Nimble, Sporty, and Recreation oriented. The Ute was designed as a highly portable lightweight kayak that would meet Long Haul's standards for reliability and ruggedness. The Ute is their most compact kayak, and works great for everything from day touring to longer expeditions. The Ute is best suited for people under 5’10” and less than 200lbs (1.778 metes, 90 kg). All hulls are customized to your specs. Some of the custom features available include: lifeline, extra D-rings, tie-downs, keel strips, bow and/or stern oval deck hatch.
Read and submit reviews for the The Ute Package.
Featuring beautiful, hand-selected Ash hardwood and Birch Laminate Frame; CSM rubber hull material. Acrylic deck material by SeaMark™SeaMark is a combination of Sunbrella, the premier woven acrylic fabric, and Haartz, textured marine-grade vinyl resulting in a colorfast, waterproof fabric that holds up well in the harsh conditions of any marine environment. Stainless Steel Fittings. Quality materials make the most rugged, long-lasting folding kayaks available in the world.
Read reviews for the The Ute Package by Long Haul Folding Kayaks 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!
This review is by a paddler with 30 + years experience on paddling trips all over the world. I am 5' 10", 215 lbs, 62 years old and athletic. I have no affiliation with Long Haul Kayaks, other than having an admiration for the seaworthiness and craftsmanship of their boats.
I recently purchased a Long Haul (LH) Ute Classic folding kayak that I had sailed before in the Everglades using a Balogh Sail Design (BSD) rig. The boat performed very well in that capacity. However, at just 12' 10" in length with a 28" beam, I was a little concerned about paddling speed and also just how rugged it was, having previously owned the LH Mark 1, as well as numerous other expedition quality Kleppers, Nautiraids and Feathercrafts.
On my first 4.5 mile test paddle at my local lake, using a narrow bladed Feathercraft Cormorant 4 piece paddle 230 cm paddle, I easily managed 3.4 mph using my GPS and was able to get up to 4.6 mph for 100-200 yards bursts, paddling at approximately 80% of my maximum capability. Considering the 28" beam and the lack of water line because of its shorter length, I was more than satisfied with its speed. The boat is incredibly stable because there is virtually no rocker, has a wide beam and like most folding boats, also has internal air sponsons. I did not need to use the rudder -- although there was little wind on my test paddle day -- and found it reasonably nimble and easy enough to turn, even without having any up-swept bow (as in many Feathercraft kayaks for example).
As with all Mark Eckhart designed boats, the Ute is stoutly built. The beautiful wooden frame, made of ash and birch was essentially the same quality as I found in my Long Haul Mark 1 Expedition and previous Kleppers. I found it very easy to assemble and also very solid. Of course Mark, having worked for Klepper for many years (prior to forming his own company) has made numerous design improvements over Kleppers. Assembling the Ute, the first thing I noticed is that the majority of the fittings were stainless steel. I also noted that all the ribs had a kind of quick release clevis pin that fit through the stainless steel fittings at the top of each rib (locking them into place). In addition, each rib had a cleverly designed figure 8 type stainless steel pin, designed for easy engagement, which essentially double locks each rib, as well as the two top-deck frames pieces into place. Thus, you can pick this boat up, move it all around and there is no way the ribs and frame can ever move out of place.
I'm not sure what thickness Mark uses on the bottom CSM (hypalon) hull, but I was very pleased with its ruggedness. It also comes with two narrow keel strips glued together to the bottom hull, running for approximately 16" at both the bow and stern of the boat. The top deck material he has also improved, moving away from the old cotton deck (which faded easily and was notorious for taking too long to dry out), to a robust synthetic material he calls Sea Mark (vinyl-coated acrylic fabric). He has also redesigned the foot pedals, using clevis pins that lock them solidly onto two stainless steel plates mounted on the keel board. Previous pedals on Kleppers forced you to turn a knob which cinched the pedal base together onto the keel board. However, that system sometimes slipped, which potentially created a dangerous situation when either sailing or paddling on the ocean in certain conditions. The only downside to Mark's new system is that the pedals MUST be attached to the keel board "before" you assemble the entire boat. Once attached, it is very difficult to adjust them without taking the bow section of the frame at least partially out of the boat. I also found the stainless steel snap links that attach the rudder lines to the top of the pedals could sometimes slightly rub against the No. 2 rib when I had the pedals adjusted to the holes closest to the cockpit. However, I easily fixed that (potential) problem by replacing those snap links with some smaller and more narrow ones I pick up at Lowes for a couple of dollars.
The Ute classic comes with what Mark Eckhart calls a "sling seat". It easily locks into place with a series of snap buckles on each side of the frame. I found it very comfortable as it allows you to adjust the inflation of both the bottom and the seat back sections of the seat with an inflation tube to a desired level. The valves used on those tubes also are used on the two sponson tubes and are an upgrade from the old Klepper "plug system". The problem with the old system was that if you ever lost a plug, you were out of luck; so you always had to carry spares as they were so little and easy to lose. Furthermore, it seemed you always lost too much air fumbling to get the plugs into the hole after fully inflating the sponsons. The new tubes work by turning a valve at the end of tubes as you blow air into the sponsons and then quickly turning them closed when full (like Feathercraft valves). Mark also seemed to purposely increase the length of those inflation tubes so you could easily reach them, even after being inside the cockpit in a paddling position.
One reason I bought this Ute was to have a portable and much lighter boat for trips abroad that if I packed very carefully, using the latest light-weight technical camping gear, I could be gone for at least a week at a time. I haven't tested this out yet, but just looking inside the boat, and having packed for so many trips, I feel I could easily do this. In hindsight though, I wish I had asked Mark to sew in at least a bow hatch, as I know he can customize your boat to your specific needs. However, I did ask him to design a very cool custom sea sock which I am quit pleased with. The sea sock keeps all sand and salt water out of your boat and can also be an additional safety device in a capsize (keeping water from immediately flooding the boat and potentially sinking it, if you did not have flotation or other types of bags inside it).
The boat's weight is published at 50 lbs, however like many kayak manufacturers, this weight is obviously without many of the things you might want for extended trips. My Ute has numerous very strong stainless steel D rings and a life line running all around it. The kayak also has several very robust bungee cords, bow and stern grab handles, two paddle tie downs and a very stout rudder and rudder mount/pin. Equipped like this, the boat weighed 58-59 lbs, according to my hand scales I use for travelling. Still, I am happy enough with the weight as it's a big improvement over some of the 15-16' folding boats I've owned in the past. Less weight has become even more critical to me, as I now often find myself traveling with the BSD sail rig.
My boat also came with a nice Long Haul designed tuck-under spray skirt, which is a big improvement over the old and comparability flimsy Klepper skirts that only attach to the combing via velcro (and effectively cover the most beautiful part of the boat -- the wooden cockpit combing). The Ute also came with a very robust 2 piece set of packing bags and an innovative longren packing sleeve which helps organize all your frame pieces; keeping them solidly together for airline travel. Finally, my boat also arrived with an adjustable front foot brace, which provides something to push against to keep your back straight, in case you don't want to use the rudder/peddles.
Overall I am very pleased with my new Long Haul Ute and welcome any questions about its build quality or paddling/sailing characteristics.
I love my Ute, the smallest folding kayak made by Long Haul. I paddle it in the rivers and estuaries of the southwestern coast of Florida. It is light weight, maneuverable, yet very stable. I can get into some very tight places with very little water depth with The Ute which affords seeing unassuming wildlife.
I also often paddle the shores of the inter-coastal water way and sometimes go out through the passes into the open ocean without worry of capsizing. the design and stability of the Ute is remarkable.
We have a modest condominium home so the Ute Folding Kayak by Long Haul is ideal for me. Packing it in the two custom cordura bags makes the Ute very portable and easy to store out of the way in a closet. When doing a road trip the kayak bags fit easily into the trunk of our vehicle. In fact, two Utes would easily fit into the trunk of a modest sized vehicle. Assembly of the Ute is about 20 minutes so the need of using a roof rack for transporting isn't needed. My Ute is safe and secure inside the car and out of the hot Florida sun.