I am in a position to choose out of a number of boats REI sells, up to $1100 - kind of a price limit gift deal type of thing, long story…
My main issue is that the choice I have for trying out/demoing boats is limited, more so now that the season is closing, and I need advice on boat fit from other owners.
I am looking at a touring boat, my skill level is beginner-intermediate. I can roll reliably on on-side, do basic rescues, and have a working understanding of proper paddling technique, to build on in the future. So, I want a boat I won’t “grow out of” any time soon. Length should be at most 14.5 (15 stretching it) due to storage and other factors.
Most importantly, boat fit: I am 5’10", 150-153 lbs, reasonably fit, relatively long legged.
Here are the options: Liquidlogic Inuit 13.5; Point 65 XO 13 (a bit concerned about the width - 25" is kind of wide); Perception Expression 15 (wondering if it might be too big for me); (with a big question mark) Hurricane Santee 135 (seems to have a huge cockpit, more of a rec boat). Any thoughts? Anyone know how the size of the above-described body would work with these boats?
Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
REI is not a great place to buy a kayak.
You can find a much better used boat for a much lower price.
one of the downsides to REI
One of the downsides to REI is that you can’t go and test boats except the few times they have their demos. Also, they don’t usually have a lot of these boats on the floor for you to even sit in. Unless you are using rebate money and are locked in to REI, it might be better to look at local kayak shops instead.
That said, I am a little surprised. Not normal to find someone who can roll who doesn’t have some idea of what boats work (unless you are coming over from whitewater, so just don’t know much about touring).
Thanks, but I actually AM locked to REI
Excellent points all around, but I am sort of locked into REI here. I had ordered a boat they were closing out, and they messed up the order. They are therefore offering to match the price with any of their boats up to 1100. I had ordered a Perception Expression 14.5. That one would have been a relatively tight fit. I wonder how the Inuit compares - I know that numbers tell a partial story at best, so I can’t really go by that.
Anyone else have some insight into this?
the Inuit 13.5 is a tight fitting boat
It is quite a bit tighter than the 12.5 and 14.5. The Inuit is a great all around boat, just a little heavy. I have a 12.5 and It sees a lot of use in choppy water and winds. I am 6’ 190lbs with a 32" waist and the larger 12.5 and 14.5 are a snug fit for me. Unless you are very slender and have shoes under size 10.5 I would go with the 14.5 Inuit over the 13.5.
is online at rei.com... at $1299 but if you can make the stretch - a 14 foot kayak for rivers, lakes and ocean that should work for you and be a helluva lotta fun besides.
p.s. too bad you are tied to rei the Alchemy (in both sizes) can be found for $700-$800 in more than a few places.
Edit: Dagger AlchemyL same price if your long legs need it.
Modify padding - enjoy the REI points
Paddling and seating can always be modified,
shaved, sculpted, glued, added to, taken away.
Enjoy those REI co-op points next year
no refund possible?
Its too bad that you can’t just get a refund and look at better selections elsewhere - or take the cash and buy a lighter used fiberglass boat.
Online, REI has reduced the Inuit 13.5 15% to $907; their online prices seem odd: I think they are selling the Dagger Alchemy 14S for $100 over “suggested list”.
My concern about the Inuit is that the cockpit seems very wide for someone only 150 lbs. That will take lots of retrofitting.
I just did a search for ‘dagger alchemy 799’ and didn’t get anything. Had recently done similar searches for sale, close out, etc.
The cockpit too wide? I thought most people see this as too small a boat for my size. The Daggers are boats I actually sat in. The S was a bit too small. The L is nice, kind of left me wondering if there was a size in between the two - it would be perfect. Little Goldilocks me… They are not on the table for in this REI deal, and I agree, the price they list is over the one most places list as “full price”.
A refund is possible, actually. I may go that route. But since they were offering me as much as 33% off on any boat up to 1100, I thought I should take advantage. But I have to agree, looking at this I may not have an option. Too bad. I was kind of hoping the Inuit would fit, but realistically, the crowd here seems to confirm my fears that with that deck height it would be a really tight boat…
Thanks everyone for chiming in. Any further thoughts are welcome, of course.
a bit away from you, but
Here is a listing from a California shop (close to me, but not you) that has them for $949.
I think you would fit
in the Inuit 13.5, and it’s a nicely-made boat with a very comfortable seat… but yeah, you would want at least a test-sit. the hip pads are adjustable. I see you’re in the DC area, if you want to come by and sit in my Tsunami 135, which is similar dimensions but actually a bit smaller than the Inuit. the review posted on REI for the Inuit compares the two.
if the Dagger Alchemy appealed to you, and you are interested in something really unique – Appomattox River Co. has a demo Venture Islay 14 in emerald green at a killer price. I was tempted to buy it but can’t really justify yet another kayak! email me if you want to see pics.
Just looking at your choices at REI and the kayak specs it would seem that the Expression 15 would be your best bet.
It sounds like your fit issue is due to long legs and deck height, is that right? It seems you are probably skinny and you may have room in the hip width area but you can always add hip padding, which is fixable unlike deck height.
It sounds like you at least sat in the Expression 14.5, if you found that a bit tight then it would seem that the 15, which gives you more room for your legs and an extra inch of deck height for a 6" longer and 3/4" wider boat would be a better fit for you. I have never actually tried out any of the REI kayaks you are looking at beyond the Inuit 14.5 (I found it very tight but I am more linebacker sized).
As for if you should buy from REI or not, if you initially bought a discounted kayak from REI then that purchase is not going to be included in your member check and my guess is any replacement kayak for that one will also be counted as not being reliable for the member refunds. That being said, REI is a great place for customer service and returns. I am sure they will ship the kayak to the store for you and if after you sit in it you don’t like it, they won’t have a problem with refunding your money, as long as you have that membership card they really do bend over backwards to help a customer out.
Wait! Until a SALE comes
This time of year, look for their sales events. You should be able to find, for about $1,200 something like Tempest 165, with luck. Sounds like you want to progress in kayaking and this would be a great kayak for this purpose. The Alchemy will also fit the bill and is more maneuverable but will be slower.
EDIT: just read your under 15 feet requirement, so the Tempests do not fit as they are too long... Pitty -;)
I'd say, pay-up the difference, since you have already committed to REI. If you wait till your annual divident comes (you did sign to be a member when you first bougt, right?) that will pretty much cover the difference.
Alternatively, if that's an option you have and want to pursue, sell your REI credit to someone else at 10% off and buy elsewhere or used at 30-60% off and pocket the difference -;)
Just keep in mind that are a bunch of exclusions on what gets included in the refund, according to REI:
“Your refund is based on eligible purchases, which exclude REI-OUTLET.com and sale and clearance items, (prices ending in $._9 or $._3), items discounted 15% or more, gift cards, REI Adventures trips, REI Outdoor School classes and outings, sales tax, postage, mounting, engraving, labor, rental fees and membership fee.”
Doubt he will get a refund on his kayak purchase.
Last time I checked
REI had a sort of ‘no fault’ return policy. You could return anything for any reason. A return policy that good shouldn’t be abused, but if they screwed up the order (as it sounds), then why don’t you simply get a refund? I have NEVER heard of anyone being “locked in” to a purchase at REI. You are a first.
lots of choices in DC area
The OP stated he has a 15' max length limit. Otherwise i would have suggested the Eddyline Nighthawk at $999 at Bel Haven in the Pine Barrens. It was on their website last night - honest!:
Its still there. Scroll to near the bottom, past all the Grummans:
We don’t know what the OP bought…
… and wether got the 10% refund. But, if the OP did get it, I think it can be used on anything, right? And he’s got store credit as far as I understand, so that should be good on just about anything too… Might not get a new divident on using it…
I suppose just a thought, in case it applies …
thanks for the additional tips
I’m pretty sure the refund wouldn’t be an issue, I had already checked that I could return the boat in store if it didn’t fit when I ordered it. What happened is that they messed up the shipment, it never got to me, and being the great customer-oriented business they are (I am just learning this about them and liking it…) they wanted to offer me additional options.
I really need to find a store that carries these boats… The Alchemy 14S was a very tight fit, but I think it would be possible to make some adjustments and end up fitting in it. The official recs I have seen around in terms of paddler weights put me in the 14S rather than the L for the Alchemy, so maybe I just need to get used to the properly tight fit… I would love to be able to try the Inuit out. What concerns me is what seems to be a VERY low deck. There are sparse reviews out there, but some folks seem to think that medium and even slightly larger adults fit well in the 13.5 inuits. Anyone had the chance to compare it directly with the Alchemy 14S?
Damn, this is hard