It would appear that every well known kayak producer is trying their hand at a deluxe inflatable kayak. With a lot of the benefits of having a ‘proper’ kayak, with the added bonus of portability, the appeal of inflatable kayaks are clear. There’s also an appeal to the manufacturer as the costs to make inflatables are significantly less than those of a full blown kayak, using materials like plastic and fiberglass rather than heavy duty PVC. This enables them to sell kayaks at a lower cost, but also maximize there profit margins, everyone’s a winner really.
However, with the rise of inflatable kayaks, some common faults have been noticed. They don’t track as well as kayaks cut from a more solid material, and the flow of water you can use them on is a much more restricted than their heavier brothers and sisters. This can make buying an inflatable a bit of a hit and miss process.
So to help guide you through the swamp of inflatable kayaks, we’ve collated a series of reviews to give you the chance of a more informed purchase. This review is focusing on the Coleman QuickPak K5, from Sevylor. As per usual, we will be discussing the positives and negatives, to give you some insight into what using one would be like, and of course, whether they are worth splashing out on. Join us after the jump to find out everything that you need to know.
The QuickPak K5 has a lot going for it. Along with all the usual benefits of portability and ease of use, the QuickPak K5 has a few hidden gems that I would like to draw your attention to. Where usually, an inflatable kayak will compress down small enough to fit into the trunk of your car, enabling easy and efficient transport, the QuickPak K5 takes it to a whole new level. Believe it or not, the K5 will easily deflate and compress into a secondary function of a rucksack. So even if you don’t have a car, and are reliant on trains or buses to get out of the city, you can still bring your kayak with you. Despite it’s compressible size, the QuickPak K5 has all the tensile strength as other kayaks, largely thanks to it’s 24 Gauge PVC lining and 1000D polyester underside. Everything about this inflatable has been raised to set new standards, and with portability second to none, the Coleman QuickPak K5 definitely sets itself apart from the crowd.
The QuickPak K5 is also true to it’s name, in that assembly and dismantling are lightning fast and absolutely painless. From having your kayak on your back, to having it inflated, in the water and ready to go takes less than five minutes courtesy of double-lock and mini-lock valves which also go a long way to preventing accidental air loss. You can be the envy of those who’ve opted for the hard edge kayaks, trying to lug them down off their expensive roof racks to the waters edge, just stroll up and away you go. In terms of sheer convenience, ergonomics and engineering, I’ve yet to see a better thought out kayak than the QuickPak K5.
As per usual, I will mention the standard points about safety on the water. Once again, this kayak ticks all the boxes, with a luminous orange hull, you aren’t going to kayaking along unnoticed. This increases your safety on the water, reduces the risk of collision and goes a long way to easing the minds of the less water confident among you. In terms of capsizing, you’ll have a difficult job flipping this kayak on it’s head, it’s really stable. So stable in fact, that if you did fall in, you can clamber back aboard with minimal difficulty.
As with all kayaks though, the quest for the perfect kayak is an illusive one. There are unfortunately a small number of areas where the QuickPak K5 falls a little short of the high standards it’s set itself. The first of these, as usual, is the poor quality of accessories shipped as standard. Where once again, an oar is included, many users have complained about it’s flimsy build quality, with more than a few stating that it actually snapped in half when they were out on the water, making recovery to dry land very difficult. Because of the volume of these complaints, I’d whole heartedly recommend picking up a decent quality oar before heading out on the water.
The second point for discussion is the price. Currently weighing in at the time of press at $325, for an inflatable kayak the QuickPak K5 is far from cheap. With competitors selling kayaks at as little as a third of the asking price of this one, you have to question whether the increase in portability really justifies the price hike. Personally, I think this kayak is built to last, and an engineering marvel so I’d lean towards saying that the cost is justified. However, for the kayaker just setting out, the price may be a little too steep, so you can try out a lesser model at a fraction of the cost.
To sum up this review, the Coleman QuickPak K5 Inflatable by Sevylor scores very highly indeed. It’s the ultimate in portability, ease of assembly and I’d happily crown it king of the inflatables, for one person at least. However, as usual, manufacturers have not learnt that shipping a top quality product with sub standard accessories is going to affect customer satisfaction, especially when the price of the kayak has seen a considerable hike from it’s competitors. If you can look past the poor oars, and see the true brilliance of a kayak that compresses into a rucksack, you’re in for a real treat here. For the complete novice however, the price is enough to put you off, and a cheaper kayak from someone like Intex may be more suited to your particular needs.