Trak 2.0 - what's NOT to like about it

I am considering buying a Trak 2.0. I have tried it and I liked it. The support from the company seems to be excellent, including the Trak pilots, but some times it sounds too perfect to be true. Hence I would appreciate feedback from someone who has spent many hours in a Trak (even previous versions such as the Seeker) and/or who paddles both a Trak and a hardshell sea kayak. What are your concerns? What you don’t like? Just trying to get my eyes open to make sure I properly vet the boat on the grace period I have to return it.

I used to have a Tempest 170 and loved it, however, I’ve never enjoyed loading a 60lbs boat on roof racks and storing it was a hassle. I had to get rid of it when I moved to an apartment and I have been renting since then. I also own an inflatable AE AdvancedFrame which I use regularly for a relaxed paddle on pounds with the kids. Despite the AdvancedFrame limitations (10.6’ x 36"), I appreciate the ease to carry and store it.

At $3.6k, the Trak is at the same price level as a good new fiberglass boat or even a used boat + roof rack. I really like the idea of being able to travel with a performance kayak and my first impression was excellent on the 30 minutes I tried it.

Thanks

Matt Prius paddled a Trak in the Race to Alaska 2018. Finished all 750 miles. He has a Facebook page so you could contact him. I followed him during that race and aside from a couple of minor repairs, the boat performed well.

Are you buying used? I see on Trak’s site that only preorders are being taken, with delivery in 2020.

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There is a sub-forum on the foldingkayaks.org site on Traks with feedback from users that you might want to check out.

http://www.foldingkayaks.org/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=66

Yes the Trak 2.0 is pricey. However the engineering is best in class. I have seen it first hand. I have a good friend Mike Stern that paddles one. He is also a Trak pilot and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

msternphd@gmail.com

If I am ever looking at folding boats Trak would be it hands down.

I am trying my best to remain patient waiting for the one I ordered late this spring. Delivery expected in September.

I went for a pretty long test paddle with a great “Trak Pilot” from NY before I made the commitment to purchase. Since I don’t yet have the boat, I can’t say anything bad about it… nor good. In a year or so I’ll have had some seat time in it, and likely many assembly/disassembly cycles.

I had a Trak 1.0. I live in a small apartment in San Francisco, so didn’t have room to store boats here. I rented a storage area for my boats (and other stuff), but that was a 45 minute drive from home, near my old home, before I moved into SF). So I picked up a Trak that was a demo unit for a prior rep at a good price.

On assembly and usage, it worked fine. I found that I could show up for a club paddle with the kayak in my trunk at the same time as someone who had one on the roof, and I wouldn’t take too much longer to have my boat ready than they would. Most people take 5+ minutes getting a boat untied and off the roof in their standard relaxed manner. My Trak boat assembly time was 10-15 minutes.

I never really used the jacks to adjust rocker nor boat straightness. And the jack on the right side (I think, maybe it was left) I seemed to accidentally trigger the pressure release by moving around from time to time, which was annoying. Don’t know if they use the same jacks now, but if so, just make sure the jack is aligned so the release flip switch isn’t facing a way that you could accidentally open it by moving around.

On tear down, this was significantly longer and I didn’t have good facilities to properly rinse and dry the boat before packing it away, so this was a limitation for me. Plus I never seemed to be able to get it back in the bag so the bag could close.

I did once try some rescues with it without float bags nor the sea sock I had, and was VERY glad to be close to shore. A blown roll and swim and the boat was sinking after all the air came out.

In the end, I more often would go and get a hard shell kayak from storage (and if I was paddling reasonably often, just store kayaks locked on my car roof on the street in the city) rather than use the Trak, so I sold it. I have since found a closer storage area (2 blocks away) and use that.

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Thank you for the replies.

I put a downpayment early in the Spring, so I should get the boat late October or so. I still regret not having taken the plunge last Fall, I was one click away from doing the downpayment and would have gotten the boat this Spring.

@willowleaf, I’m checking the folding kayaks forum, thanks for the lead.

Cleaning and drying my inflate is a churn. I hope the Trak will be easier because of the hull/deck material. My inflatable deck gets wet and I have to wait for it to dry before storing… I think the Trak will only need a wipeout.

The absence of dry hatches was one of my concerns. I guess I will have to deal with the floatation bags. What about the sea sock? Is it comfortable during summer?

Trak kayaks seem like they are indeed the next evolutionary step in foldings boats, from Klepper (big, heavy barges, but really seaworthy) to Feathercraft (performance engineering, but somewhat finicky to put together), now to Trak (even more performance, but easier to assemble). As a company, they seem very innovative, not only in the nuts and bolts of design and manufacturing, but also in their approach to their customers’ social and skill growth: the camps, classes, etc. Very cool.

The question really is do you want a boat that folds? There are many benefits, but Peter has already listed the downside, and it’s a big one: the teardown process. Imagine after every paddle you have to rinse and dry the frame and skin before folding it all up to prevent corrosion and mildew respectively. That is a huge commitment compared to a hardshell boat. Seriously consider the teardown process as part of the overall experience of owning a folder.

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I used one when they first came out…tear down was no big deal. Take it apart and put the frame pieces in the bag…just throw the skin in the back of the car. Go home and set it up, let dry either in the house or in the sun. Few hours later take it apart and pack it. about 15 minutes for me to put together and never break a sweat {not like my Khatsalano} maybe 10 minutes to take apart and throw pieces in the car. At home hang the sea sock on the clothesline, same with the skirt and bags…stick the frame in the skin and let it dry…I never used the change the boat from side to side feature , didn’t need to . It paddles a lot like a Romany. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately…not sure yet . I have a lot of kayaks already , but they do help with one more kayak without using up roof space, easy to store in the winter and would be nice to transport to a pool in the winter without all the ice on the kayak and on the straps…in the car, in the closet etc.

When Nolin first moved into his position in the TRAK company. They sent me a lender and I gave them feedback. {I had it for 5 or 6 months} The new seeker addressed some things I mentioned, and now the 2.0 seems to have addressed a good share of things I had said. The only missing item to date is , using this easy setup technology to make a Greenland rolling kayak that could become the staple for winter pool secession’s, {learning to roll and teaching rolling} and I believe that is way too specific a niche at this time. The business model of getting the money before buying the supplies to build the ordered kayak , is a very sound one as far as floating the business…it
is just very difficult to wait months to take possession after the grueling decision making process a person goes thru… and finally deciding to buy/order one. A company that takes orders and then builds has no inventory to cause bankers to scream. No inventory, very little overhead and all product is sold before it is produced. Sound business model, use the customers money and not the bankers. BUT all the waiting is very tough. I’m still thinking and have yet to see the new 2.0

@techbeaver said:
The absence of dry hatches was one of my concerns. I guess I will have to deal with the floatation bags. What about the sea sock? Is it comfortable during summer?

Comfortable in San Francisco summer in salt water (which is cold water). Can"t say how it would be if you have both warm water and warm air.

You should still use float bags with a sea sock, as the latter can become dislodged during a wet exit and there’s always the possibility of it tearing, however remote. The question isn’t whether to use a sea sock instead of float bags, it’s whether you want to bother to use both.

I have no experience with the Trak kayak, but I’ve built 3 skin-on-frame boats, so their modern take on them is interesting. It would be more so if they had a lower volume version and an option for a knee/thigh brace across the full width of the coaming that would simulate an ocean cockpit. Based on the construction of the boat, it should be pretty easy to make something suitable.

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I would love to recommend the boat and from what I hear the boat itself is great but dealing with Trak themselves has been horrible.

If you order a boat from their website add six months to a year from the expected delivery date they give you.

You won’t receive much if any communication and you will join the long list of people waiting for 1-2 years to get their boats. The Early Backers on Kickstarter had to wait two years to get their boats. While the company is ramping up production they still have hundreds of boats to build and send out before they get to yours.

Awesome boat, great idea, terrible communication from the company and it sure is a lot of money to drop and not know when your boat will show up.

My two cents.

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@worldtraveler

Is this first hand experience or hearsay?

I finalized my order early April this year. I was told delivery would be in September (6 months). I knew going into it there would be a wait, so no surprises there.

Pre-order, their communication was great. Even a bit excessive, but can you blame them for wanting to sell boats? I’ve asked for a delivery update today and we’ll see how quickly they respond.

Hi @Sparky961,

Unfortunately first hand experience. My order was placed last September and the last thing I heard was to maybe expect something in October - December of this year.

I too had good communication before purchase but then it dropped off with order updates. I haven’t received a direct email from them since April of this year even after repeatedly sending them emails requesting updates.

Be sure to join the Facebook group right away so you can learn about updates. It’s the only way I’ve ever received any information about when boats may arrive-these are other backers who are helping with communication to people waiting CheckTrak’s website for info on the group.

Some folks in Europe have been waiting for two years since ordering their boat.

I do hope you have a completely different experience than I’ve had. As I mentioned before I’ve heard the boats are awesome.

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@worldtraveler

Unfortunately I’m part of the 1% or so of the world’s population that won’t partake in FaceBook’s huge social brainwashing experiment. I could perhaps get a friend to join the list and keep me updated though.

I’m discouraged to hear about your experience. Time will have to tell if it works out differently for me. I’ve paid in full, not just a deposit. Also I’m in Canada and so are they … hopefully that helps. :smile:

Hmm, that wait period is a danger sign. If they can’t scale up production, then potential customers go elsewhere and those who have paid start asking for their money back. I think that’s what happened with Novorca paddles: they got swamped with orders and then couldn’t produce to scale.

I just had a canoe built for me. 5 weeks from order to pickup. That seems about right.

Sounds like the Onno problem. A great little business that left many people hanging for some reason.

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If I remember correctly TRAK was doing a limited run for each year. It seems as tho Sept was late for getting in on last years run. This years run , I believe was suppose to be delivered this fall. The timing on ordering determines the delivery. I think the run for this year is already sold out so anyone ordering one today will be on next years run. {I think that is how it is set up} I’m not totally sure, but it would explain the long wait for some and not so long for others.

Hi Roym,

Based on all the information I’ve had from the manufacturer there wasn’t a mention of limited runs and they are still selling boats for delivery in six months with a backlog of hundreds. Their delivery ETAs are just badly off.
My boat was estimated to be delivered in February to March of 2019.

They have recently changed their ordering and locked it down to try to avoid this issue, however their communication hasn’t improved. Last year when I ordered my boat they kept selling throughout the year with a 6 month eta. As someone who has a boat on order and has seen the communication the company has and hasn’t put out I just wanted everyone to know.

As in all things, do your research and make a decision with the best information given. As I mentioned before I do hope the company gets this figured out but I for one am simply disappointed in the way this has all played out. Investing this much money into a boat isnt always easy and hopefully my post helps people better manage their expectations.

Kind regards

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