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After doing a bit of research, I decided to go with an inflatable kayak verses a plastic-type molded one mainly due to cost and storage reasons….though I really wanted one of those with the cool impulse peddle drive. So, I settled on the Sevylor 2-person Colorado Fishing kayak which I bought summer 2018. I have used it several times in different water ways and have found it to be, overall, a pretty reliable boat but not without drawbacks.
Even though there are some negatives to the Colorado I was able to find some relatively inexpensive remedies to overcome them. Here we go……. The (-) As with some of the other reviews on this kayak, I agree the fishing rod holders can get in the way of rowing and leave you with a couple of bruised arms by the end of the day if you are not paying attention to how you’re rowing. However, to alleviate myself in general from rowing, I bought the Sevylor SBM 18 Lb. thrust trolling motor with a 35 amp hour deep cycle battery, and for the most part, I really don't have to worry about this anymore. Come to find out, the Colorado actually has fittings built in specifically for this trolling motor....how cool is that! Not so! Though the motor does fit nicely in the built-in eye holes on the side of the kayak, it's a constant battle to steer when you are on the water due to the flex in the kayak. So, I jumped on YouTube and found several videos for kayak mods. As you guested, with a little on-line education and some ingenuity of my own, I made a PVC motor transom mount that secures nicely in the rear fishing rod holders, and along with this, I decided to incorporate a nice rack to hold my ice chest full of beer and other goodies. Quick note on the SBM 18 which I still recommend buying with this kayak- works nicely on lakes, inlets and calmer waters as long as it’s not too windy. I recently did have to replace the propeller due to it coming loose and falling off, somehow, the last time I used it. Sevylor unfortunately does not make or carry replacement propellers. BUT and HOWEVER......as you guessed, I did find a remedy....the Watersnake 18 Lb. thrust is the same exact motor with the same exact propeller and for $11.00 on Amazon, I bought it. BTW, I actually bought two for the reason you just guested! Last note which refers back to your guess....check your equipment before opening your first beer and departing on the lake. Also with some of the reviews I read, I too had some challenges with the kayak’s performance. When you inflate it, the bottom over time does start to go out of form with the sides. This makes for tracking and cutting through the water more difficult not to mention slowing the kayak down with what is already a not-so-fast kayak. Remedy - rather than fill each of the three bladders until full, what I found is to fill the bottom about half way first then do the same for both sides. This will allow you to adjust the bottom and sides so they all line up property to optimize the kayak's performance - prior to completing the inflation process. If you decide buy this kayak just watch for this. I think what has happen to other people over time is, if you are not properly folding and storing the kayak, the next time you inflate it the bladders tend to shift and when the boat also sits out in the sun fully inflated, it causes the material to stretch. Once this happens you might as well pitch it or use it for a pool toy. I believe this is just a “watch for” maintenance issue. Fortunately, I caught it in time. The seats that comes with the kayak have an inflatable bottom but still sit low, and when paddling, it doesn't take long before your back starts to hurt. Remedy - I bought one of those blow-up seat flotation devises along with a stadium seat to raise me up and add back support. This was an inexpensive way to effectually take care of my back situation and also, should I decide not to use the trolling motor, lifts me up high enough to where my arms no longer hit the rod holders. So you ask, based on the review so far, the boat seems slow, uncomfortable and doesn't seem to perform well. Why buy it and why rate it 4-stars.......here’s why.
Construction - even though a few of the reviews I read talk of flimsy material, I actually find this boat to be pretty rugged. I have had it in several sticky situations, including getting under hanging trees with some gnarly branches brushing up against the sides to retrieve lures. In every situation like this there were never any permanent markings on the material nor did it puncture....and I always got my lure back!
Functionality – I really like all of the rod holders, D-rings and built-in pockets to hold gear. All of these have allowed me to make this boat my own, especially with the several PVC modifications I have added.
Looks - not that this is important when fishing, but this is a very nice looking boat. Since it has a green-quasi-camouflage look to it, I kept this theme with all my mods. The all-in-one transom mount and storage rack I built on the back, I painted camo as well as a couple of other mods. Really looks cool! If I'm not catching any fish, at least I look good. Comfort – Yes, I did have to add a stadium seat and flotation devise but after this I had to be careful not to fall asleep. Comfort problem solved. There are other kayak seats you can buy but you’ll need to spend more. Fast-vs slow - inflatables in general will always be slower. I bought this kayak for fishing and leisure not for performance or exercise, hence, why I bought the trolling motor. Maintenance – you’ll need to let this kayak dry out before folding (properly) and storing so it won’t mildew. Also be sure to check all of the bladder positions every time before inflating all the way, otherwise it will just become a pool toy.
Modifications - I found it was actually fun to make this boat my own with the several modification I did. I was even able to add a sunscreen canopy structure to the transom mount/rack I built. As I continue to use this kayak I will no doubt continue to chance and modify it for the different waterways I go to. Whether out on the lake for the day or taking it kayak camping for the weekend, it has all of the functionality, comfort and room I need for a fun day or weekend. Overall – as with all kayaks, you’re never going to get everything you want in one purchase. If you are looking for a multifunctional relatively inexpensive kayak that is easy to store, I recommend this kayak for beginners to mid-level kayakers or lazy kayakers such as myself. With all of the modifications, trolling motor, battery and other add-ons, I still have less than $1,000 into this boat.