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Pakboat Durability

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:13 am
by caucapon
I've been actively looking for a used folder for about a month. Unfortunately, little to nothing has come up during that period. I just noticed that Pakboat is offering its XT-17 for under $1500. I've located one dealer who is selling for $1450 with no shipping charge. Assuming that the boat is appropriate for my intended use, such a price definitely puts a new XT-17 into used kayak pricing territory.

There is a lack of meaningful information on Pakboat's site regarding performance, what is included in a base sale, detailed dimensions, etc. That in itself is troublesome.

I know next to nothing about this brand. What little I've read in the past suggests that Pakboat's products are lightweight kayaking solutions. While I'm sure that expedition quality crafts are unnecessary for someone contemplating only day trips on normally calm rivers, bays, and ocean coasts, I don't want to put real money into something that does not inspire confidence when on the somewhat rough, choppy water that can occasionally crop up almost anywhere. Is the XT-17 comparable to the Folbot Cooper in terms of its build quality and performance in somewhat rough water, or would I be better served looking elsewhere?

As always, thanks in advance for your response.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:46 pm
by KerryOnKayaks
I can't compare it to Folbot as I have no experience with the FB brand, but I do have two Pakboats and have been particularly impressed with the XT-15 both in performance and structural integrity. We bought the XT-15 from a guide who has used both the PB canoes and kayaks in the rough wilderness rivers of the Canadian Northwest and Patagonia, which is a pretty good testimonial. Having owned 3 seaworthy models of Feathercrafts (one of the "gold standard" brands of folders) I can honestly say the XT measures up favorably to them for less than half the price.

The somewhat lumpy appearance of the Pakboats belies their great feel in the water. These are not flimsy flatwater toys and handle rough water well and have great glide and tracking. I would not hesitate to take the XT on any water that I would my Feathercraft Wisper. For some uses, like touring with cargo, the XT would definitely be superior due to the ease of access with the peel off deck. The Pakboats also impress me as designs that would be easy to repair in the field if you somehow did have an accident or parts mishap. Assembly is simpler with less "kayak yoga" since you put the boat together as an open "canoe" shape and then install the deck. The adjustable inflatable seat and thigh supports are heavenly on extended trips. You can add deck storage capacity by adding some of those flat elastic bungees clipped across to the gunwale d-rings.

The reinforced PVC hulls are rugged and easily patched. The only problem we have had was one small puncture in a sponson (easily repaired) which was our own fault for assembling the seat wrong (second time out.) Even in that instance, since there are 3 sponson tubes on each side we just deflated the corresponding one on the other side to balance it out and kept paddling that day with no noticeable lack of performance. If you can get that deal on the XT-17 I doubt you will be disappointed.

PS If you want to check out performance of the XT's there are a number of YOuTube videos of people paddling them.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:44 pm
by doliver
The XT-15 does appear to be a bit of stealth boat with very little information on the web (including the PakBoat website). There is even less with the 17' version. The boat was reviewed in Sea Kayaker in December 2009. A little Google work will find you copy of the review. In general the reviewers were impressed with the boat for use in fairly protected waters. While they would not recommend it for big water and exposed coasts, it showed quality construction and materials and was fun to paddle. Like you I hope to find one to try.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:26 pm
by windspired
KerryOnKayaks, you are right on! We have had our XT 15s several years now. Having the Columbia River Gorge as our major playground, these boats handle extreme conditions superbly. We often go out in three to five foot, breaking wind swell with our sails. They are also the most comfortable sea kayaks we have ever been in. We push these boats pretty hard and they are holding up very well. Here is a link to a video we shot a couple of years ago. This was a fourteen mile downwinder. ... ature=plcp

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:52 pm
by KerryOnKayaks
Love, love, love your video!!! Terrific! Great footage of the cowboy self rescue, too. And you use WRC Greenland sticks, just like I do! I'm sure once I show this to my beau (the XT-15 is actually "his") he is going to want one of those sail rigs for Christmas. He's an old whitewater kayaker and often gets bored with long stretches of flat water -- he likes speed. Looks like you guys are having an absolute blast out there.

It really is a shame that Pakboat doesn't have better marketing material on their website. It is not even obvious on the Puffin pages that the boats come with the removable deck. And they need more links to videos like yours so people can see how well these boats perform in serious waters. I think they offer the best bang for the buck of all the folders, and the seating arrangement is as comfortable as the one in my $4,000 FC Wisper.

By the way, what do you have rigged in yours for the foot brace? We got one of the inflatables but had previously just rigged one with cordage and a chunk of pool noodle. I've seen a more rigid factory model on some vendor sites but have not been able to find it lately. I suppose I could contact Alv at PB about getting one, but wondered what actual users thought of the options.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:02 pm
by KerryOnKayaks
And I see you have a Snapdragon neo skirt on the red boat -- do you recall the model and size? The stock nylon PB skirt isn't very snug for rough water.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:30 pm
by windspired
Hi Kerry,
My apologies for the delay in responding. I must not have checked the box to receive post replies. :oops:

Thanks so much for your kind words!

Yes, the Pakboats definitely offer many of the features found in higher priced folders. I agree their website could use more detailed information regarding the boats. I think they recently upgraded the site and added a few features including a link to their YouTube channel. We usually contact them directly when we can't find what we were looking for on their site.

SmartTrack offers a rudder kit for the XTs. David and I ordered our XTs with the rudder option. They have a nice static foot peg and one controls the rudder with the ball of the foot/toes. I love how well the XT hull steers and paddle-sail with and without the rudder, about 50/50.

Our Snapdragon skirts are a size large and are a bit snug. I would like to try an XL. I just checked the receipt (2007) and, unfortunately, it doesn't list the style but after a quick look on their website they look to be the SeaTour EXP model. They are still in excellent shape.

Happy New Year!

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:24 am
by Apathizer
I agree, Pakboats really needs to upgrade their website: It's incredibly chincy. Too bad because they look like great boats for the price.

Does anyone know what the hull material is made of? One of the few complaints I've heard is that the hull is prone to punctures: Does anyone have any experience with this.

I really think they're doing themselves a disservice by not upgrading their website. Right now the XT-17 is on sale for $1495. If I can get more info and details about the boat, I might jump on that!

I'm 5'9" 160pds. Would the XT-17 be too big for me? I'm looking for a boat for both day paddling and touring. Do you think this boat would work for my size?

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:52 pm
by KerryOnKayaks
Apathizer -- sorry to send such a delayed response. Haven't been on the site that often for the past two months.

Re your Pakboat questions, the XT series is made of PVC. The hull is a smooth heavy duty rubberized material and the deck is a sort of PVC coated ripstop, We've found the hulls to be plenty strong. The only puncture problem was from inside when we installed the seat wrong and part of the internal frame made a small hole in one of the sponsons when we dropped it on a concrete dock. Since there are 3 sponsons on each side we just deflated the corresponding one on the other side and the boat paddle fine for that day's outing. When we got home we used the repair kit that comes with the kayaks and easily fixed the hole good as new. Then we added some pieces of thin closed cell foam around that frame area just in case, but have not had any troubles since -- like I said, we just erred in installing the seat the first time out.

Having not used an XT-17 (I am around your weight but shorter) I don't know if it would be too much for someone your size. My beau is 5' 9" and the XT-15 is actually his and fits his height well. He is about 30 lbs huskier than you. I admit to liking longer boats and have an 18' Greenland replica and formerly owned a pair of 17' hard shells. Alv at Pakboat could no doubt help you with sizing reommendations. The new pakboat Quest models coming out this year use different material (not PVC) and the Quest 155 is supposed to replace the XT-15.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:25 pm
by Apathizer

Thank you for all the details about the XTs. I'm a little partial to longer yaks myself, if only because they are better for longer trips: more storage capacity, a bit faster, better tracking. If I were only interested in day paddling, I'd probably prefer a 15-16' boat.

I'm going to start another post, but, just to let you know. Alv told me that the XT-17 will be the only XT model available this year.

Thanks for your help. :D

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:53 pm
by idc
So just out of interest. What is a rough average sort of time to assemble a pakboat XT?

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:58 am
by mudpuppy
Pakboats is having a Demo Day at Enfield, NH on May 18, 2013. All their models will be available to try out.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Thu May 23, 2013 11:37 am
by KerryOnKayaks
I can set up either of our Pakboats solo in less than 30 minutes. At one point two of us set up the XT-15 in 16 minutes (just to see if we could do it). To be honest, we laid out all the parts first so you would take about 5 minutes or more to do that first, especially if you were not familiar with them.

On all my folders I have marked the frame sections with wraps of colored electrical marking tape (you can buy packs of it at building supply stores) so I can tell at a glance which end goes where and which connect together. Greatly reduces set up hassles.

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Sun May 26, 2013 6:55 am
by CanvasClipper
KerryOnKayaks wrote:Love, love, love your video!!! Terrific! Great footage of the cowboy self rescue, too.
Ditto! Superb vid. Wished I was there.

What make are the sail rigs?

Re: Pakboat Durability

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:55 pm
by BradT
A worthy boat you may want to look at is the Folbot Cooper. I've had one since 2008. It's beautiful to look at, very fast, light and well made. REI now has them, for $1800, with no shipping charges, BUT as an REI member you'll get 10% back, meaning the boat will cost you $1620. At this price, I've not seen anything close. It comes with an excellent backpack. I've had in it in all conditions, except extreme storms, on the ocean. It swallows a ton of gear for multi-day camping trips. It's very easy to get at your stuff, because the deck has zippers. You let a little air out of the sponsons and you can open them. I set it up, with practice, in just over 20 minutes. Yesterday I had it taken apart and in the backpack in 12 minutes. It has a lifetime (yes, lifetime) warranty and they mean it. Best thing I ever bought. Don't compare it to a $4000 Feathercraft Wisper, like many people seem to do. It's not as good as that!