My final two: Pakboat Quest 150 or Advanced Elements EVO

https://paddling.com/gear/quest-150/

https://www.rei.com/product/134261/advanced-elements-airfusion-evo-inflatable-kayak

I’m eyeing the Quest as I want more of a hardshell type performance; but I am taking into consideration, setup time as well. The quest assembly seems to be more involved, but then again, I have the impression that the EVO will take a pretty decent amount of time in hand pumping. Any of you care to share their opinions?

Thanks

Art

How do you plan to use them? Day trips? Expeditions? Flat water? Conditions?

The AE has a max capacity of 235. If you are average or larger and carry any gear, you might be pushing the limit on it prett quickly.

Hello Peter:

Mostly Day, flat water. Mostly northeast: hudson river, bays, lakes and habours around Long Island. hope to travel to similar bodies to explore. I’m tiny at 165 lbs.

Many years have past, but I had several seasons worth of experience with a clc17lt

I’ve owned a Quest 150 for two years. There is a learning curve to assembly, but you’ll be able to do it in 25 minutes after 2-3 times.

It does paddle like a hard shell, and is a great kayak. One advantage is that you can cartop and store fully assembled (assuming you have carrier and space). I disassemble mine for long distance travel, and like the flexibility of taking it on airplanes.

The other kayak I considered was the Orukayak as the assembly looked much easier. In the end the true sea kayak nature of the Pakboat is what won me over.

that’s good to hear. Yep, the Oru Bay st was of interest, but for that I have a value at 1000 in todays dollars. I have the impression that they are struggling to be a vital business. thans for the comments

Where are you located? If near Philadelphia, you are more than welcome to check mine out.

Foldingkayaks.org is the definitive site for info on folders. Willowleaf on this board shared tons of information with me. She is a regular on the fk site, but different name there.

thanks abz, I’m in hudson valley NY state. I’ve paddle their puffin a very short distance two summers ago in NH. I almost went with that, but I think I am going to want a bit more. I also love the fact that you can go without the deck on both the quest and the puffin if one is inclined to do so… I am going to have to check out foldingkayaks.org a bit. thanks for the tip. Ill keep you posted.

Hi, Questions. As ‘abz’ mentioned, I’m a big Pakboat fan and also have a Quest (the smaller and now discontinued 135 since I am 5’ 5" and 145 pounds) as well as an older Puffin similar to the Saco. I’ve also owned 3 of the high end (and now out of business) Feathercrafts – the Quest compares favorably with my Feathercraft Wisper which was long considered among the best performing folding touring kayaks but cost more than 3 times what the Quest does.

Among the other advantages of PB’s besides the ones you’ve already acknowledged are great customer service and the spacious amount of storage in the skin on frame design. Speaking of customer service, considering your location you could probably arrange a day trip to New Hampshire and test paddle the 150 at their HQ.

Comparing the Puffin and Quest: the Puffins are easier to assemble but don’t have the performance characteristics of the Quests. Being shorter, wider and not quite as rigid, they are slower and not as maneuverable the way a hardshell is. In fact my Quest performs in a very similar manner to my hardshell kayak, a 15’ by 22" Venture Easky LV. Rather surprising since it is 18" shorter but a testament to the good design. It tracks very well and is a pleasure to paddle. I can keep pace with friends in hardshells in it. In the Puffin I have to really work to keep up but it’s fine for leisurely paddles and solo outings.

If you want to check out some of our posts on foldingkayaks.org, my “handle” there is KerryonKayaks (a lame pun on folders being “carry on” since I travel with them, including flying with the Puffin in a rolling duffel to the UK two years ago.)

I’ll also give you this link to a Flickr album I created with step by step visuals on assembling a Quest. Much as I love Pakboats, their instruction manuals have some vague and puzzling directions in them. Don’t be daunted by the number of photos – it’s more for Quest owners (myself included) to check at various steps to see in detail how certain components fit together if they get stumped. Click on the first pic and then page through them (there are explanations below each frame of what is happening in that step.)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapdoodlekid/albums/72157667706271353

Here is a link to a video instruction manual for assembly of the Pakboat Quest 150. This can also be found on the Pakboat website.

https://youtu.be/uVcgCLygRSU

If I ever got it together, not sure I’d ever take it apart.

hello @willowleaf

i’ll search foldingkayaks for sure. I appreciate those flickr photos too. well done.

I had paddled the puffin a very short distance when i visited their NH shop. In hindsight I should have asked for the quest too… I’m not terribly intimidated by the assembly process, yet.

If you want to check out some of our posts on foldingkayaks.org, my “handle” there is KerryonKayaks (a lame pun on folders being “carry on” since I travel with them, including flying with the Puffin in a rolling duffel to the UK two years ago.)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapdoodlekid/albums/72157667706271353

As a side note, i had built a yostwerks sea otter some 13 years ago. i used it for one time in the late fall in Oysterbay off of long island. I spent more time in the water than in it. It goes without saying that it was above my abilities. I sold it soon after. I should just build another, but i don’t have the space I once had to do that. http://yostwerks.org/SeaOtterComplete1.html

Thanks I

Hello @abz
Thanks for the vid. I think I either saw that one last year or it was the puffin. I’llcheck it out again for sure.

Hello @string Well, there’s no law saying you have to. I probably will car top it too. Its mostly for when i travel large distances that I’ll break it down.

Can’t wait for warmer temps here. More to come. thanks all.

I considered both EVO and Quest before, bought a Quest 135 (thanks to Willowleaf’s kind help) and love it. Great handling and tracking, nimble and pretty fast for its length.

EVO seems to have a flat bottom. It likely won’t perform as well as Quest (which presents a slight v hull in water).

Here is a 3rd option:

This Itiwit / Decathlon X500 drop stitch kayak weights at 35 lbs (about 12.5’ long and 25" wide) and has a very unique v shaped hull (unlike all other DS flat bottomed kayaks I have seen):

https://www.itiwit.co.uk/strenfit-x500-high-pressure-drop-stitch-inflatable-1-seat-kayak-id_8403087#view-video

https://www.google.com/amp/s/inflatablekayaksandpackrafts.com/2018/12/02/preview-decathlon-itiwit-x500-d-s-kayak/amp/

I have not tried it, but a very technical kayaker friend of mine is saving up to buy one. He likes Quest 135/150, but does not like its assembly time requirement. That X500 is supposed to be assembled quite a bit faster (like 15min?).

Did your Yostwerks Sea Otter have sponsons and did you install them correctly (not too low)? I flipped it over 3 times when I put my Quest’s sponsons way too low, but once I corrected the placements I had zero problem with balancing in that 23" wide kayak. Quest’s primary stability is not great due to v hull shape (though I prefer to have v hull’s better performance), but paddler has to trust its secondary stability and relax to enjoy the ride (it may feel wobbly but won’t easily tip over).

Your Sea Otter may take more practice due to its 20" width.

On Amazon, I have found Oru Bay clones from China for around $700, if I remember correctly. It may be risky to try them though. I have seen Oru Bay in store, but something does not feel right in view of its $1200 price tag. Neither material nor hull design looks great to me, but I could be totally wrong (I have not paddled Oru Bay in person).

Hello zzffnn:

Yep, the Sea Otter was only 20". I did not have sponsoons. I had a front bag and a rear bag stuffed in it though. In hindsight, I should have just kept it. But it was winter and I had a buyer so, that’s the way it goes.

THat itwit looks sharp. I emailed them but they won’t ship to the USA.

Yep, the assembly and disassembly does appear to be a drag. Good and bad with everything i suppose.

I wish I could see the Advanced EVO up close. The pictures don’t show much of that “V-Hull” of which its aluminum keel is supposed to create. https://www.advancedelements.com/client_files/AE1042_crossection_web.jpg

THere’s a store nearby that has a 2017 oru assembled. I wasn’t impressed with some of the plastic parts. I’m gonna go see if they’d let me unfold and fold it myself. Maybe that’ll will take some of the anxiety out of making the decision.

My friend said this on how he would purchase the Itwit X500 in US:

"…there’s a chance that I can get in an easier way - Decathlon is going to open their retail store in San Francisco on April 12th. And on the American website they have an empty category for inflatable boats in kayaking department. Which looks promising to me. So, I’m going to wait a bit to see if they will actually start selling x500 here too. Otherwise, I will have to order it in France or UK and use a mail forwarding service…Roughly, FedEx from the UK will cost me about $90, plus handling fee. "

If you like, I can ask my friend for you, as to which mail forwarding service he uses.

I still need an hour to assemble my Quest 135 now, even though I have done it 3 times so far without instruction. But then, as you said, you don’t have to break it down every time.

I heard the Oru would be very stiff the first few times and would take some effort to unpack and pack.

You can call Advanced Elements to ask if EVO has any v hull at all (or if it has a flat bottom; that “keel” may be used only for rigidity).

thanks for the information. Ill check back with their website; as for now, they have only one type on their website, the Itwit canoe-kayak.

Some comments on Pakboat assembly time: my experience has been that what adds the most to the process is having parts in the wrong position (particularly the orientation of the ribs to the keel) and having to go back and switch or partially dissemble when “oh, rats” errors are made. Therefore my first assembly of the season tends to take longer – typically 40 or 45 minutes. As I get the steps more embedded in my mind I can normally put it together in closer to 30 minutes – timed record was 23.

What I did to help the process was to take a stack of file cards, number them and write each assembly step on them with little sketches. Before I put the boat together I go through the cards and remind myself about the tricky steps, like having the rib-to-keel clips facing the right direction and sliding the black rubber bands to where they will be needed to lock down the clips and what order to inflate the sponson tubes. I also make sure to do all the steps in the same order every time. For instance, I don’t rotate and lock the rib-to-gunwale clips until ALL the ribs are in place (rather than doing each one as I install it). I have found this step assures I don’t miss one due to distraction and also saves time if I do goof up during the process and have to remove and reposition a rib.

It may also help to color code some of the connections with wraps of colored electrical marking tape – something I had done with all of my Feathercraft frame segments to simplify and speed assembly.

I have a lightweight canvas painters’ tarp (20’ x 5’) that I lay out on the ground or picnic table upon which to set up the kayak. Since I usually lubricate any of the frame tubes at the joints where they slide together using a small dropper bottle of Boeshield T-9, the tarp catches the drips and can be machine washed when it gets too funky. A cotton rag (old cloth diapers are great for this) is also part of the kit to wipe up any drips. Boeshield doesn’t hurt any of the materials in the boat, and it comes out in regular laundering if it gets on your clothes, so the blotting is optional.

Compared to the “pretzel yoga” required to assemble Feathercraft folders (which don’t have separate decks so you have to grope down inside the closed hull to align parts), I have never felt aggravated during the assembly of a Pakboat because everything is so easily accessible during the process.

Thanks Willowleaf all info is appreciated.

I don’t know for sure but it appears the Advanced elements isn’t any more or less involved in its assembly than the Pak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQSDldDK_70&feature=youtu.be

Another time waster I have heard of regarding full inflatables is the absolute necessity of drying off all the surfaces before packing them up or you get slimy funk build up within all the folds.

Yes, I have seen that too. i hope to report my decision soon.

Coming to this really late I’m afraid. I have a pakboats 135 and an Airfiusion 1040 - much more like the Evo than the barge-like Elite. My comments are equally valid for the Pakboats 150, except that the 150 assembly is simpler than the 135 and the 150 is not only longer but wider. You can’t compare the evo with a quest, While the evo is much more fun for rock gardening and surfing, as it’s so manoeuvrable and very much a kayak you wear, it’s not fast enough to be able to cruise at 4 mph, unlike the quest. This is because about 15 inches of the bow of the Evo is clear of the water so the waterline length is extremely short (tbc)