Sea Eagle 385ft Inflatable Kayak Reviews
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385ft Reviews (92 total, avg. review: 4.6 out of 5)
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.
The previous year design was actually better with larger side tubes in the bow. I got the 2013 which has smaller side tubes that are tapered down toward the bow, not so good in rougher waters. I would not recommend it for two paddlers, unless the bow-person likes to get wet.
The front keel seems to make tracking in following current or seas a bit of a challenge. Otherwise, this is an exceptionally stable kayak. You have to try hard to tip it over. The deluxe seat makes paddling it easier because you sit higher than in the Pro-highback seats. The paddles are long, making them heavier than most kayak paddles. Therefore, I recommend the available carbon fiber paddle for it's lighter weight(really nice). I eventually passed up on this boat and went with their Explorer 380 and carbon fiber paddles
**NOTE**: this review is for the 385FT Classic 2012 model (not the new 2013 model).nn Overall an excellent, versatile kayak. Seems very tough - can strap it to top of van; have had it inflated for days and it keeps its pressure; rated for class 3 whitewater. Fairly light weight for such a tough boat. Has a large weight-bearing capacity. Works just as nicely solo as it does tandem.more ▼
When tandem, it is nice with their inflatable "deluxe" seats, that you can position them wherever you want in the boat, i.e., you are not forced like w/ some kayaks to only put the seat(s) where there are rings to hook the seat onto. Very stable - can even stand up in it. Speed is OK. The long skeg helps it track perfectly straight, but it sticks so far down into the water; I have trimmed (sawed and ground off) several inches off the end of the skeg so it can handle shallower water. My family likes this kayak a lot.
Two things we like about inflatables. One is the portability - we have taken it both w/ vehicle and on flights, as it fits in a suitcase. (Added flexibility - can transport it inflated on top of a vehicle so it is always ready to go, but then when you want, you can deflate it and tuck it away inside.) The other is that since the seats are also inflatable in addition to the kayak, it is very comfortable; you can kind of lay back and stretch out, put your feet up, etc., when you want to relax, which you cannot do so easily w/ a hard-shell. (However, at times the air in the bottom part of the inflatable seat leaks out gradually when you sprawl out and stretch back - this is one thing they could make more robust.)
Misnomer: to call this a "Fast" track is somewhat of a misnomer. A detailed, consistent study w/ a GPS unit shows that Sea Eagle's basic SE370 "Sport" kayak for ~1/4 the price (approx. same 12.5' length as the Fast Track) and also a 10-foot hard-shell will both achieve the same speeds as the "Fast" Track. Typical range for solo of 2.8 to 3.4 mph for easy to steady paddling, 3.8-3.9 for firm paddling, and 4.4 or so for a sprint, with tandem paddling being only slightly faster. The Fast Track can not reach its "theoretical maximum hull speed." They really should have called it either a "Straight Track" since it does track very straight, or a "Versa Yak" since it does have many nice features and capabilities to it.
Therefore I am glad to see that Sea Eagle introduced a new design for Fast Track in 2013 that is more streamlined for better speed and glide; the compromise is that the new version is rated only up to class 2 rapids (yet this may actually not be an issue for most people, but is something to be aware of).
The new Sea Eagle 385ft deluxe, made of Thick 1000 denier material is an amazingly stable, streamlined inflatable kayak. Unlike most inflatables, you can't over pressure the 385 when using the supplied bellows pump. Smooth, fast, kayaking and approved for class 2 rapids.
The Sea Eagle 385ft is a very stable boat, you can not tip them over. I bought my Sea Eagle 385ft last January and used it everyday from April to October. They are very easy to set up and take down, no hard ware to contend with. Just blow it up and away you go. They fold up so you can keep it in the trunk of your car, very portable, only 35 lbs. You can use this kayak in up to class 3 rapids. I had my kayak out on lake Ontario this summer when the wind picked up. I had 4 foot waves to contend with and had no problem what so ever and felt very safe in my kayak. I would recommend this kayak to anybody 10 out of 10.
I have been paddling inflatables for several years. I started off with the Sea Eagle 380X and eventually moved on to the 385 FastTrack. I have had the opportunity to paddle in several different types of IK's so am able to do a fairly good comparison.
There are several things I like best about the 385 FT.
•It is lightweight - I can carry it by myself if I am paddling solo and it is great to travel with.more ▼
•I can adjust the seats around to suit my needs.
•It tracks well and can get some pretty good speed. The large skeg that comes with it is needed to get the good tracking. The only time you wouldn't want to use the skeg is if on a moving river. I got the tall back seats which are really comfortable for my back although not much padding on the actually seat.
This kayak is stable, easy to paddle and extremely comfortable. I took my Dad out kayaking for the first time in it and within 20 minutes he was out in it solo paddling like a pro - or at least like he knew what he was doing... The open deck is nice if you want to load it with gear or bring along your dog. If you are used to paddling a closed deck kayak it can take some time to get used to the different feel but personally for lake and bay kayaking I love it.
I think you get a lot for your money with the 385 FT and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a portable kayak that is easy to transport and store. I would not recommend it for long distance ocean kayaking - unless you plan to stick to the shoreline. Otherwise it's a great kayak.
Love my Sea Eagle kayak/385 Fast Track
So far I have kayaked in NJ (Barnegat Bay, Motedeconk River) hope to kayak EBF Wildlife Refuge this summer. I have also kayaked Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Absolutely beautiful...a wonderful experience...purchased the compressor to inflate the kayak with a little more dignity...I have to keep up my image; the foot pump was just fine...it's a personal thing
I have a 385FT, and I love its versatility. With the detachable skeg, it tracks like a hard shell. It's easy to inflate and get in and out of the water for this mid-50's female solo paddler, and I've had it in high swells and scraping-the-bottom creeks. Love this boat