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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:
RazorLite 393rl Inflatable Kayak (James’ favorite!)
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.
HB96 Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard (my favorite!)
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!
We have a T59K, and we’re looking at the razorlite473tl and had a question. Is it too large to store above the cab when packed in the bag?
I can answer that one. The RazorLite kayaks are compact, but unfortunately not compact enough to fit in that space. (It’s the same size space in our G.)
Stef’s HB96 though… I would have to go out and check.
Thanks James, much appreciated!!!!!!
We carry two SeaEagles, Razorlite 385 and the FastTrack 385. The FastTrack was our first SeaEagle purchased in 2014. We purchased it so we could paddle solo or tandem. I’m 5’10” close to 200lbs and the wife is about 130lb and 5’6. Like you we are not into overnights or long rows so its good for taking a lunch out for a two hour row. This year we added the Razorlight. It performs so much better than the FastTrack. The Razorlite is like a dolphin compared to a whale. While my wife likes the stability of FastTrack she is coming around to the Razorlight. She is not a strong paddler so when I use the FastTrack I have to paddle harder to keep up with her. The longest distance I have paddled in the Razorlite is about 5 miles. In choppy water or boat wake water so water gets in the boat (as well as the FastTrack), also you get some water in from the paddle.
The Razorlite is a little heavier than the FastTrack. At times its awkward to carry solo when inflated, awkward to grip. I use the electric pump, set it to 10lbs and it stops automatically at that pressure. I usually inflate to about 9lbs and the heat of the sun will add more pressure. I try to find shade to store the boat when its inflated at the campground during the summer.
What I don’t like about the Razorlite:
The foot rest. Most of the time it slips down to your heels. I’m thinking about modifying. My ankles sometimes rub on the snap buckles.
The seat on the Razorlite is OK but when I get into the boat it shifts from the set position and once in the boat it’s difficult to adjust. The seat back has to be vertical otherwise your butt rests on the rear seat bulge. No issues with the blow up seats of the FastTrack but they aren’t compatible with the Razorlite and would raise the center of gravity.
When it comes to deflating you have to dry it out completely. It seems no mater how thorough I am the next time I use it there is still a little water trapped in it. Same with the FastTrack but a little harder to dry out. This is the most time consuming part of the packing procedure.
The Razorlite is bulkier than the FastTrack when packed. We store them in our Ram 2500 under a camper shell and on a shelf I built across the front of the bed. The two kayak bags take up most of the shelf. We are full timers and the space in the truck is at a premium. Because of the kayak bags we had to purchase a Yakima storage pod for the camper roof racks to store longer items that used to be stored on that shelf before we purchased the Razorlite.
Sometimes we don’t use our kayaks if we have to drive to a launch point.Inflating them and then drying out and packing them up is a lot of work just for an hour or so of paddling. Easier if your campsite is right on the lake but that is a rare campsite.
These are warm weather boats. You do get wet a little so I wouldn’t want to paddle these inflatables in weather under 65F. If you have the proper clothes and footwear its possible.
In shallow waters the skegs will hit the bottom so they are not ideal for shallow rivers.
The Razorlite is not as maneuverable as the FastTrack so paddling techniques are necessary to turn sharp.
We purchase both with the aluminum paddles. I may look for a better paddle for the Razorlite.
Wow, Kelvin, there is SO much good info in your comment, thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s great you actually have 2 models of Sea Eagle kayaks and can compare your experiences. Your feedback here is much appreciated!
Check out the Hobie Mirage i11S. It’s a very interesting cross between a kayak and a SUP. It’s inflatable, has a seat, and the Hobie kick drive. And it fits into a small wheeled suitcase.
Howdy Will, I just checked it out. Interesting! The pedals make it a very different kind of boat. Looks like the Hobie sells for $2350…the Sea Eagle paddleboard I’m using sells for $649, I’d have a hard time justifying that extra expense! Bet the pedals make it a blast, though; I have fond memories of pedal boating with my sister as a kid.
We opted for the Trak Seeker folding kayak. (The new version Trak 2.0 is out soon). We do a lot of sea kayaking and needed a kayak that could handle any conditions we might encounter. The Trak is a very seaworthy kayak, and truly performs as well as our karbon/kevlar hardshell sea kayaks. As a connoisseur of design and innovation, I think you will like some of the features that sold us on it: aircraft grade aluminum tubing frame, military grade polyurethane skin (developed for fuel bladders) and the unique frame tensioning hydraulic jack that allow altering the hull shape even while paddling. The jacks allow changing the rocker (front to back curve) from a speedy flat to a highly maneuverable curve. We carry two of them in the stroage bin on our Winnebago View.
Hey Michael! Thanks for sharing your Trak Seeker! We got as far as the price tag $3,000 (gulp!) and realized we just aren’t hard core enough with our boating for the Trak Seeker, lol! The Sea Eagle Razorlite sells for $799; so a big difference. It would be hard for us to justify the extra expense. But sounds like you’re loving it, and I imagine a folding kayak would be another great solution for RVers interested in traveling with boats. 🙂
Yes, the Trak 2.0 is definitely at a different price point than the inflatables. However, it is also in a very different class. When we paddle with our kayaking buddies, a typical trip is 10-14 miles and we can encounter wind, waves etc. With the TRAK, I am able to keep up with the 15’+ hardshells others are paddling. The TRAK meets our needs for a “no compromise” touring kayak to take in our class C or even check as baggage when flying to distant places.
At $3000 it is not a casual purchase, but is on the low end of the price range for performance sea kayaks.
We’ve had a Sea Eagle Explorer 180 for 9 years and love it. Easy to set up, and easy to haul in our Class B Winnebago 70X. It’s great for 2 people, and we have had 3 adults in it when our son met us in Alaska several years ago. It’s always in the van on our trips, unless we’re positive we won’t be wanting it.
Wow Erica, your Explorer is nine years old?!? That’s awesome. If you can get 3 people in yours, bet we’d have no problem getting me, James, AND Mel (our cat) in one! Thanks for your comment; now you’ve got me taking a closer look at the Explorer again!
Just to clarify: Our Sea Eagle Explorer is the 380. In my previous post I called it a 180. It’s the middle size, ideal for 2 people, but we ocassionaly do 3.
We have the 21′ Zion and have kept 2 11’6″ inflatable paddleboards tucked under the bench seat since we got it. They are amazing for playing at the beaches we boat to as well. When we were down your way (we made it to Salt Lake City but I’m remembering Moab) we had a great time paddling the Colorado. One time the wind caught me so hard, even while crouching down on the board, it still flipped me over. I can still picture the board twirling 3 feet off the water above me. Perhaps I failed to sell that as fun. Wear a leash! You can’t beat an inflatable. Have fun on the rivers!
Oh my gosh Keith yikes!!! Well to be honest, I’m a bit of a fair weather kind of boater, and I’ve passed on paddleboarding quite a few times when I didn’t like the winds or the weather (basically I’m a wuss) so I’m probably safe from getting flipped. And yes thank you for saying it…WEAR A LEASH EVERYONE! And a PFD too! Keith bet you had quite a challenging paddle getting out of that wind storm! Days like that you realize it’s good to be fit, LOL! xoxo
Inflatable is the way to go for class B’s. I have a 21 foot dual cedar strip kayak that took me a whole winter to build, and is now collecting dust because there’s no easy way to transport it with our RV.
For those sitting on the fence, get the paddle board and a soft folding stadium seat and use it in “sit on kayak” mode. My wife does that all the time. I tend to stand, but tuck the seat under the bungee cords just in case I want to use it on longer outings. There are hybrid paddles for both uses, but it’s probably cheaper to get one set for each use, especially since a paddle is often included with the SUP.
PS: Happy upcoming birthday. I hope James is planning something special, but its hard to top the biking trip you are planning for him.
Oh, Stef is already plotting birthday revenge for HER 50th birthday.
Which, uhhhh, of course, will never come.
Because Stef is 23.
Thanks for the tip on using stadium seats Alain! Love the idea of keeping one under the bungees just in case. And thanks for the upcoming birthday wishes! I turn (ahem) “29” on December 1st everyone, so feel free to swing by our Fit RV Facebook page that day and tell me how awesome I am. 😉
Get one of these:
Strap it to your board. Then challenge James for a race…LOL
Oh wow, very cool. Bet you can fly with those things!!!
Surely that’s a canoe with a kayak paddle?
And I am far too mature to have at any point during that video uttered the words “that’s what she said.”
Very cool! I will check them out!