Airalite kayaks

I was wondering if anyone owns or has tried any of the airalite kayaks. I am planning on buying a new touring kayak this spring and the airalite materiallooks pretty good price-wise and they are somewhat lighter.

The Specter 15.5 Airalite(dagger)has caught my interest. Also the Carolina 14.5 Airlite.

I presently own a Dagger Savannah 14.5(plastic) which I bought 3 years ago as a beginner. I want to move up to a faster lighter boat. I will be using it in mostly sheltered coastal areas as well as rivers.

I’ll have to wait until spring before I can find any demo days but want do do my homework this winter–as nice assignment :slight_smile:

Any reccomendations?

Thanks and happy holiday to all!!

Airelight kayaks
For sure check out the Hurricanes. We’ve got a Tampico and a Tracer and they are outstanding kayaks at less money than the Dagger/Perception. The Tampico is just under 14 feet but keeps up with all of the 16 footers. Tracks better than all of them too. I don’t fit the current Tampico with my size 11 feet but do fit and love the Tracer. You’ll love a skeg over a rudder any day. I’ve learned Hurricane is making a Tampico XL with more leg and foot room in Feb-05 and that may be the ultimate day touring boat still under $1000 and only 40 lbs! If you are truly serious about loaded touring then get a Tracer. But so few people actually do over-nighters that it’s a shame to buy longer and heavier if you can at all avoid it.

carolina airlight
double check on whether they’ve fixed the backband/seat hanger problem.

I to have a Tracer
and love it. Check out this thread

for some more on the Trace. Also do a search on Airlite or Hurricane Aqua Sports or Tracer

for price vs. weight these boats are great


My dealer is pushing the Tracer (among a few other models) as my next yak. I am in the “late” beginner category on quiet water and use my yak for mostly day trips. I am 5’9" and 150 lbs. At my size, should I be looking at the Tampico rather than the Tracer? Speed is important too.



The Specter 15.5 Airalite
I have this boat. It has been a great boat but Mine has formed cracks in the where the back rest atches to the combing. I have emailed Dagger about this problem and they don’t care. Knowing that I have had this boat since spring of this year. I have also passed this info on to Dagger’s Teck Dept, and have not had a responce in 12 weeks? So In my opion Dagger doesn’t Care. The boat it self has been a lot of fun to paddle and Airlite is a good materail if all the componets are enginered corectly! I am dispointed By dagger’s teck people. I know when one of my costmers has a consurne I make every action to respond ASAP!

…I think the Airlite “advantage” is in the weight, as in loading, unloading, portaging, etc. Speed is generally affected primarily by hull design, size & shape. I don’t know how reduced weight in the same model (as in the Carolina roto vs. Airlite) translates to faster speed.

Also, as an owner of both Airlite and Trylon boats, I would reccommend either equally. Go for fit, not brand. Just because someone likes their boat doesn’t mean you will.

New or used, if you can’t try it, don’t buy it!

Good luck & happy paddling.

A few further comments…
… I like the Therm-Formed plastic that Hurricane Aqua Sports uses. My wife has their Tampico. It is a nice boat, and my wife likes the way it handles. She weighs around 150 Lb, and it handles her with ease. The plastic has held up well under use too. We bought hers last Spring after a friend who has had one for several years highly reccomnded it to us. So here is 3-4 years worth of reccomendations for their Trylon!

… I personally tried the Specter, 15.5 Kayak. It is a high volume Kayak, and I thought it might be great for my 270 Lb weight. I DO NOT reccomend this for a person near my weight. As I test paddled it, the bow plowed thru the water like a snow plow instead of cutting thru the water like an efficient bow would. At a decent cruising speed, it curled water up along the front of the bow like a snow plow curls up snow. I was amazed at how hard it was to keep up any speed. I am sure this was a result of my heavier weight, but I was well within the advertised weight capacity of the boat. This would be a nice rec kayak for a light person, I guess.

… I wrote an e-mail note to them about how I felt the boat performed with my weight. I tried to come across nicely, but informative. I never heard back from them either. I guess they are not a very consumer oriented company. This turned me away from looking any further at any other boats they make.

Happy Paddling!

The same thing
has happened to me. I was very happy with the way the boat looks and its weight but it is noisy on the water because of the way it doesn’t cut through the water. It makes a lot of gurgling noise and water will curl up about 6" on the bow. I run about 100# lighter than wjlatsha so weight isn’t the problem. It also needs a rudder for any type of paddling as it doesn’t track worth a hoot. I still take it out on occasion for some flat shallow river trips and my wife seems to like it. It has a very high volume cockpit with plenty of room to stretch out. The speed is marginal and I can get it to move along but it reaches hull speed quicker than I think it should. It has to be the hull configuration that causes all this but I’m not a designer. I couldn’t test paddle as I bought at Canoecopia last year. If I had I probably wouldn’t have purchased. I’ll hang on for a while if the wife still likes it, if not the “fleet” will be downsized to make way for another woody.


not in the Eclipse and Carolina
they aren’t light kayaks,the only way there’s a significant weight advantage is with a smaller kayak, Sonoma13,with the bigger kayaks the thermoplastic Eclipse and Carolina are not that light given that the near $2000price puts it close to some fiberglass kayaks purchased online. Advertising sticker on the inside of the Carolina is off by 5-10lbs from measured weight,that’s a mighty big typo.

if these are made by the same people then I suspect the people who decide how the kayaks are designed are not using them. Look at how the back bands are routed on a Sonoma10,13,Carolina,Eclipse,it’s obvious someone didn’t test the Carolina(Specter?)/Eclipse because the seat hanger is a flat piece of plastic that cannot take the force of the back band routing behind it without cracking. It’s the kind of engineering assumption some manufacturers made when making a straight switch from glass cloth to kevlar cloth without taking into account the lack of rigidity in the kevlar,so the hull would be too flexible in some areas.

Tracer or Tampico
My buddy bought the Tampico and was about your size with size 9 feet. He trimmed the seat down lower to the floor by about an eighth inch and swears it made a huge difference in getting in and out. The Tracer would fit you with thicker pads for your knees. The Tracer is FAST! The Tampico is less fast but really stable my wife paddled all the Airelight models before the Tampico and said they were slow and felt like they plowed water at the bow while the Tampico slipped through the waves easily.

paddleinunit is dead on about sitting in each boat at least. But everyone I know who owns a Tampico or Tracer loves them. The larger volume Tampico coming out spring 05 will be something for those with size 10 feet or bigger.

Thanks for your Input
It is very helpful.