Impex Force 4 or OI

-- Last Updated: Jul-10-06 6:54 PM EST --

Can an 18 foot boat be fine as mainly a day boat and what criteria should i use to select from these two boats-each of which I enjoyed test paddling?

I am pursuing the purchase of the Impex Force 4 or OI and no other, after favorable test paddling vs. other boats. I am desiring a less rockered and faster boat than my current Impex Montauk. Typical paddling: Straight fresh water lake touring ( 5 to 8 miles one way-narrow Finger Lakes) and rolling as desired. Once or twice a year one-night camping trips. Me: 5, 7 and 170 lbs.

I realize that the Force 4 is marketed as an Expedition boat but I found it turned and manuevered fine for exploring coves and bays. I had no issue turning the OI, but tested it on calm water only.

My major issue and concern on these 18 footers. . .the opinion that these boats will be faster than my Montauk, getting them up to cruising speed will be tiresome for someone of my build size.

Thanks for your comments,

Central NY State

I have an OI
and have paddled the force 4 a bit. You are right it is a larger volume boat. It handles very well and probably would do better with more weight in it than just my 200 lbs. You can definitely pack it and you can certainly roll it but you will certainly be rolling more volume around than say with an OI.

However, the OI is a lower volume boat. I suspect it is faster but again that is probably a factor of the engine. The boat is very easy to roll and I have no real problems turning it. The force 4 probably turns better though. Having said that, the OI handles superbly in open swells and ocean. I would not surf it.

It sounds to me as if you have already decided on the OI anyway.



some thoughts…
Being a smaller guy (5’8", 145 lbs), I paddled the Force 3 along with the OI but I assume the Force 3 shares similar characteristics as the Force 4. Both can easily handle a few days of camping gear (OI may require a bit more careful packing) and both are fine as day boats despite their length. The OI has a bit more top speed although they both can comfortably cruise at a decent pace (4-4.5 mph). The Force is MUCH more maneuverable and responds better to edging. Both boats roll well but the Outer Island is obviously the clear winner in this department. It’s pretty much a toss up. I would be more comfortable in bigger stuff in the Force boat but I would probably have more fun in the OI given my love of rolling. I like both boats a lot and they are among my favorite kayaks.

Thanks -

this is exactly why I posted this . . it is a tough choice for me to choose. I assume at my size and having large thighs, the Force 3 would be too small. (I did not test paddle one yet)

Just curious,
What material would you choose, fiberglass or carbon/Kevlar, and the reason?

Force v. OI
Hi, I’ve paddle both and own an OI as well as a Pintail, Quest and Mark Rogers Artic Hawk. These are quite different boats IMO, and you’d do well to think carefully about what you want to do with them. If your primary interest is in point A to point B day paddles in conditions and in rolling, then the OI is the boat to get. If you want a boat to camp out of, surf, poke around in chanels and rock gardens, the the Force 4 is the boat to get. The Force series will go fast from point A to B in condition too, but the OI is a rocket, and rolling, well, that’s the OI’s real forte. If I could only have one boat, the Force 4 would be it. IMO, it is the first true alternative to the NDK Explorer. Fortunately, I’m able to have specialty craft, but I still think about trading them all in for the Force 4. You can’t go wrong with either boat, but a bit of cogitating on what you want to do will help. My guess from what you say is that the Force 4 is a better boat for you than the OI. Best, John

not getting any younger!
Having a high roof, Jeep Liberty, I’d rather pay a bit more once and lift under 50 lbs vs. almost 60 lbs.

No care about the composite material related to abrasion or strength, just weight.

to do

– Last Updated: Jul-10-06 10:21 PM EST –

Yeh, what I want to do might be:

70% 8 to 18 mile lake paddles, mainly straight but some poking around in bays and islands (up to 10 trips per year). Waves up to two-three feet at most, mainly powerboat chop versus wind

10% 2 camping trips a year - 1 to 2 nights

20% taking out on local river to play-practice rolling and bracing, without any destination

Another question
How did you select Impex as opposed to Valley, QCC, Nigel Dennis, and whatever else out there? I am just curious how people select their composite boats. The obvious answer is to try it and see if you like it. But who has the opportunity to try them all?

more on the OI
If you paddle GP and want to work the GP roll progression, you’ll be happier with the OI, although the Force 4 rolls easily. Otherwise, from what you say, I’d guess that the Force boat will be more fun for you to paddle day to day. The OI is primarily a day boat, and it is a beast to turn w/o putting it way up on edge with extended paddle sweeps whereas the Force 4 turns easily just with edging. Another boat you should definately consider is the NDK Romany–very easy to surf, turn, roll, camp out of for a few days, and a marvelous hull design though not as fast as the OI or Force series. From what you say, it may be even a better option as most day paddles under 20 miles are best acomplished at a languid 3+ knots. I can easily hold the OI at 4.5 knots and have clocked in at a steady 7 with 20 knot winds and following seas, but who needs that that speed capability unless you are doing a really long paddle with big winds. BTW, I’ve never paddled a boat that is better in following seas than the OI. Most of the time I paddle with friends under 4 knots close up to shore so we can see stuff and roll now and again for practice and to cool off. You might want to check out the Impex bulletin board. Danny (who designed the Force series) is a really nice and accessible guy, and he might have some good pointers. He’s about your size and paddles a Force 4, but surfs a Mystic. Best, John

I do not see the Romany as a much different option than the Montauk, although i do not know the rocker comparison of each.

I prefer an Impex boat based on quality, easier access to company customer service, and easier ordering ability, and my test paddling results.

similar story
I am also looking to move from a Montauk to one of those two boats, or the NDK Explorer. To be fair, your post said only those two boats so we should keep the other boats out of the discussion. You obviously made up your mind.

I am a GP user, so that may indicate the OI is the better choice. Don’t know for sure-need to re-test paddle both with my GP.

East of you-eastern NY

I Know You Said “and no other” But…
Impex says you’re within the weight range for the Force 3. When the wind kicks up that low volume sure is nice. Wouldn’t hurt to try one.

Try the 3
At your size and if big trips are not in the picture, you should try the 3 since you like the OI. The cockpit of the 3 is small, but I suspect you would find it nice and playful.

force 3
if you are Danny’s size I would definitely think about the Force 3. My friend who has a force 4 is 220 plus and there is a good stretched handspan between the deck and the waterline without gear. I mean it is a very tall boat. If you are less weight and will not be packing it all the time I woudl strongly recommend the Force 3.

Of course I would pick (and did) the OI.

Hey Alex. I paddled a Legend yesterday…what a sweet boat…and plenty of volume…would make a good camper. And I really liked the way it turns.


yeah, the Legend is sweet
It’s fast and manueverable. It’s a tad bit slower than my Silhouette but it turns better. My only wish is that the back coaming was a little lower to facilitate rolling.

gotta admit I was surprised
Might have to add that one to the list.