James and I have had two Sea Eagle boats on loan for the past few months. You can see them, hear our impressions of them, and also see some of the beautiful lakes we had the pleasure of exploring in this video:
These are the two boats:
James was torn between this Sea Eagle RazorLite and the Sea Eagle Explorer 300x. He ended up going with the RazorLite because he liked that it was faster… a carry-over from his love of fast road bikes, I’d guess. The RazorLite is marketed for intermediate to advanced kayakers. It’s very fast, tracks super straight, but isn’t as maneuverable as other Sea Eagle kayaks so paddling experience is necessary for sharp turns. The Explorer, in contrast, is a fun all-around inflatable kayak that’s so stable it’s pretty much impossible to tip. The Explorer is easy to maneuver, making it a great option for beginners. In a perfect world we’d own both.
The Sea Eagle Hybrid 9’6″ SUP is an all-purpose inflatable paddle board. It appeals to me since it’s the widest and shortest inflatable SUP in Sea Eagle’s lineup, which means I can use it for yoga and for any sort of water condition we might encounter in our travels. The width makes the HB96 feel extra stable, which I especially appreciate. I’m far from a pro when it comes to paddleboarding. The extra stability makes me confident on waves and keeps the whole experience fun; which is why I’m on it in the first place!
Here are a few of our favorite things about these boats:
So they’re much easier to pack down and transport than their hardshell counterparts, and as campervan people that’s a big deal for us. One of the common complaints with inflatables in general is that they don’t cut through the water as efficiently as a hardshell, and don’t feel as sturdy. Not true at all with these boats. Sea Eagle uses a special stitching technique that allows their boats to be filled to such high PSI levels the walls actually feel like hardshell, which you’ll see for yourselves when I do the squeeze test in the video. We couldn’t feel any difference between hardshells we’ve ridden and these 2 inflatables.
We use both the hand pump and the electric pump to fill them. We don’t have a preference over which method we prefer…it depends on the situation. My favorite part of the electric pump is that when you set it for your designated PSI, you can walk away and it automatically stops when it’s filled, so you’re freed up to prep everything else. The only limitation with the electric pump is that we need the van battery to use it (yep, you have to pop the hood and connect it direct to the engine battery), so if the van is far away from the water’s edge, we like to use the hand pump and inflate the boats down by the shore. Both methods work great and we don’t mind this step at all.
As for deflating…that’s so easy and quick, I can have the SUP deflated and rolled up in a minute. The kayak is slightly more involved since there’s 3 air chambers and the two hard noses to contend with, but you’ll still have it rolled up in under 3 minutes no problem. We do like to wait on deflating them until the boats have either air-dried or we’ve wiped them down…or most commonly a combination of both.
This especially goes for the HB96 paddleboard…only 23 lbs! It packs down smaller than other inflatable paddleboards and is light enough I can easily carry it inflated in one hand, or carry it in its backpack on my back without any trouble. The RazorLite kayak weighs in at around 33 lbs, more than the paddleboard but still reasonable for a kayak.
They’re Built Well!
The Razorlite 393rl kayak has rigid plastic molds at the bow and stern so it cuts over choppy waters better than typical inflatable kayaks. The one downside to the rigid plastic bow and stern is that it makes it trickier to fold back up tightly, but its a sacrifice that’s worth it. As for the HB96 Paddleboard, they did a great job thinking through HOW paddleboarders will use this, and had many built-in features we liked. Like the floor pad, for instance. You’ll spend time on your knees on any SUP, so the comfortable and grippy pad on this one is much appreciated. The paddle pocket, which is close to brilliant, means you can tuck the paddle right into the board and carry the whole thing in one hand…which is super convenient. There’s also D-rings and bungee cords for storing gear or attaching a seat. For more on the features we liked, watch the video!
They’re a Screaming Good Deal!
Full disclosure here; we haven’t purchased these yet, we’ve just had them on loan with an agreement to return them at the end of our test period. But we’ve seen the listed prices and like what we see. For the quality build of these boats, the prices seem very reasonable. And if you’re a leisurely sort of boater like us, you likely don’t want to spend a ton on something we’ll only use occasionally. So yeah, with a great price and a great quality, these just might end up being permanent fixtures in the Fit RV toybox. I’m already sad thinking about having to return the SUP, I’ve grown to love that thing. With the kayak though we’re still torn between which model fits our kayak style better; this Razorlite or the Explorer 300x. Will keep you updated on what we decide!
In the meantime, check out the video and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Happy travels AND happy paddling!