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Old 04-10-2015   #11
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Jackson cooks their boats a little soft for my taste. They say it leads to a more durable boat. From a safety perspective I'm more interested in a rigid hull that may crack. I don't have any facts or anecdotes to support my concerns. The ankle protection is the real deal, if that's important to you.

The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 04-10-2015   #12
Cascade, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 19
Very durable outfitting

As far as outfitting concerns go, I think Jackson outfitting is super resilient. I've paddled Jackson creekers for about 7 years (80-ish days a year) now and have NEVER had an issue with outfitting breaking. The simplicity of it means fewer small pieces to break. Conversely, I've been on outings where friends have broken ratchets, allen screws, cord, backbands, etc. and had to do field repair on boats from every other manufacturer.

The downside for some is that the outfitting certainly doesn't hold the paddler as securely as, say, Dagger or LL outfitting as the thigh "hooks" are short and the bulkhead is mounted to flexible foam instead of bolted to the hull. Personally, I find that much more comfortable and helps me keep circulation in my legs. Others disagree.

As mentioned before, the main issue you may have is the cord going to the backband wearing out. This may happen after 200-400 days of use. The cords won't break, but might not lock into the cleats as securely as it once did. Go to a dealer and give them $5 for a new set of cords and you'll be good as new.

If you like the Karma M, it's also worth checking out the Zet Director. Best outfitting in the world and the most beastly class V tank I've ever seen.

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Old 04-10-2015   #13
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
Thanks for all the beta!

I really appreciate the time that everyone took to reply and weigh in. I definitely don't get the number of days-per-year that I did when I was younger, but I am still fairly hard on a boat. It is interesting to hear opinions about both the outfitting and the plastic, too. I think it's going to come down to how the boat feels on the water, and whether or not I can get used to the built-in "flex" in the bulkhead and the rope system. I would still love to see a Flying Squirrel 95 before I make my final choice, but I don't think that is going to happen up here in Jackson before June or July. Thanks again for the responses! Am off to demo the Karma M on the Bear both days this weekend.
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 04-11-2015   #14
Essen, Germany
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 29
Or you wait for the Ace of Spades to hit your part of the States (whenever that may be). Blow-moulded like a Prijon, so it's very likely going to be solid and then some
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Old 04-11-2015   #15
peterholcombe's Avatar
Where ever the water is...., Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 440
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I have the same very positive experiences with my JK Karma. Tough, comfortable and very light weight. Just pick one up and compare to other similar sized creeker. I love that boat, it's so easy to paddle.

As far as the ropes for the back band, I have worn them out after 150-200 days in my RockStar. Playboats seem to be harder on outfitting than creekers and I pull mine really tight. I can replace this in five minutes and it's easy to carry a spare. In fact if any of you need a new cord look me up this summer and I'll give you one and show you the fast way to swap it out.

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Old 05-18-2015   #16
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
Kaaaarrrrrrmmma, yeah.

OK, so I took the Karma M on the Bear, then raced the Karma L in the Black Canyon of the Bear Race. I'm 6'2" and usually "hover" around the 190lb range, give or take a few. I came home after the race and bought the Karma M, hands down. The L is just too much boat, unless maybe you weigh 250+. All I can say is, wow, what a nimble boat the M is, and fast. I am sure it will feel mildly "sluggish" with 3-4 days worth of gear in the back, but realistically, how many times per year does that happen for most of us? And, I am pretty good at packing ultra-light. I swear, the thing is part slalom boat, part creeker. It definitely rips in to eddy turns at like 3x the speed and precision of the Stomper, yet it floats effortlessly over funky water (as long as you keep it flat). I added two tapered shims to the hip pads, and cut the foot brace foam in half (thickness-wise), and the boat feels like it was custom-outfitted for me. It boofs like a dream, too, with maybe a slightly later stroke point on the boof, but still pretty damn effortless. Haven't tried to work it out of any big, sticky Idaho-sized holes yet, but it was almost impossible to get it even slowed down on the foampiles of some pretty steep holes so far. Overall, a DEFINITE upgrade from my Stomper. Totally sold.
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 05-18-2015   #17
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
I am a big fan of Jackson creek boat designs, love the outfitting and they perform so well I can up my game in them. I had three of them.

Put me in the section of the band tho where the plastic failed on a creek it should not have failed.

If Jackson could design and outfit a creeker but Prijon built it - Awesome!
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Old 05-18-2015   #18
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
Yep, you probably have a point there. My boat is less than two weeks old, with no real hard mileage on it yet. I'll have to check back in at the end of the season. I'm with you on the Prijon durability. Hard to beat.
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 05-19-2015   #19
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 26
Don't know how this hasn't been mentioned yet, but as of '15 jackson is using new plastic this year. Went down to confluence to check it out on the new funs. Feels more stiff for sure, looks like it would crack over cave or dent. Doesn't feel like it was made out of playground plastic. Haven't had one out yet though however.
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Old 05-19-2015   #20
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4
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