Most Recent Reviews
- It comes in colors that aren't pink. Mine is blue.
- It fits well across the chest, back, and shoulders, and the straps make it very adjustable.
- It doesn't ride up and chafe my chin, which is a huge problem with some other PFDs on small women.
- It's got nicely-sized arm holes for good range of motion. This means paddling is easy, as are things like getting in and out of the boat, rotating to grab something behind the seat, stabilizing another boat for someone, etc.
- Zipper pockets allow for hand warming, or storage of small items (chapstick, etc.)
- Chafing. Even with something (shirt/tank/paddling neoprene vest) under this, I end up with chafing welts on the side of my neck, my sides where some of the webbing for the buckles hit, and the side and back where the PFD ends. The chafing is worst at the buckle webbing for me. The rest is just irritating, but this is actually a problem I am working to solve (or will get another PFD). It's not that the PFD is too tight or loose, because it doesn't seem to matter who I adjust it--if I wear it, it chafes. So, this is a bit of a big deal and the primary reason it only gets a 7.
- Hot. There's not a lot of meshing on this, so it can get pretty warm.
There aren't a lot of options for paddlers as small as I am. This is, so far, the best option I've found for my size and build. Because I am a woman, my body shape is wrong for a kid's vest, and this vest doe accommodate that. But, it's still a bit big, overall, even with the adjustment tightened all the way (hence, some of the chafing, I think)
-It's incredibly comfortable. The seat system is very adjustable and comfortable, and the foot peddles adjust easily even on-the-fly. The seat back can be moved up/down and forward/back to accommodate many PFD styles (more on this in the "cons" section below), and the seat tilt can be adjusted for thigh support (which really helps with the lower back). The thigh pads can also be adjusted, though this needs to be done with a screwdriver and therefore is something you want to do before launching.
-It's maneuverable. I wouldn't call it "nimble," but it turns well without being prone to tipping. Which leads me to...
-It's stable without being slow.
-The holds are great. This model has two holds, one for and one aft, that are well-sealed and pretty roomy.
-The deck cleats have recessed bolts, which is a huge bonus. It seems like a small thing, but not chipping up your paddle or catching debris on them is actually a pretty great feature.
-Unsurprisingly, it's slower than a full-on, longer sea kayak. So, when paddling in open-water with my (tall) significant other and his 14' sea kayak, he does have to slow down or wait up a bit. The line of the hull isn't as "V" shaped as some kayaks, and is really stable on rollers and smaller swells without being so flat that you can't maneuver (currently, I've not paddled in anything over 2').
-The seat doesn't go quite low enough/is too tall for some smaller paddlers with a full-back PFD. I've discovered I either need a half-back so I can keep the seat back all the way down, or I need to keep the seat all the way up and add something behind me for lumbar support with my fuller-backed PFDs.
All around, it's a great seat system and I wouldn't give it up, but the PFD issue doesn't really become obvious until you go on a longer trip (or, at least, it didn't for me).
All around, it's a great kayak for a smaller paddler, and the Pros far outweigh the cons
-It's very light. While there are lighter paddles on the market, the difference vs. the price isn't substantial enough to warrant the cost for me.
-The shaft is comfortable and non-slip.
-The blades allow excellent water displacement and are durable. The translucence also allows for extra help in signaling should rescue be necessary.
-Feathering on-the-go. The paddle feather can be adjusted on-the-go by pushing a button, sliding the paddle apart, rotating it to the desired angle, and pushing it back together. This is great for changing currents and wind and wave conditions.
-The only con I've found is that pulling the paddle apart to adjust the feather can be challenging if it's wet. The water can create a bit of a vacuum that requires more pulling that I'd generally like to have to do on rough water in a kayak.
The paddle has worked really well so far, and I'd definitely recommend it.
- The gravity feed system allows for purification of several liters of water at a time without pumping. So, you can set up/breakdown camp while your water supply is replenished.
- The clean and dirty water bags, filter, etc. are all very clearly marked. In the dark, this is important!
- The quick-connect system lets you fill your hydration pack directly to avoid spilling and hassle. It also allows for some other cool things, like moving your clean water bag between hydration packs.
- It's light. While it doesn't pack down super-tiny like some systems that do a smaller amount of water at a time, it's still very lightweight.
- Filters are long-lasting and not too pricey.
- The only con, really, is that it is a bit bulky no matter how you pack it. I can't think of a way the manufacturer could change this, but it an get in the way if you're using it for backpacking or kayaking and are working with limited space. I've not found this prohibitive enough to make me want another system, but it's worth noting so you can leave space in your gear packing.
My favorite mess-kit ever! It's intended for two people, and comes with 2 insulated bowls (that can become 4 bowls) with lids, 2 collapsible sporks, and a pot, packaged in an easy-carry sleeve.
- It's very light and compact. Everything fits into the pot, which all fits into a waterproof sleeve that can double as a small sink.
- The pot lid has a nice o-ring to help it keep in heat, and the lid doubles as a strainer. The pot handle is encased in a non-conductive plastic, so it doesn't get hot, and folds over the top of the lid to hold it closed.
- The bowls are essentially each a set of nested bowls with a thin insulated layer between them. So, you can use them as either a single bowl, or two bowls each (for a total of 4). This means you could, theoretically, use this set for up to 4 people (though two of the four bowls would get a bit warm to the hands, and wouldn't have lids of their own). The 2 bowls each come with a lid that snaps loosely on to help keep out bugs or keep things from sloshing as you walk, and each lid has a tiny opening just big enough for the spork handle to fit through. So, you can set your bowl down without worrying you're going to eat ants when you pick it up and remove the lid to eat.
- The sporks are durable and collapsible.
- The whole thing is very compact. I pair this unit with a Generic Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition, 3.9 oz, which fits perfectly inside one of the bowls, and that is all I need other than fuel.
The only con is that it uses non-refillable MSR Isopro fuel canisters (or an equivalent generic). I miss being able to fill my own canisters before trips, instead of having to carry multiples because one is only partially full