This is an update to my original 7-26-2013 review in which I mentioned that I had trimmed down the length of their original skeg so the 385FT can handle shallower water. Since I have had multiple questions about it, I will give further background. I felt their original skeg was much longer than necessary, and I wanted to be able to handle shallow water. So I ordered a second skeg to cut down in length. I cut one down to about half the length (5 inches from base to tip) and started using it. I realized that I didn't even need such a long one anyway, so I sent the extra unused one back for a refund. There is just a bit of yaw when I paddle, but not much. So this way I just have one to deal with that works for everything. It was easy to do.more ▼
•I first just used a hand saw (that would normally be used for cutting wood) and cut it off at an angle (just a straight diagonal cut).
•Then I used my grinding wheel to round the profile to the same nature as the original.
•The final thing was to also use the grinding wheel to round off any sharp edges left from the saw cut. If you want to see how it looks, I can send a picture. One possible way to do it - if you are unsure how much you want to cut off, then cut off a bit less than you think for starters (without doing all the final touch-up and smoothing) and give it a try. Then you can cut off more if you want and try it again. When you've got the right length, then round out and smooth out the profile. If you find you still want an original long version also, you can always order one. I think they are about $30. Happy paddling!
I am very pleased with my FastTrack 385 from Sea Eagle. It is my first inflatable kayak and it easy to use and set up. Track well and work well with one or two people. Adjusting the seats (Two Tall Back Seats) take some time to get installed and adjusted the first few times we used it and went from one to two people. Everything else is easy and the video directions from the Sea Eagle Site are excellent.
My 7 year old granddaughter pumped it up in under 6 minutes with the foot pump. Very good pump and easy to use; built in pressure stop takes all the guess work out of the PSI level.
The storage back pack makes it easy to carry, and it easy to fold and unfold. Good paddles 8' AB40s and they break down for easy storage inside the trunk.
I bought it to take along in my travel trailer and not have to worry about a hard shell on top of the truck (Ram 1500). Kayak is easily stored inside vehicle or in travel trailer; locked up and out of sight.
Great on the water; lakes, ocean, and slow rivers. It is very stable, strong, and can handle two large adults.
I like it and I recommend it!
We purchased our Sea Eagle FastTrack 385 because we have a small condo and have no outside storage. The small storage size and low weight made this kayak perfect for condo dweller. The boat goes together very easily. I find the foot pump adequate for inflation.
I am a long-time canoeist and kayaker and I was very please with the FastTrack handling and surprising speed. The boat tracks very well, even in stiff wind. I have only 2 complaints.more ▼
1) The boat is not dry. In 2 foot seas it will shift water over the bow.
2) the bow skeg and removable rear skeg means the boat needs an honest 12 inches of water to float free. This can make exploration of small, shallow streams tuff. In very protected waters I have removed the rear skeg and this helps. As we are in Florida and in warm weather and waters, neither of these issues is a big deal for us.
I give the boat a High 8 (even 9 if you are an exclusively warm water paddler as we are). It is very stable, fast for an inflatable, tracks like an arrow, is comfortable (we have the deluxe seats), light weight and easy to store. There is plenty of room with two people for day outings and picnics. I would take it on camping trips solo. We are very please with this boat.
This review is for a 2014 Sea Eagle Fast Track 385FT "Deluxe" tandem inflatable kayak with the "needle knife" keel.
The boat arrived in two cardboard boxes via UPS from New York to my home in southern Oregon. All of the major items were there and were undamaged and in new condition. The material seems very rugged and the fit and finish of seams, valves, d-rings, handles, etc. were very good.more ▼
The printed instructions that came with the boat are not very detailed, but I found a YouTube video produced by Sea Eagle that showed how to set up the 2014 model.
Inflation was easy using the basic foot pump, and took about 10 minutes. I left the kayak inflated overnight, and it seemed to be at about the same firmness the next morning.
My wife and I packed it into the trunk of our Honda Civic and took it to a nearby mountain lake for the maiden voyage. Although we are both in our high 60's, we had no trouble setting it up and walking it about 50 yards to the water. The FastTrack floats in about a foot of water, and we had no trouble getting in and heading out onto the lake.
This was our first kayaking experience of any kind, and it was delightful! The kayak paddles very easily, and we quickly learned how to synchronize our paddling and to ad a short pause between strokes to give water a bit more time to drip off of the paddles. The kayak tracks very straight, with very little side-to-side motion as we dig the paddles into water.
I am 6-feet tall and my wife is 5'4", and we weigh about 340 pounds combined. I'm the taller and heavier of us, and I sat in the back seat which offers a bit more leg room than in the front. I paddled leaning slightly forward in the inflatable seat as recommended by Sea Eagle, and the paddle handles occasionally grazed my knees, but overall we found the 385FT to be adequate for the type of day-use flat-water recreational paddling we intend to do. I also plan to take the kayak out solo at times, and may even add a sail kit, so I wanted to have the shorter 385FT rather than the roomier 465FT.
I'd been looking at inflatable kayaks for about two years, mulling over length, cost, motors, etc. I tentatively decided on the Saturn Kaboat or the Sea Eagle Paddleski. However, I really wanted to just paddle the kayak and to not have a motor if at all possible. I was finally convinced by the lower profile of the Sea Eagle FastTrack along with the skeg and inflatable "needle knife" keel. This kayak is easy to paddle, tracks really well and minimizes wind resistance.
So far I like this kayak a lot. I'll post again after I've had a few more outings.
Just bought a 2014 version of the 385. Had only kayaked twice in the past few weeks on a friends kayak, and fell in love with it. But didn't want to go down the path of a kayak to put on the car, and researched inflatables. Wanted a 2 person that could be converted to a single. In the end, I went with the Carbon upgrade. I have now had it out for a 12 mile solo and 6 mile 2 person outing. Felt great both times. Really does track straight. I like the stability of the kayak. In retrospect the kayak is now easy to blow up and take down, but the instructions that came with the initial package were a bit confusing and need to be improved.
This review is for the 2013 Sea Eagle 385 fast track. Wanting a higher performance inflatable kayak, my husband and I each bought one of these. Even though they are supposed to be the same model year, the kayaks have slight manufacturing differences, and the one tracks better than the other. Bummer! Sea Eagle keeps changing the 385, and I don't know why.more ▼
Those disappointments aside, the 2013 fast track does track amazingly straight, and fast. We have no problem paddling upstream in current when we want to. When we decide to go tandem, we both fit in one reasonably well, but not much room to spare; I agree with the other reviewer - if both of you are over 5'9" I'd get the longer one, if you don't want to feel cramped. Especially if you want to put a motor on it - the motor mount is good, but takes up that much more space.
Regarding the removable skeg, it definitely needs it - we forgot it once and found out that the kayak tracks VERY poorly without it. But overall the 385 fast track is a good kayak, made of very durable material, and you can't beat the portability of an inflatable.
I love this boat for flatwater. It gets overwhelmed quickly in anything over class 2, but that's why they make the Explorer. We did a 45 mile, 3 day, 2 night trip on the Green River in Moab on this boat and it did fantastic. It was the perfect boat for the conditions. Video found here:
Full review with pics and video here:more ▼
O.k. here's an honest review of the SEA EAGLE FastTrack385(2013 model). I want to mention, before I start, that one of the most important aspects of evaluating the quality of a product is the issue of how long it will last under 'normal' use, and that this is something that I can't comment on as I've only had it for a couple of months.
I feel that this is important to mention here because for the average working class person like myself, THIS IS AN EXPENSIVE ITEM. While the average hard shell recreational kayak costs between four and five hundred dollars (Canadian), this baby set me back almost thirteen hundred bucks when all was said and done, so I would expect it to last for many years. Sea Eagle guarantees the boat against 'manufacturing defects' for three years, but for the price I paid, I would expect it to last much longer than that. Only time will tell. That said, It seems like a very high quality product.more ▼
I'm enjoying this thing immensely. I don't know much about fabric but this cool, hard rubbery stuff just seems to bounce off of, and slide over everything. I paddled with a seventy pound lab in the boat and had no worries whatsoever about the floor. The kayak is extremely stable, and it tracks perfectly. The inflatable seats are very comfy, and they put you in a great paddling position a few inches off the floor. You can stand in this boat and use it as a paddle board, and it's absolutely great for fishing. Furthermore, you can jump off of it for a swim, and easily climb back in without tipping.
I can't say all that much about the speed of this kayak because I'm not an experienced kayaker, but I can say that it's as fast as any recreational kayak I've ever paddled. I've also paddled upwind and up-current, and it stays straight. You can easily put an electric motor on this kayak thanks to some rear 'carry-handles'(I can't wait to try this), and another great feature is the fact that you can position the inflatable seats any where you want to in the boat, facing either forward or backward. This way, You can just sit back, put your feet up on the side of the boat and fish while your girlfriend does the paddling......like I do, and hopefully will for many years!
Overall for lakes and bodies of water greater than 12" deep the FastTrack is a great inflatable kayak. However, for skinny rivers (like many smaller rivers in the summer that have shallow spots) the FastTrack has problems. Because of the inflatable skeg up front the FastTrack requires the paddler(s) to have the rear skeg in place which makes the FastTrack unusable in many shallow spots or rivers with submersed tree branches. If someone reverses ends to track better without the rear skeg in place the square front of the inflatable skeg gets hung up on submersed objects.more ▼
In short, if you tour smaller rivers in summer that have many shallow spots or submersed objects this is not the kayak you want.
My wife and I have both a 2012 Sea Eagle FastTrack 385 and a 2013 Explorer 380X model kayaks. Both are excellent boats that easily store in our small hatchback and are built tough but we are very careful about which one we use on our trips. While both are capable of traversing flat water and whitewater neither one is perfect for every adventure.more ▼
The FastTrack 385 is excellent for flat water lakes, bayous, reservoirs, or any body of water that doesn't become shallow but not the best for whitewater. When you install the included skeg and air up the front keel it tracks dead straight and is a pleasure to paddle but gets stuck easily in shallow water or around underwater rocks and trees. If you plan to take the FT 385 into whitewater you'll need to remove the skeg and not inflate the keel. Unfortunately the keel sticks about 4 inches under the water even while un-inflated and makes traveling over shallow water more difficult It also hangs up on rocks, sandbars, and any other object that you may pass over.
The FT385 Classic that we own has 4 self drain valves that drain water quickly but the new 2013 model only has 2 and drains water slower. For these reasons I don't recommend the FT 385 if you plan to do lots of whitewater trips.
The FT 385 will easily seat two passengers with a large kayak cooler plus other gear so long as they are 5'8" or smaller. If either passenger is taller than this I highly recommend you buy the longer FastTrack 465 for the extra leg room. If you plan to paddle solo you'll have more than enough room no matter how long your legs are. Width wise the FT 385 has plenty of space even for those with "extra cushion" if you know what I mean.
The included inflatable seats and 8' paddles are ok but I highly recommend you buy the tall back seats and make plans to buy a quality paddle at a local kayak/canoe or sports store. The inflatable seats are great for anyone weighing less than 125 lbs but they do not provide much back support for those weighing more. The backs tend to bend or collapse as they cannot support much weight. The Sea Eagle paddles are heavy, have lots of vibration, and are not very efficient. They are best used as an emergency backup rather than you main go-to paddle. If you plan to do short 1 hour or fewer paddles they would be ok but if you plan to paddle for longer periods of time you'll appreciate a lighter, more efficient paddle. The only good thing about the SE paddles is that they can be broken down into 4 sections for easy storage.
To recap, the Sea Eagle FastTrack 385 is a sturdy, lightweight, fast, extremely portable kayak that is best used in flat water and very light white water. It can easily hold two kayakers, lots of gear, and tracks very straight. It does not take much effort to get the kayak moving and going fast. Solo kayakers will have plenty of leg and storage room while larger (i.e. longer) kayakers who paddle tandem would be better served with the larger FastTrack 465 model.
For those who are looking to paddle lots of whitewater I highly recommend a Sea Eagle Explorer model as they are better equipped to handle shallow water, rocks, and sandbars.