Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak Reviews
6 Discount Packages available. starting at $1,049
380x Reviews (79 total, avg. review: 4.6 out of 5)
OK one very simple point.
You make a great product but you have one very weak point and that is the clip fastener between the seat and the securing point. The spring clips are impossible to maintain if the kayak is used in saltwater conditions. i simple use cheap belay connections which are easily replaced but you cant even remove the failed spring clip supplied from sea eagle. it is disappointing that such a great product is let down by such a simple problem.more ▼
secondly, I bought the trolley bag, which looks great. but i reported some years ago that it split shortly after purchase, i reported this to you guys and I was offered money back or a new bag. I opted for the bag i wanted and you said you would send it. It was never received. i did not follow up with you because i am a busy man and have enough hassle in my life - but it is always in my mind that I was let down by what is otherwise a five star product. Give me US quality not Chinese under license.
Our inflatable kayak is just what my wife and I needed to enjoy lakes and rivers around Glacier Park. Easy to transport and inflate, comfortable and stable. I also use it for fishing and our dogs also enjoy an occasional ride.
We have had our Sea Eagle since 2005. We have been all over the continent. From Jasper, Alberta to San Diego.We have used our 380x in the ocean,lakes,lagoons,harbors and rivers. We have loaded it with gear and paddled to remote spots and camped for days. I have used it in class three rapids in seven different states and provinces. It has help produce some of fondness memories.
The 380 is very stable in all conditions. It is very rugged. I have patched the body once and the floor once. The negatives are the self bailing system does not function too well. The skag was not designed well and we lost it once on Yellowstone Lake in a storm. The new snap in design looks to be superior to this older model. Over all this has been one of the best recreational purchases we have more ▼ made in our 45 years of marriage.
So, I've had my Sea Eagle 380X (new version with the 16 drain valves 38lbs) for about 2 weeks now and I've had the opportunity to get it out on flat water, open water and white water so I thought it was time to share my thoughts.
I give the 380X a 9 rating but that really should be a *9. The asterisk is because this is marketed as an all water, versatile kayak and it is... it's just not equally good on all types of water.more ▼
First, where the 380x shines, white water. This is what the kayak was really designed for and it does it well. With the skeg removed this boat is very turny and for white water paddling that is a good thing. It will go straight if you use good technique but when you need to turn you can do it on a dime. It rides nicely over waves and when water does enter the boat it drains quickly out of the 16 self draining ports. Also, the drop stitch floor can be inflated to a very high pressure (14psi) and that makes the boat very rigid. The only down side, and the reason for 9 rather than 10 stars, is a significant amount of water does enter the boat through the drain valves when they are open. This adds mass to the boat and while I didn't really notice any difference in turning, it can sap some of your burst, not a great thing for white water. This can be mitigated somewhat by making sure the floor (it's removable) is strapped down tight and the pontoons are properly inflated as that will help reduce the water intake. On the plus side, I've found that if the floor is inflated to at least 4 psi I am not sitting in a puddle of water like on a kayak with an I-beam floor (I'm 6'6", 230 lbs) I have seen a few reviews that complain about getting wet when the valves are open and I honestly don't quite know how to respond to that. If you are paddling white water you ARE going to get wet, if you are doing it in a SOT kayak water IS going to enter your boat so... If you are not on white water closing the valves keeps the boat high and dry which brings me to the next section.
Flat water paddling in the 380x isn't actually too bad, as far as inflatable kayaks go. Assuming we are talking about a somewhat protected, deep river for example, you just put the skeg in and the kayak tracks as well, or better, than any hard shell SOT I've ever paddled. It's not even all that slow. It isn't keeping up with a hard shell sea kayak, or even a skin on frame, but as far as inflatables go it isn't terrible. However, it has very little glide which means to maintain your forward progress you have to maintain a moderate frequency on your stroke, there will be no mini-breaks in this boat. I give it a 7 for good tracking and reasonable speed.
On open water the big pontoons start to become your enemy. Wind is not fun to deal with in the kayak, and while that is true on any water craft it is especially true of the inflatable kayak. The skeg will keep you tracking straight, even in relatively high winds but you will notice the wind is going to push you quite a bit. On the plus side the boat is very stable, handles swells and waves very well and is actually pretty fun in a surf zone. Still, if you are primarily looking for a boat for open water and are insisting on an inflatable rather than a folder, then you might want to check out the Sea eagle fast tracks or the Razorlites they are supposed to be decent on flat and open water (can't say, I've never paddled them). As far as the 380x goes, I give it a 5 for open water just because it will easily ride out most water conditions, but plan some extra time in getting to your destination.
Okay, those were the specifics for various water types. In general the 380x is highly stable, the drop stitch floor gives the kayak tremendous rigidity (more so than any other inflatable, some of them quite a bit more expensive, that I've paddled), it tracks very well with the skeg in, it is easily manageable solo but can be used tandem (it's going to be a bit cramped for taller paddles in a tandem configuration though), more than enough room and weight capacity to carry all your gear for an extended trip. It's tough, you aren't likely to puncture it on anything that wouldn't hole or crack a hard shell but if you do manage to puncture it, field repairs are easy (certainly easier than a hard shell). It is easy to set up, fits in the trunk of even a small car, and the removable floor makes clean up at the end of the day very easy. To be honest, you aren't going to find a better (inflatable) boat in this price range or even for 30 or 40 percent more. Great product, lots of fun to paddle and it comes with a 3 year warranty and 180 day, no questions asked, return policy (if you buy direct from SeaEagle). Hard to go wrong with that.
Sea Eagle is the best! They really do stand behind the money back guarantee/wty as I bought a FT385 and wasn't happy so they took it back w/out issue. I shopped all of the other inflatables (tried many) as well as hard shells trying to find the best "fit all for my needs". W/out a doubt the 380X is that boat. Tracks well w/fin. Not a touring boat but speed id decent. Stability is amazing. Handles boat wakes, white caps with ease. Can stand it in as well (tad tippy, but I'm top heavy too though). Def. stays drier than the FT-the larger pontoons keep a lot splash out and even the drip from the paddles (The openings for the drain plugs help collect any H2O that does venture in.) Went into a rock/tree ridden Texas lake cove, hit one submerged tree and thought "ouch that's gonna hurt". Not a mark. I find it very comfortable with the high back seats. Although I put a Boat cushion under it to lift it up a couple inches which really adds to the comfort especially with the inflatable foot rest. For easy paddling and and floating I added the inflatable cushion on top of the seat. This made it extremely comfortable and was just below pontoon level. In really rough water, I let the seat air out to add stability/lower center gravity.... Great Boat!!!
I have owned the 380x for over a year now. I also own the SE 370, so I can compare the two. If you are considering purchasing the 380x, there are some pros and cons (sometimes the same things that are pros are cons!):
-It bails quickly. I have sat, stuck, in a class III rapid, and witnessed the kayak not filling all the way.more ▼
-Space. Despite being the same length as the 370, it has far more elbow room, due in large part to the drop-stitch floor.
-Material. It's tough. You'll have a very hard time puncturing either boat, but especially the 380x which is far tougher.
-It sits lower in the water than the 370, so it isn't affected by wind as much.
-It has a removable skeg. This helps to track better on flat water.
-You can use either the high back or the low seat, and both secure to the boat.
-The removable skeg. If you are on a rafting trip with stretches of flat and whitewater, just leave it out. It's annoying having to flip the boat over and take it out, put it in, take it out, put it in. If you are in low water, also, take it out.
-The self-bail design is poor in comparison to NRS's boats. With theirs, you are sitting dry; with the 380x, you are sitting in two inches of water all the time. Since the plugs are on the underside It doesn't matter whether you have just one or all 16 plugs open.
-Closing or opening the drain plugs is a royal pain in the rear. Even with the boat completely deflated, it takes effort; with it inflated, you need little monkey hands to get to them.
Just came back from Monksville Reservoir in New Jersey for a 4-hour kayaking day trip with my new 380x. What an impressive inflatable kayak! Firstly, setup is literally less than 10 minutes. I especially like the adaptor for the valve being a twist in and twist out, pump and done! The seats also inflated with ease because of their boston valves. The floor, wow how rigid! making it super easy in and out of the boat! The material of the boat is as advertised - see the "hammer-cinderblock-Jeep" stress test, which made me a believer.more ▼
When I was looking for my second inflatable kayak, at first I thought $1K was too much. I know I only have one experience with the boat, but I believe it's worth every penny, plus with the 180-day trial, 3 year warranty, you can't go wrong! You might find the same boat on other online stores, but you will NOT get the 180-day trial period.
Overall, I am very glad I got this boat! Well done sea eagle! and thanks!
1. Stable & forgiving
2. Tough material.
1. Very slow in flat water.
You can find my detailed review (constantly updated with my experiences) with pics at:
For the last two years I've owned both a SE 385 FastTrack and a SE 380X Explorer. Both are excellent inflatable kayaks each with their own strengths and weakness but the 380X Explorer is the best in my opinion. First, a little about my wife an I. She's 5 foot 0 inches and I'm 5 foot 8 inches and we are both very overweight. If you're a tall person or weigh over 200 pounds then this review will more ▼ pertain to you.
The SE 380X Explorer is great for people who are heavy but no so much if you are tall or have long legs. The extra large 11.5" diameter tubes are excellent at holding lots of weight while keeping the kayak high in the water. Much better than the 10" diameter tubes on the 385X FT and WAY better than the 9.5" tubes on the current 2014 model 385 FT! With two people in the boat plus coolers and gear the 380X Explorer still sits high on the water while the 385 FT sits very low and sometimes allows water into the boat during fast turns especially in light whitewater. On both models the person in the rear sits very far back while the person in front sits just ahead of the middle of the boat. This causes the boat to rise in the front and drop in the back. Having the extra air volume in the 380X Explore keeps the water out even in moderate whitewater. Having larger tubes does pose one problem though. There's less room width-wise which can cause the tube to pinch you and cause discomfort. Riding two up in the 380X Explorer the person in the rear has less room than the person up front due to the tubes converging at the rear. Riding two up in the 385 FT both persons have more than enough space without the tubes touching them. On the SeaEagle website it says that both boats have 3'1" of interior width but I disagree. The 380X Explorer has a few inches less due to the larger tubes.
Regarding leg space the 380X Explorer wins hands down. According to the SeaEagle website the 380X Explorer only has 2" of extra interior space but it feels like a lot more. It's possibly due to the placement of the D-rings that hold the seats to the boat but I don't think so. When riding in the back of the 385 FT my feet touch the back of my wife's seat but in the 380X Explorer I have 6 inches of space which is just enough for me to place my cooler there. My wife has the same amount of legroom on both models. If you're taller than 5'8" or have long legs I highly recommend you look at the larger 420X Explorer or 465 FT especially if you want to bring a cooler or two or plan a multi day trip.
Both models track great on the water but the 385 FT tracks best and glides further on less paddle strokes especially with the front keel inflated. The 380X Explorer track great with the removable skeg installed but just ok without it. The larger tubes on the 380X Explorer make it susceptible to wind even with the skeg installed. For lakes and other flat water the 385 FT is best but on bayous and especially whitewater the 380X Explorer without the skeg installed is king. Our fully loaded 380X Explorer with two riders can easily float in as little as 5" of water but the 385 FT needs at least 8" due to the inflatable front keel even with it un-inflated. On rivers or shallow bayous the keel gets stuck quite often on rocks, tree stumps, and sandbars. Tree stumps grab hold of the keel and won't let go which means a trip into the water for me to get the boat free. The 380X Explorer gets stuck less often and when it does I can rock the flat bottomed kayak back and forth and usually get free.
While the 385 FT has some great features that make it superior to the 380X Explorer like better tracking,longer gliding per paddle stroke, and more interior width it does have one fatal flaw. It does not hold up to the extreme Texas heat. The material used to make both models is top notch and have held up to rebar, sharp rocks, sharp tree branches, and being dragged across concrete while inflated but it's the welded seams that hold the 385 FT together that are weak. After each trip I always inflate the boats and wash them to keep nasty smells from sinking in then let them dry in the sun. Last summer both boats were drying in the back yard when I noticed the 385 FT was losing air. Seems the 100 degree heat had melted the 'glue' holding a seam together and air came pouring out. I tried using the included patch kit but to no avail. A quick call to Sea Eagle headquarters and a replacement hull was delivered in 4 days! Sea Eagle has THE BEST customer service hands down! No questions asked, they just sent a new hull. Last weekend my wife an I went for a trip down the San Marcos river in the 385 FT. The San Marcos has Class 1 and minimal Class II whitewater but nothing the 385 FT can't handle. After portaging a large dam we set the 385 FT on some gravel on the side of the river and ate lunch. Fifteen minutes later we heard a loud swoosh and looked to see that the heat had once again melted the 'glue' on not one but two seams and the boat was toast. It was only 95 degrees that day but the gravel rocks must have been hotter. My sister was using the 380X Explorer that day and it was sitting right next to the 385 FT with no leaks. The 380X Explorer has larger weld seams which make all the difference in the heat. My new 'second boat' will be a 420X Explorer due to it being built better plus the extra legroom.
The Sea Eagle Explorer (47 years in business!) is an excellent class IV rated white water inflatable - yes you heard right: inflatable - kayak.
I have had different types of hard shell and I can honestly say the Explorer soft shell 380x is an amazing Kayak very forgiving, you can sail, add a motor or paddle it. at the end of the day deflate it and pack it in your car trunk. this Kayak is very rugged and durable awesome unit highly recommend it.