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This Yak is comfortable and roomy, without being too wide. The Seat was comfortable and the bulkhead didn't leak a drop. This particular kayak came with a spray skirt and I would highly recommend using one since the cockpit is so large. All in all, I am very satisfied with this kayak.
If willing to replace the seat if/when it breaks with some king of aftermarket one, etc...might be worth buying if you can get a used one at a cheap price. Otherwise, I can't say I'd recommend them.
FYI: The weakest point of my seat was where it attached to the inside bottom of the kayak. The bulkhead really needs to be stripped, and resealed with quality marine caulk. Would've given this kayak a rate of 7 if it hadn't been for the common problems. Local major store has several returned with these problems.
My first kayaking experience several years ago was on tidal backwaters in New Hampshire in a 16' or 17í sea kayak. One vivid memory I have of that was almost falling over trying to get out of the kayak after a couple hours because my legs had gone numb. This thankfully is not a problem with the Patriot as you can move your legs around a lot with the very spacious cockpit. And the spacious cockpit and nice stability make getting in and out of the Patriot a breeze too compared to that sea kayak, my previous kayak, and others I have paddled - I no longer suffer the embarrassment of awkward entries and exits while trying to squeeze my big frame (6í1" 230 lbs) into or out of small cockpits.
So far here in Michigan, I have only taken the Patriot out on smaller rivers with moderate to fairly brisk currents and minor rapids scattered here and there - and that is all I will probably ever use it for. I have been very pleased with this kayak in these conditions. I like the stability it has and its 12' length allows it to track quite nicely. Around obstacles and through rapids it maneuvers quite well and it excels at my favorite activity which is putting my feet up on the deck and just floating along with the current. But if you want to move along for some reason and actually paddle it also seems to have quite good speed.
Overall, if you want to race or are of the hyper-competitive sort or simply feel compelled to get back to your car as quickly as possible this is probably not the kayak for you. If you want to simply relax and enjoy your time on the river with a very competent kayak that will also save you some significant money I think the Patriot is a great choice. My only regret is not buying it sooner.
(As far as I know MC Sports is the only dealer that carries the Patriot. It is frequently if not always on sale for $399.)
Overall a great kayak & I'm sure I will enjoy it for years to come.
I took it on the Burnham to Marquette Expedition. This was a trip from Chicago, IL to Michigan City, IN. The trip lasted two days. Many of those with Sea Kayaks thought I was insane to bring a recreational kayak. Due to stormy weather on the first day with 4 and 5 foot waves, many of the sea kayaks flipped while my Patriot stayed upright for the whole trip. In fact, I was able to assist in the rescues. The second day was clear skies and waves at max 2 foot, allowing me to stay in the top 8 for the rest of the trip out of 30 kayakers. Needless to say the Patriot won the respect of the sea kayakers in the end.
It is light enough for me to handle, tracks very well and its broad beam makes it very easy for me to enter and exit. The seat is certainly comfortable enough, certainly more comfortable than my old sea kayak. This is a bare bones boat. It has no deck webbing. The foot rests are easily adjusted and sitting in the boat was quite comfortable. There are short lines on both sides of the cockpit, so it is easy to attach a paddle leash or whatever you wish. The hatch in back is large enough and there is a rear bulkhead, something I really wanted. Whether or not the stuff in the rear storage area will stay dry remains to be seen.
The first day I took the Patriot out on Lake Murray (near Columbia, SC) was a good day for kayaking. Water temp. 51, winds 5 to 10 mph. I marveled at how fast the kayak was (compared to my old boat), how well in handled including how well it tracked.
Today was another story. Cloudy and by the time I got out on the lake the winds had picked up to 10 to 15 mph. The forcast was for winds 5 to 10. Light to moderate chop. The boat handled well but paddling into the wind took some effort. The nice large open cockpit which is perfect for me, did take on a little water over the bow. Certainly to be expected. Legs got pretty wet and that 51 degree water is cold. If I can ever figure out how to use the mini spray skirt I bought with this boat, I imagine I will stay dry.
Paddling directly into the wind or with the wind at my back, the kayak tracked quite nicely. Again I highly recommended the Patriot as an inexpensive entry level kayak.
I immediately noticed the difficulty in paddling this boat. It is not designed for the long haul. This boat is designed for people who just want a stable kayak with plenty of room and some helpful amenities. It will work great for them. Not for me. I wanted something that combined those amenities with efficiency and good tracking.
So, I returned the boat immediately expecting a full refund. Even though the boat is in pristine condition (not even a scratch or spec of dirt from my short venture) Gander refused to take it back. So, it looks like I am stuck with this lumbering barge until I can save up some more money to buy the kayak best suited for my needs.
I just purchased another Yak from WestMarine. I thought I was getting the same Mainstream Patriot, but when it came to my house (3 days later) It showed up with the Perception Logo on the front and on the rear hatch. I got the same flame red, yellow and orange color as the last one. Now I am happy to say I would recommend this Yak to anyone out there looking for a long rec boat. I am 6'5" 280 pounds and have never had a problem with the first Yak... Good Luck to anyone getting one of these Kayaks!
Now that I have that out of the way all I can say is "wow!" (Ok, maybe more than just one word.)
In March of 2008, I stopped at the local MC Sports and saw they had the Mainstream Streak. At that time the Streak seemed like the kayak for me. I slowly started saving up for one. The more time went by though, the more I realized the lines on the Streak weren't quite what I wanted, and the storage space didn't seem quite up to what I was hoping for.
Today I got to work and found a friend had left me a clipping from this week's MC Sports ad. In lovely full colour was a beautiful looking Perception Patriot in shades of blue. The length was longer than what I originally thought I wanted, but the more I dug around online (took me hours just to find the reviews on here for the Mainstream Patriot) the more I found good reviews and listings for the Mainstream Patriot. After studying what pictures I could find, and specification listings, I concluded the two 'yaks were more than likely one and the same. As soon as I was finished at work I stopped at the store and bought my first "real" kayak. I'm still smiling four hours and sore muscles later.
The only kayak I can compare the Patriot with is my Sea Eagle. To me that seems like apples and oranges, so I will just list my likes and dislikes of the Patriot.
I honestly at this point do not have any dislikes about the Patriot.
As far as likes, its seems very stable. Unless I lean almost all the way over the edge when getting in the Patriot never looked or felt like it might tip. Even with jet ski wakes banging against the hull and choppy waters from the wind on the lake I knew the 'yak could handle whatever I encountered this afternoon.
Despite some reviews I have read, the Patriot tracked great! This afternoon during my two hour maiden voyage I encountered rough wave, little waves, and actual areas with no waves at all. The Patriot always went straight to what I had it pointed at, even more so when I was gliding in still water.
I'm not sure how fast I was going today, but compared to the Sea Eagle it felt fast. I'm sure no where near a touring kayak but for a recreational one the Patriot seemed quick.
The seat was comfortable (although I am partial to gel seats) and the foot pegs left even my short legs (I'm 5'6") in a comfortable position.
I was happy to find a bulkhead separating the aft storage section. Having seen the many different systems for hatches out there the rubber-lid style on the Patriot seemed like a good choice to me. For the type of waves and spray I encountered my gear stayed dry. I also liked how the bulk head left space behind the seat for storing smaller items/bags. The paddle holders on the sides were appreciated as well as the carry handles. Someday I may even try out the pole holders while fishing.
For an entry level rec kayak, I feel the Patriot is worth every cent. It's perfect for my experience level and I can foresee enjoying it still as my skills progress.
As other reviewers have said, this is a good kayak well worth its price and then some!
WOW! This has got to be the best bang for the buck out there! The only other kayaks I was considering, given that I wanted stability, a comfortable seat, and a low price, were the Wilderness Pungo 120, the Wilderness Pamlico 120, and the Perception Sundance 12.
The Mainstream Patriot doesn't have the great Stage 3 seating of the Pungo, but it's half the price. The Sundance and Pamlico are very, very similar to the Patriot, but about $200 more. The only gripe I have with the Patriot is the webbing strap that holds the adjustable angle seat back in place ripped off its screw mount on the first trip out, so I had to tie it in place until they send me another one. Also, on 3 hours trips I have made so far, I have had to stop about every hour to re-cinch it tighter. I'm going to look into using a fixed length webbing to eliminate this problem.
Otherwise, the Patriot tracks true, it's fast enough for me to keep up easily with my much more experienced kayak buddies with much more expensive and fast kayaks, and it is quite stable for most conditions. Also, the weight is not too bad at 50lbs to stick in the back of my car with the seats folded down, or on top if we are hauling more than 1 yak. Buy this kayak and you won't be sorry.
This boat is a good step in the right direction for people that do not want to go broke in kayaking. Try this boat and I am sure that you will love it.
I have had no problems with tracking or speed in the boat. I think that this $500 boat is a great choice for anyone big enough to handle its mass.
For a twelve foot boat, I think this is almost as nice as you can get without upgrading to something like a Wilderness Systems Pungo. I highly recommend this boat.
The Mainstream is my 2nd kayak, my 1st being a 10ft sit-on with very poor tracking. I decided I needed a new kayak, because I would always get wet in my sit-on, when paddling on anything other than a calm lake or estuary. I was also severely compromised for space.
Space is the biggest asset to the Mainstream. I am 6ft and about 180+lbs. There is plenty of room to stretch my legs, and the shape of the "cockpit" would allow me to easily make modifications such a s dashboard, or even a small sail, utilizing the holes provided for fishing poles. (These could be used to insert wooden dowels so a mast cross-beam could be tied to left or right). My sit-on was clocked at about 7.5mph tops via GPS...and I imagine that the Pariot would get about what another responder claimed.
The boat handles large waves very well without swamping. Splash-skirts are also easy to find in the right size. I am able to use the energy of waves to achieve an eye-brow raising speed sometimes. If I could compare this boat to a spaceship, it would be Han Solo's middle-sized Millennium Falcon on Star Wars!
The tracking is definitely not perfect, and I feel like I am losing some energy correcting at times...but all in all this is a great boat for exploring in comfort.
I went out to a local club Friday night paddle and three of the four guys there had Patriots. We all agreed it was a good kayak for the money.
A word of warning: inspect it closely before buying. I looked down the keel line of one and the stern was an inch to the left of the rest of the keel. Another had a big dent in the hull in front of the cockpit like someone had stepped on it. It seems that the soft plastic will give if it is stored wrong.
The biggest issue I have with it is the huge cockpit. It is great except I'm not sure where I'll mount my fishfinder and GPS. If I do it in front of the cockpit it is so far away its hard to read and reach. I'll figure something out.
Bottom line, the Mainstream Patriot is a well crafted kayak and is designed to do many things which is does very well. It performs with little effort, is safe and stable, and can carry all that you need for an enjoying day on the water. I have made some simple modifications to my two kayaks for extra bungy cords and a cleat for tying off an anchor cord. The longest I have sat in my kayak has been 7 hours to photograph wildlife and found it a bit stiff, but I can modify the seat for comfort if need be. Weight can be an issue when tired but is not unmanageable if loading is planned for taking in account terrain between your vehicle and the waters edge. I rate this kayak an overall 9 for practicality and suggest a padded seat cover to minimize the only detractor which is a hard seat. Buy one. You won't regret it.
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