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Name: cwentling

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Being new to fishing and kayaking, I was looking for an upgrade to my 4-man raft, something that would track better, offer more fishing features, and be easier to organize! Since my budget was extremely limited, I had resigned myself to a low end kayak. I purchased my Journey 12SS from Walmart for about $225. It was externally damaged and had been reduced by 50%! Because the damage was cosmetic, I decided to make the purchase.

Since this is my first kayak, I am writing this eval based on what I have experienced compared to what I believe the high end kayaks would be like.

The Journey 12 SS does track better than a raft! It paddles easy enough and tracks decent. It comes with two flush mount rod holders which, in my opinion, work better for carrying your rods in transit than for actually providing a rod holder while the line is in the water. The center rod holder in front of me works fine, but it is noisy when adjusting the rod. If you need stealth, I doubt this is an advantage.

The Journey 12 SS comes with at least one waterproof insert to place in the bow (under the bungees) or in the stern (under the bungees). For a short trip, I don't think they are beneficial. Perhaps they could be beneficial for longer storage but the access ports are small and the triangular shape does not assist organized storage.

The seat that comes with the Journey 12 SS is probably what you would expect for a low end kayak. It is fine for an hour or two, but after about 4 hrs, my legs and lower back are aching! I have not looked into replacing the seat with a better unit.

Another thing to consider is that there are no self-baling scuppers. Any water taken on board must be baled manually. Since I fish primarily on lakes, this is a minimal problem.

I think the biggest discouragement is that the customer service from the manufacturer is severely lacking. I called to ask about replacing a couple of the bungee holders. They would not give me a recommendation and said any alterations void the warranty. I should have expected that!

While I have commented negatively on what I purchased, the next section will record how I have adjust to make the Journey 12 SS more effective for my use.

I have resorted to using a fishing backpack instead of a tackle box. I stock and organize the backpack according to my daily needs. When I am in transit, I place the back pack in the stern so I can row more effectively. Once I am ready to cast, I place the backpack in front of me for easy access.

I have also used a Sharpie to mark at least 24" of length on one side of my kayak. This allows me to measure the length of my catch quickly and eliminates the need to carry a tape.

I have rated the Journey 12 SS compared to what I imagine a high end kayak to be. On a scale of all kayaks, this one is probably a 2. If I were to rate it based on my experience related to my expectations, I would give it a 5.