basic kayak question

Have any of you used a Pelican Trailblazer 100 kayak? What do you / did you think of it? I am at a very basic beginner level, and would like to get 3 kayaks for myself and 2 teens to just try recreational kayaking on lakes or slow rivers. I’ve only seen them sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I understand that you get what you pay for, and the Pelican Trailblazer is about as inexpensive as it gets, but it’s not possible for me to buy 3 $600 + kayaks now. So any thoughts about the Trailblazer (is it decent enough to get out onto the water & do some basic stuff)? If everyone likes kayaking we can work on saving for better kayaks. I appreciate any feedback - thanks!

Basic Kayak
Your initial assessment is realistic. These are basic, entry-level polyethylene holes in the water. They will be fine for piddling around in going downstream but won’t track well, despite their length on open water (like a lake).

Your teens being teens, they are not likely to notice but it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to realize how uncomfortable the seat is.

If they’re all you can reasonably afford at this time for getting into the sport, have at it. They are fine for occasionally screwing around in on the water but if you take to it and find yourself going paddling frequently, it’s likely that you, at least, will come to the conclusion your $300 would have been more wisely spent on a better class of boat.

And that is my one-fiftieth of a dollar’s worth of opinion.

Your assessment is spot on
My wife used a very similiar model for 2 years. I was too fat and had one almost like it two feet longer. We ran the local kayak race twice in those boats, 11 miles protected water.

If that’s all you can budget, it is what it is. I was buying for 4 people when we started. Trying to buy used when you don’t know what your looking at can be frustrating. Plus you have to figure in paddles and PFDs and some way to transport them.

You will be able to sell it used for $100 easily. A rental would be around $45. If you and your kids paddle them 5 times and sell them you are money ahead.

These are not kayaks I would recommend to anyone but I do not regret the ones I bought just like it that got me hooked on the sport.

Stick to the calm waters they were made for. Check Craigslist to see if they have used models just like it. Do not get hung up comparing specs and reviews of beginner kayaks. Every $300 kayak paddles exactly like every other $300 kayak and everyone writes glowing reviews about their brand new POS.

what basic stuff ?

– Last Updated: Jul-12-15 6:17 PM EST –

I see teenagers and am thinking they might want to roll or that kind of thing. If that is the case, skip these and find an el cheapo old school whitewater boat. You can pick them for 100 and they will support screwing aroynd with moves very well. They are slow and need attention to track, but as occasional lake paddle boats they do better than many of the newer whitewater boats in hull speed.

That said, the pelicans will get you on the water and get you going straight and turning. If getting from point a to point b in calm, smaller water is the goal, they will do it.

thank you for honest feedback
My thanks to all three of you for your honest feedback. At times it seems like teenagers can have the attention span of a dog (squirrel!) & move from one interest to another - so I appreciate knowing that others have tried these or similar, and then moved on as commitment has increased. It sounds like they will get us onto the water. Thanks for your replies!

I love my Trailblazer
My husband and I (noobs last year) picked a couple of these up this spring (adding to our first purchase of two Sun Dolphin Aruba 80’s) so we could paddle with the grandkids. They are really stable, even in moderate choppy, boat and jet ski wake and some wind. Despite what the elitists here will say (Tupperware, kayak-shaped pieces of plastic, etc) they are not bad boats for the money. They are made in Canada by Pelican specifically for Dick’s. Weight capacity 275 lbs, adjustable foot pegs, front and back deck rigging, smallish storage compartment in back (not water-tight) and a surprisingly comfortable seat in spite of what a previous poster stated. I have sciatica and so far have paddled comfortably for up to three and a half hours and could probably do more with no pain. I have crammed a vinyl beach ball into the front of it as a float bag (which I cannot get out) for extra safety if I flip. As long as the kids are going to stick to basic quiet water paddling, you all should enjoy these little boats. They only weigh 37 lbs, so easy to lug and load. I wouldn’t recommend them to someone who is very tall and heavy, but they do fine with folks up 5’10" and 250+lbs.

rent for
a weekend kayak school program then go from there…

If “basic” is a lake or pond go for it.
My Wife has one like that and didn’t like paddling so it made perfect sense. Once you hit a river with rocks and moving water, you need something made in one piece.

If It Floats It’s Fun
Around here people float the river on all kinds of inflatable toys. There’s a kid who shows up here with his cheap kayak, carried on a homemade PVC pipe rack. He slays fish and has a blast doing it.

Why not look used so you can get a better boat for about the same price?

Hey 49, I’m heading out to AZ for 3 week

emotion glide
I bought my boys a pair of Emotion Glide kayaks with the idea of just getting them on the water to see if it took. Suprisingly comfortable and decent tracking and about the same price range of the Pelican. One of the boys really took to it, and now has evolved into an Eddyline Raven (it took years) and the other still likes to get out once in awhile but has other interests that keep him busy. Eventually sold the Glides, and find myself regretting not keeping at least one of them. I think your overall idea is splendid, and if they decide they want to progress to more advanced boats, then either try renting or taking advantage of dealers who let you try before you buy. Enjoy!

thank you for helping me
Thank you everyone. I haven’t had much luck buying used with other stuff, and with these I can narrow the argument with the kids down to something manageable like “which color”. I’ll give it a try with these kayaks and see if we grow from here. Thanks!

Roger_That, you clearly have never…
…paddled a Trailblazer. They are not nearly as bad as you make them out to be. Sure,they are not $2000 speed demon ocean kayaks, but they are surprisingly nice little boats for the price. Don’t knock it till you try it!

Fireeyes9, I think you will enjoy…
…the Trailblazers. Just make sure to stick close to shore on larger ponds and lakes and ALWAYS wear your PFD! On a recent hot day on Sebago Lake in Maine, my hubby just put his PFD on, but didn’t buckle up- said it was too hot, and I refused to budge from shore until he did. I’m willing to mix it up a bit with motorboat and jet ski wake on a good size body of water, but I refuse to be completely stupid about it. Check projected wind speeds for the area you will be paddling before going out, too, for safety’s sake. I have paddled my Trailblazer in up to 15mph winds and it’s a little more work (but a good workout), but I think I would hesitate to venture out in winds higher than that, mainly because of the large cockpit. Good luck, have fun and be safe!

I think you will have great fun.
My husband and I started with the same kind of kayaks, used them for 8-9 years, and just upgraded this year. Now our kids and grandkids use them. As suggested, always wear your pfd, especially in lakes with boat traffic.

The only thing I would add as others have basically

said is buy used and don’t pay more then you could resell it for. I bought one canoe new and everything

since has been used. good luck with your search.

if need be, go cheap

– Last Updated: Jul-14-15 7:05 PM EST –

My first kayak was a 10' future beach from dick's. $248 after tax. Had it out for about 25 trips August, September and some of October. Sold it the next spring for $200, so to make a long story longer, it was definitely worth the roughly $50 investment for 3 great months of learning and paddling, and there is always someone looking for a cheap beginner kayak if you decide to upgrade..

Pelican = junk
I live in a lake community where members keep their boats along a stretch of shore. Invariably the Pelicans and other cheap boats have horribly warped hulls after a few seasons on the shore. Yet I see much older, better built boats (Old Town, Mad River, We no nah, etc.) that still have hulls in very good shape and the only real issue is the deterioration of the wooden parts.

If money is the issue, then look for a better used boat. You don’t save money in the long run if your boat is a ready for the dump after three years.

Still cheaper than renting…
Ar $199 (when on sale at Dick’s), even if the Trailblazer only lasts three years, it’s still cheaper than renting a few times a season and let’s folks get out on the water at a budget price. Hell, I might be dead in three years and as often as I get out (at least three times a week, weather permitting) I’d say I got my money’s worth out of it and then some.