Most Recent Reviews
This vest fits great for someone with a short torso and doesn't ride up at all while paddling or practicing rescues. There is enough room below the vest for a tow belt without it being awkward, as I found out in a recent rescue clinic. I haven't had any chafing from the arm holes when paddling, overall it is very comfortable. There are lots of pockets which are handy for storing things that one wants to keep close in case of a capsize etc. It would be nice if the vest had a way to attach the spray skirt loop while doing a re-entry, then you wouldn't have to hold it in your teeth to keep it from getting caught. That being said, I can probably figure something out for that.
Quality wise no issues and the price was right (especially with the 20% off deal that was going at LL Bean) but very difficult to use. I'm 5' 3", this rack is on a Subaru Outback, and I have a plastic boat that weighs 54 pounds. Loading onto this rack is awkward given the above factors...I have tried getting the bow into the front cradle and then going to the stern and lifting that, but this has not worked well as the boat tends to fall over in the process. I often am loading solo and don't want to have to rely on having someone around to help (which does make it easy to load onto this rack), so am going to switch to a saddle-type carrier that I can slide the boat onto from the rear with a rug or blanket to protect the car. I would only recommend J cradles like this to someone tall/strong or with a low car roof...and with plenty of garage door clearance. I discovered the first time I put the boat on this rack that I would not be able to pull back into the garage with it!
These booties fit well and are comfortable. They seem to be well-made and there are no straps/laces to potentially catch on foot pegs during a wet exit. They seem to be plenty warm for launching and landing in cold water. The only bummer is that once water gets in, it doesn't drain out until you take the shoes off. This results in your feet sloshing around in a bunch of warm water. It would be nice if there were some sort of drainage holes (as long as sand/pebbles wouldn't get in...I'd say a shoe full of water is the lesser evil if that is the alternative).
Great water shoes that don't look ridiculous when worn away from the beach/river/etc, they look like cute canvas sneakers. I have been known to run in them when I want to have a swim along the way (I would only recommend doing this if you are used to running in fairly minimal shoes...incidentally these are zero-drop which I really appreciate). Very comfortable and stay on well. They don't stay full of water after stepping into it, because of the drainage holes. They do, however, tend to get sand in them, but I think the only way around that issue is for the shoes to come up past the ankle and then they aren't as cool and comfy. I find myself sometimes wearing thin socks with them just to avoid the abrasiveness of the sand that gets in, and that helps.
SO much better than J-cradles for the combination of short person/tall car/heavy boat...I made the mistake of initially getting J-cradles (since they were the less expensive option) and soon realized they didn't work very well for solo loading which I do frequently. These allow for sliding the boat into position from the rear (with a mat protecting the back of the car) and not having to either lift the full weight or try to roll the boat into the proper position and have it fall down. Installation was very easy and did not require tools which was nice. Minor gripes: the included straps seem a bit flimsy and don't have good "buckle bumpers" for safely tossing them over the car; threading the straps through each side of the carrier is fussier than the process with J-cradles; and the ridged rubber surface collects sand like crazy if there was any on the boat. Still, this seems to be a good product overall and is a much safer loading process for my situation.
Well-made, comfortable, no problems with chafing. The relief zipper (that doesn't require the use of a FUD) is a very nice feature. Fit-wise it is decent, there is a little extra length in the torso and extra room in the hips and bust but other areas are just right...5' 3" and about 115 lbs, size S. There is no XS and even if there was I think it would have been too tight.
I have an older model of this boat that I bought used; it is my first kayak and I think it was a good choice. My paddling so far has been day trips including ocean, lakes and large rivers. The boat tracks decently but is quite responsive when edged. I feel quite stable in it, which has helped my confidence when working on skills. I appreciate the lower rear deck when practicing re-entries; having a skeg rather than a rudder is also helpful there since there's nothing sticking up to be in the way. On that note, I did take out the original seat back after realizing that it had an annoying tendency to flip down and end up underneath me when re-entering or getting in quickly for a launch; I replaced it with a back band that eliminated that issue. Not sure if the newer models have that same seat back or not. Now for the cons: I find myself wishing it had a day hatch so I wouldn't have to put things in the cockpit to have them readily accessible on the water. It's also probably a little wider than ideal for me (5' 3", 115 lbs, long legs/short torso) which may be part of the reason it is taking me a while to get my roll. According to Current Designs it is supposed to fit "small to medium" paddlers but I may be on the smaller end of that.
If it is any indication, I no longer own this boat. Some years ago I had picked it up secondhand with the thought that it would be fun to have a solo canoe for paddling the local lakes and rivers. I never could get it to track well enough to be efficient except with a (long) double bladed paddle which was awkward due to the width of this boat and resulted in frequently banging my knuckles on the gunwales. Overall I think it was just too short/wide to be much fun to paddle, particularly for a shorter person. I also had a very difficult time getting it on top of my car despite a fairly reasonable weight...it was always awkward and that made me not go paddling as often. I finally sold it after moving closer to the ocean and getting a sea kayak, which I am enjoying much more (and can more easily car top, despite the fact that it weighs a few pounds more than this canoe). This canoe might be OK for someone looking to fish or birdwatch from it but not so much for someone looking to cover distance.