Read reviews for the The Mark I Package by Long Haul Folding Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
I'm a 62 year old athletic paddler who has been using folding boats around the world for the last 25+ years -- often on back country extended trips.. I have owned and paddled numerous Klepper models on many of these trips. Mark Eckhart's Long Haul boats are based on the basic Klepper frame and skin, but he has made several significant improvements over the years. For example, all the fittings on a Long Haul are stainless steel and there is a through pin that keeps any of the ribs from falling out of of their locked position. Also, his comfort seats are high quality and allow you to put just the right amount of inflation in them -- both for your butt and your back rest. The wood work on his cockpit combings are not just strong, but pieces of art -- just gorgeous. It's also important that Mark manufacturers all of his boats here in the U.S. (Colorado actually) and he or one of his staff, is always available should you need a replacement part, or just some advise regarding one of his many his boat models. I know he also repairs them and also does a fantastic job creating a brand new skin, should you ever want one -- perhaps to match an older Klepper frame that you may have accumulated over the years (there are lots of them out there). I've owned the 15' 9" Long Haul Mark I expedition kayak for about the last 3 years. I find it to be extremely well made and very seaworthy. The only downside to the boat is that with the rudder, it weighs close to 70 lbs. (Note: I believe Mark has recently developed an available lighter weight skin, which could save you 5 - 10 lbs, if you think you don't need all the heavy duty keep strips). However, if you want a very rugged, extremely seaworthy folding boat, I doubt you will find a better craft anywhere in the world. And I'm comparing the Mark 1 with the numerous Feathercrafts, Kleppers, Nautiraids, and Folbots I've owned and paddled over the years. Ok, so the Mark 1 is not a real fast or nimble kayak, due to it's beam (28") and the natural drag of a folding boat, but it is fast enough (I average 3-4 knots on most trips). With the quality rudder, it also maneuvers well enough for me.. The boat handles very well in chop and confusing seas and can haul just a ton of gear. Like any boat though, they can be capsized if the seas are rough enough -- obviously. I know he offers two different kinds of spray skirts -- which of course -- are highly recommended. One is the typical Klepper style velcro onto the side of the combing model, and the other, is a "tuck under" the combing style. In addition, he offers a nice sea sock, which helps keep the boat clean of salt water and sand and yet doesn't impede your feet on the rudder control foot pegs. About the seat, I have been on a few trips where I had to make a crossing in very rough water. One nice thing about the Mark I is that the seat can easily be taken out, which lowers your center of gravity just enough, so that it increases its already very stable nature. I always do this when I think the ocean might be rough, and I'm going to be far from land. It paddles just fine sitting on the keel board, and the increase in stability is well worth it. Finally, to help mitigate that weight, I highly recommend a light weight portable kayak dolly, which you can just strap onto the topside of the boat, right behind your seat. Other important things to note about the boat -- the top deck is made of a very high quality vinyl-coated acrylic fabric, and unlike the older cotton decks, does not take forever to dry out. The bottom hull is very heavy duty with extra protective keel strips -- and is now made of CSM rubber, the replacement for hypalon -- which I believe is no longer available. The frames are quite strong and meticulously crafted from ash and birch Another really nice thing about Long Hauls is that Mark is more than happy to customize the skin to your individual tastes/needs. Mine has both the bow and stern hatches that are cleverly sewn in creating a long oval shape that makes packing and repacking your gear much easier. This hatch is double layered and my gear and food has never gotten wet using this system. The heavy duty zippers always work flawlessly. In the last few years, I've gotten even more interested in Long Haul kayaks because I've found they make a fine, stable base for high quality upwind sails -- for example the Balogh Sail Design (BSD) rigs -- which I also highly recommend. The large cockpit is useful when sailing and trying to control all of your lines. Plus his "balanced rudder" works quite well controlling even the larger BSD sails. Of those, I use an 18, 32 or even 38 sq foot sail with my boat, depending on the wind and sea conditions. Of course, like Kleppers, all Long Haul kayaks come standard with a hole in the combing for the mast and a mast step on the bottom of the hull, near your feet. Finally, growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I'm an avid fisherman and have found the Mark I to work well, either trolling or mooching for Coho off of Vancouver Island. He makes various sized deck boards that lock securely to the cockpit combing. I use mine to mount a rod holder, a GPS and also a marine radio. The large cockpit allows you to use the deck board and still have room enough to land your fish (I use a gaff). Overall, I'm very pleased with the Mark 1. I believe you will not find a higher quality folding boat for over night camping trips or portable upwind sail rigs anywhere in the world -- especially if you think you might run into rough seas. On top of this, the boat comes with a nice set of very high quality travel bags that will keep your kayak safe from harm, no matter where your travels may take you. Feel free to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
What a fabulous kayak the Long Haul Mark I Folding Kayak is. I'm an ocean/sea kayaker who lives in Portland, Maine with a seasonal home on Long Island in Casco Bay. Long Island is only accessible by ferry service or private craft, 8 miles or so from our city. I paddle my Mark I as my commuting craft on a weekly basis from late March through October.
For the most part I paddle alone in all kinds of weather and sea conditions. For those reasons I was looking for the most stable seaworthy craft. Cargo capacity was also important to me as I'm often transporting supplies to our island home. There isn't a kayak that fulfills these needs better than the Long Haul Mark I.
I leave my kayak assembled during the seasons of use and rinse it with fresh water after each paddle. It has served me well for over 14 years now. I have also taken advantage of the folding aspect of the kayak too; packing it in the three well made Long Haul custom cordura bags and taking it with me to Florida. I've shipped my kayak with UPS to my destination in advance which is much more seamless than taking it on a commercial airlines.
I recently (2011) replaced my Klepper Aerius 1 with a Long Haul Mark 1. Although these two boats are similar, the LH is 9" longer and uses the extra length to provide more leg room. This minor change makes a huge increase in comfort for me, 6' tall and 210 pounds. The LH also has noticeably greater initial stability in light to no load use. The LH improves on the already stellar AE1 in other ways too. The hardware that fastens the frame pieces together is a tongue-in-slot design made secure with a snap-ring all this hardware is stainless steel. This simpler design eliminates the stamped aluminum, hinged-spring clips on the Klepper which were prone to trouble as they aged. The LH Comfort seat is much better, uses Thermarest cushions for bottom and lumber support, and is easily removable for use as a camp chair, nice.
I ordered my boat with Sunbrella (LH calls it Sea Mark) fabric for the decks, which is a no cost option over the traditional heavy cotton. This synthetic material dries faster, and is fade and mildew resistant. This fabric does not absorb moisture either so the boat does not pick up weight from getting wet. It dries faster. I mean really right now fast. No longer is it necessary to let the skin dry out for two or three days before it can be folded up for storage. This dry faster characteristic of the new deck fabric is a BIG DEAL, which is why I keep repeating myself.
The LH rudder is far more effective on the water, but all is not perfect here because the peddle assembly has to be located and fastened to the keel before the front frame half is inserted into the skin during assembly. The corollary to that little nuisance is that if you need to change the peddle position, the front frame half has to come out of the boat to do it. This problem resolves itself once the owner figures out the best position for his pedals, but it remains a potential issue if the boat must be adjusted for use by someone else.
The frame has a beautiful finish and appearance. All wood is dipped first in primer and then with 3 separate coats of high gloss marine varnish. The Klepper looks kind of utilitarian and industrial, whereas the LH is truly a work of functional art. The LH skin fits the boat perfectly too. The Klepper has always represented the pinnacle for folding kayaks for me. The Long Haul is even nicer and is truly the Rolls Royce of kayaks. If you are as large or larger than me, the LH is the way to go. If you are say less than 5'10", then either boat would suit, but the LH is easily the nicer of the two.
Hand made in Colorado by a group of artisans led by owner Mark Eckhart, this boat just screams quality. Next to it, a Klepper looks like what it is: a nice enough boat assembled from parts mostly supplied from outside vendors. All hail the new king!
The MK1 is a great folding Kayak. Beautiful, well built, easy to assemble and really stable on the water while also being easy to steer. The boat has several neat features that set it above the Klepper (it's closest competition) like the seat which comes out and can be used as a camper chair, adjustable lumbar support, better rudder design, sturdier fittings and more.
The Longhaul while a bit on the heavy side can also carry more weight than almost any other single kayak (over 600lbs total) and there is decent room for equipment. The boat can also be sailed and there are several nice after market sail rigs available. The tandem version of this boat is used by the USA special forces; check out the youtube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=naoC9AdCtog). Actually this type of boat has a long history of military use by many countries.
My point is; the boat is a tank but it is also beautiful, seaworthy, and elegant in the water. Longhaul is a small company made up of real people and they are great to deal with before and after the sale.