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Name: CD1

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The Bumfortable seat has been reviewed recently by kayak distance racers, and their opinions are well-thought and respected. I have, however, a couple issues with the Bumfortable seat and feel that, as a general kayaking seat (which is the category for which it is sold), it is a 6 of 10 product.

I have been kayaking for about eight years and I own about a dozen kayaks, and one of my Valley Nordkapps has the Bumfortable seat. Although it is comfortable to sit in, and comfortable when sitting upright such as kayak marathoning, I do not find it nearly as useful for more dynamic kayaking. Rolling, deep bracing, reverse stoke are simply not side-supported enough by the Bumfortable seat. The foam is not really closed-cell, not truly open cell either, but something in between. This leads to flex, and flex is not good (except for comfort under the buttocks). The manufacturer has an optional band that goes around the seat, and my kayak came with the seat and band, but the band seemed not to make much difference. My other kayaks either have stock Valley or Prijon seats and backbands, or I have custom shaped and fit gray, closed cell foam. This option is much preferred if a kayaker is going to be dynamic and move in the cockpit and desires a form fit for dynamic use. Not only do I get a better "purchase" and more seat and back stability for forward stroke power with true minicell, closed cell foam, but it’s also more ideal for rolling, etc. The intimacy of the hips and thighs is mandatory for proper boat control, and is the virtue of traditional seating or minicell. The Bumfortable, however, has a higher back than necessary, in my opinion, and has an emphasis on comfort over performance, and does not permit the stability around the hips and thighs to allow for ideal boat control.

Two additional issues regarding the Bumfortable: the installation/gluing and the price.

The foam is so "flexy" that the seat quite easily pulls up from the kayak bottom. I use the traditional method of installation, which is to clean the fiberglass or plastic thoroughly, including alcohol, allow to dry then use DAP Weldwood and allow some drying for super "tack", and then adding the seat. While this tried-and-true method works wonders for minicell (hard to remove even if you want to get it off, actually), the flexing Bumfortable will untack and come off on you during paddling. Its’ just too flexy, too open-celled, and the one-piece high back nature of the seat will have you putting direct pressure through it on each forward stroke. A two-piece traditional seat plus backband, for instance, does not allow direct pressure on the backband to be translated to the seat because they are independent units. I have had the Bumfortable pull detach frequently and frustratingly, even once on the first paddle a couple days after meticulous gluing; I have never had minicell come off, ever. A dislodged seat would be catastrophic on an expedition.

The price of the Bumfortable is high. The cost of closed cell/minicell is relatively much cheaper. Minicell can be obtained from most kayak general retailers, and in generic form at online auction sites. Shaping is so easy with a hacksaw and rough grit sandpaper, I don’t know why anyone would use anything else. A custom minicell seat that one could make themselves would be, based on my experience, about 1/3 the price of the Bumfortable seat.

All in all, the Bumfortable would not be the best choice for a sea kayaker who values a roll, paddles dynamic (sometimes violent) seas-- the side support and back support are inadequate for bracing, cockpit maneuvers and strong support for a power stroke (e.g. I could never imagine a kayak sprint racer using a Bumfortable). A traditional stock seat and backband, or minicell custom, would be preferred for sea kayaking.

That said, in thinking who might use the Bumfortable seat successfully, I would guess that it might indeed be reasonable for a long-distance, non-rolling (esp. if flatwater) kayak marathoner. It would also be reasonable for a flatwater recreational kayaker, although rec kayaks are typically inexpensive and buying an expensive seat for an inexpensive kayak is counterintuitive. A kayak fisherman might desire a comfortable seat for a wide, stable kayak fishing vessel; I am not a kayak fisherman, and can say that the Bumfortable would be like a cushion on the buttock for long term sitting, but I do not know if the fisherman, with hands preoccupied by rod and gear, needs to control the boat with hips and body movements. If so, the Bumfortable falls short.

I appreciate being able to post my thoughts on two years of use of the Bumfortable, and a simple counterpoint to the opinions already provided here. Thank you.

The Kokatat brand is well known for outstanding products, and the Gore-Tex storm cagoule is no exception. I agree with spysky's review, and having purchased it sight unseen upon only the universally applauded recommendation of other Paddling.netters, I can now attest to the exceptional build quality of this product. Certainly not the least expensive cag on the market, the Gore-Tex breathability plus the other features noted in the review below make this storm cag a must have on the water. It fits comfortably over my PFD, and it is a constant companion on every paddling trip now, always in handy reach under my deck lines. It packs down to the size of a softball, yet does not have a chincy, thin feel like nylon.

A cold wind comes over the water? Rain? Capsize and get chilled? Cagoule. I even use it off the water for sitting lakeside and keeping full coverage over legs, and being one-size-fits-all, it is very easy to loan to other paddlers in a rescue situation. It is warm without being overheating. The hood and Velcro wrist gaskets are reminiscent of top quality Kokatat drysuits, but without rubber gaskets.

The benefits of a the cag and its simple and sturdy attachment over the coaming or sprayskirt raise it head and shoulders above a dry top, which is harder to put on, must be placed under PFD, does not seal the cockpit, and must be properly size. I find dry tops/splash tops to also be fairly restrictive and sometimes chaffing on the arms with paddling; this is not true of the cag.

I never leave home without this storm cag, and although pricey, it is the best single piece of paddle clothing that I own.

The Lasso Lock with standard keyless lock is a Godsend for feeling safe in leaving your boat protected during shuttles and when parking in high traffic areas. Although no security system is foolproof, the Lasso Lock provides the most sound locking system available. I researched similar systems by other brands, but found the cable diameter to be smaller (and thus inferior) compared to the Lasso brand. I feel confident leaving my boat secured to the lock at all times. I have deducted one point for the fact that this lock, in my opinion, should be available in more than one length. For instance, locking from a high rack on my pickup truck to the bed, requires all of the cable, whereas locking a boat to a cartop carrier would require less cable. The Lasso Lock is a winner, however, with its pickless lock and sturdy plastic coated cable. I have read many reviews of locks, and have yet to find a negative one about this product. It is worth your investment.

It piddles! It paddles! It makes your deltoids skeedaddle! It tears your aching limbs off if you don’t show it respect in the form of a practiced yet strong torso rotation. If being in the doghouse is a sign of being a bad paddle, this carbon 220 cm Molokai is the resident rabid Doberman Pincher at the Werner kennel. Agreeing wholeheartedly with reviewer Sploosh below, I strongly advocate this paddle for a powerful paddler who is “one” with his (no “hers” need apply to team Werner Molokai—it’s not you, it’s the paddle) latissimus dorsi and serratus anterii (i.e. the trunk muscles). I'm a high angle paddler but this behemoth paddle can turn my shoulders into a slithering mass of black cherry Jell-o if I show it a hint of “arm”. Keep to the torso, and we are talking about a paddle that will accelerate with the best of them. Why wouldn’t it--the blade is the size of a snow shovel. Perhaps they should have called it the Werner Snow Devil.

Lightweight, my all carbon, bent shaft model is a pleasure to look at. It grabs a washtubful of water per stroke but exacts the toll from your shoulders; you can definitely feel it’s wrath after about 20 minutes of paddling. I would not recommend this paddle for an all day sojourn unless you’re name is Popeye and you remembered to put a can of spinach in your day hatch. I've learned to use a lower paddle angle for self preservation, but a Werner Camano would likely serve anyone better overall for a long tour. I use the Molokai with my lickety-split Prijon Barracuda as a workout paddle and it does excel if you will be on the water for a short time (30-60 minutes) and wish to develop a torso like Michelango’s David. If you are more the Jacques Cousteau-Marlin Perkins animal observer type, you will want to get no closer to Molokai than a trip to it’s namesake island.

Werner has, as of this writing, discontinued the Molokai. Too much liability with dislocated shoulders, perhaps. I own a large bladed Werner Corryvrecken fiberglass, which I enjoy soundly, and when I compare the blades, they are only slightly different in geometry, and about the same size. I am certain that the transparent, thin fiberglass weave of the Corryvrecken (still my favorite overall paddle) allows just enough “give” to make paddling it a pleasure. For even more ease of high angle paddling, I own and recommend the smaller bladed Werner Shuna—particularly promising for female and youth paddlers.

The Snapdragon Glacier Trek sprayskirt is exceptional. The quality of construction can’t be beat, and although I own Harmony and Wildwasser skirts, they simply don’t mimic the super fit and function of the Snapdragon. I find that it is very snug on the coaming of my plastic kayak, and yet allows nice exits. It has a taut neoprene band, rather than suspenders, that is well suited to my waist size and allows for exceptional comfort even with forward stroke and torso rotation. Like all neoprene items, it can be warm in summer; this becomes a virtue in the autumn and winter. I would not stray from Snapdragon brand, based on my experience, for all future sprayskirts.

The Concept Two, or Concept II, Rowing Ergometer is a home rowing machine that requires no electricity or pesky plugs, is simple in design and rigidly constructed, and gives a whale of a workout for paddlers of all types. The only manufacturer, located in Vermont, makes these rowers for crew teams and gyms nationwide. When you order a new machine, you are getting the same superb quality device used in these arenas. The key is the stroke. A long chain without any annoying catch allows smooth, rhythmic pulls and the seat glide is well tuned, making for a quiet and ergonomically correct workout. Like paddling, it uses trunk muscles (latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior and posterior deltoids), and thus is not as hard on the spine and arms as one would imagine.

One neat feature about these workouts is that they are extremely adaptable—anything ranging from a leisurely row to stretch and get the blood flowing, to a serious all-out broiling body temperature bloodbath. The choice is yours. Customer service is exemplary, and this company knows its mission: it makes the Concept II only, and services it well. And other than oiling the chain on occasion, there really is no other maintenance for this device. The computer automatically turns on when you row, and records time, distance, speed, and cadence. You can track your progress by computer link if you desire, and even race another boat on the computer if you desire. This permits pacing to accomplish new personal best times. The machine does fold in half, and although still fairly large, could be stored on one side of a bedroom or in a large walk-in closet.

The Concept II Rower has been discussed many times on Paddling.net, and I suggest a through search of the Advice archives, as well as viewing the manufacturers website. I have owned the machine for about a year, and honestly, have no complaints about it other than the fact that it makes me sweat and groan from a workout well tuned to my paddling avocation. Highly recommended.

The Talic Kayak Condo I purchased from Pnet ads, and I received a discount with Paddling Perks. I bought the three tiered model to store three kayaks (2 of them=6 yaks). It installs with a drill, a 7/16 wrench and a phillips screwdriver. I installed in my garage through sheetrocked walls (studfinder to locate studs), and the three tiers are currently holding three 60# each Prijon 17 foot sea kayaks. I mounted the first tier 10 inches above the floor, and am able to have a fourth kayak neatly on the floor below the rack for efficient use of the space, and I can still, without a stepstool, place the topmost kayak on the uppermost tier. That's superb. No crashes yet from the entire kit and kaboodle yanking out of the wall; it seems well fixed. The arms hold even these big boats nicely and securely. I would advocate placing the two uprights (each with three "shelves" for the yaks) about 4 feet apart. This holds all of my boats just outside the cockpit and allows me the ability to shift the boats on the rack to prevent oilcanning in any one spot; but the black nylon 2 inch straps that hold the actual yak seem soft enough. I will use the other 3-tier condo, also set at about 3-4 feet apart, for storing gear (like hangers--and as someone wrote, when not in use you can push them up and out of the way), and paddles. I would say this is a very nice item, and when you calculate the cost per yak to mount them, it is roughly what you;d pay for supplies and your time even at Home Depot. I find Talic Kayak Condos to be a good value.

I have the Banshee Flowseat with gel, eBay, about $25 bucks, and like it for my Prijons. Prijons have hard seats; my bony 165 lb butt grew sore within a couple hours of paddling. The Flowseat eliminates that. Instructions say to velcro the seat into the yak. I did not as it might fly out when transporting on truck, and also in summer the gel can get hot. No problem tossing it on the seat or even under my current flimsy pad; it does raise you about 3/4 inch out of the seat (higher center of gravity. If you are super paddling, getting ready for a race, it might get in the way to be so high, but it sure is a stress reliever for touring paddles; the old keester says "Thank you!". Note also weight at about (guesstimate) 2 lbs.

I have now to update my review of this yak; see prior. Now I have added a rudder. The rudder was the Prijon Wildwasser newer version (high density plastic, not metal), and took about 60 dedicated minutes to install. Required three holes to be drilled into my "rudder ready" Calabria, but this was not hard or as unforgiving as I thought. The rudder mechanics are smooth, and it is well made; the $199 plus shipping price however at 20% of the boat price is steep. The rudder cables attach neatly to the foot pegs, and there is a means to adjust the cables length "on the fly" while paddling with a tension strap that makes minor adjustments, or if a change in footpeg placement for other paddlers. The workmanship of the rudder seems very good, and the plastic is very heavy duty. The parts, mechanics, ropes are very fine; not chincy.

Once paid for and installed, I paddled for over two hours on a local lake and observed several things. First, my impression of the rudder-up Calabria being a poor tracking vessel was confirmed. Many say -"I want to learn to paddle correctly rather than have a rudder". Be my guest. I mild breezes 5-10 mph, that rudder-up Prijon starts rotating like on a pivot before I can get the opposite paddle in the water! It tracks well for a while, then boom, starts to drift substantially. I have paddled every weekend for two years, and many years in canoe as a kid -- not an expert, but I know poor tracking when I see it. Now, put new rudder down, and big improvement! The rudder goes up and down well, and when down, tracks very well. In fact, without using the foot controls it can be a tad hard to turn at times; this is a new sensation in this whirling dervish of a yak. I experimented with eyes closed, and after 30 seconds of paddling without the rudder, I could literally be going 90-180 degrees (yes, almost all the way around in the wrong direction) off course. With the rudder down, I was pretty much on target to a point on the horizon. As a newbie to rudders, though, I will say that I do not love that my yak --pristine, one piece, rattleless, and simple-- now has a mechanical unit with guide-wires, control ropes and a blade. Some message board posters suggested that rudders can break, I used to say, "How?" Now I know. My immediate test run in my backyard pond pulled a cable out of the foot peg due to a loose screw. Easy fix, but a pain in the butt. So, simplicity goes to the wayside when you add a rudder (a skeg would be nice, but not available on any Prijons). Another key: the rudder DOES give drag. It is small but perceptible. I used to think, "How can a Washington quarter thin rudder give drag" Answer: when you pivot it, ever so slightly (10 degrees), there is drag equal to the entire surface area. Even perfectly straight, drag noted. If I was blinded to the rudder position, I think I could still, just barely, tell that it was down by the drag. Add that times two hours or all day kayaking, and we may have an issue. The footpegs work well with the gas pedal controls; even applying heavy pressure on the footrests, the pressure goes on the axel pedal, not on the gas portion thus not an issue for rudder control.

All in all, a fine kayak made better with the rudder, but I suppose I am not much of a rudder kind of fellow, and would prefer the silent, sleek lines of a yak with no moving parts as opposed to the rudder. I concur with reviewers below that the Calabria requires a rudder. I question though if the Calabria is the right vessel for everyone as it is really middle ground…not a super speed stealth (and even dowdier with the rudder), and a little long for creeks and streams, yet a tad short for large water. My Capri(s) plus a longer seaworthy boat might have been the key for me.

Aquabound Expedition AMT for one year, and love it! Lightweight, I have 230 cm for my Prijon Capri and Clabria, works well (I personally would not have gotten it any whorter, as I prefer and light and low stroke). Only knock: the stiffness of the paddle, a boon to some, might cause some joint pain with extended use. Wrists, elbows, can "feel it" for this 40 something paddler, but the Bending Branches fiberglass I never feel this. The stiffness is noticeable. I for one prefer the longer narrower blades, because frankly (although other Aquabound’s have more of a large spoon blade), I think a super stiff paddle with larger bladers would REALLY screw up my joints. Anyhow, well made, and purchased for about $175. Good value.