Most Recent Reviews
With it's wide bottom it's easy to load and carry on my Rodeo. I just slide it up the back (using a Thule loader to protect the Rodeo's finish) and onto the top roof rack, then strap it down.
In the water the kayak tracks straight, is very stable and easy to paddle. It's very maneuverable and reasonably fast. I like having a roomy cockpit and the wide opening allows for easy entry and exits even though I'm somewhat stiff from minor arthritis in my legs and back.
For fishing, I've found that the two built in rod holders are great. After some practice, I typically carry one rod and one folding net that fits into one of the rod holders. I've had no problem with my rod or net falling out as the holders are very deep. My rod will slide almost all the way down so the reel is resting on the kayak deck. I have found if I paddle heavy, water will splash onto the reel which I don't much care for. I carry all the tackle I need for an outing in small tackle boxes packed in the pockets of my kayaking PFD. The cockpit is small enough to carry bait or a larger tackle box inside the boat, but I normally don't need to do this.
The front and rear storage compartments are very handy. I keep my first-aid kit along with my car key and my wallet, tucked into the small front watertight compartment. I keep my other essential gear in the large rear compartment. It takes a bit of twisting, but I am able to access gear in my rear compartment while sitting in the cockpit. Having a drink holder right in front of the seat is very handy, and the adjustable foot rests work well.
I do recommend some accessory items to improve your experience, which is why I only rate this kayak as a "9". You should add a seat pad to make sitting for long periods more comfortable. You can find very thin gel pads that don't raise your center of gravity and are very comfortable.
Install an anchor trolley and carry at least a one-pound folding grappling anchor. I consider an anchor a must-have for fishing, and an anchor trolley really should be standard equipment on any fishing kayak. There are many kits available and lots of YouTube videos to show you how to install the trolley.
Add a paddle holder to securely hold the paddle while fishing. You can find accessories that clip on to the edge of the cockpit and provide a secure holder for the paddle, and don't require drilling holes.
Overall this is an excellent and economical kayak for getting out on the water!
I do have the "deluxe" package, which included more rugged seats that the basic kit.
The total kit includes a storage bag, two four-piece paddles, two inflatable seats, a foot-operated air pump, a repair kit, two inflatable "doughnuts" to protect the skegs while packed, and two inflation gauges. The boat is very rugged with heavy fabric, a tow point on the bow and a drain plug at the stern. There are a total of five separate air chambers: the floor, each side tube, the bow and stern skirts (which are separate pieces and held in place with rigging). The inflation gauges help get the correct pressure on the side tubes, but you have to guess at the correct pressure for the floor. I don't know why the manufacturer couldn't have setup the flooring to also use the inflation gauge.
After a bit of practice I've been able to setup the boat in 20 minutes, about the same amount of time it takes me to setup my hard shell. Packing up is also quick as I merely deflate the boat and throw everything into my car, knowing I'm going to clean everything when I get home.
The Sea Eagle's buoyancy and center of gravity feels more like a canoe than a kayak as you sit higher up in the boat due to the inflatable seats and inflatable bottom. Because the seats are removable, you can set them for either two people or use only one seat for a single paddler, something not possible in hard shell tandem boats.
Stability is a bit touchy in high crosswinds, but easy enough to get used to. The length of this boat is roomy for two people and cargo. With one person you could easily pack all necessary equipment for several day's camping.
Paddling is also a bit different as the sides of the boat are a bit higher than a hard shell, which forces me to hold the paddles a little higher to avoid rubbing the sides of the boat. The paddles are covered with rubber tubing when they can rub the boat, which I think is a nice touch for protecting the boat's fabric. The skegs seem to help with tracking, but I do notice that winds blow this boat around more than a hard shell kayak, presumably because there is more exposed surface area. The boat will also "flex" in choppy water, which takes a bit getting used to.
The real advantage of this inflatable boat is it's ease of transport. As one other reviewer has noted, the boat is airline transportable. The entire kit packs into a large duffle bag which is a real storage advantage for a condo dweller or someone who only has a small car. For people who have rotator cuff (shoulder) problems, it is much easier to load this boat into a car instead of dragging it off the top roof rack. It's also easier to pack this boat along on a long trip, instead of tying a kayak onto the car roof.
One caution is that the boat has to be absolutely dry before storing it to prevent mold from growing on the fabric. I learned this the hard way and now I have a very unsightly three-inch diameter black stain up at the bow, around the area where the skirt and side tube meet.
Overall, this is a great boat. It's easy to store, easy to pack for a trip, and will get you out on the water for a great day of paddling.