Fastest tandem: inflatable or folding

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Fastest tandem: inflatable or folding

Post by diego »

Hello all,

I am so glad I found this forum, a mountain of information in this new world for me.

Living in Switzerland I am looking for my first kayak to paddle only lakes, calm and easy waters.
My flat is very small and I do not own a car therefore we are left with folding and inflatable kayaks.

My first question is if there is any significant difference between these two categories: Folding and inflatable in terms of speed.

Stability is not a main issue as I will be just paddling relatively small lakes and not fishing.
I like sports and it will be a way to stay fit as well so I value (a lot) the speed of the kayak. I know the hard ones are faster but I am looking for something within my limitations (storage and transportation) as fast as possible.
My wife will occasionally join me so it has to be a tandem which can be ride solo as well.

Budget: 1000 - 1700 USD

After a deep search these are my options:

- Sea Eagle 473rl Razorlite: I read very good comments about the speed of this kayak which inflates up to 10 bars.
- Parkboats Puffin Saranac
- Parkboats XT-17
- Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible: I love the look of it.

Any other options?

Thank you again for your help.

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Re: Fastest tandem: inflatable or folding

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Having owned several Pakboats, including a solo Puffin and an XT-15, I can tell you that the Pakboat Quest series is faster than either -- have a look at their newer Quest 150 (I have the smaller Quest 135 model). These are more slender, low profile boats that have good speed.

It does somewhat depend upon conditions. Inflatables are more susceptible to wind resistance. Folders have a more "hard chine" hull profile due to the frame, which makes them handle more like a hardshell, though they take rough water better than a hardshell. While I have heard good things about the firm hulled drop stitch inflatables like the Sea Eagle you mentioned, they are still basically a flat bottomed boat, which is going to tend to be slower than one with a more vee-shaped keel like the XT or Quest models. As to the Advanced Elements, a 32" kayak is not going to be particularly speedy. It is almost more of a raft than a kayak in that respect.

I don't have much in the way of experience with inflatables, but do know that I have always been able to paddle faster in my folders than fellow paddlers in inflatable of various kinds.

If you are determined to have a tandem, I think the XT-17 (with its 24" beam) would be the fastest of that lot you list.
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


Re: Fastest tandem: inflatable or folding

Post by diego »

Thank you very much KerryOnKayaks for your reply.

I would like to paddle 2-3 days per week in the morning, before going to work as a way to stay fit.
Having no more than 1h 20min since I arrive at the lake until I leave headed home again, the easier the better.
If I end up buying a folding kit which takes me 20min to mount and 20min to put it back in my car... I know half of the days I will stay at home due to the lack of time.

Therefore I will stay away from the folding and focus my search in the Razorlite 473 or similar. This inflatable kayak can be inflated in 5-8 min according to some reviews.

People on the internet seem to be very happy with the performance of his little brother the Razorlite 393, even comparing it with some foldings in terms of speed.

Here is a picture of the bottom of the Razorlite. It is not so flat, isn't it? ... ecs.03.jpg

I keep searching but after hours reading about all the options it seems there are not many faster IK than the Razorlite.
Any suggestion is more than welcome.


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Re: Fastest tandem: inflatable or folding

Post by zzffnn »

473rl is your safest bet for fast compact tandem.

This AE solo inflatable will be faster. But it is solo only, costs $1200 and takes a bit longer to dry (if you fold it too quickly without complete drying, it will get molds inside): ... /?b=177984

This hard shell wood sectional (solo) is likely even faster and can be used as home decoration. But it needs DIY building and is not as compact as inflatable or folder: ... -sea-kayak
You may even be able to modify their "Double" plan to make it a sectional. But you still need to build it.


Re: Fastest tandem: inflatable or folding

Post by lj69 »

How about Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite, is this a good one?

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