IK Recommendations... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-05-2014   #1
dgoods's Avatar
Montrose, Colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 116
IK Recommendations...

Lately I've been getting interested in iks. I started rafting in 1993, guided for about 16 years and kayaked for about 12 years, but I've only logged a couple dozen miles in iks- mostly Aire Lynxes. Neck surgery a few years back has veered me away from hard-shell kayaking, but I do miss the intimacy of being closer to the water than my cataraft and round boat offer...

I'd like an ik for doing small, remote, low water overnighters and short multi-day trips. I did quite a bit of research on Alpackas and the like, but concluded that they're a bit small for what I want and possibly too fragile-plus, I would like a self-bailing design.

On my radar are: thrillseeker, stiletto, sotar sl ik, or possibly an aire lynx-simply because they're pretty available, proven, and can be found used for around a grand.

I want something sub 40lbs that is fairly agile and is capable of doing ultralight short trips(4-5 days) on water up to class 4+ and day trips too.

Let the feedback flow...

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Old 12-05-2014   #2
Paddling in to the Future
PhilipJFry's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 574
I like the NRS MaverIK quite a bit, tough as nails. fun, can haul a load. but all the others you listed also fit that bill
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Old 12-05-2014   #3
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 99
I like Jack's Yak's by Jack's Plastic Welding out of Aztec, NM. They were discontinued for awhile, but have been recently brought back and we picked up a nice 2-man version last spring for overnight trips. Bought an used 1-man version from an outfitter about 10 yrs ago that ran about $600-$700. Won't get a new one for under a grand, but if you check out some of the outfitters on the Arkansas River (or elsewhere), you might be able to pick up a deal on a used one. We bought at the end of the season around Labor Day.
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Old 12-05-2014   #4
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Hampden, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 338
I like the hysides, they may be a few pounds over 40 when wet, but you can beat the [email protected]! out of them. Blow one up at your car and drag it two miles, and it will still float!
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Old 12-05-2014   #5
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Hampden, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
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Posts: 338
My second choice would be an Aire. Maybe find a used budget boat, that has only been used once or twice.. That's probably the best!
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Old 12-06-2014   #6
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Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 730
If I had to choose for overnight stuff I'd go with the Aire Lynx, as it has more of a square footprint and will easily handle more gear. I like the performance of the Sotar the best, but I have never paddled a Stilleto or Thrillseeker. Sotar makes a boat called the ATV that has bigger tubes and is used more for overnight trips ( The Rogue, Chetco, etc) But their site doesn't have a ton of information about them. Aire has the Outfitter also, it is wider and has a much higher capacity weight wise (375 for the one person) The Sotar is a great day boat, I never attempted to haul much or camp out of it.
Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 12-06-2014   #7
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New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,254
I can only address the Thrillseeker specifically. Small, remote, low water trips are their specialty. They are designed to perform like a hard shell kayak. One reason they do so well in these conditions is the suspended floor design that allows it to slither over rocks. However the floor design does not leave much room for cargo. You can certainly carry a medium sized dry bag behind you but not much more. These boats have a lot of rocker and you want your weight in the center. Carrying gear on the bow would greatly affect its performance.
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Old 12-06-2014   #8
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,466
This is what I'm fired up about. Not much room for gear, but for my ultralight backpacking gear in a small watershed it'll do.

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Old 12-06-2014   #9
Enfield, New Hampshire
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 390
You should also look at the more economical sibling of the Lynx, the Strike. Its a very good handling boat and should fill all your requirements. its much more maneuverable than the tomcat. Its only drawback is less rocker than the lynx.The Boatpeople prefer its handling to the lynx upto a certain weight load.
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Old 12-06-2014   #10
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,736
Similar to dgoods situation, I am now in IK's after decades of hard shell kayaks due to an injury. I am finding out that IK's offer a lot of fun and many options for multi days.

My first IK purchased a year or so ago is a Thrillseeker. Purchased untested but if that boat is used by the Snyder Brothers all over West VA steep creeks, I was sure it was good for me. Bottom line it is a great boat for me - unloaded I get surprising excellent performance. Speed is good, it surfs, blasts down most rapids, does ferry moves that surprises me. it is not the micro eddy catching machine my Super Hero was but I am learning what it can do. I did make a multi day Smith River MT float pretty much loaded and performance was great. I had a JPW big outfitter bag behind me, several of the long narrow JPW bags in the bow and the thing paddled like a dream. I had all my personal gear on board. After a lot of in depth discussions with Attila, I ended up ordering a size larger Thrillseeker than he recommended. That may have made the loaded performance better than the average expected.

This boat is single layer PVC. Durability is reported to be great. I don't have that much experience on ELF runs to report on this.

I plan to keep my Thrillseeker in my boat shed probably till my boating career ends. It is that kind of a performance IK in my opinion.

Last fall I was visiting the Salida area doing some low water ARK runs with a friend of mine who lives there. Last day of my trip we went by River Boat Works and looked at their end of season sales boats. I ended up with an Aire Outfitter IK. I loved the way the Outfitter seat works with me fitting down securely inside the tubes - not on top as all the other IK's I have used even my friend's Aire Lynx 1 I had a lot of fun in on that trip.

Our group does low water Salt River runs when we get lucky on permits. Probably not necessary but the Aire history of durability and two thicknesses of fabric just make me feel a bit more comfortable on multi days. Beside feeling comfortable with the seat, my prior rafting experience with two Aire rafts has given me a lot of confidence in their craftsman ship and durability. I will give more trip reports on the Outfiter after this winter's runs.

Bottom line, my IK experience thus far makes me believe most any of the current brand name IK designs is going to work for most of us. With all the end of year sales going on, this may be a good time to take the plunge.

The Buzz is a great way to get a bunch of feedback, bottom line tho is read the comments and make the best deal you can on any of the major brands you read about on this thread and get paddling your new toy.
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