Read reviews for the Naturalist by Walden Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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We have had three Walden Naturalist kayaks for a very, very long time (1997 or so, I believe). We adore them. We're out every summer, they have resisted cracking and are not brittle. They have been stored primarily in a garage on racks. Track beautifully for recreational kayaks, easy to maneuver and fun to paddle. Love them!
I have had my Naturalist...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 3/31/2008
I have had my Naturalist of 11 years. Great Boat and wish they still made it. The plastic has not gotten brittle at all. Boat tracks very well for a 10' boat and is quite stable for 27" width.
Love the Naturalist. I've...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 7/12/2006
Love the Naturalist. I've had mine for about 5 years. Wow what great fun. My husband says that if he had known what fun I would have for $300 he would have bought me one earlier. The lakes of PA and ME are my playgrounds. The kayak tracks well, love the footbraces, the size, I can load up, leave the house, paddle around for an hour and be home an hour and a half later. Wow! I do have one complaint...the seat needs a bit of reworking. Other than that...float on.
Nice boat but the seat is uncomfortable for long trips. I also have an Otter and prefer it to the Walden, but my 12 year old daughter likes the Walden best, so that works out nicely.
4 hour shakedown cruise in...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 8/6/2001
4 hour shakedown cruise in 3 Naturalist (Plus) and a Sunapee. My wife, younger son, and friend took the Naturalists. Connecticut River was almost dead-no current, no rapids. Nice ride, and I compared the Naturalist to my Sunapee. They all were 130# to 165# or or, I'm 225#. They loved the Naturalist (my wife hated everything after the first 2 hours but we shouldn't have gone for that long a trip) and Brian and I compared notes swapping the two styles. For someone my weight, top-heavy, the Naturalist is too tippy and seems to be hard to manage. (Like trying to ride a tricycle at my age) He and my son had no trouble at all with the Naturalist and were goofing off and playing around in them. They felt the same way for the Naturalist as I do for the Sunapee. With the right size person, they are great! I would change the rating capacity for the Naturalist after being in it-I don't think it really is compatible for anyone over 200 pounds, or like my older son (didn't go on this trip who is 6'2"-I think I'll get him a Sunapee to handle his long legs. Otherwise, great kayak for beginners and just having fun!
Just a further note-I...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 7/17/2001
Just a further note-I still haven't had a chance to get more water under my Naturalist Plus and Sunapee-but of the 10 I got for Scout families, within 2 weeks we needed 15 more! Several that bought one the first time around bought 2,3,or 4 the second time for their whole families-and they all rate them a 10! The seats are horrible for larger butts, even in my Sunapee. But I have a strap on 'fanny pack/cushion' I'm going to try. Also read a kayak book, and it says you should be leaning FORWARD when paddling, NOT bracing against the seat back. Maybe that explains the pain?
I have owned this kayak...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 7/16/2001
I have owned this kayak for close to 4 years. I have no complaints about this kayak. It tracks better then any other rec kayak out there that I have tried that includes swiftys sit-on-tops and a few others. The hull is in perfect shape still, foot peddles are great. My model has a removable seat to use at camp which was a good feature that was done away with. The peddles are great! The price was affordable, I bought when I was 13 from the earnings of mowing lawns. Now that I am 16 I still use the boat for fishing because of stability. Since the cockpit is a little crampt at 5'11 180 lbs. I bought a perception Eclipse for longer trips. Also a great boat. The only reason I didn't givee this boat a 10 for its tracking, speed, and turning compaired to other rec boats is because 10 for me is if someone built a boat costom for me that fit me perfectly. This boat is as close as perfect to me as you could get so compairing it to other recreational boats I gave it the 9.
I bought 10 of these last...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 6/19/2001
I bought 10 of these last month for scouts and families-and 3 just for my kids and wife. They love them-and feedback from the others is the same. Waiting for 15 to come in on this batch!
Being a 30 year canoer and just a beginner kayaker, I'd still rate them a 9-based on their performance compared to the mfg. claims.
The Walden naturalist is...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 8/21/2000
The Walden naturalist is my first kayak. I'm having a blast with it, it easily ties to the top of my Jeep Wrangler, and its light weight allows me to load and unload easily. It's manuverable in creeks, yet big enough to handle some serious swells in Lake Erie. I find the seat pretty comfortable, however, a collapsable or hinged seat would be better. All this fun for under $300, you can't beat it!
The Naturalist has turned...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 6/24/2000
The Naturalist has turned me on to kyaking at a dirt cheap price. It fits in the Dodge Caravan and takes less than 5 seconds to load or unload so it's got that going for it, which is nice, I think. I can go anywhere on the lake and I've added my own fishing pole holders. I actually like the seat.
Bought two Naturalists after renting them at the local boat rental. For the price ($299) you really can't go wrong. Do miss the foot braces (now Extra), but it is rated for class-2 water so you can bang into rocks and logs and not worry to much. Also the seat is hard and not adjustable. Trying to figure out how to hinge the seat for rear storage and maybe install a security bar.
There are certain...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 11/16/1999
There are certain conveniences to the Naturalist to recommend it: it's simple and lightweight. I can lock it inside the minivan when I stop into the mall to pick up my teenagers, on the way home from paddling. I like the footbraces, and the big cockpit lets you sit with knees out if you like. Its 10' size lets you muck about in little streamlets and coves that would get you stuck in a bigger boat. But you will get frustrated when you want to get back in a hurry (late to pick up those kids!), and that seat is awful.. I can tolerate it with my lifejacket as a pad, but my husband will not sit in it again. He tried the Old Town Otter and loved its seat. Walden- work on this, please! I live in the Boston area,this is a very popular boat around here.
The newer boats from...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 7/5/1999
The newer boats from Walden are coming with a very coarse material finish on the inside that will quickly chafe bare skin. Granted, you can spend an afternoon or two sanding this away to make it safe for occupancy! The point is that they were not always this way and my 4 year old boat is proof of that. The seat is as mentioned - nasty. The bigger you are the less comfortable it is. The flimsy nylon back strap you can get for these doesn't help much and is hard to use. To their credit, they do paddle well and are stable. However there are many other boats for as much or a little more that are superior in this class. though!
This is the perfect kayak...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 6/16/1999
This is the perfect kayak for me at this time. It's light (34lbs), short and easy for me to load and unload myself. It fits inside the mini van if I want to carry it that way. I added deck rigging and a 5" dry hatch/dry bag. It tracks wells, is very stable, doesn't oil can and allows me to do what I want to do with it which is be on the water! Granted, I can't get up alot of speed if I'm chasing down my daughter in her longer, swifter boat, but we're not usually in a race anyway...we're just out "puttzing" around and enjoying life. My Naturalist has the Lenape words "weli kishku' painted on it, meaning "it is a good day". Any day I'm in that kayak is a good day! Because it fits my needs and exceeds my earlier expectations, I rate this kayak a 10. The only thing I need to change is the comfort of the seat. I always have to use an inflatable pillow between my back and the seat back.