Extremely versatile, portable, easy to use "water…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1400 CAD
Extremely versatile, portable, easy to use "water SUV" that is perfect for any type of adventure one could imagine.
- Very stable; almost impossible to tip over
- Lightweight (the lightest in its category)
- Huge buoyancy (750 lbs/340 kg)
- Maneuverable; easy handling
- Very rugged
- Not the fastest kayak out there
- No splash protection
- Not the most convenient to portage
This review is for the Sea Eagle Explorer 380X Pro package. The major difference between Pro and Deluxe is the seats: I like Pro seats much better but for more information look it up at the manufacturer website.
I've been using this kayak for three seasons now and the fourth season is approaching. The quality of the kayak itself is fairly good: the body/hull is intact and holds up well but some accessories that came with the kayak had been replaced during the warranty period.
Specifically, paddles and the foot pump are the weakest links. I understand that most likely Sea Eagle supplies the accessories from an overseas manufacturer and the company provides very friendly and fast customer support for all the items, but I still think that for the quality of the kayak itself they should pick better quality items to complement it with.
The Explorer 380X is best suited for a man/woman tandem kayaking team because of how the seats are located: the front paddler's leg room is less than for a rear paddler, so it naturally makes sense for a lighter and smaller person to sit in the front seat and for a taller and heavier one to be on the rear seat. Such disposition also will help with better maneuverability because it's easier to maneuver from the rear seat.
I've used the kayak for quick few hours outings, short day trips, full day trips, longer multi day trips on lakes, creeks, rivers, and open water, and it has been equally pleasant in all scenarios. It behaves well on flat water or rapids, goes well enough against winds, very stable in the storms and high waves. Most importantly the kayak provides with a deep feeling of complete safety as it's almost impossible to sink or roll it.
The Explorer is very easy to transport because it packs relatively small into a bag provided and fits into almost any car trunk. It's very quick to deploy: 10 minutes with no rush. It requires very minimal maintenance: when the trip is finished just quick dry with a cloth and if needed air dry it later once again when back at home.
Portaging Explorer 380X, from one hand, is not as convenient (in a way) as it may be for a canoe, but from another hand allows more options: it can be carried by two persons using front and rear handles if the distance is relatively short (a couple of hundred yards/meters); or quickly deflated and carried by a single person as a backpack if distance is longer or the portage trail is hard to navigate; or it can be transported on a cart, either home made or factory made. I have personally done all the options and confirm that it's totally manageable.
All in all, having experience with various hard shell kayaks and canoes, the Sea Eagle Explorer is by far my favorite water transportation and for over three years hasn't failed to get me to the most amazing and remote locations.
Concluding this review with answering the main question of whether I'd buy the Explorer once again I say yes, I would with no doubts and second thoughts: very well designed and manufactured versatile water vehicle.