Tested July 2012
Bar none, the Pathfinder is the most stable fishing kayak on the planet. If you can walk to the mailbox, you can stand and cast on this kayak. When the adjustable outriggers are deployed, our test anglers said the kayak feels more stable than many small motorboats. The unique outrigger system boasts three positions: the locked-down, super-stable Y position; a middle setting for stability with mobility; and fully folded for travel. Fit and finish are top notch. The foldable casting brace eases the transition from seated to standing position, and on-deck storage is plentiful. There's a large oval hatch up front along with the de rigueur pair of flush-mount rod holders. The supremely comfortable Elite Angler Seat ($179) is a highly recommended option. Its high perch makes standing up and sitting down significantly easier. The premium on stability comes with a price though. Even with the outriggers tucked away in the most streamlined position, the Pathfinder is a slow boat. Our test crew pegged it as an outstanding choice for short-distance outings, particularly for flyfishing. For longer runs, rigging the optional motor mount ($109, plus motor) would be quite tempting.
Freedom Hawk Pathfinder
($1,395 in roto-molded, high-density linear polyethylene, freedomhawkkayaks.com)
L: 14'2"; W: 31"; 79 lbs., 450-lb, capacity