Polyethylene kayaks, with their uniformly colored hulls and decks, always make me think of oversized crayons that have escaped from their box. The six poly kayaks in this review were all high volume, meaning they generally suited a bigger individual better than someone petite. Some of the boats are more appropriate for open-water paddling, others for protected waters. However, the boats had a lot of similarities in outfitting and hull design-lengthy kayaks with flared hulls and long waterlines. Fortunately for you and me, the manufacturers didn’t color within the lines entirely, and there were some new twists to keep things interesting. All but one came with either a skeg or a rudder. I purposely didn’t delve into detail on the rudders or skegs, except to say those that had them were well constructed, and I wasn’t in conditions where I would have used them, even during the gusty weather.
I dusted off the following guidelines:
Comfort: The level of physical bliss or agony experienced just sitting in the kayak on calm water.
Handling: What the paddler thought of each kayak’s stability, maneuverability, and tracking.
Details: Good, bad, ugly, or indifferent, including quality, ingenuity of construction, materials, hatches, and other seaworthy extras.
Bottom Line: Wrap-up thoughts.
The numerical rating is highly relative. In my mind, a 1 would indicate something that was a step below; 2 and 3 are middle of the road and just fine, respectively; and a 4 indicates a step above. As always, these reviews are just that-reviews-and you are the best judge of what will make you happy or cranky.