Single mom, here, wanting to get out on the water with my young son. Have a garage, for storage, and a car with racks that could be outfitted for transporting a hardshell or a canoe, but I’d have no help loading/unloading or at put-in and take-out. Therefore, I’m interested in an inflatable to take with us camping, fishing and tool around mostly here, in central Texas. Highland Lakes, flat water, Guadalupe river, maybe a trip to the Gulf - Port Aransas, either bay or a little surf, at some point.
Anyway, Costco has what looks to be a good deal on the Sea Eagle 330 for $189 (incl. 2 seats, 2 paddles, foot pump and repair kit). They also offer the Sevylor U241 Colorado Canoe for $299 (incl. nothing else). And then my local shop, Austin Canoe and Kayak has an AE Dragonfly2 (2007 model) package for $514 (incl. 2 Bending Branches Whisper Dream paddles, 2 NRS Vista PFDs, a Double Action Pump, and 2 Bungee Paddle Leashes).
We don’t need much in weight capacity - I’m 5’9" and 130 lbs. and my son is, well, he doesn’t even weigh 40lbs. yet. Yes, of course, money is always an issue, so I’m wondering if the Sea Eagle would suffice for us, with the additional expense of the PFDs, of course.
Also, we have a 65 lb dog, (at full grown) and have dreams of training him to go in the boat with us. Would the Sea Eagle be big enough or rugged enough, if I put boots on the dog and maybe even a piece of carpet or foam mat on the floor?
Thanks for any advice.
From the sounds of your inquiry, I would guess you are considering the SE 330 and the other boats mentioned, due mostly to budgetary considerations. The 330 is a good lite boat for getting you out on the water of quiet lakes for a little afternoon fun with your little one.
ALTHOUGH, I think any kind of extended multi-day trips (with baby, gear, and dog)would not be prudent/advisable in this ducky. I own a Sea Eagle 380 (bigger and more expensive–no brag, just fact)and I have tried out BOTH the SE 330 and SE 340 in choppy and rugged water conditions. Sea Eagle makes a very good product. BUT just as there is a world of price difference between a 330 and a 340, there is also a world of quality difference. The SE 330 is comparable in class to the famed Sevylor “Orange Torpedo.” That is, they’re fun, basic recreation inflatable kayaks who’s manufacturers hype heralds almost legendary status upon them (“take on Class II rapids,” “cruise down the Amazon,” etc.)
Don’t believe it. The seams, valves, and material are not as good as these companies more higher priced offerings. Again, if you’re not trying to push limits with “baby on board” in the 330, it is fine for easy going paddle and float trips.
–You might also look at the Stearns line of IKs, that are in your price range. Whatever you decide, please don’t forget to put some kiddie floatation on that cute kid! Good hunting.
Kristen, I would go with a AE
StraitEdge2. This is their tandem kayak and absolutely stable. They are easy to paddle, rated to haul 500lbs and can be inflated in 15 minutes with a double action hand pump or foot pump. The seats are comfortable and the build quality, materials, and durability of the AdvancedElements kayaks are top notch. You will not be disappointed with this kayak. The only drawback is that it weighs 47 lbs in the bag (I weighed mine before taking on airline). See this model in the product review section. Here is the site to view their models:
Good luck and have fun!
Austin Canoe and Kayak
They will take care of you. They have always taken care of me and gone the extra mile.
Austin Canoe & Kayak
Thanks! Went down to see them, today. They are very nice guys; very candid. Confirmed that the Sea Eagle 330 is probably fine for us, for now, to start. Was told that it won’t last forever and advised definitely NOT to take the dog in it, even with doggie boots on him.
So, I bought a couple of PFDs and paddle bungees from them and believe that we’ll be back there, after a season or two, to upgrade to something better. (My son had a blast sitting in all of the inventory. So, I think he’ll really get into it.)
Thanks for the advice.
Do you have room above the car to store the boat? I hang our kayaks above the car and load directly to the car. There are several ways to make loading and unloading a hard shell easier at the launch site. My daughter has a Phoenix 120 SOT with a seat in the tankwell for her 4yo son. The boat weighs about 37 lbs.