About my product strategies and needs: I like abusing gear, great warranties, low depreciation, super high quality construction, buying used, local companies, good management and personnel, and I like to know about companies. I buy and resell gear consistently. I am 5'10" and weigh 191 lbs.
Each review will have a few criteria that I will rate it by. There will also be a section titled Best For: (who this product would be best utilized by).
These review are short because gear is simple, it either is awesome or it isn't.
Really fun, but not great for hard multi-day river runs, would be great for steep creeking. Great at surfing, turning, being in control on low volume stuff. Easy to move.
Staying straight: 3/10 Straight?
Boofing: 9/10 it is short and easy to boof, probably wouldn't run big waterfalls with the potential for landing flat
Edging: 10/10 It is a box
Resurfacing: 3/10 You will resurface in a hole.
Best for: Class IV and creeky Class V.
Hard to turn
Not edgy enough for big water
Jacksons best boat on the water.
Has a huge amount of room in the back. Recently took it down upper cherry and it was awesome! Great for multidays.
Staying straight: 8/10 good
Boofing: 9/10 can be hard to keep the nose up but it lands super soft
Edging: 6/10 Not very edgy
Resurfacing: 10/10 Awesome!
If you want a really techy write up visit here.
Do you like boofing? Do you like being able to turn? How about edges? if you said yes then this may be the boat for you. Wait just one second...
Do you like big water? do you like overnighters on big water? if you said yes to either of these questions this might not be the boat for you.
This boat is for creeking and river running and is marginal in bigwater. It gets squirly and hard to control, much like a playboat. So if you like to playboat in big water then this again may be the right boat for you, but I don't.
The perfect combo would be a remix 79 and this boat. Take the remix on big water adventures and this on steep creeks, if boofs and turns very well and has a very low profile for maneuvering through boulder gardens.
Best for: Steep creekers and river runners not looking to push the limits of high water. Good for intermediate through advanced boating.
If you want a review that is prolix, enjoy
I paddled this for two years on the NF Payette(Big Water) and some classic(old school classic) cali class V.
This thing resurfaces like a machine, the nose is so bulbous it looks like you are paddling a bee backwards. Point that stinger and go. The small edge on the vertex of the chine makes for nice carves in and out of eddies but not great.
This boat makes flying and landing feel nice but the lack of edges leaves a little to be desired in being able to keep a straight line while driving somewhere.
Turning: 8/10 Can't really use edges so it loses a little to the Burn.
Staying Straight: 7/10 Feels a little longer in the water than the burn but again lacks real edges.
Edging: 6/10 its there, but it is like a B cup rather than a C*that is a tremendously sexist remark, but a great simile
Resurfacing: 10/10 Best on the market.
Best For: People who don't care about edges that run steep creeks and some big water. It isn't the best for big water but it will work.
Are you in your mid forties and think that surfing a 1 foot green wave is "Playboating". This is the playboat for you!
Seriously though. If you love boofing big drops, running creeks over 150 ft/mile or live in any state other than Idaho, leave your money at home.
If you love big water, going really fast, hate turning, and thought the Freefall was an awesome boat, buy a Remix*.
*If you are a slalom paddler you will probably also like the remix.
If I could buy a boat for big water, high water, and classic class V, this would be it. It is long, fast, and tremendously stable through huge features. I have only been able to paddle this a few times but it makes high water fun rather than terrifying. You actually have control over where you go! Who knew that old schoolers had some good ideas.(I am just kidding, they killed it).
I look forward to taking this down the MF feather at 4k.
Turning: 5/10 Who needs to turn quickly?
Staying straight: 10/10 Best on the market, unless you can find a pirouette.
Boofing: 5/10 Who needs to boof?
Edging: 8/10 The length of the boats relieves this boat from the need to have edging to control it.
Resurfacing: 6/10 But it has great control under water!
Best For: Big Water, if I haven't already made that clear. It seems like it would be great for paddlers of all skills. The speed and comfortability of it makes it ideal for tyros.
Bliss Stick Mystic Large
I am glad that these review are totally biased because I love this boat, it was my favorite. The problem is that they are hard to get, there just simply aren't that many around.
This boat resurfaces, has edges, turns, boofs, and floats on top of features well. Nothing can tackle every type of whitewater kayaking, but I think that the mystic came the closest that I have seen. It has a progressive planing hull that is dreamy. The seat is super high and it has these rotating knee pads that can lock you down beyond reasonable comfort. That being said it is not a boat for beginners, i just mean it is not ideal. It has an aggressive design that puts it in more of the intermediate to advanced paddler spectrum.
Turning: 9/10 Turns with the best of them
Staying straight:8/10 If it were slightly longer it would be the ideal mix for big water and creeking.
Boofing: 9/10 kills it.
Edging: 10/10 best chine I have had, progressive chine with no hard edge. Perfection for me.
Resurfacing: 9/10 not the Habitat, but very good.
Best for: intermediate to advanced boaters who do a mix of big water and creeking. It is slightly more designed for creeking but can handle a few thousand cfs as well.
Liquid Logic Stomper
Sick hull, perfect edge, can get squirrely in big water eddies, easy to boof, easy to control and keep online and resurface. The best hull I have ever paddled. I like edges. Works well in both creeks and big water. Enough rocker to land soft but not so much that you spin really easily. LL nailed the design on this one. Only problem: The seat breaks. I have seen two break because they engineered a hanging seat system, so the entire seat system hangs on two screws out of the cockpit, which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the system and they break… in the middle of multiday class V. Could ruin your day unless you are prepared with a multitool and have a few extra hours to redo the system. I have seen these break on Manns creek, Upper Cherry, and Bald Rock, basically every time I go kayaking with a stomper on class V.
Turning: 9/10 it turns well and predictablyStaying straight: 8/10 good
Boofing: 10/10 the best
Edging: 10/10 Not very edgy perfect amount of edge, in my opinion
Resurfacing: 10/10 Awesome!
Best for: Any run you can easily hike out of, or someone who is gifted at repair.
Werner Straight Shaft Fiberglass Sherpa here
Shout out to Werner for making awesome products. It is no wonder that they have the largest market share.
Are you broke? Do you abuse paddles? Do you run tall waterfalls? Buy this paddle.
Durability: 10/10 240 bucks, what more do you want?
Weight: 10/10 it 33 oz, I can buy beer that weighs more than that.
Feel: 8/10 it is a straight shaft and two blades, no bull.
Best for: Paddlers who are cheap and need a paddle that will last.
Props to AT for making great feeling paddles. They win that category.
Are you broke? Do you abuse paddles? Do you run tall waterfalls? Do you have $460 plus tax to waste?
Then buy this paddle.
Durability: 4/10 I owned one of these. Once. For four months.
Weight: 8/10 38 oz. It is light
Feel: 10/10 these feel the best in the industry.
Best for: People sponsored by AT, paddlers with money to burn, people paddling deep rivers or in the ocean, and people who never run waterfalls.
Watershed Chattooga Bag
I have to do a really good product after railing about AT.
This product simply is a must have for people on the water. It fits food for a few days, Darin Mcquoid uses it for his photo equipment, it is an amazing piece of equipment. I have had mine for four years. While every other bag has fallen apart this one is holding strong.
Durability: 10/10 like new after 4 years.
Dryness: 10/10 still dry and I have beaten it to hell
Shape: 9/10 Nice between your legs or in the stern on a day trip. Doesn't work with stern multi-day bags in the back. Relatively easy access, they have made the zipper much easier since I purchased mine.
Best For: People who need stuff to be dry.
Kokatat GMER Drysuit Circa 2000 here
Another Great company based in Humbolt in Northern California.
Is it colder than 60 degrees? Is the water below 40 degree? Is it raining? Snowing!?
Man... you should probably pick up one of these.
Durability: 9/10 bumped up from 8 because if you send this suit in during the summer every year they fix it for a few bucks.
Dryness: 9/10 As long as you keep sending this suit in it stays dry. Amazing. Mine is ten years old, still going.
Shape: 8/10 They have changed a few things since my model, neoprene cuffs, etcetera. Feels great.
Best For: Kayakers that want to be comfortable from November to May.
Sick Bag, made out of trampoline material, so it drains. I bought the XL (160 L) which easily fits a drysuit, drytop, shorty, union suit, two pfds, two skirts, two helmets, two pairs of shoes, and some underlayers. All you could ever need. And a good price at 99 dollars.
Simply put: I would never buy Teva footwear, except their flip flop. I have seen them break, slip, and disregard good designs for years. But I am a purist.
IR Fleece shortsThese shorts are great for days where you know it will warm up but it is cold when you get in your boat. They have lasted years, are easier to put on than board shorts(because fleece is always warmer to the touch than nylon). Simply put: If you think you want a pair of warm shorts, these are the ones to get.
Sweet protection Helmet
Werner Bentshaft Foam core blade.
NRS items, and there are a lot.