Khatsalano properties

to you Khat owners out there:

flex? How stiff is this frame really

time to assemble realizing the first few times I can double that

true weight with backpack and maybe the float bags and sea sock and skirt?

boat characteristics? Anything you woudl like to add like extra d rings or attachment points for a spirit sail and deck bag for expeditions?

advantages and disadvantages to say a K1 or a Wisper?

Any and all opinions?


Sent you an email covering most
as far as flex, the frame is flexy especially after 7.5 years. Packed wt about 50lbs.

I read this somewheres:
“A lot of paddlers have wet dreams thinking about the Khats but woudl probably do better with K1 if they want a feathercraft”

then a couple of comments about the Khats flexiness…

weight concerns with the airlines: K1 already at 51 advertised so figure 57 with backpack and sock and float bags.

Khat at 45 so packed right at 50 - 52. might save some excess baggage bucks.

for full on expedition touring the K1 looks to be best but for an all round boat that includes lots of rolling practice and playfulness, with almost the same abilities for expedition paddling, the Khats seems to win out unless you were going to be out for 4 plus weeks or if you wanted to sail it for long distances. Should be ok for small downwind sail fun like the spirit or pac action.

thanks to Seatec and medicineman, I am down to a 22 lb expedition pack so either boat would do fine given my wieght.

Seriously leaning towards the Khat though because it would be more of an all round boat that would be equally comfortable rolling, rough water paddling and camping out of.

All of this is of course subjective and since I already have the folbot Cooper which I like very much, and that in many ways already have the characteristics of the Kahuna and Wisper, it looks like one would not lose much at all having a Khats compared to a hardshell for travel opportunities.

What say ye kinights of the folding realm?


Just get the boat!

(Paul is my candidate for “Who needs sex the most” 2008.)

hey don’t forget 2009!

Have a new '02 Khatsalano-S
left in stock going cheap. Teal deck, ‘welded’ skin, rudder, never assembled. Standard Khat is already spoken for if/when I get a replacement tube. Skin will need to be soaked per Feathercrafts recommendation to enable the skin to ‘stretch’ as the boat has been stored for 6 years unassembled. That’s why I need the new tube for the standard Khat, the skin had ‘shrunk’ from unuse and I tried to assemble it without the ‘stretching’ procedure first. Regular use eliminates the ‘stretching’ neccessity.

I used the K1-Expedition in eastern Greenland, boat in pack w/some extra gear included was under 69lbs. I’d guess the Khat to be slightly ‘stiffer’ than the K-1 as it has a more braced skeleton frame. The K-1 was somewhat flexy coming from a hardshell, but confidence inspiring. The Khats extra internal bracing requires a bit more thought in packing as you do not have an open framework/skeleton to fill, and smaller drybags are required to fit around the those internal tubes.

Thanks Stickman

– Last Updated: Nov-28-08 12:54 PM EST –

I e-mailed you. I am used to flex with the Folbot Cooper I have. I was very surprised to test the rigidity of the Cooper against the Wisper and it was actually stiffer! That was why I was concerned about the Khats.
(No argument the Wisper is a much better built boat but that really surprised me.)


Any comment on the differences on the water of the Khat and the Khat S ?


50 pounds empty. add a few more for
sea sock and seat. When flying, I put them in ordinary duffel bags with equipment to get around freight issues.

On the water the Khats is maneuverable and pretty fast. It does weathercock worse than any boat I’ve owned. Had it in wind to about 30 knots and it was a pain in the ass. The only place for a bear canister is forward of my foot pegs which exacerbates weather cocking.

I think the frame is strong. I’ve been in surf environments with faces up to 10 feet and had an 8 footer break on me. I watched an 7-8 footer take out my buddy in my K1. Something to consider, when you pack your gear have the hatches supported by something underneath. They will implode otherwise if you get whacked by a biggie.

I have never been in a Cooper but I read that the max payload is 250 pounds. The Khats is 300, but I’ve put it to around 320 until I’ve eaten into my food after a few days. It handled fine, even in the big water we were in.

When comparing the standard to the S version, keep in mind that you do not have to have sponsons inflated in the standard like you do with the S. The S has a more generous skin cut which requires the sponsons inflated. The standard gives a different performance feel when they are uninflated, a bit edgier.

The biggest challenge is space for packing. You need a more alpinist approach with the Khats. The K1 is a gear whore’s best friend. It’s solid boat that will eat the equipment and water weight. The Khats requires you to portion food, water and equipment. It will force you to parse the charts for water stops and so forth. It is a very high performance boat that you will want to paddle, rather than view it as a transportation device for far off places.


You just nailed it.
“It is a very high performance boat that you will want to paddle, rather than view it as a transportation device for far off places.”

that is is exactly. The S model appears to be the performance model with a bit of added weight capacity and stability for those far off places when they occur. Seemingly, the Khat S, according to what I am reading, would give you the best compromise.

I can roll the Cooper just fine even without thigh braces or a small cockpit so i am not concerned about the additional width of the S model for that. Additionally, that extra width seems like it would actually give you a calmer and easier trip without you having to be “on the edge” all the time.

And “gasp” I would probably get the rudder for it!

When i am spending much more time in Brazil i will have the luxury of building a couple of sofs anyway. :slight_smile:


The Khatsalano is a compromise.
I bought my Khatsalano used in 2001, but I’ve only used it on four trips; Croatia twice, Viet Nam and Alaska. There is a reason for that meager usage; it is very much a compromise when compared to a hardshell boat. Here are the disadvantages:

• It is difficult to load. Loading is pretty much through the cockpit. It has small forward and aft hatches, but they are too small to load much through; they are useful to reach in to move things to the ends of the boat.

• The joints in the frame are a weak point in the sense that if the boat is mishandled they can come loose. In Alaska we were loaded as heavy as the boats could take. There were three of us on the trip, so we were doing three point carries, one on the bow, one on the stern and one holding on to the rim of the cockpit. Two times my friends found themselves paddling boats with very increased rocker because a joint in the chine tube separated. (We switched to two persons lifting with a strap under the aft compartment.

• The boat weathercocks like a bastard without the rudder. If the rudder is disabled, you are in trouble.

• Since there are no bulkheads it is recommended, and we used, sea socks. When you first get into the boat they feel constrictive and clammy; after you have been paddling awhile the socks spread out a bit and warm up. When trying to get into the boat fast it is easy to find yourself paddling away sitting on top of the folded down backrest under the sea sock. It also makes the rudder pedals more difficult to use.

• The boats are an absolute horror to put together. I’ve never assembled mine more often than once a year so it seems like I am starting from scratch each time. It takes me at least two hours to put it together. And there is always that time during assembly when you are convinced that one of the frame tubes had rolled under the sofa back home a continent away.

There is a reason however that I keep my Khatsalano. Here are the advantages.

• The obvious advantage is that you can take your boat anywhere you go. There are lots of great places to go where you can’t rent a boat. (However, I’m afraid the new airline baggage restrictions this may become a problem.)

• Khatsalanos have the speed of a fast touring boat; you can cover lots of ground.

• They have good cargo capacity.

• The biggest seas I’ve been were in the four foot range, but have no reason to believe the Khatsalano wouldn’t be OK in large seas.

• The boat rolls OK. I recommend buying the rolling rib if you do a layback roll.

I take it you have the regular Khats?
Sounds like it anyway. My understanding is that the S version is able to carry more and does not have as much weathercocking associated with it? Dunno.

I think you are right about it being a bear to assemble but with time like everything else it would be more efficient.

As you said, a compromise. just like any hardshell boat. this is one of the reasons I have 12. :slight_smile:

The real problem is that anyone buying a Khat wants it to perform as well as any of their boats back home. Me included. And as far as I know no one has built a perfect boat for every person.

thanks arledge for a great write up.


more Khat S questions
Have been scouring the net trying to find information regarding the differences between the Khatsalano standard and the Khatsalano “S” model. I understand the extra width, the fact that the sponsons must be blown up for the skin to be tight, and the extra gear capacity of 20 lbs.

What I have not been able to get is a description of how one paddles versus the other.

I read about a little bit more initial stability and that is about it. Can anyone help me with this or have you heard from others about the main differences?

Is it harder to roll? How about edging?

Is it a more comfortable boat allowing you to not have to pay as much constant attention to it?

Is there any difference in weather cocking between the two? I notice that the rudder comes standard with the S model so wanted to know why.

Is the one in the You tube video (sea kayaker magazine) the S model or the regular?

thanks again,


A couple of questions for you

– Last Updated: Nov-30-08 11:23 AM EST –

I think you have the skill and the space to build a Yost boat, which seems to be a better fit for the type of paddling you want to do vs a Khatsalano. Why not build a Yost? You could modify the design to fit your needs and have a lighter boat. What is the obsession with the Khatsalano?

Great question
don’t have a good answer other than I don’t have a lot of conficdence that I could build a good enough boat?

I mean I can slap together a wood frame and skin with nylon and varnish or rustoleum, but an aluminum boat with a detachable skin I am not sure I could get tight enough is a bit daunting.


Well you may need to take a trip
To Japan, BC, Colorado, NYC, CT or Maine to try them side by side. For the money you are looking to spend, may be worth it. You checking out Ebay, Craigslist and FK.O for used?

yes and more.

just sent you an e-mail

My take on the S version after paddling
it, but choosing the standard version, is that you have to always have the sponsons inflated. The standard version, you do not. You get an edgier, Greenland style ride with them deflated, or a softer chine, more stable, ride with them inflated. The S version is an inch wider and in Khats terms that doesn’t buy you much gear space. Think alpine in the boat (either version) and you will be ok. The S version rolled just fine, even with squishy rudder paddles. I prefer the strap on skeg and a bit of weight in the stern to make it as neutral as it can be made.


Great News.
Brazil apparently is the only country that still allows a 70 lb weight per bag! Now I can relax a bit about weight.

for now.


U takin’ it to Brazil and leaving it
or schlepping it back and forth>?

I am a tad confused…why not get a good performing roto or glass used boat in Brazil…there has to be outfitters there getting rid of stock, and leave it there with famuily? Less expensive. Less worry. Less hassle. Better performance.

not leaving it

– Last Updated: Dec-01-08 5:00 PM EST –

not convinced i am buying one, or even which model. However, I have been absolutely unsuccessful finding any kind of paddle shop in Brazil with a performance sea kayak. Maybe they exist but in portuguese and english on their main search engines and ours, I am not finding hardly anything and nothing with a sea kayak.
when I say not leaving it, I mean for now. I do have plans for many trips at retirement that involve some pretty long distances and I want this boat for that. However, because of the dearth of performance boats in Brazil, I am having this oh my ducats oh my daughter kind of moment trying to decide which will be the best all rounder. i am not convinced yet that a wider s model will in fact give more stability for an excursion and may in fact be too piggish and won't edge as well. i am also not convinced that the regular khats isn't some twitchy bitch that I need to pay attention to every waking moment.

None around me either...

No guarantees of any room to store a boat that has any margin of safety or reassurance it won't disappear if hung up. There is no closed and locked garage but there is a large carport that is within a gated residence...just be obvious from the road and that is just inviting trouble.

I am going to assemble a skin on frame there and if it gets taken oh well. Just can't afford something like that with a khats or a Cooper.

maybe Feathercraft will come to the East Coast Canoe and kayak festival and i will be able to paddle them then.