanted, didn't have a rudder. Gotta have a rudder! near power boats and other craft you need a boat that will go in the direction you want. Only give it a seven because it is comfortable for a large paddler, I am 6'-2" and 250 pounds, and the boat is very stable, good for photography and fishing. remember, get it with a rudder, or you'll waste your time spinning in circles
The Yukon is my favorite...
The Yukon is my favorite of my fleet of 3 kayaks and one canoe. I spend a lot of time in it fishing in our local lakes and rivers. The seat is extremely comfortable for me. I agree that the boat is easier to handle with a rudder. I like the way it settles down in a stiff wind. I would recommend this boat to novice or expert paddlers.
I have had my Yukon Exp....
I have had my Yukon Exp. for 7 years. It was my first kayak and an addition to a fleet that already included 1 canoe and 1 WW playboat. On my first outing, I thought that I might have gotten a boat with a bend in it - it would not go straight like my canoe! It would not turn as easily as my WW boat! Was it the boat? Nope.
I hadn't taken the research I had done seriously, I thought I could make a short, fat boat cook along like an arrow by dint of my amazing strength and skill. I was a paddler, right? Well, partly, I was a WW paddler. I was a canoeist. I was NOT a seayaker. Yet.
Don't buy the Yukon as a primary flatwater boat. If you need 1 boat to do everything doable in a kayak, don't even consider any other boat. From class IV with a weekends worth of gear to a 30 mile overnighter on a lake to a 100 mile, 5 day deep river trip - the Yukon will handle it well. You do need to learn the boat. No rudder is necessary if you are a good paddler and spend some time in the boat. Leans are your friend. Get subtle with your technique.
This bad boy will hold LOTS of gear and keep it bone dry. The seat is the most comfortable I have ever used by far. I am considering the purchase of a true-blue, 17' sea kayak, but I will keep my Yukon for the many, many times that it will be the best boat for the job - if I do my part.
I can't believe all of the...
I can't believe all of the negative comments about tracking listed above. Did these people not do any research?? A boat that is designed to have a white water and flatwater capability needs to have some rocker and therefore will be less likely to go staright easily. This is what this boat is made for and it does it very well. In addition, with some proper technique (leaning/edging) it tracks quite well. Maybe the people should buy a touring sea kayak if they just want to go straight down a waterway. Of course, they might complain that they can't effectively turn them. Go figure!!
I rented a Yukon for an...
I rented a Yukon for an overnight trip down a mostly flat river. The Yukon is definitely very stable and did carry a fair amount of gear, but I felt it could have made better use of available capacity with a larger forward compartment and perhaps some aft deck bungie netting. The boat was very comfortable for me with plenty of leg and knee room, but it was rather difficult to keep it on track. This particular one didn't have the rudder installed, and that would have helped, I'm sure, but without one, it tended to wander and weathercock. It was quite maneuverable in the few fast sections of the river, but there weren't enough of them on this trip to make up for the lack of tracking on open water. I don't like to rely on a rudder over good technique, but I think it is pretty necessary on this boat. If you want a boat to carry a fair amount of stuff on a fast river, then this is probably a good choice, but if you are traveling long distances on slow rivers, then you might want to think about something a little sleeker.
I bought mine about 3...
I bought mine about 3 years ago. I wanted a stable touring boat I could go camping with, and the Yukon definitely fits the bill. It's not the fastest boat for open water, but it really shines when faced with scarier stuff on rivers and lakes. Essentially its a whitewater kayak that has been stretched out to 15 feet. A rudder is a definite necessity, so don't wait on that. I'm divided on the pedal system, as the plastic tends to warp quite a bit after prolonged use, perhaps Prijon should invest in a stiffer plastic or aluminum? In case you don't know, the boat has been down some really incredible stuff, including an excursion down the Grand Canyon and some class IV water in South America. I've personally been down the New and the Lower Yough with it. It won't turn tight rapids, but it handles the big stuff without drama. I now have a Pyranha WW boat, so I have best of both worlds!
Well, after a year of...
Well, after a year of planning & reading I finally bought my first kayak, the Yukon Expedition. I love this boat!!. I wanted something that would handle weekend to week long trips on the rivers of upper & lower Michigan. I'm sure I picked the right boat. As the previous reviews stated, the Yukon does have a tendancy stray in windy conditions, and if I decide to do much great lakes paddling I intend to purchase a rudder. On rivers this thing is wonderful. for a boat of it's volume it turns with ease and I've almost felt too comfortable running mild WW. This boat is STABLE!!! I'm rating this boat at an 8 because I didn't at all like the rigid backrest (I had the shop I bought it from install a back band before it took it home), and I've had a problem with the prijon logo peeling off. Really no big thing at all. If you're looking for a boat with great storage capacity, and want to do some river trippin', this would be a great boat for you.
This is the only boat on...
This is the only boat on the market of its kind. Yes, it doesn't track well because it needs to be more manuverable. It is designed for river trips.
This was the first kayak...
This was the first kayak that I ever bought. It was a great kayak to learn in because it was stable (with its beam, it couldn't help but be stable) and forgiving. However, it was a boat with a mind of its own. Without the rudder, I found that I could not really control the boat. If you buy this boat, buy it with the rudder. In addition, compared with other kayaks, the seating was not as good -- it also looked "chintzy."
The major reason for the lower rating involved the support that I received from Wildwasser -- the North American distributor. Over the winter, I bought a rudder for the Yukon. Early in the year, the cable on the rudder separated. It took me numerous telephone calls and 5 shipments (all but the last with the wrong length cable) before the problem was fixed. The people tried to be helpful but they were not every effective.
In short, if you are a learner or a big person or someone who is going to do a variety of paddling, this is a decent boat to consider. However, it does need a rudder. In my opinion, there are better boats out there.
First season with a shell...
First season with a shell of my own; previous experience is with WW shells. I'm 5'11 205# and am a bit small for this large volume shell, but the cargo capacity is fantastic, great for weekend camping trips, carries all the gear of two campers with no complaint.
I have used mine in everything from class 2 WW to the open ocean and find it to not excel in any one area, but provides suitable performance over a wide range. The statements of tracking problems with no rudder in windy and sea environments are familiar to me; I am going to get a rudder this winter. This boat does demand a fairly strong paddler in anything more than flat water due to it's volume. It is definitely a true multi-purpose boat. (remove nospam for email)
If it weren't for the...
If it weren't for the rudder, on open water, I would give this boat much lower marks. Everyone else has already mentioned the poor tracking, but the rudder makes all the difference. Purists would comment, "See, I told you so!", but I can out maneuver my wife's highly praised Perception Carolina and keep a true heading. On rivers this boat excels. No need for the rudder here. Stability is amazing. Ample space, comfortable seat and all around tough design makes this boat a ton of fun. Priced slightly higher than the Carolina but I like the water tight compartments and deck rigging better. This boat will last me a long time.
I am a large person and...
I am a large person and find the large comfortable 36x18 cockpit both easy to enter and exit and that's why I like it. I use it on mostly on rivers,with some occasional lakes. If most of your use is on lakes, there are faster boats avail. The Yukon is all pupose boat that can be used on Rivers, WW, lakes and seas, but doesn't excell in any one area. The trihedral hull design makes fast turns in WW difficult, but will easily do just about any WW downriver, and the storgage space is great.
Being 6' 5" and over...
Being 6' 5" and over 250lbs I find the Yukon Ex to be a wonderful boat to paddle on San Francisco Bay or the lakes near my home. This boat must have the rudder down to track or the boat will take on a mind of its own, especially in strong currents and wind. The seats high backrest does not help with eskimo rolls but with the wide beam, and good stability I rarely have had do them. The butterfly foot pedals for the rudder are easy to adjust for all paddlers.
I am a large person and...
I am a large person and have tried several kayaks before falling for my expedition. I agree that without a rudder the kayak is hard to manage. However I have been using a rudder for two seasons and find it handles much better. Easy to get in and out off and easy on a bad back. I like the backrest on this kayak.
I have recently moved up...
I have recently moved up to the Yukon-X from an Acadia. The boat is faster and is as agile as the acadia however, who ever designed the boat and decided to sell it without a rudder is crazy. If paddled without a rudder the boat grabs at every current and wind direction it can, throwing you completely off course. Thusly, it is quite hard to handle once the boat has decided on its own direction. However, with the rudder (I hope) the boat will be as fun as it feels except with out the tracking problem.