Sea Eagle Explorer vs. Fasttrack

Hi everyone,

I am looking into getting a Sea Eagle in the next couple weeks and have it narrowed down to the Explorer and Fasttrack 2-person models. I mainly plan on being on lakes and ponds and don’t really plan on running any rapids. What are your pros and cons based on owning or knowing people who have them? Are they both useable on ponds? How do they compare in terms of stability? I’ve heard some people claim seam issues with the Fasttrack. Are those a rarity?

Thank you very much,


To add to the above while I’ve been on the water before, my dad had a boat and I owned a jet ski, my wife is nervous about kayaking. I’m hoping that the boat I pick will be comfortable for her.

Well, the main difference seems to be the size of the air tubes, 9.5" diameter on the 385 FastTrack and 11.5" on the 380 Explorer. The smaller tubes give the FastTrack a wider inside cockpit: the specs say 18" between the tubes vs. 15" on the Explorer. Both will be very stable. I’d expect the FastTrack to have more of a sit-on-top kayak feel and the Explorer a more raft-life feel when compared to each other. With its bigger tubes and self-bailing drains, the Explorer can tackle some whitewater the FastTrack can’t. But the Explorer will be slower on the flat water and somewhat more susceptible to being blown around by wind. Although not fast, the FastTrack should be the nicer of the of two to paddle on small lakes and ponds.

Thank you. Have you been able to try either? My plan is to be mainly on the New Hampshire lakes. We are going up to Lake Francis this summer. It’s about a 2,000 acre lake way up in the north of the state. Most of the lakes we will be on will be of the smallish size, but I am also eager to try Squam Lake, Sunapee, and Winnisquam with some limited time if any on Winnipesaukee. I told my wife how people like to drive their boats on the big lake. Tons of fast, out of control power boats. I’ve looked up every possible youtube video featuring these two, but haven’t seen many real comparisons on actual water. Also hoping the Fasttrack lasts a bit and doesn’t have the seam issues that people in past years reported.

Greetings from New Hampshire. I live in Derry.

I haven’t tried either Sea Eagle, but I shopped both the 380x and 385ft before deciding on an Aquaglide Chelan 140 inflatable last summer.

I got this style of kayak to introduce my kids to paddling. Pretty much any example of this basic design (tapered pontoons around a drop-stitched floor board) is going to be really stable, and wet entry is pretty easy for my kids.

Given the kind of water you’ll be on, I don’t see an advantage to the 380x over the 385ft, possibly other than reliability if those seam issues are common.

Are you planning on using this boat solo? If you’re planning to use it primarily as a tandem, I’d go bigger, to give yourself room to carry something and help keep you from knocking paddles. My Aquaglide is 13’6" and it feels a bit tight for two adults. It fits better with one of my kids up front, because they don’t need as much legroom, so I can set up their seat further forward. My other kayak is a 17’6" Neris Smart Pro DX, which is a real tandem and a roomy one too. The Sea Eagle 465ft is 15’3" and looks like a comfortable size for two.

I plan on going solo at least half the time. I’m not very big at 5-9, 175. My wife is very small, 5-2ish, 105 or so. I’ve been leaning toward the Fasttrack. So far I’ve gotten replies from a couple YouTube video creators that say try we’ve used it for some time without any seam issues. It always seems like the few people that have issues are heard over the many that do not for most products.

I searched the internet for Fasttrack reviews to refresh my memory from last summer, and now I see why you’re worried about seam failures. The Fasttrack and Explorer seem to be constructed the same way with glued seams, so I don’t know why the Fasttrack would be more affected, but there’s an alarming percentage of negative reviews of the Fasttrack online, and almost all mention seam failures. Are you looking at other brands as well?

They are two different animals completely.

If you don’t foresee yourself doing rapids, get the FasTrack/something comparable in another brand. Here’s me in my old (like, 2007 edition)380X…

stickin' it in a hole

I’ve heard some vastly different stories online. Some people claim the FT is good for many years. Some say that the seam issues were relegated to a certain batch of years where Sea Eagle changed out the glue used to prepare the seams. The FT does seem a little better than the Explorer for calm water use, but the Explorer seems to have some better long term reviews.

I’ve heard the FT is usable in some moving water but I don’t plan on tackling anything serious at all. That middle photo looks a ways out of my league. How did your Explorer handle on gentler waters?

It was a very comfortable couch.

It was/is not really conducive for flatwater touring with a beam of 37 inches–That’s not especially wide for a regular hard hulled canoe, but it is a good deal of width for a tubular self-bailing inflatable kayak, so requires a longer(230 cm or like 7’ to 8’)double blade paddle. (Btw, the paddles provided by Sea Eagle are quite heavy–This also makes the going tough after a couple miles. You’ll want to buy something lighter and better, if you were to purchase the boat.

In a nutshell, the SE 380x excels on quick moving Class III/IV rivers and creeks. But can also be nice for floats/fishing around a lake. It can take a lot of abuse/punishment. Just don’t expect it to keep pace paddling any great distances.

Here’s an old picture of my friend, a first time paddler, using the boat…

It does provide maximum stability on flatwater, as my dogs would testify, if they could talk…

And here is a smaller Explorer model, a friend use to paddle (which is highly preferable to the 12’ version if not needing a tandem, as it pivots/turns quicker on moving streams)

I have not paddled a FasTrack, and don’t need to, to know what it’s all about…I have paddled/owned a number of (mostly whitewater) inflatables. It is expected that one review in ten will be very negative about ANY paddle craft (be it, kayak/canoe/pack raft/SUP) but if more than a couple have highlighted seam failure, I’d go with another choice over the FT. That said, I had no welded seam problems or even a puncture of any kind with over a dozen years hard use on the 380x. Good luck with your decision.

I’ve flipped back and forth so many times over the past couple months that I emailed Sea Eagle yesterday about deciding between the two and the seam issue. They wrote back the following:

"In most cases where a kayak has a seam failure it is usually attributed to poor storage, such as leaving it stored in a hot and humid environment (i.e. a hot metal shed or attic) or due to a lack of maintenance.

It should also be noted that our kayaks have a 3 year warranty which is almost twice the industry standard for inflatables and any manufacturing issue will usually show up within the first 18 months of constant use."

You are really making me consider the Explorer. I think my wife will also feel a little more stable on it though the FT will run better on flat waters. It is SO tough to decide.

I believe Sea Eagle is being straight forward with you on the poor storage statement. And yes, the longer the warranty, usually the better(and more expensive)the inflatable kayak.

After I gave my SE380x away to a friend, he left it outside in the elements for months. So the boat did eventually come apart at the seams. But a dozen years with any Sporting Goods item is a pretty good run.(Disclaimer- “Your results may vary.”

When done using any inflatable at the end of a paddling day/trip, wash it off(especially after any salt water use)wipe dry, then roll it up tight and either put back in it’s carry bag or simply wrap an adjustable strap round it. NEVER leave it lying in the Sun inflated for a prolonged time period. Always try to store it inside/under shed cover or even in your car trunk. (Where I like to keep them handy for spur of the moment use.:wink:) Here is a picture of my Thrillseeker inflatable kayak. It was made in 1992, and although it’s been patched and had seam repair a number of times, I still have and use this boat. PVC lasts forever!

So don’t let anyone tell you a quality IK is a pool toy.
And another old pic of me riverstriding my SE380x–Stand Up Paddling before stand up paddling was “cool.”

And, today…

I don’t expect it to last 20+ years like each of my bikes which I paid over $1,000 for in 1998 and 2005, but if it dies after 3 or 4, I won’t be happy. One thing I noticed is the Explorer is a couple hundred bucks cheaper on the SE site. I’m not sure why that is.

When I use the kayak, I plan on using, drying, then putting it back in the bag. It will be in the garage 90% of the time, which is unheated but never really gets too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. It’s an attached first floor townhouse garage so it’s more protected than someone’s backyard shed, and I am NOT going to leave it outside where someone can just stroll by the backyard and take it.

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It’s cheaper because it is Sea Eagle’s proprietary lay-up, and they are the manufacturer of origin(even if made in China.)

If you see it elsewhere cheaper, I would be suspect that they are older models/void of any warranty.

What I meant was the Explorer for some reason runs cheaper than the FT.

SB, when we met in Florida I would never have guessed you were such an accomplished paddler.

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The FT is one of the latest model in their fleet offering. Drop stitch tech/floors also more costly to make.

String, that’s because I was too busy keeping an eye for alligators to really engage in any lengthy conversation!:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: