Submitted: 10-23-2006 by BobLeDuc
I have only used my Puffin Swift 14 a few times, as I have "many" canoes and kayaks ranging in size from a 6'9" Dagger RX Prescription to a Current Designs Kevlar Extreme at 18'10". This is a "folding boat" and should not be expected perform the same way some of these specialized boats do.
I purchased the Swift, primarily, for use in our motor home. The trips I have tried the Swift on were in the Pine Barren Streams of New Jersey. The books call these waters "challenging" because of the tight twists and turns, the many obstructions and the swift current. I paddle these waters often and, in my opinion, it would be hard to find a better place to "test" a boat. The Swift is not difficult to assemble, although I'm hopeful that I can reduce the assembly time after putting it together a few more times. The boat handled the waters without a hitch. I found it to track nicely, to edged very well, it was comfortable and turned quickly when laid over on its' side. Although it is extremely stable, I was curious to see how it would roll, so I tried several times. It was a little slower than some of my other boats, but it came over without a problem and I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't take on much water during rolls, even though the deck is fastened by Velcro and the spray skirt isn't very tight. I was using the breathable touring skirt that I purchased from Pakboat and I also had the optional foot brace, which helped me stay locked into the boat for rolling.
My "tests" have given me confidence in the Swift's ability to handle anything I might throw at it. I'm not going to take it out on any heavy whitewater, but it is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. I also purchased a 10 1/2' Puffin and I am "very pleased" with Pakboat. I bought the boats through L.L.Bean because they are a pleasure to deal with and I love their guarantee (although "I" have never needed it). You can spend a lot more money for a folding boat, and there are a couple models that would be faster, but this will do everything I need a folding boat to do and I've saved one to two thousand dollars to get a great boat. I am VERY IMPRESSED with Pakboat.