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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:14 pm 
I've inherited my father's vintage AE II and I'm completely loyal to Klepper, but my brother has developed an interest in Feathercraft. Now I've even heard that the people at Feathercraft claim that Klepper is the classic. I've also read that more Alaskan rivers have been run in Kleppers than any other type of kayak or boat. Is there anyone out there that has given both boats a fair trial?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:43 pm 
I've paddled both, but I own two Feathercrafts (Kahuna & Khatsalano), so I've spent much, much more time in Feathercraft boats. I also own a Klepper Alu-lite, but that's not very much like the Aerius boats.

Which is better? That depends entirely on your needs and expectations. The truth is they are so different that it's impossible to say that one is better than the other. They both have strengths and weaknesses.

Kleppers are probably more versatile in that they can readily be sailed, or used as a diving platform for example. FCs are more narrowly focused on straight kayaking, but within that realm are 'higher performance' - faster, more manoeuvreable. There are too many points of comparision, and too many models to go point-by-point here.

Both are premium products, renowned for exacting quality standards, and both should give years and years of service if looked after.

Nohoval


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:35 pm 
I spent lots of time analizing which boat is for me: Klepper, or Feathercraft and decided on Feathercraft Klondike for a few reasons.

Klondike paddles faster than Aerius II. It is narrower and sits lower on the water. It manouvers better. I use it as a single and can keep up with hardshells. It is lighter by a few pounds. It is very elegant. In double configuration it paddles like a dream! The quality and workmanship are excellent. It is equipped with sea socks, which keep water and dirt out.

There are a few negatives, too. Feathercraft is not easy on maintenance due to corosion of aluminum tubes. It has to be taken appart, cleaned, and lubricated from time to time. I do not know how often I'll have to do it: factory suggests to do it every two months.
It takes time to assemble Klondike, in the range of one hour of steady work. I feel I could assemble Aerius II completly in 30 minutes.
Klepper has much more space for cargo. Someone from Alaska suggested that he uses his double for retreiving moose quarters from the hunting trip. I could perhaps retreive a deer in my Klondike (if I decided to mess it up inside.)

Now, if I had to choose again, I would still go with Klondike. I think that it is a better kayak for me.

My second choice would be a Longhaul MarkII. A well Colorado made replica (identical dimensions) of AeriusII with some improvements and lower price.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 7:52 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1844
Location: Southeast Michigan
I think of the Feathercrafts as the performance boats, and the Kleppers and Long Hauls as expedition boats. More room for gear, more redundant parts, and field repairable.


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 Post subject: Klepper Vs. FC
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 7:59 pm 
Great points! I have to say that I rarely (read never) meet other folding kayak owners when I'm out in the water.
It may be paddling technique, but I've managed to keep up w/ my AE II from the solo position with a couple of single and double hardshells.
I should also note that I've managed to assemble my AE II in less than 15 min. w/out rudder & steering cables, -I always seem to get tangled up in those!
The other notes are about cargo capacity. I once extracted my fiance's inflatable kayak (in the bow!) after she was tired and prefered to assist me w/ a couple of miles of upwind paddling.
The other note is that my parents regularly used to take my brother and I paddling with them in their/my AE II when we were up to 7 & 8 yrs respectively.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:19 am 
>I'm completely loyal to Klepper, my brother has developed an interest in Feathercraft. Now I've even heard that the people at Feathercraft claim that Klepper is the classic.

I've bought the american replica - Longhaul MK1, after paddling FC Kahuna (still own it), a couple of other folders and expedition hardshell. Klepper is "classic", being old and proven quality, and wooden frame is a beauty in itself, no doubt. People at FC (factory?) are probably too humble - they are in business for 25 years or so, and this brand is if not a "classic", then for sure a high standard in aluminum frame folders.

>I've also read that more Alaskan rivers have been run in Kleppers than any other type of kayak or boat.

Could be few reasons:
1) Kleppers have been manufactured for nearly 80 years now. There is simply nothing else with "experience" that long. Formerly British, and later, American, Folbot started making their aluminum folders, as we know them, about 30 years ago, if I'm correct. Previously they were selling kits for wooden kayaks and sailboats. German Pouch (which was East-German back then, correct?) and Russian Taymen are both younger and less numerous than Kleppers (I wouldn't comment on the quality, except for the notorious pains of assembling of Russian boats).
2) Wooden frames are better for cold weather and salt water, than aluminum frames.

>Is there anyone out there that has given both boats a fair trial?

Even if we narrow the selection to AE1 and AE2 (on the Klepper side), it is still difficult to compare them with FC. There are single FC K1, Khatsalano, Whisper, Kahuna (and recenlty discontinued K-light). In doubles they have Klondike and K2.

Comparing AE1 or slightly longer Longhaul MK1, with any FC boat would be difficult. I, for one, can't compare MK1 and Kahuna. MK1 is slower on crusing speeds, i.e. needs more efforts to push it through the water, and more awkward to paddle than Kahuna, due to wider beam, but this wider beam provides for much better stability too, and sailing options are the same as in AE1, i.e. good. Handling MK1 ashore is a pain compared to Kahuna, - the latter I can carry on my shoulder if needed. But Kahuna is not an expedition boat - it can't carry as much cargo as MK1. It would've been more fair to compare AE1 to K1, or AEII to K2 or Klondike.

Assembling FC boats isn't much fun - perhaps Kahuna is the limit of what I would tolerate for a day-trip assembling. Even though Kahuna is same or slightly faster to assemble than MK1/AE1, wooden frames of MK1/AE1 are easier to assemble. Not to mention AEII, with its long cockpit and less tension in the frame (compared to MK1/AE1). OTH, drying out skins of Longhaul or Klepper takes longer than with FC, so neither of them is too good for using as a day-trip folder by somebody who lives in apartment, for example. Considering much more compact packed size and much smaller weight of post-2000 FC (than comparable wooden frames with Hypalon/Canvas skins), FC seems to be a better choice for urban dwellers or frequent flyers.

I don't think that FC aluminum frames need more maintenance or minor repairs than wooden frames. BO-shield is easy to apply, and in fresh-water environment it is needed less often than on sea (may be - once a season). Numerous plastic and metal parts attached to the wooden frame of Klepper or Longhaul can break, or get separated from the frame, or stop functioning (for ex., failure of of Klepper aluminum latches). FC aluminum frames with HDPE or Polycarbonate ribs are brilliatly simple compared to intricated details of wooden frame.


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 Post subject: AE II vs. K2
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:04 pm 
These replies have been very informative and it seems necessary to revise the comparison to Klepper Aerius vs. Feathercraft Klondike to be more fair in comparison.
It's noteworthy to point out that Klepper is celebrating their 100th anniversary this coming year. They have a substantial time lead in the industry and are major contibuters to pioneering the popularity of modern recreational kayaking. It's been said (I think it was according to Klepper's German website) that there were more recreational kayakers in Europe in the 1930's than there are in the entire world today. -I guess the same might be said for bicycling and other outdoor recreational activities in those pre-TV years. The AE I & II have been in production now for nearly 54 years.
I have to admit that weight is definitely a down side for Klepper. I can manage to schlep a AE II off of a dock down into the water and back, but sometimes I wish that Kleppers had a portage yoke like better conoes have.
I believe Klepper's aluminum latches are much better now than even just a few years ago. They now seem beefier and have fewer bends. I have minorly repaired worn old-style-latches by using a tack hammer or pliers to gently (it is only aluminum!) reshape them.
I'm unfamiliar with BO-shield. Is it some sort of aluminum perserving doping compound? The reason this would be interesting is that it could possibly be used to dope the aluminum parts on Kleppers; one of its Achilles heals when exposed to salt water. The other major weakness was the rubber rod holders. These are now made of plastic and can be easily retrofit as a replacement part. It remains however, more sensible or cost effective to replace an entire rib than to replace 2 rod holders and 4 latches.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:10 pm 
For years I was used to being one of the only people besides my own family that knew anything about these boats. I still have yet to encounter a live folder on one of my expeditions on or off the water. I am quite used to going into great details about these boats when I'm stopped in the middle of a lake or when I've gained attention while packing or unpacking. I've played around with a variety of boats. One of my most lasting dissatisfactions was with a Folbot Super, -Heavy, bulky and not a folder! While using this forum I'm beginning to feel like I know almost nothing as other contacts expound on the glories (or lack there of) of all kinds of models I've never heard of. So much to learn.


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 Post subject: Re: AE II vs. K2
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:05 am 
Anonymous wrote:
I have to admit that weight is definitely a down side for Klepper. I can manage to schlep a AE II off of a dock down into the water and back, but sometimes I wish that Kleppers had a portage yoke like better conoes have.
I believe Klepper's aluminum latches are much better now than even just a few years ago. They now seem beefier and have fewer bends. I have minorly repaired worn old-style-latches by using a tack hammer or pliers to gently (it is only aluminum!) reshape them.
I'm unfamiliar with BO-shield. Is it some sort of aluminum perserving doping compound?


Bo-Shield T9 is a lubricant supplied with new FC boats. I haven't seen it anywhere except for FC dealers stores. Super Lube for bicycles can be used too. I suspect, any teflon lubricant will do.

All these wooden frame boats with hypalon/canvas skins are heavy. The bottom line is - after you have exceeded, say, 65 lbs (30 kg) limit, it doesn't matter whether it weighs 70 lbs or 100 lbs - it needs a good foldable cart anyway. FC K1 with rudder, seasock, carrying bag tucked deep inside, and other items, semi-permanently installed for the duration of the trip, make it about 65 lbs (this is without a single once of water inside). I wouldn't carry 65 lbs on my back, unless in a desperate situation.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:05 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 1:06 pm
Posts: 359
Location: Spruce Head, Maine
Alex--do you have the rudder fully engaged when you paddle? If so, this may be the cause of the sluggishness of your Mk1. I think the LH rudder is significantly larger than FC's, and a fully deployed LH rudder does add significant drag. I'm quite pleased with the speed of my LH Mk1. Generally, I only deploy the rudder just enough to enhance tracking, and this yields only a nominal increase in drag.


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 Post subject: Boshield
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:25 am 
Alm wrote:
Bo-Shield T9 is a lubricant supplied with new FC boats. I haven't seen it anywhere except for FC dealers stores. Super Lube for bicycles can be used too.


I had a bike shop order me spraypaint-can sized can of BoShield when I was fighting with my aged Folbot. Cost, I think, $14.00 US. Did help with the longeron sliders.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:05 pm 
Yes, I usually paddle LH with rudder down. And it is much larger than FC single blade (probably, slightly larger than FC double blade - I measured them, but don't remember the numbers now). But then, I also paddle Kahuna and my hardshell 17 ft long 24.5" wide "barge" with rudder down, not necessarily using it for steering - it helps to stabilize the course against side wind and waves (similar effect to skeg). Compared to hardshell and Kahuna, MK1 definitely needs more efforts to paddle and has a lot of inertia. It takes longer to accelerate, but I didn't notice it to be sliding longer than my hardshell after each stroke. So, eventually this makes it slower and more enrgy-consuming. I think, foldability (i.e. flexibility and bumps/dents on the skin) has less to do with this, than 28" beam. I would expect 17 ft long 28" wide hardshell to be slow too (not sure if hardshell singles exist in such dimensions).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:24 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1844
Location: Southeast Michigan
My experience is that the Feathercrafts are much faster boats, and the Klepper and Long Haul are the more rugged and repairable boats. The Long Haul Mk-I isn't any slower than a Klepper A-I (in my experience) and it tracks much better without a rudder- I never use a rudder on any of my boats except in very high wind, storng currents, or for sailing. And truthfully, I avoid paddling in very high winds and strong currents.

The LH Mk-I is better suited to the person too big for a Klepper A-I. Certainly anyone over 180lbs would be happier in the Mk-I. Someone around 120lbs will be happier in a Klepper A-I or another smaller boat. After all, the original Kleppers evolved in Europe at a time when 5'8" was considered a typical adult male height.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 12:11 am 
mje wrote:
The LH Mk-I is better suited to the person too big for a Klepper A-I. Certainly anyone over 180lbs would be happier in the Mk-I. Someone around 120lbs will be happier in a Klepper A-I or another smaller boat.


With some precautions regarding higher seat of MK1 than in AE1 ( = higher center of mass and less thigh room near the "open" rib). It has been mentioned more than once (last time it was me, in the topic on solo-paddling of a double AE2 - conversation switched to "boat for a big guy", with some big guys' comments). Don't like to quote myself, - the linked message contains some ideas on the lowering the seat viewtopic.php?p=1531#1531 (I didn't try this, because don't need).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 1:10 am 
To CaptainKlepper /von Klepper: if I got it right, you can't access private messages because of the profile settings? If this is so, my regular e-mail can be accessed clicking on my nickname in the Forum Index, and then clicking on "email" (not on PM!). Then I will forward to your regular address those messages that already sent to you through PM channel (and which you can't access).


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