Too cold to kayak so I thought I'd share a decision model I made as I attempt to define which kayak I am going to purchase before spring arrives.
First, the primary reason for the purchase is I want an above average paddling kayak, or a pedal kayak that paddles really well. I live on a grassy lake and it'd come in handy.
So, I thought I'd go with the new Wilderness ATAK 120 . . . what a great looking vessel! But, there, I'd need to add a rudder, pole holders and some other things. And, I am bound and determined to use a Boonedox Landing Gear to eliminate the fuss of getting on and off the water. The ATAK 120 doesn't have much access to its underside where these are normally mounted.
So, I have always liked small to midsize yaks, and I wanted something in the 12 ft range for good paddling, for hauling in the back of my truck, and I wanted it to be manageable (not too heavy) so I quickly eliminated the otherwise outstanding PA 12. I really like the looks of the 2017 Hobie Outback in camo with all the extra features . . . and I really love the look of the Manta Ray Propel 12 with its sharp points. Nothing looks better to me than that shape over kayaks with blunted sterns, like my Propel 10.
So, for these two, I made a decision tree so to speak:
Cost: Advantage goes to the Manta Ray Propel as it is about $600/$700 cheaper;
Weight: Advantage goes to Manta Ray Propel as it is about 15 lbs. lighter with drives and seats installed;
Length: A draw as both are within inches of 12 feet;
Paddle: I believe the lighter and sleeker Manta Ray Propel would paddle better;
Pedal: I believe the Hobie Outback is likely faster, more top end but this could be close with the pointed bow of the MRP;
Reverse: Advantage to Manta Ray Propel as it goes back and forth with less effort than the reverse feature on the new Hobies;
Landing Gear: A draw here as I think both can successfully mount this feature;
Standing: Advantage likely goes to the Hobie Outback as it has more overall width along its length;
Pole holders: Both have them built in but I like the Manta Ray Propel's better;
Storage: Advantage Hobie Outback by a fair margin;
Anchor Trolley: About the same with both shaped to run the trolley all the way to the bow and stern.
So, a slight advantage to the Manta Ray Propel 12 assuming each of these factors/qualities is valued the same. The paddling might be the biggest swing issue but I have to accept that this kayak will have to be "finesse" rigged. If I want to add a ton of after-market features, the Outback would have more upside.
No decison yet . . . just wanted to share my approach here. I have some time on my side to ponder this, maybe even more models. But, I am going to eliminate all of the new pedal systems. Too risky without a few years out in the field to see how they actually work, how they hold up.