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Submitted: 08-19-2013 by dlgilbert
The Journey 14 is my second kayak and my first kayak that isn't strictly a recreational kayak. I've been paddling it almost every week (except a couple months when the water was frozen) since early November in water ranging from lakes to rivers to small creeks. I've also paddled a few other boats by Current Designs, Boreal Design, Wilderness Systems, and Dagger... some plastic, some composite. I'm 5'10" and weight about 240, so I need a boat with a little bit of room.
I'm delighted with the Journey. It's got enough room but I can get snug enough to feel a good connection with the boat (the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145, on the other hand, felt way too big). The seat is very comfortable and the back band adjustment is simple, easy to operate, and effective; much more so than other back band adjustment systems I've tried. The Journey tracks well, has good initial and secondary stability, is easy to put on edge (and hold there) so it's fairly maneuverable. I had no problems with steering it around on a shallow, narrow creek in central Pennsylvania this summer, when everyone else was paddling 10-foot boats.
There's plenty of storage space for longer trips if you want to do a weekend camping trip (perhaps longer, depending how you pack and how many luxuries you want). The hatches are mostly watertight, though when doing some wet exit and rolling practice, a bit of water gets in. I've never had water leak into the very convenient day hatch, though. The day hatch is easy to reach and has a softer rubber cover that is easy to remove and replace while on the water; no struggling or contorting in order to use it. The hanging bag on the inside assures that, not only does your stuff not bump around on the bottom of the boat, but it doesn't roll away, either, so it's always readily accessible.
The deck bungees and deck lines are well-placed and work well for a variety of gear. I always have a paddle float and bilge pump attached. Sometimes I'll also have a deck bag, water bottle, or raincoat (in a stuff sack) on the deck, too. The back deck bungees are designed to assist with a paddle float entry by firmly holding the paddle in place which is fantastic if you're trying to pump out the water from your cockpit. You can just leave the paddle attached for stability until you're ready to go.
I don't have a rudder on mine, but one can be easily installed, since all the cable tubes and attachment points are already on the boat. I've paddled in moderate to high crosswinds in mildly choppy (12" waves) water without much trouble even without a rudder. Occasional correcting strokes and some edging were all that were needed to keep me going where I needed to go. The Journey tracks very well on flat water.
I've paddled some higher end boats and none of the ones I paddled really blew me away in comparison... which was good because trying to justify the purchase of a new $3k kayak to my wife would have been an issue. Ha! I know I'll eventually get another boat (or two... or three), but for now, the Journey is exactly the boat I want and I'm delighted with it.
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