Impex Force 4 & 5

Does anyone know how these kayaks perform with a load. I’m 5’ 10" and 155lbs + 70lbs gear = 230lbs.

Impex says paddler weight up to 220.

Is the handling/performance good with a trip carring load in different conditions.

What are your thoughts with the Force in general. (without load) The length and hull shape says it may have good glide.

Australia now has an importer of Impex and the Force looks like a touring contender plus a good day boat for cruising.


I only breifley paddled the 4
Can’t see why you’d even consider a 5 at your size!

With about 220 load in, it felt good with decent speed and responsiveness. Should be a good match for load of you plus gear, if it’s a match for you otherwise (fit, presonality, whatever). My overall reaction was “yep, it’s a kayak” - which is actually one of my more rave reviews. Seemed to do everything well enough, and build quality of course was great.

my opinion…just an opinion mind you.
While my Outer Island is in for minor gelcoat repair, Impex up in Asheville gave me a force 4 as a loaner. Nice enough boat but I don’t see any significant advantages over other boats in the same sort of category. I mean, it is nice enough, and a foot longer than the 17 ft boats which may make it faster, but there was nothing that would say to me that this boat was the next step up. I guess they needed the 13 inch (advertised 12 inch so I must have a bad ruler)foredeck with a 2 inch high seat to give it more volume? Oh and the backband really is not my cup of tea. Unfortunately it is the same backband in the OI also.

Like I said, nice enough boat. No sparks for me though.

conditions that I paddled the force 4:

A strong pressure gradient across the region will allow winds on area lakes to remain strong and gusty through this evening.

Northwest winds of 15 to 25 knots with higher gusts to 35 knots can be expected on area lakes through this evening.

A lake Wind Advisory indicates that winds will cause rough chop on area lakes. Small boats will be especially prone to capsizing.

good thing I wasn’t in one of those “small boats”

I didn’t go out to the middle of the lake but it was blowing plenty strong and rough closer to shore. Its a big lake so it can build up a whole lot of fetch.


Might want to try a Force 3
If you like a snugger fitting boat, you might find the Force 3 a better fit than the 4. The 5 has a rather large cockpit. At 5’ 10’ and 175# I liked the 3, but it was too small when wearing winter clothing and boots. The Forces are very nice boats and any of them will take you and 70# aboard without performance falling apart. To me the Force 4 is more lively and than an Explorer, but more staid than say a Legend which makes it a nice balance of taking everything in stride and still being fun. Whether a boat “works” is very personal, that said, I believe the Force is up there with the best as a long distance boat that will get you there and back regardless.

paddler weight up to 220
you’re 155, so should be fine

Loaded Boats
Your “boat loaded” question opens alot of interesting questions that I don’t see alot of paddlers addressing. I’m 5’10", 210 lbs and regularly paddle an Explorer. I test paddled a force four empty and liked it. It does not have the expedition volume that an Explorer has, but definitely is more lively- empty. The stern skids out alot faster than an Explorer during turns and such. That said, all boats handle very differently when fully loaded, and the only way to discover how they handle is to load 'em up and go for it. I don’t see alot of paddlers exchanging information about fully loaded boats. I recently did a trip up the coast of North Carolina-US in my fully loaded Explorer and it was a new learning experience- much of which was humbling. I didn’t spend alot of time playing around during the trip, due to the load, but, when the weather kicked up, the Explorer was a joy to confidently be in. A friend of mine that is about my size did a trip up the coast of Maine-US in the force 4 and thoroughly enjoyed the boat. I think you would be just fine in a 4 with a load. I would also enjoy seeing more paddlers post about “boats with loads”- so far I’m tuned in to stuffing the boat 'til the sideseam is to the waterline. Beyond that, I’m totally curious. Cheers--------------K

Thanks for your thoughts
I have tripping experience in two boats - a beamy 17ft glass, capable tourer. Sold it to finance the now RM Tempest 165. When researching the T people claimed it’s performance loaded was similar to ‘no load’. I found this to be right and have done a few 5 day trips some with 20km open water crossings ( Bribie Is. to Moreton Is. in lively sea and swell) fully loaded with no more room to spare …anywhere ( tent stuffed in dry bag in front of foot pegs + water bladders behind seat in cockpit)

The T is pretty low volume and I’m looking at more compartment space for longer trips of a few weeks (maybe a month or two…dream on:) I would sell the T to get more volume front and back and have a kayak that can be paddled ‘no load’ for fun.

I’ll try to demo the Force boats sometime with the nearest dealer 10 hours drive. Been looking at a Aquanaut RM LV (same dealer) as a good compromise, which is longer than the T -165 but I think similar volume … don’t know how it paddles loaded down.

In Australia we don’t have many locally made skeg boats to chose from, though ‘Expedition Kayaks Australia’ started up recently and sell Valley Roto’s and Impex.



Contact Mark at Carpe Diem
kblackch10 refers to Mark Schoon of Carpe Diem. You might want to contact him about his extended paddle along the coast of Maine. I think it was with a Force 4.

Force 4
I use the Force 4 all the time as my primary kayak for leading trips or just going out for fun paddles. (in a Currituck for teaching or playing waves) My using the Force happens to be a good thing for it has the cargo capacity for lots of goodies that used to go in my wife’s kayak. Now that she paddles the Force 3 as her primary kayak the volume difference is significant, significant in the sense that she has been called the “On-Water Deli” in the past but now my Force 4 is often the Buffet Boat.

That all being said, performance changes are not that noticeable. Other than the typical heavier boat to start up the performance for me (200lbs + 40lbs of gear) is much the same as the unladen feel.

Go with the K-Lite layup. Having a 47lb 18’ kayak with a hull that has zero flex to it is really quite a treat.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

I love the Force 4
I’ve paddled mine for a year, open ocean paddling off Cape Cod. Handles great in all conditions, nearly empty for day trips - I’m 165 lbs- and I notice very little difference fully loaded for an overnight (maybe 50 lbs more?). For me, it’s a perfect combination of speed and maneuverability. Even when fully loaded I can pop the spray skirt to pee in pretty big swell with occasional breakers without worrying about much of anything coming in over the coaming. (At times like that, having the depth an inch higher than advertised isn’t so bad.)