I own a Pakcanoe 140, and Laura needed a canoe for a Spring Break trip in Utah on the Class II-III San Juan River. The 140 was too big for her desires, so I set about trying to find an alternative. I suggested trying to paddle a Puffin as a canoe. I found a used one, and modified the seat system to better replicate a canoe seat, and added structural foam between the frame members and the skin. We checked both the Puffin and the 140 as baggage with no additional charges. The boats, paddles, and packs with 7 days of gear fit into a Dodge Neon for the trip from SLC to the river.
We assembled the boats, and Laura loaded a full pack in the stern, and 5 gallons of drinking water in the bow, and we headed off with our tripping friends for 8 days of paddling and hiking. Laura was able to run most of the rapids including Ross fully loaded in the Puffin II. Some water flushed into the cockpit on some of the bigger standing waves, but overall the Puffin performed much better than we expected.
It's light, can be transported as baggage, fits in a rental and can carry 7 days of gear on a Class II-III western river. That pretty much says it all.This boat goes together quickly (maybe 20 min.) and disassembles even more quickly (about 5 minutes). It has an unusual feature which provides a number of benefits: The deck is completely removable, and the boat can be used without the deck. This is handy for fishing or photography, or when you might want the extra sun and air. It might make it possible to carry a small dog or child, although I haven't tried that. It also makes for unsurpassed ease of packing and unpacking, and contributes to the easy assembly (no groping around in dark confined spaces inserting frame parts, as with some brands I could mention). If only calm waters are anticipated, one could omit the deck to lighten the load when backpacking. (Of course, there are many times when a deck is desirable or necessary.) Finally, a removable deck makes the boat easier to clean and dry than more conventional kayaks. The disadvantage of this unique construction is that most of the ribs are U-shaped, not 360 degree hoops as on most folders, and the deck cannot be structurally stressed much, being held on by Velcro. This is not a boat for violent maneuvers like rolling. However, I find it extremely stable. It does not crash into waves, but tends to bob over them, giving a delightful ride. The seat is inflated, which means one can adjust the firmness; it is very comfortable. The boat feels fast, and turns and maneuvers easily.
The 12' Puffin kayak is about the cheapest and lightest folding kayak on the market, but is not "cheap" in terms of quality. It is well made out of tough materials. However, it is certainly not intended for really rough marine waters or for expedition use. I use it on the many ponds which abound in my area. Since it takes little space and assembles easily, I could easily keep it in the trunk at all times. Because of the light weight I was able to pack it into a beautiful lake where I was the only paddler. If you stay within its range of intended uses, this is a boat you will love.