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Old 11-30-2011   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 118
Jakson Outfitting

Thinkin about buyin a Villain...Not too crazy about the rope setup for the backband...any comments from long time users? Anybody tried replacing it with a ratchet system?

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Old 11-30-2011   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 772
You will get a polarized opinion from both sides on this one. I've paddled a Rocker for 4 years and the rope slipped out of the cleat once. The ropes have lasted longer than the plastic on all my creekers, though I know of people replacing the ropes as they wear out. There is a lot of negativity about Jackson outfitting, but I have never had a problem with it. I found it comfortable and it held up where I've broken ratchets.

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Old 11-30-2011   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Yo Fart,

I've been paddling a villain for 2 seasons now. I'd give the jackson outfitting a thumbs up. The seat and thigh connections are great. I feel like they are superior to the nomads and grandes I have paddled in the past.

The shock absorbing bulkhead is an ankle saver when you piton. Big safety improvement in my mind.

The rope system takes a little getting used to, but I haven't found it to be a big deal. I have never had a rope pop out, but I do find that the ropes for the backband or the rope for the foam bulkhead can stretch out a little. If you tighted up the ropes in the eddy to what feels "right" and then launch into class V, you may find your backband a little loose after you paddle a rapid or two. I have adapted to this so that I cinch the ropes a nick tighter initially, they flex slightly once I start paddling, and the result is that I'm where I need to be. Very easy to adjust in the boat in an eddy too.

I have had ratchets fail on me on the river and I think that the rope system provides a simpler system with less parts to fail. If I had the option of a villain with a ratchet backband, I might choose it over the ropes, but its not a big enough issue to me that I have ever thought about trying to modify the boat, and I have never had an issue while paddling.

The main thing is how you like the hull and how the villain handles (awesome!), and how well the boat and outfitting fits you (awesome for me too).

Jackson definitely has some detractors on the outfitting, but after numerous boats that left my feet numb, I find the villain to be the most comfortable creek boat I have paddled.

Good luck.
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Old 11-30-2011   #4
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
Jackson outfitting is one of the better ones out there. It has a lot of adjustability as a whole. Another nice thing is you can field fix the ropes if you need to with some prussic cord as I did with my old Superstar.
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Old 11-30-2011   #5
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Where ever the water is...., Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 440
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The Jackson outfitting is simple. Simple scares some people but it really works great. My only complaint is the back band is a tad too narrow for me and the ropes rub my hips if I don't have the ropes pulled evenly. If I ate a few less cookies this might not even be a concern. After you figure it out I'd bet you will love it like so many others.
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Old 11-30-2011   #6
Cphilli's Avatar
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 288
I've been in a jackson playboat for 2 seasons now. Only time the rope has popped is when going for loops.

No experience with the creekers, but have heard stories of the ropes popping out in serious stuff. The best thing you can do is tie a knot in the draw strings next to where you lock it in. At least this way if the rope does pop you don't lose all leverage on the back band.

All in all I'm very pleased with the outfitting.
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Old 11-30-2011   #7
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
deepsouthpaddler has it correct, I second his post.

I own and paddle the early mega rocker, last gen super hero and large villain.

the first ropes Jackson used were not that good - they did slip a lot on my mega rocker. they switched ropes on the super hero and the villain. makes a big difference. It has helped me to really push down the ropes into the grooves in the cleats. Someone recommended to grind down a stubby screw driver to a round end and use that to firmly seat the rope in the groove. Have not done that but it makes sense.

Even the new backband ropes will slip a bit if you really push back. I have had the nuts on the seat adjustment vibrate loose pretty easy and they are a pain to get really tight (the nuts needs some redesign work) sometimes using a socket to tighten the metal clamps on the seat rods will help hold the seat in place. The foot bulkhead is really nice and best I have seen.

I think the ropes are a plus. granted they do slip every so often but they are easy to reset. if they do break on the river, the fix is easy, specially if you carry a extra rope.

Over all I like the jackson creek boat outfitting a lot. Very comfortable. I have never had a outfitting system that worked 100 percent with out some fixing, the Jackson system comes close in my opinion.
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Old 11-30-2011   #8
ashland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 222
Well, I'm in the minority...I would take LL's, Wavesports, or Daggers outfitting over Jacksons any day. Granted I am on my first Jackson boat (Villain Crosslink I bought on their get rid of the 2011 stock sale) and I have been warming up to it as I use it more and deal with it's (my?) sliding back, backband slipping, that god awful seat pad thing and having your back a foot from the rear cockpit rim that can make getting your skirt on a pain. I think I've finally have the back-band slipping (pilot error) and seat sliding (tightened loose bolts & clamps and check them frequently) problems solved and as soon as I glue some foam on the seat my unhappy seat problem will be too. I do agree that the bulkhead system is a very good piece of engineering and besides the outfitting I'm very happy with the Villain and the crosslink plastic on mine is bomber.
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Old 11-30-2011   #9
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Pretender, to solve the issue of getting the skirt on when the cockpit rim is pretty far back, I sit in the boat, lean back and put the back of the skirt over the back cockpit rim, then tighten up the backband ropes. If you tighten up ropes first it is difficult to pull the skirt back. Marty showed me that trick. I was so used to tightening up first that I never thought of it.

I think the extra cockpit room in the back is a plus. It's a safety plus as it affords more room to exit in a pin or entrapment. I have heard stories from an experienced boater who had a friend drown when he couldn't exit the boat by backing up and out in a pin. The space also makes it easier to pack for an overnighter or get gear in and out of the stern.
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Old 11-30-2011   #10
~Bank's Avatar
Ashville North Carolina, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 274
I have a Villan. I skrewed the seat and the pilar bulkhead to the skeleton bar, and now they stay in place...My boat was new in January, and cracked in April...The replacement boat with new outfitting arived a month later. The rope that holds my seat back broke at the beginning of last month, The ropes are wearing quicker than I hoped, they are easy to tie back together. My 2 month old Jefe Grande plastic seatback strap broke and I had to use rope to fix it. Ropes with safety knots near the cleat, are more reliable than plastic straps until the rope rots or wares out. Both systems would work well together and provide a backup for when whichever breaksdown first. Jackson outfitting is very comfortable, and easy to adjust quickly. It feels more forgiving on the legs and ankles when I piton hard enough that I get whiplash.

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