Pakboat XT-16 Repair: Salvage this Grim FB Sale

I won’t get into the details of the sad saga, but I recently purchased a Pakboat XT-16 that I later found had damaged sponsons. It is missing the seats as well. The seller claimed it was not like this when he sold it to me. I was really upset because it was the most money I have ever spent on a kayak. What was supposed to be a source of joy has just been one of frustration. It’s been a couple months and I am ready now to try to figure out what to do. I have left a message on the company’s phone line and email but I haven’t heard back from them for support. Does anyone have any ideas on how I might repair these sponsors? I do have that special 66 vinyl glue. I bought some Boston valves but they are too large. I am kind of at a loss this point. I would so appreciate any help.

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I would suggest talking to @willowleaf as well. She’s quite knowledgeable about the folders.

I’m surprised that you have not heard back from PakBoat. I’ve found them to be very helpful over the years but have not had much contact with them since the founder, Alv Elvestad, transferred control of the company to the Swedish mega-sports brand corporation, Scansport. The US dealership in New Hampshire is a very small operation and often in the summer they are out of the office on paddling trips. Alv used to spend a month back home in Norway and couldn’t be reached. I would keep trying to reach them – email is best.

Are ALL the sponsons tubes damaged? Have you been able to inflate any of them, and if so, did they hold air? Looking at the photos you posted, those look like the current design of the sponsons that they use in the Xts and the Quests so you should be able to get replacements from PakBoat. But there may be a better option. I had a discussion with Alv some years ago when I had bought a pair of PakBoat Swifts (a 14’ model that pre-dated the Quest line) that both had sponsons that would not hold air. Turned out they had one batch the year those were made where the company that made the sponsons and seats for them used defective material and the vinyl coating delaminated from the nylon disastrously and the sponsons and the inflatable seats completely failed in less than a year of use. The coating peeling off the fabric meant all the heat sealed seams blew out and the fabric had hundreds of tiny holes so they leaked like a sieve. When that had happened, PakBoat had replaced the defective parts for free to all customers who had registered the warranty or who contacted them and had serial numbers for that batch. But the couple I bought the Swifts from had gotten them as a wedding gift and never registered them so there was no way they could be contacted. It looked to me as if they had been used very little when I bought them ($300 each 6 years ago) but I soon found out they were unusable as is. What is your serial number? last two digits will be the production year. I think 2007 was the year of the bad batch of sponsons. If that is what you have, they may not be fixed by replacing the valves. But I don’t think they made the XT-16 back then so you are probably OK on that.

Anyway, Alv couldn’t help me with replacement sponsons for the Swiffts because they no longer made the twin rather than triple sponson in that length and it was 10 years past when they had done the warranty replacements. So I decided to make my own replacement sponsons, retrofitting the Swifts to a design more like that used by Feathercraft for their folding kayaks (I have owned 4 Feathercrafts.) I had ordered Boston valves from and was in the process of struggling to glue them into the holes in the new tubes I was making and it was a pain. I suggested to Alv that they make replacement valves that are already bonded to a square of vinyl or the coated fabric and offer them as repair parts in their inventory. It’s a lot easier to glue a square of fabric over the inflation opening than try to fit and glue bond the edges of the round valve. He thought that was a great idea but I don’t know if he ever added that item to their inventory.

I would suggest that you get pieces of the sponson fabric or a PVC raft/inflatable patch kit (link below to an example, though these patch kits are available in most large sporting goods stores for use with air mattresses, rafts, etc.) and cut the right sized hole for you Boston valve in that and glue the valve onto the patch. Then glue the entire patch over the old hole, being careful not to allow glue to migrate through the hole onto the inside of the sponson. I cant’ guarantee that you would get a solid seal due to the deformation of the area around the old hole that would have happened when the factory heat sealed it into the material before bonding the two sides together, but it might work – you have little to lose by trying it.

I’m making completely new sponsons for the two Swifts using H-66 glue and clear vinyl (which you can get at Joann’s Fabric or most Walmarts by the yard in several gauges). Instead of having the dual sponsons like are in my Swifts and your XT, I am making separate individual tubes that will slide into polyester fabric sleeves that will hang by the lacing inside the hull just like the original sponson assembly. I cut that perforated strip off my defective sponsons and sewed it to the sleeves that I patterned off the old sponson piece. I am positioning the Boston valves closer to the cockpit so they are easier to reach than the originals, which are kind of a pain since you have to pull off the deck to reach them to inflate or to relieve the pressure when you bring the boat out of the water. I have the same issue with the sponsons in my PakBoat Quest 135, which has triple rather than double sponsons, which really crowds the valves in the narrow stern.

As for the seats, I lucked out and was able to buy a used Swift seat from another forum member on the old site. I will have to figure out how to retrofit something to the other Swift but I may be able to make a fabric one with vinyl inflation bladders inside, like the seats in my Feathercraft kayaks. It may be possible to retrofit one of the strap mounted aftermarket seats you can buy for sit on top kayaks but I have not tried that yet.

If you can hold off on further attempts on this repair, I have not finished making the new sponsons for the Swifts but would be better able to advise you once at least one set is done. I had suspended work on this project due to other commitments a couple of years ago but recently moved the bag full of the partially done sponsons to my new craft and sewing room with the intention of finally getting the job done. I’m hoping to get back to work on those next weekend.

I would suggest that you join one of the Facebook forums for folding kayak owners – I recently joined one that has many of the same folks that I knew over the years on the foldingkayaks site. This is your best bet for finding people who might have extra parts to share or information on helping you deal with the issues with your XT.

DIYpackrafts (link below) has some other types of valve that might work for you as well as packages of the vinyl material and a kit with an inflatable replacement seat for their rafts that might work for your XT. -You could try the top off valve, glued to a larger piece of material and then over the hole in your sponson. Or try the smaller red valve that he sells.


I can say that I have two Pakboat Quests 150s and the sponsons in your photos look like mine. I have found Pakboat customer service to be very helpful and responsive, though not always fast as a major retailer might be.

A Pakboat question unrelated to this thread: What is the storage capacity of the Quest 150? Can it be used for multi-day trips. Thanks.

I have never seen Pakboat post volumes on their boats – probably a bit hard to get a fix on that since there are no discreet compartments separate from the cockpit area, as with bulkheaded hardshell boats.

I own the smaller Quest 135 and the similar low volume Feathercraft Wisper (closer to the dimensions of the 150). Also have a 15’ hardshell (Venture Easky LV) that has similar hull design. I would have to say that if you were going to camp out of it you would want combo storage/flotation dry bags and use compact backpacking type gear.

But it can be done. I’ve packed my 6 pound 2-person Marmot backpacking tent, a Klymit air mattress (packs down to the size of a beer can), a 3-season mummy sleeping bag, a backpacking campstove and cook kit, along with enough food, water and extra clothes for a 4 day, 3 night trip in both the Wisper and in the Easky with room to spare.

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Thanks, Willowleaf.