I’m thinking of buying a Stearns 1K 116, 37" x 116", aka model B500 inflatable kayak as an extra 'yak to use when the kids and grandkids come to visit. We normally paddle quiet water. Would this 'yak be a good one to get? It’s never been out of the box and the seller is asking $200 for it. Would I need to worry about dry rot? This boat is probably about 3 years old - minimum. How difficult are these boats to inflate? Any advice or opinions out there? I’d appreciate hearing what you have to say.
If you just want something for the kids
That kayak is probably fine. It looks like one of the Stearns boats made more for whitewater since it’s kind of stubby. It probably doesn’t track too well on flatwater but if it’s just kids playing around they probably won’t care too much. Better designed, better tracking inflatables are likely to cost about triple that price. Dry rot shouldn’t be anything to worry about either since most of these inflatable boats are made from pvc tarpaulin material which holds up fairly well.
kids needs, I would pass on the Sterns (bought out by Sevylor and now owned by WalMart), and get the Intex raft. We have been running these down the Truckee River, the Kern, and Cache Creek with not even one little leak! These all Class II and a few spots, Class III and these rafts are durable as hell. Bang for the buck, can’t be beat…and difficult to flip, especially for the kids. Here:http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Intex-Seahawk-II-Boat-Set-Inflatable-Raft-2-Oars-/220634105931?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item335ed1484b
Free shipping/no tax=good deal.
Bad luck with Sterns!
I had a Sterns inflatable white water self bailing water that cost $400. It was bad in whitewater, useless in surf and Sterns would not repair the zipper which broke on the second trip.
I’ve had much better luck with my Sevlor four man rafts. I’m on my second one. They are cheap so the first one only lasted about 10 years.
I have several Stearns IKs - 84s (for the smaller kids) 95s (for the bigger kids) and 1 116 for adults in our small fleet. I’ve added skegs to help them track better, and they’ve done just fine. They’re all getting to be 20 years old and are probably showing so little signs of wear because I treat them right - washing and thoroughly drying before storing them, etc.
You can still find them used, but would probably be better served by looking at the Advanced Elements’ Firefly and Lagoon, two kayaks built by the original designer.