Name: Greg-S

Most Recent Reviews

This is my first Sea kayak and I purchased the Stratos for kayaking in the open ocean and touring around offshore Islands which will include overnight camping trips. Immediately after I purchased this kayak I visited a local lake to test it. Quickly after getting the kayak in the water I noticed that the Kayak was stable and very easy to paddle. Tracking was very good with the skeg deployed and there was little to no variation in heading. One thing that was obvious is that turning the kayak with the skeg deployed is not an easy task. After a few hours of kayaking around the lake I felt comfortable enough with the performance of the Stratos to take it out in the ocean.

I planned a 15-mile day trip off the coast of Portland, Maine around some of the Casco Bay Islands. The weather conditions were very good in the morning with less than 5 MPH winds and seas were less than 1-2 feet. I paddled most of the day with the skeg down and paddling was efficient and easy. As the day progressed so did the wind and the size of the swells but this had minimal effect on the performance of the Stratos. I found the kayak to be very predictable, stable and easy to paddle. When adjusting my course lifting the skeg was quick and easy and this kayak turns very well simply by using the paddle as a rudder or by adjusting the type of stroke.

As perfect as the Kayak is and as well as it performed there were still some things that I wish the Stratos had. I wish the bow had a little more rise as this would help eliminate the amount of water coming over the front of the boat when paddling through swells. As far as sea kayaks are concerned, I think the front end of the Stratos is on the low side. The Stratos uses a skeg system instead of a rudder and this is new to me, but I think for sea kayaking a rudder would have been easier to use for tracking. Although it was nice to not have to deal with foot pedals that move, and this made paddling more efficient. Jury is still out on whether I prefer a skeg to a rudder or vice versa and the Stratos tracked as well as any kayak with a rudder would have in my opinion. Others have commented on the comfort of the seat but to me it felt somewhat flimsy and didn't provide much back support. Even after making several adjustments I still couldn't find a sweet spot. Lastly, if the Stratos were available in a 16' platform I would have purchased it over the current length. For a boat in this size category it performs very well but different length options would be nice.

The list price for my boat was $1299.00, but I was able to find mine on sale for $799.00 and that's an absolute steal for this kayak. At $1299.00 I probably would have been looking a little harder at some of the Wilderness kayaks. I had the pleasure of paddling a Perception Carolina in the same length and the Stratos gets the nod for performance and stability. This is simply a fantastic kayak.