(L: 14'6"; W: 24"; 47 LBS; Thermoformed ABS plastic
$1,799 with rudder; $1,499 without HURRICANEAQUASPORTS.COM)
Hurricane's offerings have matured nicely over the past five years. At their inception, Hurricane featured a collection of lightweight and stable but fairly pedestrian recreational kayaks. It's a different world now, and the folks at Hurricane have designed some lovely new mid-sized kayaks in the Sojourn series. The Sojourn 146 replaced the Expedition 140 and it's a wonderful upgrade. Cosmetic updates aside, the new design is sleeker and has a more re ned hull design. Also available in the series are a smaller 135 and 126.
The hull material is an ABS plastic that is lighter and stiffer than polyethylene. It's shinier and stiffer and looks a lot like fiberglass, a nice cosmetic side bene t. The hatches are the popular Tupperware style, and are nice and dry, and easy to load. The Sojourn was in the middle of the pack for storage volume, but still seemed to swallow up dry bags with ease.
Because it's a lower volume boat, I wanted a low-volume paddler to try it out; my wife Stephanie. She is fussy about her seats and sometimes struggles to find one that won't put her posterior to sleep, and she was very happy with the seat comfort. The Sojourn features a large, articulated seat pan that's super-easy to adjust under the thighs. With a little flexibility, the back is adjustable from the seated position, but you probably won't need to. The seat back is nicely ventilated for hot days, and it keeps the weight down. I liked the simplicity, because more parts means more parts to break. All things equal, a simpler solution is always better.
The Sojourn is the longest boat of the group and had a nice glide to it. The hull design features a hard chine that makes the boat carve edged turns with aplomb. That said, I found that if you edged the boat too aggressively, the lip of the deck where the hull is attached catches the water a little and can actually slow down the turn. You don't need much edge to turn it, so easy does it.
It was stable enough for a beginner but a more advanced paddler wasn't bored with it. At 6'1" and 200 pounds I fit easily enough into the LV. The thigh braces were a little off for my long legs, but I suspect if I were 5'7" they would have been fine.
One small complaint we had was with the foot braces; the Twist Lock foot braces are easily adjustable from the seated position, but Stephanie had trouble with the foot pedals slipping. This was a demo boat that had seen some time on the beach, so I cleaned out some sand that had built up around the foot pegs, and after playing with them a little I got them to hold. Word to the wise: keep the pegs free of sand. They require a little finesse to get them to engage, but after they're locked down, they don't move.
The Sojourn I tested did not have a rudder. Like many kayaks, when the wind started to come up a little, the Sojourn wanted to weathercock into the wind, so I would recommend the optional rudder for touring.
All in all, a really nice boat and a very good value. The Hurricanes are all priced very competitively, giving you a lot of boat for your buck.
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