I’d like to hear any cheers or jeers from Pakboat kayak owners. I’m in Colorado where we don’t seem to have any dealers. I want lighter, more comfortable and fishable in my next boat. I have a Walden 13’ thermo formed which is fast and reasonabley light but not comfortable or good for fishing. The wife has an Old Town Loon 13’ 8" which I steal or fishing but it’s a bit heavy and slow and the seat back kills me at 6’ 2"…
You say “I want lighter, more comfortable and fishable in my next boat”, but say nothing about why a folder. Unless you need a folder for travel, transport, or storage issues, I wouldn’t consider one. Too many downsides (high cost, set up/take down time, etc.).
I love Pakboats
I've owned two Pakboats, an earlier version of the 12' Puffin and an XT-15. They are very good boats, the XT especially, and a great value for the cost which is not much more than a good quality rotomold plastic touring kayak. The new Quest models look like they are also very nicely set up but I have yet to see one in person. The XT-15 has been discontinued though they still make the longer XT-16 which is identical though a foot longer and can be converted from a solo boat to a tandem by switching decks and moving the seats, which is a neat option. The Pakboats behave and perform close to the level of decent hardshells on flat water and perform better on rough water since, like all folders, they absorb wave action rather than fighting it. The seat design is super comfortable and very adjustable. We nicknamed the XT-15 the "Barcalounger" because it's so comfortable.
Pakboats are much easier to set up than some other more costly folders because you don't put on the deck until last and don't have to crawl inside to position the frame parts (I have owned 3 Feathercrafts and I call the set-up process "kayak yoga".) I can set up either kayak in 20 to 30 minutes, but I usually leave them set up all season and pack them up in the Fall (best not to leave them set up year round because it can fatigue the bungie cords in the assembly parts and make them loose over the years.)
Certainly hard to beat them for lightness, convenience of travel and storage.
If you want additional feedback on them there is a site specifically for folders: http://www.foldingkayaks.org There are also several videos on YouTube of people paddling them and assembling them, which are useful for getting a feel for what they are like when you can't inspect one in person. The folks at the Pakboat HQ in New Hampshire are also very helpful in answering questions about the boats and may be able to point you to somebody in your area who owns one.
If you want to check out higher end folders, Folding Kayak Adventures in Durango CO is a Feathercraft dealer. I confess I have been drooling over their newest model, the Aironaut -- a 20 lb. 14' long inflatable that sets up in 6 minutes. A bit pricey at $2,500 but their boats are top of the line, last forever and have high resale value.
I notice the Pakboat Puffin Saco recently got the stamp of approval from the North American Fishing Club for it's ability to be used without the deck. Open boats tend to be better for fishing. That's another bonus of many of the Pakboat models -- you can use as an open or decked boat. At 20 lbs (24 with deck) a 12' Pakboat is a breeze to load and launch.
I also noticed on their site that they have good prices on some demos and old style models at the moment.