Pakboat-XT-16 for extended coastal touring?

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Pakboat-XT-16 for extended coastal touring?

Post by tchapin »


We (2 adults + 2 small kids) currently do week-long canoe trips in a Pakcanoe 170 and are now planning some extended warm water sea kayaking trips. We have two folding doubles (FC Klondike and Nautiraid 520) but these are a major hassle to fly with so we're looking at the Pakboat XT-16 for trips to the Caribbean or Baja.

I realize the XT-16 has a low-medium payload capacity of 460 lbs vs 600+ for our folders, but we pack very light so payload capacity isn't a big deal for us. We are also pretty cautious with the young kids: near-shore paddling, no big crossings, avoid surf, stay on shore if it's blowing hard, so we don't really need a true open ocean kayak.

Here are my questions.

1. It looks like the XT-16 rides fairly low in the water and would easily take water on/over the deck in 1-3 ft seas, does the spray deck do a good job of keeping water out, do the spray skirts work well?

2. Our Pakcanoe is very flexible compared to a normal canoe. The design of the Pakboat XT looks pretty rigid to me, how rigid does the XT feel compared to another folding kayak?

3. Would you recommend a rudder? We'll mostly have a young kid in the bow so the stern paddler will be doing all the work. I'm inclined to get the rudder anyway so we can set the XT-16 up for sailing but was wondering how the XT handled without a rudder.

4. Has anyone sailed the XT-16? We have a kayaksailor 1.6 rig and would definintely use it if we go with this kayak.

5. How do you like the seat, is it very adjustable?

6. The Pakboats website is not clear about what's included with the kayak. Are spray skirts or any other gear included?

7. Anybody used the XT-16 as a single with the single spraydeck?

I'll ask Alv at Pakboat the same questions but there aren't many opinions on the Pakcanoe XT kayaks on the web so XT-15 or XT-17 owners feel free to add your thoughts.

Thanks very much


Re: Pakboat-XT-16 for extended coastal touring?

Post by yok »


This reply is probably long overdue! But I thought I should still say something as reviews on the Pakboat XT kayaks are so rare. It makes me wonder if anybody else owns one. I've owned an XT-16 for about 6 months now and have been using it very frequently. I will give my 2cents on my experience with the kayak wrt your questions:

1. The kayak does ride fairly low in the water but surprisingly the velcro-on deck is well-sealed enough to keep the water out, as long as you do a thorough job in ensuring that there are no creases. It fact it continues to keep out the water when it is capsized - I experimented with it in the pool. Some water do trickle in eventually but I think the air pressure in the cockpit prevents water from entering. However, if you keep the kayak in a tilted position with the velcro joint submerged (say during a sculling draw ) water comes in at a much faster rate. In any case, always bring along a bilge pump! The spray skirts are a little cumbersome and hard to put on but works well enough. They are essential in the surf zone.

2. The frame is rigid and feels solid. I managed to punch through some pretty high surfs and the kayak held it's shape. The kayak is very stable, both with my kids or my heavy friend in it.

3. A rudder is probably unnecessary because the kayak tracks really straight!

4. I bought a Pacific Sail which is just a downwind sail requiring no rigging, but have yet to try it on the kayak. Will be looking forward to that!

5. Well there's not a lot to adjust, only an inflatable thigh support which I seldom inflate, and there's back rest which works really well and easily adjustable using the straps. You can't adjust the seats forward or backwards as they have to match the the position of the combings.

6. There is no other gear included - I had to buy the accessories separately e.g. spray skirt

7. I have both the single and the double spray deck. I'm so glad I have both. It's like having 2 kayaks! In fact I think it paddles better as a single, or maybe I'm just uncooperative.

All in all I'm happy with the boat. Everything seems to be holding, nothing's peeling or coming off. Only thing is I have yet to master rolling it. I tend to slip on the seat each time I'm halfway up. Any tips from anyone?

Hope to hear more from other owners! Cheers..



Re: Pakboat-XT-16 for extended coastal touring?

Post by jayuu »


It's good to hear from other owners of the XT-16. Here are my comments.

1. I agree that the velcro-on deck is well-sealed. I have had waves washed over the deck and the inside remained completely dry. So far I have not used a spray skirt. I have been paddling mainly in bays and lakes. Some water will probably get in if you submerged the sides, although I have not tried that.

2. The frame is very rigid and well built. The material used are all good quality.

3. The boat tracks very straight without a rudder. However, the first time I tried it, the kayak kept wanting to go to the left. It turns out, the stem piece at the back of the kayak was installed slanted to one side of the boat. This seems to happen on the first try each time I assemble the boat by pressing down the stem handle to lock the stem to the skin, probably due to the pressure of having to stretch the skin the first time. Releasing the stem handle and pressing down to lock the stem to the skin again seems to solve the problem. I wonder if anyone else is having this problem?

4. I haven't tried the kayaksailor, but the XT-15 seems to work well with it from their web site and you can view it on youtube. The XT-16 doesn't have as much room in front of the front cockpit, so it's best to ask them if it will fit.

5. The seats are very comfortable and the cockpit is wide. It is possible to move the seat forward and backward a little since you can adjust where to mount it on the frame. I also found that you can shave a little assembly time by installing the seats before putting on the skin.

6. Only the kayak and the double deck is included. No thigh straps or footrest either.

7. I also have the solo deck and the kayak works well with it.

Overall, we love the kayak. It's probably one of the fastest folding tandems with a 26” beam. Primary and secondary stability are great. I can easily take pictures while the other person is paddling.


Re: Pakboat-XT-16 for extended coastal touring?

Post by tchapin »

We ended up getting the Pakboat XT-16 before the responses by yok and jayuu and I agree completely with their assessments. I've owned and used a lot of different folding boats over the last 30 years and I have to say that the Pakboat XT-16 has become my favorite.

Here are my thoughts.

1. Spray deck velcro holds great and is dry. It will leak if you put the velcro seam underwater but normal waves and splash don't get in. The best part is that you can really pack your boat efficiently before you put the deck on.

2. Volume: The XT-16 does not have a lot of volume, it's only 16' long and the beam is only 26". Most folding doubles are 17' long with 31"-36" beam. We do a lot of backpacking with the kids so our camping gear is definitely on the light and compact/compressible end of the spectrum. We just did a trip on the flatwater section of the Colorado and we able to pack full camping gear, food and water (8 gallons) for a 5-day desert trip. Because you can pack everything without the spraydeck on, you can really do a much better job of utilizing the available space.

3. The XT-16, and I assume the XT-15 and XT-17, sit very low in the water. You are much closer to the water than other doubles I have owned/paddled. With the relatively narrow beam and low height above water, you can have a much lower paddling angle if you want. The low deck will have more water over the bow or sides but it's not a problem. Haven't been out in any nasty conditions yet but I don't expect any real issues.

4. Speed, tracking, handling. The XT-16 is very fast and runs straight. It's only 26" wide so it's quick to get up to speed, holds it's speed well, but also feels 'sporty' and can be turned easliy when you want to. The frame is very rigid and the assembled boat is the most rigid folder I've ever paddled. You don't feel as much flex in ocean conditions as you do with most folders. Primary and secondary stability seem fine to me but I haven't really tried to push it too much.

5. The XT-16 is by far the easiest and fastest to assemble double folder that I've had. Some of the folders that use rear zippers probably have similar ease and speed of assembly but I haven't used them.

6. Seats are very comfortable and the backband that is part of the spray deck works very well.

7. There are a lot of D-rings on the hull below where the deck velcro is. This makes it very easy to attach deckbags or whatever you want and the number of D-rings gives you a lot of position options.

8. Hull and deck materials are high quality and the hull will be very durable, no worries here. We have a Pakboat Canoe which has the same PVC hull material and there are barely any marks on the canoe after 10 years and a lot of trips.

9. Pack size: The duffle bag that comes with it gives a stated packed size of 33"L x 21"W x 14"H. The XT-16 with all normal gear is just under 50 lbs and the duffle bag has compression straps that can shrink it down a bit more and you can get near enough to the 62 linear inches (L+W+H) that most airlines use. This means that you can proabably fly with the XT-16 in one bag without overweight-oversize charges.

10. Bottom line: the Pakboat XT-16 is one of the best deals out there. The kayak is lightweight, fast, stable, easy to assemble and is very versatile. It does have limitations, mostly the volume of gear you can pack into it, but with careful packing you can use this kayak for week-long trips.

Our XT-16 and accessories were purchased from We waited until we got a 20% discount coupon from Wayfair and also got free shipping so we feel we got a great deal.

Haven't had a chance to use the Kayaksailor rig yet.

We obviously love this boat and highly recommend it.

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