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Andrew's Passions

Paddling

Andrew's Bio

AD

AD wrote a review of on October 10, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

This is the second Harmony spray skirt I have purchased. The first was a different model for a different kayak, a Harmony Gripper Ultralite spray skirt, size 39x19.

I ordered this Harmony Synthesis in size 42x23 for my Current Designs Kestrel 140 kayak. Second day delivered just as promised, no problems there.

When I fitted the spray skirt to the kayak, I noticed it was a bit loose. Cinching up the elastic drawstring knot a bit, I was able to tighten it up a little, but still at the front of the sprayskirt it comes loose a little too easily. The Gripper Ultralite sprayskirt fits perfectly, though being a little bit smaller might have something to do with it.

In use, however, the spray skirt did just fine. With a little bit of use, the fabric gets broken in a bit and fits better.

It does keep water out, which is what it is designed to do. Works just fine.

Personally, I remove the little bungee cord on top of all my spray skirts. I would rather have unobstructed access to the zippered pocket than have the ability to lash a small object to the sprayskirt. I keep a small drybox in the pocket with my gps or cell phone, for ready access.

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AD

AD wrote a review of on July 29, 2012

4 5

I've used a Perception Impulse 10 kayak on two separate occasions for slow, small river day-tours. I'm used to a larger touring kayak, along the lines of a 16.5' Perception Essence, so transitioning to a 10' boat was a bit of a change.

These boats are pretty much bulletproof. They handle being beaten over and over by hidden logs, rocks, being dragged repeatedly over everything from gravel bars to being slid down a hill into water. They are lightweight, sturdy, and of all things, comfortable.

I'm 6' 3" and 185lbs and I fit in this kayak just fine.

Storage in this kayak is a lot less limited than thought it would be coming from a 16'5 touring kayak. You aren't limited to what you can fit in the two little bungee-corded storage bays. The rear storage bay is perfect for a decent sized cooler, while there is plenty of room behind the seat for drybags and a drybox or two. I find that I like to put a drybag with a few items like a dry set of clothes, a MRE, extra shoes, etc and keep that between my legs up near the bow of the kayak, and attach my paddle leash to the drybag. It keeps my paddle nearby at all times even if I decide to let it float beside me for a while.

So, it's...
1. Tough
2. Roomy
3. Inexpensive
4. Easy to maneuver

Handling this boat is a dream compared to the big boats. Its hull has a chine of sorts, so it is a compromise of maneuverability / straight tracking. It does track pretty once you get up to speed. At slow speeds, it is a little harder to spin around than a hull with a lot of rocker, but that is the compromise of this design. Both straight tracking and good maneuverability.

Overall, it's a perfect design for a day trip on anything from small rivers on up to larger rivers. I haven't had it on a large lake, but I expect it would be a decent lake boat as well. It is a slow boat, don't expect to set any speed records. That isn't this boats design, though. It's comfortable and stable while having a good mix of maneuverability and straight tracking.

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AD wrote a review of on July 2, 2012

5 5

I have the straight-shaft version of the Ikelos. I can't say one bad thing about this paddle. I caught it on sale for barely over $300 from some direct-from-manufacturer website that I can't remember the name of now. They had to special order it, so there was a little delay getting mine.

The paddle is wonderful. It just grabs giant handfuls of water, and naturally lends itself to proper strokes. It weighs almost exactly 1.5lbs, which is pretty much weightless. In fact, it takes more effort to hold the paddle under water than it does to hold it in the air! It is so buoyant that it floats on top of the water, not in the water.

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AD wrote a review of on May 6, 2012

5 5

I have a pickup truck, and use Thule's XSporter XT truck rack with my Hull-A-Port Pro. Together, they hold my 16.5' kayak sturdily and securely. I have no problems whatsoever hauling my kayak for hours on end on backroads, highways, and even at Interstate travel speeds. My only problem is that I had to order an additional piece to get a Thule kayak carrier to mount to a Thule rack! It came fully prepared to mount to most factory roof racks and even a Yakima roof rack, but the supplied bolts were too short to attach the carrier to a Thule brand rack. The pieces needed were cheap, and sold here at Backcountry.com, but I was not notified that I would need this extra pack of bolts. With the longer bolts, it works fine. But, it was a bit of a chore to have to once again order more parts and pay more for shipping when four little bolts should have been included in the package - especially to facilitate mounting a THULE carrier to a THULE rack. Still, it works fine and is worthy of 5 stars. Just be warned that you may need an extra pack of longer bolts.

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AD wrote a review of on November 11, 2011

5 5

I purchased this tent after using a Eureka Solitaire one-man backpacking tent. I didn't like the one-man tent at all. It was like sleeping in a coffin, and no room whatsoever for any gear. I upgraded to the Apex 2XT shown here, and I am very glad I did. I laugh at backpacker nazis who are so gram-conscious that they have to have little one-man "escape pod" tents because they weigh a pound less and take up an inch less room in their backpack -- but to each his own.

I use the tent for kayak camping. I have very little precious room in the kayak to bring everything I need for a 2 to 3 day journey, but I opted for a two-man tent just to have room to sit up, and have a little room for my gear. With this tent, I have the perfect amount of room for my backpack, my clothes drybag, and my self-inflating bed roll. Anything else that needs to be kept dry can go into one of the two covered "vestibules" this tent offers. The vestibules are pretty handy to have, especially in cold weather. I actually fired up my little sterno camp stove in one of the vestibules, and it heated the tent to a warm and cozy temperature within minutes. While I wouldn't recommend leaving it on for very long, I was able to open both mesh doors and heat up the entire rainfly enclosure with the stove, then put it out and close up the tent. I was warm all night.

The tent is very easy to set up, as it only has two poles. Those two poles clip into place, as shown in the picture. I like clips much better than the cloth sleeves used in early tent models. The rainfly is "color-coded" to only go on one way, and if you look at the above photo you will see what I mean. Each corner of the tent has a nylon webbing buckle, three of which are black and one is yellow (as shown above). The rainfly buckles to these straps, and one corner has yellow webbing. Just align the yellow corners together and the rainfly fits perfectly. This was an excellent idea, and works well.

I love these tents that have two doors. I can get to both vestibules easily, and during hot weather I can open the mesh portion of the doors for fantastic ventilation & visibility. The rainfly doors roll back to allow full visibility from within the tent.

Inside there are four mesh pockets for storing items - one pocket in each corner.

I purchased this tent from a local shop, but Backcountry has it available for the same price as I paid. If I had to make the purchase again, I would probably go with the Marmot Limelight 2 only because I really like that tent. But this Eureka tent seems just as good and less expensive.

I do not have any complaints, or anything I really don't like about the tent. It is lightweight and is easy to set up, and stayed dry for several nights with one night/day of rain. It is orange, but more of a nice pumpkin orange and not bright UT ugly deer hunting vest orange.

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AD

AD wrote a review of on November 2, 2011

5 5

I have an '04 Dakota, and read that this truck was designed for compacts as well as full-sized pickups. It fits well, but does not lower all the way down. I have to keep it at the first height setting when not using it.

Raised into position, it holds my 16.5 Essence in just the right area - just forward of the cockpit and over the day hatch area. It secures the kayak when pulled tight, and has worked on 70-75mph Interstate travel.

I am using a Thule Hull-a-Port Pro with the rack system, and while it fits and holds the kayak perfectly, they did not supply the correct hardware for it. I had to purchase Thule's additional "X Adapt3" hardware kit. Oh, a kit, I thought. I thought it was odd to have to buy an optional mounting KIT to mount a Thule carrier to a Thule rack. This "kit" consists of slightly longer bolts. The Hull-a-Port Pro only came with short and medium length bolts... designed to mount their system to vehicle OEM style racks and Yamika-brand car roof racks. You would think they'd at least include the hardware for their own systems in the package.

That is my only gripe with the system as a whole. The review is based on the XSporter truck rack, and that as an individual unit has performed very well.

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AD

AD wrote a review of on October 10, 2011

4 5

I purchased this item for my pickup truck, to more easily carry my new kayak. After consulting with Backcountry.com via their instant chat, I was assured this would fit with Thule's Hull-a-port Pro kayak cradle system. It will, but you have to purchase longer bolts in the form of the "Thule XAdapt 3" for $8.95 listed here: http://www.backcountry.com/thule-xsporter-adaptors

I am pleased with the rack and saddle system, but it is a shame to have to overnight four extra-long bolts for $30 when it would have cost Thule a whopping $0.25 (retail) to include everything people would need to mount to their OWN Thule-brand systems. They include bolts for factory-made roof racks, and Yakima roof racks, but they neglect to include mounting hardware for THULE racks!

4 stars out of 5 just because it was inconvenient as hell. 5 stars for fit and function, and well made. It is very solid, and well-made. Easy to install, too, with only a 17mm socket wrench and 17mm open-end wrench.

Recommended for anyone with a pickup truck needing to carry kayaks, bicycles, etc.

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AD wrote a review of on September 29, 2011

4 5

I'll update my review once I get a chance to actually familiarize myself with the kayak, but until I can, I'll review the process of buying the kayak. The kayak is solid, getting 8 or 9.5 out of 10 on every review I've seen online. Backcountry.com contracted a company named "CEVA" to deliver the kayak. They were less than impressive. They called me to schedule a delivery, then on the day of the delivery called again to say they couldn't make the delivery appointment. Their reason was they scheduled a truck too short for the route, and when they actually began loading the kayak onto the truck, they realized it wouldn't fit. Well, I guess I can understand that. Mistakes happen, for whatever reason.

The next day, the rescheduled appointment. The driver passes our house, and then backs the truck up and plows over our mailbox! He says to call the company when we have a replacement cost.

Backcountry.com shipped the kayak in a cellophane "tarp-like" material, then placed in a long, large plastic bag. While I am sure they come from the factory this way, shipping via an obviously less than completely competent carrier would probably benefit from being packed a little better. These kayaks are tough, but I was a little shocked at how unprotected the kayak was during shipment. There doesn't seem to be any damage, so maybe there is nothing to worry about.

Dealing with Backcountry.com was a smooth process. They emailed me on several occasions to let me know the status of my order, and provided shipping info and tracking numbers. While I was less than impressed with CEVA, Backcountry.com is obviously satisfied with their performance. I am guessing my case was an unfortunate single occurrence where the shipper goofed.

4 stars out of 5, simply because I have to buy and install a new mailbox.

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