Most Recent Reviews
I've been sticking to aluminum paddles because they're cheap enough that I won't freak out if my paddle gets lost or broken. I also like that they're heavier and give me a bit of a workout when I'm spending a day on a lake.
I've tried various brands and SeaSense absolutely wins in their class. I have the 84" and 96" models, both of which cost about $35 each. I've tried some other aluminum paddles, some costing twice as much, but they were either too heavy, too flimsy, or just shoddily made.
If you're not willing or ready to step up to a carbon fiber paddle, or just want a cheap-but-reliable spare, SeaSense would be worth considering.
This is a tough, well-constructed, thoughtfully designed kayak. It will never beat my Wilderness Systems Ride SOT, but that's just fine, my Ride will never be able to be checked onto an airplane like a suitcase! Which is exactly what I did with this kayak a couple of weeks ago. I took it on a trip from LA to OKC, where I spent a pleasant day kayaking Lake Hefner. The kayak, PFD, paddle, and a set of paddling clothes all came in at under 50lbs, the limit for most airliners.
For an inflatable, it tracks reasonably well and handles itself in brisk winds much better than I expected. It sets up and packs down very easily and quickly, both in about 15 minutes. While my 60lb, 13ft WS Ride can be a bit of a beast to transport, my Island Voyage can just be tossed into the back of my car at a moment's notice!
I also really appreciate that Advanced Elements offers replacement parts for just about anything that could get lost or damaged, most importantly the bladders! This is NOT something offered by Coleman/Sevylor, at least not in the US.
I also like that Advanced Elements isn't so large a company that you can't speak to them directly. When I called their shop, just to ask some general questions about the Island Voyage, the guy I spoke with actually let me know that there was an unused customer return available on their website, that I could buy at a pretty good discount. That is outstanding customer service, IMO.
I'm planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan next year, to kayak some of their beautiful alpine lakes. I'm confident that the Island Voyage will help me realize this dream, with money left over to spend on the trip!