Eddyline Denali

Has anyone paddled the new Eddyline Denali?

I have the Journey and am tempted to get the Denali for its greater volume in the bow and stern, which hopefully might mean better secondary stability and more gear space. I’ve had problems with the Journey with secondary stability in rough water due to my only intermediate skills and, I think, the lack of buoyancy in the bow and stern. I’ve been camping with the Journey but have to pack pretty carefully.

I’m hesitating because I was hoping to go lighter rather than heavier on my next boat. The Denali is 50 lbs, versus 49 lbs for the Journey. I was hoping to get the weight down around 42 to 45 lbs.

Also, the Denali is 1" to deep for me, while the Journey is a painful 1" too shallow (=hip pain with knees forced down).

I considered the Delta 14 but found the new Delta seat quite poor and the cockpit too short. I’ve looked at the Current Designs Visions but the flat bottom isn’t for me.

Denali is for big people
I paddled the Denali this spring. I would have trouble recommending it unless you are a very large person. I am 6’3" and 200 lbs and it felt big on me. If you weigh over 250 it might be a boat to give some thought to. I really like Eddyline boats but the Journey might not be their best effort. I think that the Fathom and the Fathom LV, however, are two of the best boats made. I have camped for over a week out of my Fathom with plenty or room for the whole kit plus water. If you are under 6’ tall and do not have big feet then try the Fathom LV. If you really want a boat that is much lighter you better find some more money and maybe get ready to deal with a bit more fragile construction.

Best of luck in your search,


It is big for me
In what ways do you think the Journey isn’t Eddyline’s best effort?

I’m caught between too small and too big. The Journey cockpit length and width fits me well, but the boat throughout—bow, stern, and cockpit—is too low for me. I think that lessens the stability (not much buoyancy for going up over waves, and difficult for me to control in waves from the side) and it definitely lessens the storage and cockpit comfort.

I would need to pad out the cockpit of the Denali. So I’m wondering which is better: too small or too big? I can tolerate the Journey only since cutting out the thigh braces, with some loss of control. The Fathom doesn’t fit me at all, but I notice it looks higher in the bow and stern.

My obstacle isn’t money, it’s finding a boat with the right specs as I have a frozen hip joint and need a long cockpit (35") and a depth of around 13" at the front. I’m willing to go to composite, but can’t find the right specs.

I don’t hate the Journey. I would love it if it were 1" higher in the cockpit and considerably higher in the bow and stern. I would love Deltas if they had a longer cockpit.

It’s funny how your feelings about a kayak can change as the years go by.

Fathom LV fits me pretty well at 5’6"
and 160 lbs. Plenty of foot room.

Cockpit reasonably easy to enter & exit, but not sure how it compares to Waterbird’s Journey and it weighs about the same at about 50 lbs.

Not sure if it would have enough storage space or how it would perform in rough conditions, because I don’t carry a load and don’t paddle in rough conditions.

The thigh braces don’t hit me quite right for the seat position I chose to get the handling I want, but it’s good enough for the hour or two that I’m in the boat.

I find that it’s shape makes it awkward to shoulder carry - too many pointy chines & edges.

Haven’t tried the Denali.
But, my stiff wife does okay entering and exiting our QCC 400X, which weighs in at 45.2 lbs and isn’t the lightest they make.

I haven’t had it in very rough conditions, but it is pretty high volume and can carry some load.

I’m 5’6", 160 lbs and find it a loose fit and a challenge to edge very effectively - it’s too darn stable without raising my center of gravity with a seat pad.

It’s a pretty efficient boat for 24" max beam - at least with my total load of 165 lbs.

The Swift Caspian Sea is basically the same boat.

The 400X is not as playful as the Fathom LV for us smaller paddlers.

The rudder makes windy conditions almost a non-issue.

The Fathom LV paddles quite nicely with a 46" ZRE Medium bent shaft.

The Epic 16X is another light weight, efficient cruiser with pretty good capacity, more playful than the 400X, though a little more challenge getting into the cockpit.

Good luck with finding the right fit, handling, capacity and weight.

Same advice
I was going to recommend the Q400/Caspian Sea also. Mine is about 41 pounds in carbon/kevlar with rudder. I’m quite a bit bigger than Yanoer, and it still works well, although I don’t camp. Even though the QCC cockpit opening is a little small, because the boat is so deep it’s not as much of an issue, leave the useless thigh braces off, it makes a difference. I’ve paddled a Caspian Sea and liked it, although I can’t remember what the cockpit opening was like.

Minimum cockpit length 34"
That rules out QCC and many others

…someday a brave soul will take a jigsaw to a QCC and put a larger coaming on it. Bet it would be a great result, but I don’t think I can bring myself to do it…

Someday . . .
designers will take stock of the actual humans who use kayaks and make cockpits that fit them.

My question is
Have you looked at the Eddyline Raven? Yeah, I know it probably doesn’t satisfy the criteria you specified, but the Raven is one heck of a great boat and if I were you and could stuff myself into it … well I would at least give it a look.

Another boat that you might want to consider would be the Current Designs Gulfstream.

The Raven misses all of my criteria: too long, too narrow, too heavy, tiny cockpit, only medium stability.

My criteria:

Length 14-15’

Width 24"

Weight: max 49

Cockpit length min. 34". Not so picky about width.

Stability: high

Hatch volume: 150L+

Take the Journey and punch up the bow and stern considerably and the cockpit a bit. Or take the Denali and smash it down an inch. That’s my ideal kayak.

A CD Pachena just about fits those stats, except it’s 25.25" wide. In kevlar it’s 46 pounds, in fg it’s 52. The cockpit is huge at 17.5 by 35.5, and it’s faster than you’d think. The main problem is it’s discontinued - they do come up used, however, and I really recommend it.

The Journey was the closest I could come to my desired specs after a two-year search. I’ll stick with it until I can find something better. I wouldn’t give up the Journey for a kayak that had a major drawback like only one hatch (Pachena) or excessive width. There may be new kayaks in the last couple of years that I’m not aware of. I think I looked at just about every kayak available in the U.S. prior to that. The Journey came out on top at the time.

I haven’t tried one yet

– Last Updated: Jun-26-14 7:48 AM EST –

but want to. I've been paddling a Nighthawk 175 for a long time now and really like it. I'm curious about Eddyline's "replacement" for it. I think the deck height is a little greater in the Denali than the NH175. I had to cut most of the thighbraces out of my NH so it would work for me, they curved down too much. Maybe the Denali would be better.

One boat that may work for you, if you can find one and don't mind a used boat, is Eddyline's older Merlin XT. Depends on how much gear you need to carry, but it is 15', it has their large cockpit (except for the earliest model) and is not as deep as the Denali. Also only 46# nominal weight. But if you live on the east coast, you'll be competing with me looking for one! ;^)

Honestly, I'm hoping Eddyline has plans to make a 17.5' Denali XT. The Denali itself doesn't appear to be quite the adequate 'replacement' for the NH175 for their larger paddler customers. It is more in the Merlin XT class.

Merlin XT
I had the same problem as you with the thigh braces curving down and I cut them out.

Kayaks get discontinued for a reason. I owned the Merlin XT once. It had wonderful glide but for me was unstable in waves due to the deep V. I had the same problem with kayaks with a flat bottom, so I concluded that I need a moderate V.

If you’re a large person I bet the Denali would work for you. I did try out the cockpit and found it humongous, very deep.

I intend to.
The Merlin XT was one of the first Eddylines I tried many years ago. I thought it fit well enough with the large cockpit. Since I had been mostly WW kayaking for many years up to that point I didn’t mind its somewhat shaky primary stability. In fact, when I was trying it I layed it over to the cockpit coaming doing high brace and low sweep brace turns. The guy thought I was having trouble keeping it stable at first until he realized what I was doing. I liked the boat, very sporty in feel, but I tried a NH175 the next year (after looking for a Necky Pinta and finding orders had just been discontinued) and have been very pleased ever since. I suspect the Denali may feel like a roomier Merlin XT to me, therefore am looking forward to trying one in decent sea/bay conditions. But if they make an XT version, or whatever they might name it, I am !there!

I think you will find the Denali hull shape very different from the Merlin and the Nighthawk. I think it’s better.

The next generation may even find
… that some kayak designers have done away with the enclosed cockpit completely :wink:

Well, the Pachena DX does have two hatches, but it certainly is wider than you want.