Sea Eagle 473rl Inflatable Kayaks and Canoe Reviews
2 Discount Packages available. starting at $1,399
This is a great boat. We have paddled hard shell sea kayaks for over 20 years. But lately we found a need for an alternative tandem/single conversion boat for calm to moderately choppy water that did not require car topping. I had never given inflatables any serious thought. But after learning about the 473rl's dimensions, design and rigidity, I decided to give it a try. So we bought one and recently took it to Southern Florida for a week of bay and river paddling. The boat performed marvelously. It's stable, nimble, tracks well and is fast enough that we could keep up with our friends in their hard shell. Does it perform as well as our hard shells? Of course not; It's a different boat for a different purpose. But it takes its rightful place as an easily transportable, high quality, solid performing boat that will get you where your're going, and get you there in style. I will now always have one in my fleet. Last, Sea Eagle's customer service is superb.
For me this is a wonderful craft to share paddling with on flat-water lakes & rivers. It glides smooth & quickly. After paddling for decades with hard-shell boats, I'm quite satisfied having one that transports easily & stores folded in a small space. The hull is durable and well constructed. Seats are easily adjustable and comfortable. This tandem is fairly stable and easily maneuverable with a little practice. Skeg is quite helpful when conditions are windy and choppy. Important to store safely from heat & rodents. I had to patch up a small hole where it had been chewed.
We have used the 473 RazorLite for one year now and it is truly wonderful. It is the fastest inflatable kayak we have ever used, is nearly as fast as a hard shell kayak, tracks superbly and will accommodate 2 people with gear. We have used it in varying conditions, including 3-foot waves and winds to 20 knots. For training and safety, we have tested re-entry in 3-foot waves; it is easy to re-enter the boat if capsized (we recommend attaching the boat to your life jacket with a rope if there is heavy wind so that you are not separated from the boat, and having leashes for your paddles and scupper, the latter to remove the remaining water). In order to be fast, it has to be narrow (30 inches) and so it is a bit less stable than wide slower kayaks; you get to appreciate the speed and ease of paddle from its narrow hull. It is wonderfully light and easy to carry / portage. It folds easily and fits neatly in its bag opening endless possibilities beyond those of hardshell kayaks. Highly recommended.
I love this kayak, there is only one thing that will make you hate it at first, that being the foot rest or Flex-brace system as they call it. So, if you find yourself setting up your kayak in 10 just minutes but spending 20 minutes or more installing or removing the aluminum rods from the feet flex-brace don't panic, after cutting my fingers trying to do so I contacted SeaEagle, they suggested to cut half a cm of each rod which makes the task easier, now you know. Besides this the kayak is great, quick set-up, with their car electric pump it takes 5 minutes to inflate. Glides easily and fast on the water. It's on the shaky side, so it takes a bit to get your balance, if you're a nervous person better pick a wider one like the Fast-track or explorer models. As for the looks, you'll never think is inflatable, it's fun when people see you deflating it in 5 seconds before start folding it. It's on the heavy side, hard for just one person to carry, so I got a cart for it. The carrying bag should be bigger.