Name: Out_of_Line

Most Recent Reviews

I was excited to acquire a 2 year-old Rapidfire within 12 miles of home, after reading and hearing so many great things about them. The boat was in as-new condition and the workmanship and finish was among the best I’ve ever seen. I prefer to single-blade pack canoes and with the medium seat the Rapidfire was a good fit. The effort required to propel the craft was minimal, and primary and secondary stability was exceptional. My issues surrounding the boat were as follows: (a) when you stop paddling the boat (single or double blade) she would invariably veer off to one side or the other, with no perceivable wind or current. This was very annoying when approaching a good photo opportunity. Many boats are guilty of this, but the Rapidfire seemed to have a greater propensity. (b) As I prefer to paddle with a single blade, my hand tends to run along the gunnel with each stroke. The Placid carbonsox gunnels have a very rough texture (much more so than Swift’s) which would irritate my hand in short order. (c) There was a crease or ridge visible on the bottom of the hull where the seat had been bonded to the floor (similar to the deflection visible when float tanks are epoxied in place, only much more pronounced). Either the radius of the seat bottom did not match the hull or the flange on the seat base was not wide enough; in either case it was not indicative of the high quality workmanship on the rest of the boat. As such the boat was passed on to another owner after three months. However, it is still a great boat; a review should offer a perspective to new buyers that a short test paddle may not reveal and that is all this review is intended to provide.

I recently acquired a 2 year old Hornbeck New Tricks 12 in really good condition, without ever having test paddled one. What an incredible surprise, so much so that I was compelled to pen a review. I have had several pack boats (Swift, Placid Boatworks, Wenonah) as well as solo canoes, but the NT 12 is unique. I use a single blade almost exclusively and the narrow beam of the NT 12 enables a nice vertical stroke. The carbon/Kevlar matrix layup is really stiff as well as attractive; yes, a scratch coat bottom would be nice, but not essential at this price-point. The Hornbeck closed cell foam seat seems primitive at first, and I had thought of replacing it, but I have spent 3 to 4 hours at a time in the saddle and it is extremely comfortable. The only issue I had (a minor issue really) was with the fixed backrest, as there is no adjustment for height or angle, so I replaced it with a kayak-style strap back rest. Initial stability of the NT 12 may seem tender to those unfamiliar with pack style or solo canoes, but confidence will increase quickly with a little time on the water. The best part of the NT 12 is the 18 pound weight when you lift it off the rack or carry it to the launch, as well as the glide you get with each stroke. After one shoulder surgery and 65 birthdays, I can certainly understand why Hornbeck says on their web-page that the New Tricks 12 is their best-selling pack boat!

This was a big and expensive disappointment. Never should have ordered without seeing one first. No where near the quality, fit or finish of a Bending Branches or Mitchell paddle.

I have had the Saranac 14 LV in Kevlar Fusion two months now, after picking it up used. It’s a 2014, with skeg. I almost dismissed it after having tested a new one, but realized I was testing it with an awful paddle that made it appear the boat had an issue. NOTE TO DEALER: Don’t hand the paddler a $50 paddle to test a $4000 boat. For reference I am a 180 pound 5 ft. 8 in. 63 year-old male. The Saranac 14 is truly a dream, and while it is fine without employing the skeg, I find that setting the skeg at half position makes a noticeable difference. My only complaint is that Swift continues to innovate, and I wished I had the newer carbon seat base that is epoxied to the hull, as the older style plastic base has an annoying squeak! The seat itself is the most comfortable one I have ever sat in, and is the low back version. I was on the water four hours yesterday with a 15 minute break. Workmanship is first class, and Swift has come a long way since their early thermoformed boats. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Yes, the Santee Sport is much lighter than similar kayaks, but the hull is very weak, and great care must be used entering and exiting the boat. Within the first two months the latch on the rear hatch broke, and the bolts that hold the seat in place pulled through the plastic seat frame AS I WAS TRYING TO CROSS A CHOPPY LAKE! It is a very attractive looking boat, but the quality is just not there.

Recently acquired an Advantedge used for $240, which was a fair price. I had a Surf-to-Summit seat laying around, which I installed, as the back of the seat was indeed too laid back, as others have noted. The boat weighed in at 52 pounds, which is not exactly lightweight, but not objectionable either. First time on open water was pleasant! It took the wind and chop really well, very stable. The thickness of the plastic kept the hull from oil-canning, and it is strong enough that there is no Styrofoam pillar between the footpads to keep the hull in shape. Overall very pleased.

I know this canoe has a great following, and being a solo canoer I felt I had to have one (not so much I would pay the gouging prices some folks are charging since they discontinued it). I kept it one season, and feel it has a place, but not for me. The awful plastic gunnels and trim puts it one step above a Coleman (the constant creaking would scare away the fish!). The width was just a little to much for a short guy to clear with either a single or a kayak paddle (255 cm). Yes, it was both light-weight and stable (it would have to be with a flat bottom and 34 inch width) but I could not keep with the rest of my group. If you can get one cheap enough, it might work for you, but at the prices they are asking these days for used ones, I would opt for a quality composite canoe.

Just picked up a Poke Boat in Kevlar, as a lark really, wasn't really looking for one. What a surprise! Paddles exactly like my Santee 126 Sport. Very utilitarian construction, the footbraces are pretty crude, but at least do not require hull penetration. Handles wind and waves pretty well for such a small craft. When you think about all the large cockpit kayaks out there (Pungo, Santee sport, etc.) its pretty amazing that these boats have been out there for decades catering to fisherman and duck hunters! I can't believe what they want for a new one, but if you get a chance to pick one up used, you will be pleasantly surprised! The best part is the weight.........25 pounds in Kevlar, not much more in glass.