Here is a more comprehensive way to rate this inflatable kayak: Rating 2…
Rating 2 for manufacturing quality
Rating 3 for durability
Rating 7 for the overall concept, features, cost, & performance if it would be made reliably & durable
Rating 9 for Swimline Corp. customer service (they are the wholesaler)
Buying this boat has been an experience. The Trekker is orange and 12'8" long. On the first trip down a local river, noticed the boat was leaning way over to one side. A close look at it verified it was not made symmetrical (i.e., was visibly lopsided), which caused it to sit cocked in the water. Sent pictures of it to the on-line store I bought it from and asked for a return/refund. However, since they wanted me to pay the return shipping (~$35) even though it wasn't my fault, I contacted Swimline Corp since they have a one-year warrantee on it. They sent me a new one (actually sent a whole new package because they don't keep just the hulls in stock; but they required me to cut out the two hull ID numbers from the original boat and send them back in, so that wrecked one side tube.) I examined the second Trekker boat immediately, and it had similar issues, but not so bad that it would not be usable. Again I sent Swimline the pictures, along w/ pictures I found on the internet that showed the same issue. They got wiser and more understanding this time: they let me keep the second Trekker boat as is, and said they are going to a "new structure" now, so they will send me one of those boats instead. What they sent was a better model of theirs called the Traveller II (the full package again), which is off-white and eight inches longer. It has the same type of design, but maybe they are having better success w/ this model.
This Traveller II boat I received was only slightly out of symmetry, and I am satisfied and like it. (See my review for the Solstice Traveller II.)
I started to use the second Trekker boat & noticed the floor had deflated by the next day after use. Found one point along the side of the floor where the seam did not come fully together to cover all of a long row of tiny holes. I patched it and it held. However, after each of the next several uses, there was yet another hole each time after I used it! (One more seam issue, plus three pin holes!) Don't see how I could have damaged it so many times w/ just normal use, so it seems there must be a material and/or manufacturing weakness w/ this particular boat, or maybe with this model as whole. (FYI – I do know how to handle inflatable kayaks, as I have owned a half dozen of them over the last several years, so this is not due to me mishandling it.) After patching a total of FIVE holes in this second boat, I have now used the boat several times since then w/ no further damage (yet).
In spite of quality issues, I like the features on the Trekker (similar on the Traveller II also):
- This is a ~3 psi boat, plus has crossbar(s) you can use, making it good and solid/rigid.
- Glides fairly well (the Traveller II glides even better).
- Like the sleek profile which a) takes less space when transporting, b) gives it a longer waterline meaning higher theoretical maximum hull speed, and, c) sits under the wind more easily.
- At around 30" wide, it is narrower than some inflatables, which helps speed slightly.
- Has flexibility to use the seats/crossbars that it comes with, or to leave them off and instead use inflatable seats such as a Sea Eagle's; inflatable seats are the most comfortable and also allow you to locate the seats wherever you want instead of being stuck with only the exact seat locations that the back-support bars dictate.
- It has a rubber tracking fin in both the front and back that are fastened to the boat; they are each 18" long and stick down a couple inches. I have never seen this type on any other inflatable, but I like that they are low profile so you can handle shallower water. Since they do not stick down real far, there is a little bit of wag when you paddle, but that is not an issue (the Trekker's tracking is OK and the Traveller II is good).
- Boat does fine with both solo and tandem paddling.
Be aware that its weight capacity is only rated at about 400 pounds. It does not have any bungie cords, but does have D-rings at both bow and stern ends. Note that the low/sleek profile a) has minimal rocker, and, b) does allow some spray into the boat if there is chop, so it is a bit like a sit-on-top kayak. Also note that you may feel that the locations of the seat-back support bars and seat-bottom Velcro strips (which dictate where their seats have to go) are not placed exactly where you would want them – if so, you can give yourself flexibility by just leaving off the bars and using inflatable seats wherever you'd like. The boat has good secondary stability, but it can have a little side-to-side "rock" to it (i.e. feel a little "tippy") when in choppy water or rolling wake, so it is most ideal for flatwater.
If they would correct their quality issues with the Trekker, or have already corrected them with the Traveller II, these boats offer nice features for a reasonable price.