A whole lot of 'yak for the price!
I thought I had been spoiled renting REI's $2,500+ pedigree of kayaks when that particular rental program was afloat, and I was right. I honestly believe the Strait 140 is just THAT good.
The 'yak has the tracking, handling, storage, comfort, finishing touches, and looks of its more expensive brethren.
I haven't really had a chance to put the bulkhead storage through a real test, but the stern hatch with the integrated dry bag DID keep my wallet, keys, phone, and cell nice and dry. I was happy to find that said bulkheads are more than ample enough for the gear for a multi-day trip.
The deck has plenty of elastic cord to lash just about anything you can think of to it.
Speaking of the deck, and hull for that matter, the kayak feels just as stiff as the higher end materials more expensive 'yaks are built with.
Do I have gripes? Of course, but they're pretty minor. For one, it would be fantastic if the pedals could be moved forward another inch or two, and the seat back could come up another five or six inches. Did I mention I'm 6'2"? No? Well, space has been an ever-present issue I've faced, but I managed to find several very comfortable positions for my legs that permitted easy steering, and aftermarket seat backs abound on the internet, even at REI! As far as the foot pedals for steering the rudder go, I pulled one of the sliders out, and it will be pretty easy to modify it to get the extra length I'm looking for.
I DID notice that the hull and the deck seem to be glued together. I'm guessing this was done at a pretty hefty pressure, and the fact that Elie uses this process on all their kayaks, I'm assuming they probably know what they're doing. I'm a few credits short of getting my nautical engineering degree, so I'll leave it to the professionals :)
The only other thing I think is noteworthy is the fact that this kayak seems to ride a little higher in the water than I'm used to. It felt quite tippy the first time I took it out, but it only took a short time before I was gleefully playing about in the wakes of passing motor boats! This may be a little frustrating for a novice, but in no way do I think that should discourage ANYONE from buying the boat. I truly feel like I hit the jackpot with the 140!
I have had this kayak for a few months now. I have had it out about 6 times, once on a 40 mile overnight trip down a river.
The hull: Extremely stiff, much like the stiffness of a fiberglass/composite yak.
Stability: This yak is pretty stable. I find it equal to some of the more stable ones (at least stable feeling to me) I have been in. I think this yak would be more suited for an intermediate kayaker to advance though. However, I don't think a novice would have any trouble what so ever.
Cockpit: Has ample room for me (I'm 5'10" 160lbs). I personally don't think it would be well suited for some bigger people (6'2" or above may be a little tight).
Seat: Most comfortable seat I have sat in as far as any kind of kayak goes.
Hatches: Well designed. No neoprene covers to mess with, just a simple latch. I did roll the kayak once, and in the end had about 3 drops of water in one compartment. However, in a pretty heavy rain, it remained dry. I love the hatches and the amount of storage space they provide (110L combined, I believe). The dry hatch it has (day hatch) is a screw on cover.
Rudder: The rudder is a nice edition. A lot of "purists" don't like rudders. I have never had one on a yak, but currently own another kayak that has a skeg. I like the rudder a lot. I tend not to use it when I am paddling, but in a strong wind, you can drop it down and use it as a skeg and it will track in gail force winds at that point! With the skeg up, it tracks very well anyway. I do like the skeg when I am fishing and just floating. I can steer 80% of the time without picking up the paddle.
The Look: This yak looks a lot better to me in person than in the picture. The two tone hull, usually only seen in the fiberglass or composite type (more expensive) yaks, is really appealing. Also, it is just plain sharp and sleek looking. I have received multiple compliments on looks alone.
If you are looking for a spray skirt and/or cockpit cover, I have Seals size 1.7 and they both fit like a glove.
Stability: 8 out of 10
Tracking: 9 out of 10 (w rudder up) 15 out of 10 with rudder down!
Pretty good boat
We also got an Old Town Vashon 130 that's real nice and ordered a 2nd, but there was a mixup and the good folks at REI offered me this boat instead. I'm not disappointed.The good...Looks great and is sleeker and feels quicker than the Vashon, but the Vashon feels more durable. The seat is real nice and the length is great. I like the 14' length more than the 13' Vashon and it turns as good if not better. Rudder is not really necessary and currently not using since it's in the way for how I transport. Should be nice to have though for when I take it out on the Great Lakes with some wind. The bad...The bottom flexed when strapped to the rack, but came back and the sealent is coming off around the rear bulkhead. I might ask REI if they can reseal it. The stickers got messed up from the transport rack, but no biggie. Rumor has it the hatches don't seal great and [$] price seems a little high.
I really like this kayak. I've only gotten to take it out once so far, but it moves and tracks great. This is an upgrade for me from an Old Towne Otter. I am having one problem with it at the moment, the rear bulkhead is not completely sealed, so I will need to do some research to see how I can fix the problem (if it weren't for this issue I would have given it the full 5 stars). I plan on updating this review as I get to use it more.
I'm Digging this Yak
It's much faster and sleeker and rolls through the water fantastic as compared to other same priced yaks. I think my average speed has increased almost 1 mph.
At first I was wondering about the stability of this yak, but after only 1 trip that worry was gone - its agile as can be for a 14ft yet stable as can be too.
For the price, it has to be one of the best purchases you can make -easily copmarable to others costing 500-700 bills more.
I'm a happy yakker.
Great storage, very well made
Nice, well made boat with excellent comfortable seating and storage compartments are the most well designed I have seen. But, the boat is VERY heavy and shorter length, ergo slower and difficult to lift, maneuver etc. I am a beginner, but didn't want to be locked into a slower boat so I did end up returning it. REI is so great to stand behind their products and great customer service, thank you!
This is the first kayak I have owned, had it about 8 months now and love this kayak, it tracks awesome, is very stable, and tons of storage. The rudder is great, I can't imagine not having it. I'm no pro and it's a great help.
Can't fault it
I was charged with equipping our vacation spot with toys and am glad I got these. Well priced, super comfortable, and everything it promised.