an inflatable kayak review
There's nothing like a few camping trips in your favourite lakeside wilderness to share a sense of adventure with your family. So, this summer, I thought we'd have even more fun, by venturing out onto the lake to net one of the larger fish to roast over the camp fire.
A kayak is ideal for this, but what made me choose the Sevylor Tahiti Hunt & Fish? Budget for one thing. An inflatable kayak is much more economic than a conventional fibre glass model and provides a great sense of involvement and fun as we all learn the rudiments of fishing out on the lake.
Besides, from what I've read, standard rigid kayaks are heavier and more difficult to manoeuvre unless you've had plenty of practice. With the car loaded up with luggage and bikes, there's barely enough room for the tent, but luckily the Tahiti Hunt & Fish collapses down to such a compact size it will fit into the tightest of spaces - this may be what makes it the best fishing kayak for someone with little storage.
The most important factor when you intend taking your kids out into deeper water is safety. The Tahiti has thick, air filled side panels to provide extra buoyancy and stability that virtually eliminates the risk of the kayak rolling over during moments of excitement that might upset the vessel's balance. The tubular I-beam base is ribbed and reinforced to provide an extra safe, sturdy floor. Another reassurance is that the kayak is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers' Association (NMMA). I am impressed with Sevylor's expertise and history as they've been manufacturing kayaks since 1963. For the Tahiti, they've opted for a heavy duty 26 gauge PVC for the construction of the hull. It comes complete with a 3 year limited warranty and should withstand general wear and tear. They do warn you to be vigilant in avoiding underwater hazards such as jagged rocks and debris, but in case of any mishaps they include a repair kit with two three inch patches of PVC.
The main concern with an inflatable vessel is whether the air system is strong enough to remain inflated. Sevylor's patented Feets Airtight System with double lock air valves, guarantees that there is no loss of air, ensuring your kayak stays afloat at all times. It is worth mentioning here that although the Tahiti easily inflates and deflates within minutes, an air pump is not included as standard, so always check you've packed one in readiness.
The overall size of the Tahiti is generous to say the least. 129 inches (10ft 9ins) in length and 37 inches (2ft 4ins) in width, the interior is more spacious than inside the narrower, conventional kayak. There aren't any storage compartments, but I think there is ample space for all our fishing equipment and some refreshments and Sevylor include removable covers for both for and aft to keep everything dry. The two integral, inflatable seats, positioned one after another, have high back rests that provide good, all round comfort while sitting for hours waiting for those fish to bite. The Tahiti is designed to accommodate one or two people, plus equipment, up to a combined weight of 400 pounds. Care should be taken in this respect, as overloading any vessel will cause it to sink. As a safeguard against any other unforeseen catastrophes, I always insist that we all get in the habit of wearing inflatable life jackets whenever we're out on the lake.
Other accessories you cannot live without are paddles and a skeg. I chose offset, double sided paddles as they are supposed to give you greater control and on account of the extra width of the Tahiti, I decided on some with slightly longer handles. A skeg is a type of extra joint that fits to the front end of the keel underneath the kayak. We tried the Tahiti with and without this optional extra, but I have to say that with the skeg fitted, I felt that the kayak travelled through the water more decisively and without it, we tended to veer round in an arc. For a greater degree of manoeuvrability, it's well worth investing in a skeg.
The Sevylor Tahiti weighs just 19 pounds and has carrying handles to enable you to lift it in and out of the water with ease. The construction is sturdy, but as with any inflatable product, you have to be aware that it can be swept along by rough water or strong winds. The Tahiti should never be taken on the sea, but is suitable for use on slow moving rivers or lakes.
The Tahiti Hunt & Fish is the ideal kayak for the novice. Economically priced, yet manufactured to a very high standard, it gives you all the reassurance you need in terms of safety and confidence as you venture into deeper water. Sevylor's Feets Airtight System is guaranteed to keep the Tahiti inflated. The deep side panels are designed to prevent the kayak rolling over. The seats are comfortable and the interior is spacious enough to hold all your fishing gear. Simple to inflate and deflate, it is lightweight, easy to transport and takes up very little storage space.
The Sevylor Tahiti provides the beginner with an affordable introduction to the world of kayak fishing. Manufactured from high quality materials, with an emphasis on innovative safety measures such as their Feets Airtight System, allows you to purchase and use this product with confidence. Sturdy, spacious, easy to inflate and deflate and compact for storage, the Tahiti Hunt & Fish gave my family hours of enjoyment as we tried to further our skills at hunting for fish. And thanks to the Tahiti's colour of camouflage green, after some practice, we sneaked up unnoticed and finally managed to land that big fish for dinner.