Kepler and Feathercraft vs most other folder.

Hey Everyone thanks for taking the time to read this.

So, I currently have an IK, which I love for rivers and streams but lets face it, even on a medium sized lake this isn’t exactly the ideal craft and open water is pretty much a no go sooo, I’ve been looking at a number of different options for use on trips 3 or more days long and dreaming of when I get out of school (again…) and having money to buy one and that time is finally here. Here’s the rub though, my new job is taking me to Tucson, AZ which basically has no water with in a 150 mile (~240 km) radius. Now, most of the time (maybe 80%) of my trips I’ll just be car topping the yak to Phoenix, Southern Cal, possibly Mexico so I’m not really concerned with set up times but I would like it to be transportable on an aircraft for the other 20% so I’ve started looking at folders.

Here’s my question: Feathercraft (Now out of business apparently? Their website and sales division seems to still be operating) and Kepler boats are both significantly more expensive than most of their competitors particularly, Trak, Oru (somewhat of a different animal) and Pakboats. Is the Kepler / Feather craft worth the extra 1500.00 USD? If so what makes them better than the rest?

Thank in advance for you Thoughts.

Maybe don’t give up on inflatables - consider the Sea Eagle Razorlite 393RL. They are reportedly similar to a hard shell kayak in performance and efficiency.

@Yanoer said:
Maybe don’t give up on inflatables - consider the Sea Eagle Razorlite 393RL. They are reportedly similar to a hard shell kayak in performance and efficiency.

yea they float said:

yea they float

Would you care to expand on that insightful observation?

If you mean Klepper, they are out of business too. You can find used ones on craigslist. They were well made and solid.

California Kayaker Magazine had an article on kayaks and small living spaces, which has a bit of info relevant to this discussion. Can be read online at (8 megabyte PDF).

I used to own a Trak. Pretty good boat, close to hard shell performance, reasonably fast set up. Make sure you use float bags and/or sea sock, as the boat has no built in flotation. The boat when packaged exceeds the weight limit by a few pounds for most airlines. so you need to move parts to a second bag. Add in the other gear you need (PFD, etc.) and it is 2 bag minimum on the plane, likely 3. With bag fees, this starts getting expensive. Often cheaper to jut rent a your end location.

I got it as I live in the city and was storing boats 30 minutes away, so wanted something I could keep close and use when I didn’t want to make the 30 minute one-way trip to get boats. In the end, I found a way to keep my boats closer, so got rid of the Trak. Hard shells really are the top option, and once I didn’t need to the hassle of assembly/disassembly and cleaning, I stopped doing it and never looked back.

The IKs I’ve had are like your experience - not something for open water. Biggest downside is they are very slow and susceptible to windage.

@Yanoer said: said:

yea they float

Would you care to expand on that insightful observation?

Not looking to confuse you. A dime and you’re lost. said:

@Yanoer said: said:
Not looking to confuse you. A dime and you’re lost.

Oh, you’re just crop dusting for your amusement, not contributing. Adios.

Having owned and extensively paddled 3 Feathercrafts and 3 Pakboats over the past 15 years, I can weigh in on those. If you can find a used Feathercraft in good shape It will cost you $1500 to $3000 (half what they were new.) Feathercraft did close down last Fall, though they have mentioned possibly having some former employee open a service shop to provide parts for those that are still in service around the world. I would not bet on that. I still own a Wisper and its a wonderful boat, they were definitely the Mercedes Benz of folding kayaks.

That said, Pakboats are an excellent bang for the buck and a new one will cost you less than a used Feathercraft. PB’s are very well made and in some ways a cleverer design than many other folders. For instance, they have the XT 17 which can be convertible from a solo to a double by adding a seat and switching removable decks, The XT-17 is a great choice for larger guys, for overnight touring (tons of storage capacity for gear) or if you want to use it as a tandem sometimes. I just sold my ex boyfriend’s XT-15 (a discontinued shorter solo) to a guy in Maine for $800. Very nice kayak.

The removable decks on PB’s Puffin series mean that those kayaks can be used open like a sit on top or with the deck on like a regular sit inside. I find them somewhat easier to set up than any of my FC’s (I have an older version of the 12’ Puffin Saco).

The Feathercraft are sleeker, but the new PB Quest line is awfully close in finish and performance. PB is supposed to be getting their latest version of the Quests, a 15’ long and 27 pound touring kayak called the Quest 150, , in stock this month.and I believe it will be around $1500. I have their earlier smaller version, the Quest 135 and like it very much. It compares favorably in comfort and performance to my Wisper. I would not hesitate to take it out in open water (have only had it one summer so far so it has not been to the ocean yet) and in fact am taking it to the UK with me this spring. At 28 pounds I can pack the kayak, a 4 piece paddle (Cannon makes a nice partial carbon one for under $150), my pfd, float bags, skirt and dry wear in a large rolling sports duffel that can be checked as airline baggage under the 50 pound rule.

The fact is, since Klepper, Feathercraft and even the venerable Folbot are now out of business, Pakboat is really the only moderately priced folder readily available in the USA. Trak’s are nice boats but in the $4,000 range I think.

There is a folding kayaking forum:

It is not as well populated as this site but you can find archival information on folders there as well as ask questions and check their classified ads.

Thanks for the thoughts. I’ve been looking at the Pakboat XT17 so it is definitely nice to get some information on that. I was bummed when Folbot called it quits as I had been interested in the Kodiak. Hate to see so many of the skin on frame guys going out of business. I’ll have to check out the Quest 15 as well.

Thanks again.

You can still get free patterns and instructions for making your own folding or inflatable skin on frame kayak from Tom Yost of Yostwerks.

Hum, As I’m wrapping up school I’ll probably have some extra time on my hands. That might be an interesting projects to look into. Thanks for the suggestion. :slight_smile: